New York has more than 300 separate courts and over 300 judges in the state’s 62 counties. The nearly 1500 court reporters working in New York enjoy salaries that are among the highest in the country.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics court reporters in New York earn an annual salary of $84,090. Salaries for certain cities are:
- New York City – $85, 660/$87, 260
- Buffalo – $68,040
- Rochester – $57,490
- Albany – $43,120
Take the following steps to become a court reporter in New York:
|Attend a Court Reporter School Program|
|Take New York’s Voluntary Certified Shorthand Reporter Examination|
|Find Employment as an Official or Freelance Court Reporter in New York|
|Participate in Continuing Education|
Step 1. Attend a Court Reporter School or Program
The state of New York has an abundance of education options with four on-campus schools and several accredited online institutions from which you can earn either an associate’s degree or certificate in court reporting.
As a student you’ll learn to break down the English language phonetically and input this unique form of shorthand into a steno machine. Once you’ve mastered phonetic theory, you’ll work at increasing speed until you are able to produce 225 words per minute
You’ll also have classes in such subjects as:
- Grammar, punctuation and spelling
- Courtroom procedures
- Legal and medical terminology
- New York court reporting rules/regulation
Although a license is not mandated, you must meet the following requirements in order to practice court reporting in the state of New York:
- Associate’s degree or certificate in court reporting from school accredited by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA)
- A certificate verifying the completion of 225 wpm
- Take voluntary Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR) examination OR
- Pass notary public examination
- Pass civil service exam (official court reporters only)
Explore Other Education Options Related to Criminal Justice and Legal Studies
Here you’ll find schools that offer certificate and degree programs well suited to a career in legal assisting, law office management and the paralegal profession.
Step 2. Take New York’s Voluntary Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR) Exam
Although licensing is not required to work as a court reporter in New York, becoming licensed as a Certified Shorthand Reporter gives you a definite edge in the employment market. The test is administered by the New York State Education Department’s Office of the Professions. You must be at least 21 years old and a U.S. citizen/legal resident of good moral character to take the test. The exam consists of the following elements:
- 20 questions on legal terms/procedures, court structure and rules of evidence
- 40 questions on grammar, vocabulary, punctuation and word usage
- Five minute two-voice dictation on a medical subject at 175 wpm
- Four minute one-voice jury charge dictation & read back at 175 wpm
- Seven minute four-voice dictation/transcription at 200 wpm
After passing the test, submit your application and the $173 licensing fee to the NY State Education Department. It is pointed out that CSRs are authorized to administer oaths, thereby eliminating the need for a notary public license.
Equal weight is given to NCRA certifications like Registered Certified Reporter (RCR). Examinations for all NCRA tests are administered by the New York National Reporters Association (NYNCRA). Formed in 1876 with only eight members, the NYNCRA now has hundreds of members and is the nation’s oldest organization of court reporters. The association lobbies for favorable legislation, sponsors student scholarships, provides networking opportunities and offers educational seminars and meetings as well as free practice dictations.
Step 3. Find Employment as an Official or Freelance Court Reporter in New York
Official Court Reporters work directly for the judicial system. If you are not licensed as a Certified Shorthand Reporter or hold NCRA certification you must acquire a notary public license. Walk-in examinations are administered by the State Division of Licensing. Bring a photo ID and a check or money order (cash not accepted). The 30 question, 50-minute examination covers the following topics:
- Administering Oaths
- Taking Acknowledgements or Depositions
- Executing Affidavits
- Types of/Reasons for Notarized Documents
You will be notified of the results by mail. Contact the State Division of Licensing for exam sites and dates.
New York has a both statewide and New York City judicial systems, each headed by its own Supreme Court as well as a conglomerate of District, City, civil and criminal trial and non-trial courts. However, applicants for court reporter jobs both inside and outside NYC will find a list of open positions, job requirements and application forms at the New York State Unified Court System website. All court positions require passing the NY civil service examination. Contact the NY Civil Service employment website for information regarding exam sites and dates as well as study guides.
Freelance Court Reporters work for court reporting agencies or on their own. There are hundreds of these agencies in the state and roughly 50 in New York City alone. You should request employment information directly from the agency or agencies you are interested in. A list of agencies throughout the state is available online.
Other employers of freelance court reporters include:
- Law firms
- Non-governmental Agencies
- Trade Unions
- Hospitals/Medical Institutions
- Television Broadcasting Companies
- Banking Institutions
Step 4. Participate in Continuing Education
Although court reporters in New York are not legally required to participate in continuing education, as a certified court reporter you are required to earn approximately five hours (10 credits) of continuing education with every annual renewal.
Credits can be amassed by attending relevant community college classes or via seminars and other educational opportunities offered to members of the NYCRA.