Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Course Catalog 
2024-2025 Course Catalog


Realtime Court Reporting, AAS

Location(s): Newton

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The Realtime Court Reporting Program (Court Reporting and Captioning) prepares students for various careers using realtime reporting skills. This type of reporting captures and converts the spoken word to text. Court Reporters are responsible for producing verbatim transcripts of legal proceedings from court cases to special events to political speeches and meetings. They play a critical role at every meeting or event where the spoken word must be preserved. Further, they are responsible for producing an accurate, complete, and secure legal record. Captioners possess the skills to produce accurate, simultaneous translations of broadcasts or other proceedings using realtime translation. They may translate television programs or educational materials. Individuals may be employed through judicial districts, law offices, as freelance court reporters or captioners, court or conference reporters, scopists or realtime reporters in other capacities. The key feature of realtime reporting programs is the development of high-speed recording skills to 225+ words per minute through the use of realtime translation machine shorthand and computer-aided transcription.

Note:  The DMACC Realtime Court Reporting program trains students to be official and freelance court reporters.  The same foundational skills are used in captioning/CART careers.  However, additional training may be required and is often provided as on-the-job training by captioning companies.

Program Details

Pathway: Public & Community Services

More information on this Pathway.

Students start Fall semester

This program is a year-round program, meeting in the Fall, Spring and Summer terms.

Program Entry Requirements

  1. Attend the required court reporting information session.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Must complete all coursework as prescribed and maintain a 2.0 grade point average.
  2. Must earn a grade of “C” or better in all Court Reporting courses.
  3. ​This program is approved by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA-www.ncra.org).  In accordance with the 2019 General Requirements and Minimum Standards of NCRA, all graduates are required to complete the following within the program’s course work:  Pass three 5-minute tests with 95% accuracy at each of the following speeds: 225 words per minute testimony (two-voice); 200 words per minute jury charge; and 180 words per minute literary (Speed Development III classes).  Complete at least 40 verified hours of actual writing time during internship as well as submit 40 pages of transcript and a written narrative (Internship class). (Click this link to the NCRA requirements for details)

NOTE:  Progress in theory and speed classes is very individualized.  Students make progress at different rates, depending on the amount of time spent practicing and the quality of practice.  Students should plan to spend a minimum of 10-15 hours outside each week of class practicing on their steno machines (in addition to 9-12 hours of class practice each week).

Students may need to repeat some speed classes to meet speed/accuracy requirements.  Students repeating speed classes will incur additional tuition charges.  According to the National Court Reporters Association, the national average for completion of court reporting programs is 33 months. 

NCRA Annual Report, November 2006

Total Credits Required to Complete the Degree - 84

Fixed Costs

Tuition……………………………………………………………………………………..$193.00 per credit

The costs for each program are estimates and subject to change.

Varied Costs

Costs Semester 1 Semester 2 Semester 3 Semester 4 Semester 5 Semester 6
Books (approximate) 400 400 400 400 400 400
Supplies/Equipment approx (idoes not include steno lease or purchase) 150 150 150 150 150 150
Laptop computer (approx fee) 120 120 80 160 160 80

Approximate total for the program:  $20,232**

**Program entry requirements are not included in the total approximate cost.

What Kind of Work Will You Do?

  • Official Reporter for County, State, or Federal Courts.
  • Freelance Reporter writing depositions, arbitrations or administrative hearings.
  • Freelance Reporter transcribing medical and/or legal.
  • Work as a Scopist by editing transcripts written by court reporters.
  • May work for a captioning company or television station to provide on-air captions.

What Skills and Abilities Will You Need?

  • Exceptional vocabulary, grammar and editing skills.
  • Detail oriented, accurate, punctual.
  • Work well under pressure and deadlines.
  • Ability to work under stress.
  • Discipline required to practice, practice, practice.
  • Strong time management and organization skills.
  • Strong listening skills.
  • Self-motivated, self-starter.

What Else Should I Consider about this Degree program?

  • Requires a large time commitment as speed building practice is a key to success.
  • Program is designed for fulltime students.
  • Required courses, lab time, homework, and practice are demanding.  Recommend that students work no more than 10 - 15 hours per week. 
  • Family support is important.
  • Students must rent or buy a Steno writer prior to the first term (model specified at information session).
  • A personal laptop computer is required beginning in the third term.
  • On-campus LAB hours may be required (in addition to class hours) for additional speed-building practice.
  • Graduation from the program requires the following machine shorthand writing speeds: Pass three 5-minute tests with 95% accuracy at each of the following speeds: 225 words per minute testimony (two-voice); 200 words per minute jury charge; and 180 words per minute literary.
  • Complete at least 40 verified hours of actual writing time during internship as well as submit 40 pages of transcript and a written narrative.
  • Iowa starting annual salary in 2017 -AAS: $51,950 www.iowacourts.gov 

Program Competencies

  1. Pass the following with an accuracy rate of 95 percent: three five-minute tests of two-voice unfamiliar testimony material dictated at 225 wpm; three five-minute tests of unfamiliar jury charge material at 200 wpm; and three five-minute tests of unfamiliar literary material
  2. Read distinctly and with authority from steno notes or from realtime screens; quickly locate portions to be read; maintain composure while reading.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to apply the rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation and capitalization to sentences, paragraphs, and transcripts through systematic testing or projects.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding and application of law and legal terminology.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of anatomy and/or medical terminology.
  6. Assume the role of the realtime reporter through simulated trials and depositions in performing all required functions.
  7. Produce a complete and accurate transcript of at least 10-pages on a computer-aided transcription system from student’s own notes.
  8. Produce a five-page, first-pass transcript with a goal of 95 percent translation rate using a realtime system.
  9. Understand the role and responsibilities of a court reporter and apply the NCRA Code of Professional Ethics.

Nondiscrimination Statement

Des Moines Area Community College shall not engage in nor allow discrimination covered by law against any person, group or organization. This includes in its programs, activities, employment practices, or hiring practices, and harassment or discrimination based on race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, genetic information (in employment) and actual or potential parental, family or marital status. Veteran status in educational programs, activities, employment practices, or admission procedures is also included to the extent covered by law. Lack of English language proficiency will not be a barrier to admission and participation in career and technical education programs.

Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against may file a complaint through the College Discrimination Complaint Procedure. Complaint forms may be obtained from the Executive Campus Dean’s office, the Executive Academic Deans’ office, the Judicial Officer, or the EEO/AA Officer, Human Resources. ADA questions and concerns may be directed to the Section 504/ADA Coordinator at 2006 S. Ankeny Blvd, Bldg 6, Ankeny, IA 50023, phone 515/964-6857, dso@dmacc.edu. Title IX questions and concerns may be directed to the Title IX Coordinator at 2006 S. Ankeny Blvd, Bldg 1, Ankeny, IA 50023, phone 515/964-6216, Title9@dmacc.edu. Questions or complaints about this policy may be directed to the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, John C. Kluczysnki Federal Building, 230 S. Dearborn Street, 37th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604-7204, phone 312/730-1560, fax 312/730-1576, TDD 800-877-8339 Email OCR.Chicago@ed.gov.

DMACC offers career and technical programs in the following areas of study:
Agriculture, Natural and Environmental Science
Architecture, Engineering, and Construction
Arts, Design, and Visual Communication
Business, Management, and Marketing
Education, Public, and Human Services
Health Science
Hospitality and Culinary
Information Technology
Transportation & Logistics

Entrance requirements for specific programs can be found at Academic Pathway website.(2024)

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