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What are the Different Stenographer Jobs?

D. Jeffress
D. Jeffress

Stenographers are men and women who specialize in accurately and quickly transcribing spoken messages, speeches, and conversations. Most stenographer jobs are found in legal courts, where professionals known as court reporters record statements, hearings, and rulings. Professionals may also find work at television stations, telephone relay centers, and various offices that require precise legal transcription services.

Court reporters are required to document every word spoken during a proceeding. Even the most skilled typists would have difficulty keeping up with such a demanding, difficult task using a standard computer keyboard. Stenographers frequently employ stenotype machines, keyboard devices that allow users to push multiple keys at a time to form syllables, words, or phrases instantly. Court reporters carefully proofread and edit stenotype machine transcriptions to ensure proper grammar and spelling.

A court stenographer is responsible for accurately transcribing everything that is said during legal proceedings.
A court stenographer is responsible for accurately transcribing everything that is said during legal proceedings.

Other stenographer jobs in courts may require professionals to use audio equipment to record a proceeding while taking careful notes about who is speaking at all times and the reactions of defendants, judges, and jury members. A court reporter will use his or her recordings and notes to create a detailed transcript after a hearing. Some court reporters repeat what is said, and who says it, into a handheld recording device, which can be replayed and translated at a later time.

Stenographers may transcribe telephone conversations or deaf citizens.
Stenographers may transcribe telephone conversations or deaf citizens.

Some stenographer jobs can be found outside of the court system. Television stations and broadcasting centers frequently hire stenographers to provide closed captioning for live and recorded programs. Other professionals are employed by relay centers, where they transcribe telephone conversations for deaf and hard-of-hearing citizens. Occasionally, a freelance stenographer will offer his or her services on a contract, as-needed basis for attorneys' offices, insurance firms, government meetings, and a number of other settings. Stenographers may also attend school lectures or conferences with deaf clients to provide immediate written translations.

To obtain most stenographer jobs, people must be extremely proficient typists and hold at least high school diplomas. Most professional stenographers, especially those involved with court reporting, attend courses at community colleges or vocational schools to master the trade. Training programs may take from one to three years to complete, and consist of intensive classroom instruction as well as practice in simulated court hearings. Some states and countries require graduates of such programs to pass a written and practical exam to become licensed stenographers. Additional certification is not generally required, though some professionals choose to take certifying exams offered by accredited organizations to improve their credentials and chances of finding stenographer jobs.

Discussion Comments


@Sunshine31 - You know there are other jobs for stenographers that involve the medical field and really don’t require typing as fast, but you do have to type with a lot of precision because these are medical records and prescription information that you will be transcribing.

I think that demand for medical transcriptionist is not as high as court reporters and some in the medical field say that these jobs are harder to come by and the salary tends to be lower than that of a court stenographer.

You also have to learn a lot of the medical terminology which might not be as interesting as working in the legal field.


I agree that that would have been a fun job, but I think that having a court stenographer job would be even better. I am a trial junkie and I love to hear and read about legal trials. It fascinates me. I also read that jobs for stenographers are growing because of increase demand. The stenographer salary is not too shabby either.

Most tend to earn about $60,000 and up and some of these stenographers that take on additional jobs as contractors for law firm earn even more. The only downside is that you have to be able to type 225 words per minute in order to receive your certification.

I don’t think that I could ever type that fast. You do have to make sure that the school that your get your training in is accredited because if not it might be difficult to pass the certification exam and you would have wasted your time and money.


I applied for a job working as a stenographer for a TV company once. They needed someone to write in captions for the deaf on their original TV shows, like the news and things like that. And, of course, those shows are often done live, so you'd need to be very fast.

I'm quite a fast typist, but unfortunately I didn't know the software they used to make the transcriptions and other people who applied did.

It's a shame, because I think that would have been a great job and maybe a good opportunity to get to know people in that industry.

But, I guess that's why so many applied for it in the first place.


I had a friend who worked as a stenographer for a phone line for the deaf. He reckoned he must have been lucky to get the job though. With smart phones it will become pretty much a job of the past, as people will be able to just type in their own messages.

It was pretty interesting. He told me every now and then there would be a really fascinating conversation and that he didn't expect a stenography job to pay so well.

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    • A court stenographer is responsible for accurately transcribing everything that is said during legal proceedings.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      A court stenographer is responsible for accurately transcribing everything that is said during legal proceedings.
    • Stenographers may transcribe telephone conversations or deaf citizens.
      By: Syda Productions
      Stenographers may transcribe telephone conversations or deaf citizens.