Think back to your first encounter with quadrilaterals in math class. Remember how a square is always a rhombus, but a rhombus isn’t always a square? A similar rule applies to court reporters and stenographers.

Both court reporters and stenographers produce verbatim transcriptions of legal proceedings, be it in court, for a deposition, or during a business meeting. Despite the apparent congruence between the two professions, court reporters generally have additional duties and more career options outside the courtroom. Thus, a court reporter is always a stenographer, but a stenographer isn’t always a court reporter. In this blog post, we’ll detail the differences between these two legal careers.


The primary difference between court reporters and stenographers is the amount of education required. Whereas becoming a court reporter typically warrants between two and four years of education from an institution approved by the NCRA—such as the College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Indiana—stenographers have to complete only six months of training. Furthermore, in order to hold a stenography position, one need not obtain any certification or licensure.

Graduates of court reporting school type quickly (225 wpm) and accurately, have basic language interpretation skills, and exhibit a working understanding of court processes, procedures, and legal terminology. Although many stenographers may also boast this skill set, it is a prerequisite of earning certification as a court reporter. The path to becoming a successful court reporter doesn’t end with a college degree. Reporters must complete continued education courses to receive certifications from national agencies. As such, court reporters generally receive a higher salary than stenographers.


In general, court reporters have more responsibilities than stenographers in the courtroom. Beyond recording everything that the judge, jurors, clerk, bailiff, plaintiff, dependent, attorneys, and witnesses say, emote, or gesture, court reporters may assist attorneys and judges and organize research and information in the court records. Stenographers, on the other hand, often stick to transcription services.

Employment Opportunities

A degree in court reporting and additional licensure affords certified court reporters with employment opportunities that aren’t often available to stenographers. Nowadays a variety of industries use court reporting services, and court reporters have the ability to freelance in diverse fields. From captioning television programs to international court reporting, a strong court reporting resume can lead to countless exciting opportunities.

Despite the differences between court reporters and stenographers, many legal professionals still use the two titles interchangeably. This offense is minor and forgivable, given their similarities. Nonetheless, if you need a court reporter, schedule with Connor Reporting today.  

Ready to learn more about the many types of legal professionals? Check out our previous post: Court Reporter vs. Legal Transcriptionist: What is the Difference?

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