Hearing Reporters - The Good, Bad, And Ugly
Recently the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers' Compensation sent me a letter outlining their need to hire more Hearing Reporters. I thought I'd pass the information along in case anybody reading this blog is interested in taking the Hearing Reporter Exam and/or learning more about what a Hearing Reporter actually does.
First, Show Me The Money
The monthly salary offered by the WCAB (Workers' Compensation Appeals Board) is $4770 to $5797.
Second, Show Me The Way
In order to become a Hearing Reporter and to get on the hiring list to become eligible for employment, send your application to the Department of Industrial Relations, Personnel Office - Examination Unit, P.O. Box 420603, San Francisco, CA 94142. The deadline is 4/4/08. The application is available at the following website: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dirjobs/dirjobs.htm.
- 1 year experience transcribing hearings or conferences or meetings -- OR -- possession of State of California License as CSR -- OR -- possession of Certificate of Proficiency or a Certificate of Merit issued by NCRA.
- Willingness to travel throughout the State.
- Professional poise and normal hearing.
- At least 12th grade education.
Third, Give Me The Bullet Point Synopsis Of The Good And Bad And Ugly
In my opinion there are good things about becoming a hearing reporter. And some not so good things.
- $4770 to $5797/month
- Excellent benefits
- Your equipment and software is provided by the State
- You do not get assigned to one particular judge but rotate from a pool. This is great if you hate sameness and desire a different daily work experience. (I know I do!)
- $4770 to $5797/month - depending on your lifestyle and where you live, that might not go as far as it used to.
- You don't have a choice of what equipment and software you can use. It's Stentura and AristoCAT for you.
- You do not get assigned to one particular judge but rotate from a pool. Thus it might be difficult to get into a familiar cozy pattern. (Some people prefer to have the same judge, same court room each day. It's a matter of preference, honestly.)
The Really, Really Ugly
- Only a small percentage of transcripts are actually requested. (Court reporters -- those reporters working in court -- will tell you that they make a good portion of their income from such extra transcription work.)
- And even when a transcript is requested and produced by you, the money goes to the State not to the Reporter. Big, ugly ouch!
- Apparently during slow times, a Hearing Reporter may be assigned to help out with clerical duties in other areas of the office. (In addition to Steno, you know how to make coffee; right?)
Hey, What Does A Hearing Reporter Hear And Report Anyways?
A Hearing Reporter is the court reporter for workers' comp hearings at the WCAB. There are WCAB offices in 24 California cities. The cities with current openings are Los Angeles, Marina Del Rey, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ana, Santa Rosa, and Van Nuys. Reporters work in a pool and are typically not assigned to one specific judge.
The main work produced by the Hearing Reporter is a summary of the hearing, which is dictated to the reporter by the judge. Only a small percentage of transcripts are requested. :( When a transcript is requested and produced, the money goes to the State -- not to the Reporter.
Hearing Reporters work from 8 to 5, Monday through Friday. All work produced -- i.e. transcripts -- is accomplished during the course of the normal 40-hour work week. There is occasional travel to work at satellite locations or to other offices when short-staffing occurs. No work is taken home; therefore, reporters enjoy their evenings, weekends and holidays as their own personal time. What a concept.
Full benefits include medical, dental, vision, retirement, sick leave (8 hours per month), vacation leave (2 weeks/year through the first 3 years of employment, which increases with more years of service), and state holidays. Once you receive full benefits, that equals approximately 30 percent over and above the base salary.
Your equipment is furnished by the State. Yes, I repeat... The State will provide you with a steno machine (Stentura), desktop computer, printer, work space, et cetera. They also provide the computer-aided transcription software AristoCAT. Your custom dictionary will be converted by AristoCAT to work in their system.
The position of Hearing Reporter does not become available very often. The recent hirings and openings are due to an increase of workload.
So, does anybody want to become a Hearing Reporter?
Thursday, March 6, 2008