Stenographers, or court reporters, play a vital role in the justice system. They accurately record court proceedings and provide copies of transcripts to the exact letter. They are no longer confined to court processes, however. They can be employed in other proceedings, events, conferences, or meetings where accurate written transcripts are necessary. They also records events for the federal, state, or local governments. Sometimes they functions as stenocaptioners in television programs--typing subtitles for the hearing impaired. This article will instruct you on how to find a job as a stenographer.
There are different techniques in stenography. Speed writing, shorthand writing using shorthand symbols, stenotyping using a stenotype machine, electronic recording, and voice writing. Speed writing and shorthand writing are almost the same method. Both use shorthand symbols in recording events and spoken words. The most common practice is the use of stenotype machines, which contain a keyboard-like pad which the stenographer presses to record. This technique is now being slowly replaced by electronic techniques of recording.
If you are a stenographer and you want to find a job, here is how:
- Ask your career adviser. The career center at your school should be able to provide you with a listing of vacancies for stenographers. Your adviser is expected to have invited prospective employers to hire stenographers from your school. Approach your adviser and ask for the list of possible employers. You can also ask him for any career advice he could give. Do not hesitate to ask about salary. It should be one of the first considerations.
- Check the papers. The classified ads of your favorite papers could have job advertisements for stenographers. Carefully read through the ads and look for job postings for stenographers.
- Check government publications and job postings. The single biggest employer of stenographers is the government. They are employed at courts and other government offices that need official records in their proceedings. The state legislature, for example, always needs stenographers to record all proceedings. Congress employs an army of stenographers who record and transcribe electronic records. Government job posting may be done through the labor department.
- Establish a freelance stenography service. If you are very confident that you could survive even without a regular job as a regular stenographer, being a freelancer would be an option. Although here, you will have to face the risk of not getting regular clients in the first months of operation. But as soon as you establish relations with clients, your service might be sought for in the long run. You will not have the hassle of working for somebody else. You will be your own boss.
Stenography could provide a stable career. The average salary of a stenographer is around $43,000. The demand for stenographers will continually increase in the next few years. Educational requirements would vary depending on the type of stenography to be practiced. Courses range from one to four years of education. Some states require passing state-administered tests, while others require licensing exams. This underscores the sensitivity of the job.