Freelancing as a Court Reporter
As a court reporter, there are characteristically two ways to find employment in the field. Court reporters are employed by courthouses or work in a freelance capacity for agencies. Those that work within an agency usually have more autonomy than court reporters. Additionally, a court reporter (working in court) might also have numerous other responsibilities as a part of their job description, such as researching and other procedural activities.
Freelance court reporters regularly work on a per contract basis. Unlike standard court reporters, who work a standard 40-hour work week, freelancers can work any number of hours and at any location. Freelancers are paid per job and receive a page fee for transcripts, while standard court reporters are on a salary and receive the same per-page fee for transcripts. Some full-time court reporters take on additional work by working as a freelancer during their off-hours. There is also extra money to be made for court reporters in selling copies of their transcripts to interested parties.
The best way to think of a freelance court reporter is to think of an independent contractor. Freelancers have the capability to take the jobs they want to work on and pass on the jobs they don't. The only influence this has is on their overall income. As a freelance court reporter, a person could work as many or as little working hours in a week as considered necessary.
Different Jobs for Freelance Court Reporters
A freelance court reporter can work in a number of occupational areas, including but not limited to:
- Municipal hearings
- Board meetings
- Working with the deaf or hearing impaired (closed-captioning, etc.)
The earning potential for a freelance court reporter can reach upwards of $50,000 a year. This income level rises with the amount of experience a freelancer has. Those with five or more years of experience can make around $70,000 to $90,000 a year or more. The yearly salary for a freelance court reporter can fluctuate at or around these figures, depending on the determination of the freelancer.
Whichever type of court reporting work you chose to take, court reporters normally use job listings, whether online or at the courthouse, to locate and apply for jobs. Court reporting agencies, courthouses or individual companies may be looking to hire freelancers for a particular period of time with a pre-determined rate of pay. Some of these jobs are long-term and others may be just one day. For this reason, a freelance court reporter must be ready to travel to different areas, at times just for a few hours of work.