From plumbers to electricians, you’ve probably heard of the high demand for workers in several skilled trades, but how about a need for more court reporters? 

They’re the ears of the courtroom, but many of you likely haven’t heard of the court reporter shortage. 

“We know we’re going to have positions open, and we need bodies to fill them,” Official Court Reporter Carla Dedula said.

Dedula is one of 50 court reporters in South Dakota’s Unified Judicial System. Almost half of them will be eligible for retirement over the next decade. 

“Nationally there were 5,500 open positions last year,” Freelance Court Reporter Pat Beck said.

In some states court cases are even having to be rescheduled because there aren’t enough reporters to document what’s happening. 

“Not many high schoolers or college kids think about it. That’s what we want to promote. This is a great profession,” Beck said.

Because of the shortage, the industry is coming up with new programs to attract more people to the profession.

That includes Discover Steno A to Z. 

“Students can sign up online for a free six week course just to introduce them to the profession,” Dedula said.

There aren’t any brick and mortar programs in South Dakota anymore, but you can get a degree online. It usually takes a couple of years, and the average pay is $43,000. As far as job satisfaction — these two’s verdict? 

“Everyday I learn something new honestly. We get different cases all the time, and I will learn different subject matter. I find that really interesting,” Dedula said.

Which Dedula hopes will get more job seekers interested in the industry. 

You can find information about Discover Steno A to Z here. 

Here’s also information about court reporting programs.