Best Online Court Reporting Schools

PAF Training offers the best court reporter career-path program

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Online court reporting schools teach students how to capture live dialogue in court proceedings or depositions, all without stepping foot on a college campus. Some states require court reporters to pass the Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR) exam or Certified Court Reporter (CCR) exams before making money while others have no requirements.

The best online court reporting schools are those with accreditation or a track record for preparing students to pass National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) or state exams. Most reputable programs also offer certification or a degree upon graduating.

Best Online Court Reporting Schools of 2021

Best Overall : PAF Training Programs


PAF Training Programs

PAF Training Programs

  • Cost of Tuition: $7,200
  • Format: Live and on-demand
  • Accreditation: No
Why We Chose It

While not NCRA-approved, PAF Training Programs is a Project Steno-approved program that teaches you everything you need to pass your state exams.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Affordable monthly payments

  • Scholarship available

Cons
  • Its web design is ancient

  • Steno machine not included in tuition

Overview

PAF Training Programs offers a free, six-week Basic Training program to help you get started on your court reporting journey. Once you’ve completed it, you’re automatically eligible for up to $150 per month of tuition assistance through Project Steno, an organization created to help students graduate and get a job as a stenographic reporter.

If you’ve completed PAF’s Basic Training program, you’ll pay just $6,000 instead of $7,200. If you qualify for a scholarship, you’ll only pay $4,700. Scholarship requirements or qualifications aren’t listed online, so you’ll need to contact the school for details. Upon enrollment, you’re assigned a mentor and personal coach to help track your progress and keep you on a path towards success. 

PAF’s curriculum includes machine shorthand theory, speed building, transcript production, legal and medical terminology, ethics, and an internship.

Best Value : Mark Kislingbury Academy


Mark Kislingbury Academy

Mark Kislingbury Academy

  • Cost of Tuition: $12,000
  • Format: Live, in-person, or on-demand
  • Accreditation: No
Why We Chose It

Mark Kislingbury Academy of Court Reporting offers one of the most flexible payment plans, scholarships, and is Project Steno-Approved. Students also have the option to attend live, online on-demand, or in-person. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Eligible for a $1,000 Merit Award from Project Steno

  • Offers need-based scholarships

Cons
  • Cannot use a Mac or netbook

  • Doesn’t participate in FAFSA

Overview

While Mark Kislingbury Academy of Court Reporting isn’t accredited, it is recognized by Texas Workforce Commission as a vocational college. Your court reporting course costs $500 per month if you’re brand new to court reporting. If you’re a transfer student who has spent more than $10,000 at another court reporting school, you only pay $300 per month. The school also offers scholarships on a case-by-case needs basis. 

Most students spend four hours per day, five days per week in class and working on homework, and four hours on the weekend on additional homework. Estimated completion is approximately 24 months, but can be quicker if you attend full-time. The curriculum includes English terminology, theory, medical terminology, speed building, punctuation, and an internship.

Best Self-Paced Program : Auburn University


Auburn University

Auburn University

  • Cost of Tuition: $7,549
  • Format: Self-paced
  • Accreditation: No
Why We Chose It

Auburn University offers an affordable, self-paced program with a Court Reporting Certificate and a 100% employment guarantee.  

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • One of the most affordable school options

  • Prepares students for state CSR and national RPR exams

Cons
  • Steno equipment not included in tuition

  • Can’t use a Mac for second half of training

Overview

While not officially accredited by NCRA, the Court Reporting at Home program is offered by Auburn University, which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. When completing the at-home program, you’re fully prepared to pass any state exams or the national RPR examination and will receive a Certificate from Auburn University. 

You only need a high school diploma or GED to enroll, and it takes approximately 18 months to complete this program. Tuition is $7,549 when training with a new Luminex CSE steno machine. If you complete your training without a steno machine, your tuition is $6,049. This is because when using a steno machine, you need a CRAH Program License Agreement which is covered by your tuition. 

Auburn University’s course teaches learning theory, building speed on the steno machine, computer-aided transcription, academics, and certification preparation. Students will also complete an internship during their program duration. Materials are shipped to your home.

Best Live Program : College of Court Reporting


College of Court Reporting

College of Court Reporting

  • Cost of Tuition: $20,625
  • Format: Live
  • Accreditation: Yes
Why We Chose It

With the College of Court Reporting’s certificate program, you have an incredible amount of flexibility in your schedule because you meet with your teacher and other students just once per week for an hour. You can also listen to the recordings of the classes. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Can transfer credits from some programs

  • Lifetime job placement assistance

Cons
  • For-profit college

  • Steno equipment not included in tuition

Overview

The College of Court Reporting was the first online program approved by NCRA. It is also accredited by the Indiana Board for Proprietary Education (BPE) and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). Each credit hour costs $375 with 55 credit hours required to earn your Certificate in Court Reporting. To enroll, you must have a high school diploma or GED and pay a $50 registration fee. 

Classes include Advanced Communications, Communications, Advanced Transcript Production, Court Reporting English, Court Reporting Processes and Development, Courtroom/Court Reporting Practicum, CSR/RPR Preparation, Introduction to Realtime Technology, Personal Finance, and Technology I.

Most students complete their program in 75 weeks and are given a maximum of 120 weeks to finish. In addition to weekly, one-hour live sessions, students can view the class recordings online at their convenience. Additionally, those taking speed-building courses can attend an additional 18 hours of live or recorded weekly classes.

Best NCRA Approved Program : SUNY Alfred State College


Alfred State College

Alfred State College

  • Cost of Tuition: $15,134
  • Format: Live
  • Accreditation: Yes
Why We Chose It

Earn your Court Reporting certificate with Alfred State College’s NCRA-approved program in just four semesters. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Only 43 credit hours to earn your certificate

  • In-state and out-of-state online tuition is the same

Cons
  • Can’t use a Mac

  • Does not accept IEP certificate/diploma students without a TASC or GED exam

Overview

All of Alfred State College’s court reporting classes are held live online. The program is two years long and costs $7,567 per year. Alfred State College’s curriculum includes real-time writing theory, grammar, computer-aided transcription, speed building, internship, medical terminology, and legal terminology. A notable class that many other programs don’t offer is personal dictionary production and maintenance. 

Alfred State College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. To enroll, you can use the Common App, which tracks your entire college application from start to finish. You can also sign up for a payment plan and this program is Project Steno-approved.

Best for an Associates Degree : Cuyahoga Community College


Cuyahoga Community College

Cuyahoga Community College

  • Cost of Tuition: $9,541 (Ohio residents), $18,316 (non-residents)
  • Format: Live
  • Accreditation: Yes
Why We Chose It

Cuyahoga Community College offers two different associate degree tracks: Steno Machine Writing and Voice Writing. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is NCRA-approved.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Project Steno-approved

  • Offers financial aid, grants, and scholarships

Cons
  • Non-residents pay much more than Ohio residents

  • Stenotype machine incentive only available to on-campus students

Overview

No matter which associate’s degree track you choose, Steno Machine Writing or Voice Writing, each program takes two years and costs $9,541 if you’re an Ohio resident. If you live in Cuyahoga County, your tuition is just $7,650.56. Students living outside of Ohio pay $18,316 in total. There are no application or registration fees, and you will know the status of your application within three to five business days. 

The live curriculum includes real-time theory, court procedures, college composition, medical terminology, ethics, introduction to humanities, speed building, internship, and communications. Some electives don’t directly relate to court reporting, like Literary Writing or Sociology of Gender, but these courses can help you deal with difficult court assignments.

Best Accredited School : Clark State


Clark State

Clark State

  • Cost of Tuition: $10,746 (Ohio residents), $19,672.90 (non-residents)
  • Format: Live
  • Accreditation: Yes
Why We Chose It

Clark State offers an Associate of Applied Business degree in Judicial Court Reporting in conjunction with Stark State College which’s NCRA-approved. Both colleges are also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Includes a 75-hour internship

  • Graduates earn an associates degree, not a certificate

Cons
  • Some required courses aren’t directly related to court reporting

  • Must take a social/behavioral science elective

Overview

If you’re an Ohio resident, you qualify for in-state tuition and only pay approximately $10,746 (165.33 x 65 credit hours). If you’re out of state, you pay approximately $19,672.90 ($302.66 x 65 credit hours). Attending full-time, you can complete Clark State’s program in five terms. 

If you transfer credits in, you may be able to complete this program in a shorter timeframe. Similarly, if you don’t want to attend full-time, it will take you longer than five terms to complete your studies. Classes are held live. 

You must have your high school diploma or GED to enroll. Classes include Realtime Theory I and II, Legal Terminology, Medical Terminology, Ethics, CAT Transcript Production, and Business Communication.

Final Verdict

Online court reporting schools offer a great way for students to earn a degree or certification on their terms. Many programs offer day and evening classes, and others are completely on-demand, so students can learn at their own pace. 

We recommend PAF Training Programs because of its affordability and reputation for helping students pass their NCRA exams. Plus, it’s Steno Project-approved. 

Compare the Best Online Court Reporting Schools

Company Program Format Cost of Tuition Duration Accreditation Admission Requirements
PAF Training Programs
Best Overall
Live and on-demand $7,200 2 years No None
Mark Kislingsbury Academy
Best Value 
Live, in-person, or on-demand  $12,000  2 years No  $75 registration fee
Auburn University
Best Self-Paced Program 
Self-paced  $7,549  18 months  No  High school diploma or GED 
College of Court Reporting
Best Live Program 
Live  $20,625  75 weeks  Yes High school diploma or GED; $50 registration fee 
SUNY Alfred State College
Best NCRA Approved Program 
Live  $15,134  2 years  Yes  High school diploma or GED 
Cuyahoga Community College
Best for an Associates Degree 
Live  $9,541 (Ohio residents); $18,316 (non-residents)  2 years  Yes  High school diploma or GED 
Clark State
Best Accredited School 
Live  $10,746 (Ohio residents);
$19,672.90 (non-residents) 
18 months  Yes  High school diploma or GED; $15 application fee 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Worth Attending Online Court Reporting School? 

While not every state requires you to have a certification or degree to become a court reporter, attending an online court reporting school will teach you the skills you’ll need to succeed. Many schools also offer financial aid, payment plans, and scholarships. 

If you can find a college or university in your state offering a court reporting degree or certification online, you may even qualify for in-state tuition rates. This is often half the cost of out-of-state tuition.  

An online program offers flexibility compared to on-campus programs. Online classes often include daytime or evening options. Many of these programs have internships and provide job placement assistance. The average national annual median salary is just shy of $62,000 for court reporters. 

What Prior Education Is Needed to Attend Online Court Reporting School?

Most online court reporting schools require students to have either a high school diploma or a GED (or equivalent). If you’re applying for a degree program at a college or university, you will also usually need to submit your high school transcripts and test scores. 

While not required, some programs suggest students know basic algebra and spelling as well as communication skills before enrolling in a court reporting school. There are free basic training courses that can help give you an advanced start, such as the six-week Basic Training course offered by PAF Training Programs. 

What Is the Duration of an Online Court Reporting School Program?

The duration of your online court reporting school is typically around two years. If it’s a self-paced program, you may get done much faster than other students if you dedicate full-time to your studies. It’s not unusual to see students complete their program in 18 to 30 months. This timeframe includes internships offered by most online court reporting schools. 

Methodology

We evaluated 19 different online court reporting schools and narrowed them down to the best options based on costs, accreditation, certification, degrees offered, NCRA approval, and company reputation. Program duration, company reputation, and student experience as well as student reviews and the quality of training also weighed heavily in our rankings. 

Each of our picks also offers either accreditation, certification, or Steno Project approval. Reasonable prices and reputation are cornerstones of our picks, and most also provide internships and job placement assistance.

Article Sources

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Court Reporters & Simultaneous Captioners: Occupational Outlook Handbook."Accessed May 24, 2021.