After some serious soul searching, I've decided to end my journey to become a court reporter and change my major. I've thought long and hard about this decision and the reasons are varied. Almost every reason has something to do with my age or finances. As I mentioned to my instructor, if I knew then what I know now, I would have started court reporting in my early 20s, not my late 40s.
It's been said that the average length of time to become a certified court reporter is 33 months. From what I understand, this length of time is based on being enrolled in a full time court reporting school. I'm enrolled in night courses, and working full time simultaneously. Therefore, I don't have the ability to practice 8 hours a day, and this situation will no doubt add years to the time it will take me to become certified. Obviously, this additional time will also increase the total cost of getting my degree. This begs the question: "How far into debt do I want to go to get my 2-year degree?" Do you see where I'm going with this?
For those of you unfamiliar with the court reporting field. Court reporters also own their own equipment. Once you graduate from court reporting school, you are expected to purchase a professional-level stenograph and a computer program used to convert your steno into English so that it can be read by individuals in real time -- like closed captioning. You may even have to purchase a new laptop computer for this venture. This set up is quite costly. $7,000 - $10,000. Cha-ching! That's quite a bit to add on top of my student loans. Should I really be racking up this kind of debt at my age?
So I have decided to pursue an A.S. degree in Paralegal Studies. A lot of my credits will transfer to this program so I already have a running start. Besides, I worked for a law firm for many years and I'm fascinated by the law. It seems like a good fit for me!
I wish everyone luck in their journey. You've picked a great career. It just didn't work out for me.