Digital Court Reporting with Legal Transcription

Court reporting is one of the fastest-growing career areas in the legal system. This 100% online course will prepare you to enter the court reporting field as a digital court reporter and a legal transcriber. You will be fully prepared to pass the Certified Electronic Reporter (CER) and Certified Electronic Transcriber (CET) exams offered by the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT). The AAERT's nationally recognized certifications are leading credentials...

6 Months / 120 Course Hrs
Open Enrollment
Offered in partnership with your preferred school

University of the District of Columbia

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Course code: GES2097

What you will learn

  • How to create an accurate legal transcript
    • Transcript formatting, focusing on federal court systems
    • Parts of speech, proper legal punctuation, and spelling
    • Legal, medical, and industry terminology
  • Fundamentals of the United States legal system
  • Professionalism, ethics, and confidentiality
  • Legal, medical, and industry terminology
  • Digital reporting hardware and software, including practice using digital recording software
  • Transcript formatting, focusing on federal court systems

How you will benefit

  • Develop the skills you need to become a successful digital reporter and legal transcriber who can work in the field and at home.
  • Be in a position to sit for and pass the AAERT's (American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers) Certified Electronic Reporter (CER) and Certified Electronic Transcriber (CET) exams.
  • AAERT certification vastly improves 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
  • 120 course hours
  1. Digital Court Reporter
    1. The Legal System
      1. Court System
      2. Laws
      3. Life Cycle of a Case
      4. Proceedings
      5. Types of Court Reporters
    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
  2. Legal Transcription
    1. Transcriptionist Software Setup
    2. English Language
      1. Parts of Speech
      2. Confusing Words
      3. Spelling Rules
      4. International English
    3. Terminology
      1. Historic Terminology
      2. Legal Terminology
      3. Medical Terminology
      4. Business Terminology
    4. Grammar and Punctuation
      1. Capitalization
      2. Numbers
      3. Introduction to Punctuation
      4. Sentence Punctuation
      5. More Punctuation and Formatting
    5. Building the Transcript
      1. Annotations from Reporter
      2. Transcript Formatting
      3. Proofreading Assignments
      4. Researching
      5. Transcription Assignments
    6. Transcription Assignments & Working Environment
      1. Working Environment
      2. Transcription Assignments
    7. Transcription Assignments & Course Wrap Up
      1. Transcription Assignments
      2. Certification
      3. Final

Merritt Gilbert

Merritt Gilbert is a 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 a 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
    • Locate 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.
  • A reliable Internet connection.

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: Preferably Microsoft Word 2016, 2019, or Office 365.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Free Express Scribe software. You will be provided with download instructions upon enrollment.
  • 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 Express Scribe and digital reporting software.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The supplies required for this course are included in enrollment. The following will be shipped to you approximately 7-10 business days after enrollment:

  • AltoEdge USB foot pedal
  • Transcriber Headphones

Yes. You will be prepared to sit for the CER (Certified Electronic Reporter), CDR (Certified Deposition Reporter), and CET (Certified Electronic Transcriber) 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.

The legal industry relies on legal transcriptionists to transcribe audio recordings of depositions, hearings, trials, and other legal proceedings. They will transcribe, format, proof, and certify official transcripts.

According to, the annual salary for a digital reporter in the United States is $41,484 a year.

According to, the annual salary for a legal transcriptionist in the United States is $34,544 a year. Many transcriptionists work as independent contractors, so pay is dependent on how much a transcriptionist works.

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.

Yes, ed2go courses are completely online. However, keep in mind that not all certifying bodies or industry-specific certifications are recognized internationally. Please review your country's regulations prior to enrolling in courses that prepare for certification.

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. Occasionally, your course may be supported by a team of industry experts. You will also receive support from the student advising team.

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

This course will provide you with the skills you need 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.