Digital Court Reporter

Our Digital Court Reporter course prepares you to enter the high-demand field of court reporting. Currently, the industry is experiencing a severe shortage of court reporters, with a need for an additional 10,000 nationwide. This well-established shortage presents a substantial opportunity for those seeking a rewarding career with a secure future. Digital reporters can work in the freelance market for a court reporting agency or as full-time government employees at a courthouse.

This court...

6 Months / 60 Course Hrs
Open Enrollment
Offered in partnership with your preferred school

University of the District of Columbia

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Learning method

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Course code: GES2096

What you will learn

  • Digital court reporting procedure for all types of proceedings, such as depositions, hearings, trials, and more
  • Digital reporting hardware and software, including practice using digital recording software
  • Fundamentals of the United States legal system
  • Professionalism, ethics, and confidentiality best practices
  • Essential legal, medical, and industry terminology

How you will benefit

  • Develop the in-demand skills you need to become a successful digital reporter who can work in person in the field or at home
  • Successfully prepare to sit for and pass the AAERT's (American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers) Certified Electronic Reporter (CER) exam
  • The AAERT certification will help improve your marketability when applying for work at freelance agencies or court systems, some of which require the certification by law or because of government contracts

How the course is taught

  • Self-paced, online course
  • 6 Months to complete
  • Open enrollment, begin anytime
  • 60 course hours
  1. The Legal System
    1. Court System
    2. Laws
    3. Life Cycle of a Case
    4. Proceedings
  2. Terminology
    1. Historic Terminology
    2. Legal Terminology
    3. Medical Terminology
    4. Business Terminology
  3. Hardware
    1. Sound
    2. Audio Equipment
    3. Additional Equipment
  4. Your Software and Annotations
    1. Software
    2. Annotations
    3. Annotation Practice
  5. On the Job and On the Record
    1. Before the Proceeding
    2. During the Proceeding
    3. After the Proceeding
    4. Working with a Legal Videographer
  6. Court Work and Large Proceedings
    1. Intro to Courtroom Proceedings
    2. Types of Court Proceedings
    3. Court Annotations
    4. Large Proceedings
  7. Professionalism in the Legal System
    1. Professionalism and Decorum
    2. Ethics
    3. Maintain Confidentiality
  8. Course Wrap up
    1. The Transcript
    2. AAERT Certification Information
    3. Final Test

Merritt Gilbert

Merritt Gilbert is legal professional with over 10 years of industry experience. She is a Certified Electronic Reporter and holds a Certificate of Voice Writing. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Florida State University.

Natalie Hartsfield

Natalie Hartsfield is court reporter with more than 10 years of experience in the legal field. She has taught court reporting since 2007. Natalie holds an Occupational Associate Degree in Court Reporting from Stenotype Institute.


To complete this course, you will need the following:

  • High school diploma or equivalent.
  • Basic computer skills, for example:
    • Create folders (aka directories) and save files
    • Find files saved on a computer and upload them to a webpage
    • Use a web browser and search the Internet
    • Familiarity with a word processing program
    • Ability to use videoconferencing software, like Zoom
  • Eligible for notary public commissions in your state


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course must be taken on a PC. Macs are not compatible.
  • A microphone.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 10 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome is preferred. Mozilla Firefox and Safari are also compatible.
  • Microsoft Word Online
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • A free trial of digital reporting software will be provided in the Software module of the course.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins, except for the digital reporting software.
  • Reliable Internet


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

The AAERT certification exam has a registration fee of $275. Upon passing the certification exam, you need to become a member of AAERT within 30 days to receive and hold your certification. A Professional Membership is $125.

Digital reporters work remotely or in person, depending on the company they choose to work with and the need within their area. Digital reporters can work throughout the United States on federal cases and with some agencies or as freelancers. Local agencies and/or courthouses may vary in employing digital reporters depending on state legislation.

According to, the annual salary for a digital reporter in the United States is $65,317 per year.

Yes. You will be prepared to sit for the CER (Certified Electronic Reporter) and CDR (Certified Deposition Reporter) exams through AAERT (American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers).

Preparing for an AAERT Certification Exam

In order to sit for the exam(s), testers must:

  1. be eligible for a notary public commission AND
  2. have obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent.

For a greater likelihood of passing the exam, the following is recommended (not required) for testers:

  1. have one year of experience as a reporter or transcriber; OR
  2. have completed a course of study in court reporting.

Digital reporters play a key role in the legal system by capturing and maintaining a verbatim record of court proceedings. Within the legal industry, digital reporters might also be known as electronic reporters. Digital reporters must obtain their Notary license in order to swear in witnesses. To create an accurate and detailed record of case events, digital reporters operate digital recording software to record, annotate, and submit court proceedings. Some digital reporters also create the official transcript of the court proceedings they cover.

Notaries review and validate signatures made on documents, as well as swear-in witnesses to testify under oath. Learn how to become a notary here.

This career requires excellent English written and verbal skills, professionalism, visual and tactile acuity, and being comfortable with technology.

This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course as soon as you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.

This course is self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start when you want and finish at your own pace. When you register, you'll receive six (6) months to complete the course.

The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact the student advising team to see what options you may have available to work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.

The course instructor will be available by email to answer any questions and provide feedback on your performance. You will also receive support from the student advising team.

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion.

Job placement is not guaranteed. This course prepares students for national certification through AAERT, and it will provide students with the skills needed to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. Potential students should always do research on the job market in their area before registering.

This course is non-credit, so it does not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses. Additionally, some students may qualify for financial assistance when they enroll, if they meet certain requirements. Financing is available from select schools. Learn more about financial assistance.

If you have questions that are not answered on our website, representatives are available via LIVE chat. You can also call us at 1-877-221-5151 during regular business hours to have your questions promptly answered. If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please send us a question using the "Contact Us" form.