NYS looking to get ahead of court stenographer shortages

August 20, 2019 06:13 PM

ALBANY - Across the country officials are looking to recruit young professionals to be court stenographers. The effort comes as big changes are being made to justice system in New York.

"There's going to be a lot of opportunity in the near future as we continue to lose people to retirement,” said John Keller, Principal Court Reporter for the 3rd judicial district of New York.

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Other factors like the development of digital recorders and a nearly 85 percent dropout rate in court reporting instructional programs have also contributed to the shortage.

Stenographers in many local courts have been covering for each other when they're short staffed. But soon they'll have a problem doing that, especially because legislative changes taking effect, like Raise the Age and the Child Victims Act, will likely increase caseloads.

That's why court officials are looking to implement new programs to recruit young professionals, like Steno A to Z, among others.

"The [New York State] Unified Court System and the Office of Court Administration is reaching out to BOCES programs and small community colleges to try to spark an interest in them starting programs,” Keller said. “Because it really is an exciting field to get into. It's very rewarding. It's rewarding personally, professionally and financially as well."

The average salary for a court reporter is about $57,000 a year, the top 10 percent of earners bring in about $100,000 per year.

“If you're a patient person and you can stay focused for a very long time that's basically is what's required especially when you're in a courtroom all day long and it's your responsibility to take every word down verbatim, word for word everything that is said in the courtroom,” Keller said.

You can learn more about the Steno A to Z program here.


Emily Burkhard

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