Study Corporate Transcription: Degrees at a Glance
Corporate transcription involves creating written records of business proceedings. It's sometimes done by administrative assistants; however, it can also be done by court reporters. To become a court reporter, you'll usually need to complete an associate degree or certificate program in court reporting and meet your state's requirements for licensure or certification.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for court reporters is expected to grow by 14% (about as fast as average for all jobs) between 2010 and 2020, and the pay in this profession is relatively good considering that a bachelor's degree isn't required - the median annual salary for court reporters was $49,000 as of May 2011. However, the BLS reports that to be a successful court reporter, you need to have very strong concentration skills.
|Who is this degree for?||Students who want to become court reporters||Those who want a faster route to becoming a court reporter|
|Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary)|| - Court Reporter ($49,000)* ||- Same as for the associate degree|
|Time to Completion||2 years full-time, 4 years part-time||6 months full-time, 2.5 years part-time|
|Common Graduation Requirements|| - Accuracy tests |
|- Same as those for the associate degree|
|Prerequisites|| - High school diploma or GED |
- Typing speed of 25-35 words per minute on traditional keyboard
|- Usually the same as those for the associate degree|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011)
Associate Degree in Corporate Transcription
One path to learning corporate transcription skills is to earn an associate degree in court reporting. You'll learn to create precise records of speech using a variety of technologies, including stenography and voicewriting. You'll also study spelling, grammar and punctuation, and you'll learn industry-specific terminology used in law and medicine. You'll also have the chance to practice your skills during a supervised internship. Upon graduation, you'll be prepared to apply these skills in a wide variety of fields, including corporate transcription.
Pros and Cons
- The median annual wage for court reporters was about $10,000 higher than that for the average associate degree holder as of May 2011*
- Studying court reporting will prepare you for jobs in many fields, including law, medicine and captioning for the hearing impaired
- Some transcriptionists work from home, and freelance transcriptionists set their own schedules
- You may be able to gain certification or licensure as a court reporter by completing a shorter certificate program
- You may need to take additional steps to gain licensure in your state after you earn your degree
- Some programs require you to purchase your own stenography equipment and software
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011).
Common Courses and Requirements
In most court reporting associate degree programs, you'll take general education courses in math, science, English and the humanities, as well as core courses in court reporting theory and techniques. Here are some examples of the types of court reporting classes you might take:
- Real-time theory
Participation in an internship is typically required in addition to your coursework, and you'll need to pass speed and accuracy tests to graduate. You should also be aware that some programs require you to purchase court reporting equipment and software.
Online Degree Options
It's possible to earn your associate degree in court reporting online. The coursework for these programs is very similar to what you would find in a campus-based program; however, you'll be allowed to work at your own pace. An internship is also required in these programs, and you'll most likely need to purchase your own court reporting equipment.
Getting Ahead with This Degree
According to the BLS, you'll most likely have good job prospects if you simply graduate from a court reporting associate degree program. However, the BLS notes that you can further enhance your career options by studying Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART). This technology is used to translate words into text while they are being spoken, and it is increasingly used by businesses, courts and news agencies. CART training is not offered by all court reporting programs, though, so you should choose carefully.
Another way to stand out is to pursue certification from the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) if your state doesn't already require it. Most associate degree programs are designed to prepare you for this certification, which demonstrates your skills to potential employers.
Corporate Transcription Training Options
There are a number of ways to learn corporate transcription skills without enrolling in an associate degree program. If you'd like to work as an administrative assistant who performs some transcription duties, you can enroll in a certificate program in office administration. These programs commonly teach basic corporate transcription skills, but you won't qualify to be a licensed or certified court reporter.
Another option is to enroll in a court reporting certificate program. Your coursework will be similar to what's required for associate degree programs in court reporting, but you won't need to meet most of the general education requirements that 2-year programs have. This means you can finish your studies sooner, and in most cases, you'll still qualify for full licensure or certification.
Pros and Cons
- Certificate programs in court reporting can be completed more quickly than associate degree programs, so you'll be career-ready sooner
- Most court reporting certificate programs qualify you for licensure or certification, just like associate degree programs do
- In an office administration certificate program, you can learn corporate transcription skills without having to study the full range of court reporting techniques
- You'll have to learn the same skills and gain the same speed and accuracy as associate degree students, but you'll have less time to accomplish this
- In most court reporting associate degree programs, you'll learn to use a broad range of technologies, but certificate programs usually focus on just one - this could limit your career options
- You won't get the educational breadth that's available through associate degree programs, since you won't have to take liberal arts courses in areas like the social sciences and math
Common Course Topics
Certificate programs in court reporting usually require internships and accuracy tests, just like associate degree programs do. The coursework will be very similar to what associate degree students take, but it may be narrower in focus. For example, an associate degree student might study court reporting, broadcast captioning and CART, while you might just study one of these areas in a certificate program. In office administration certificate programs, you may take 1-2 courses in transcription, as well as classes like these:
- Office computer applications
- Database management
- 10-key data entry
- Customer service
Online Courses and Certificates
It's possible to earn a court reporting certificate online. You will still be required to complete the same coursework and exams that on-campus students take, and you must achieve the same accuracy and speed scores that they do. In addition, you may need to purchase your own equipment, especially if you don't live near enough to the school to use its facilities conveniently.
How to Stand Out
Just like associate degree holders, graduates of most court reporting certificate programs are also qualified to sit for the NCRA certification exam. Holding this certification is an important way to stand out if it isn't required in your state. If your program has properly prepared you, you can also seek NCRA certification in specific technologies, like broadcast captioning, CART and real-time reporting. If it's available in your program, learning CART can be an especially good skill to have on the job market.