Joan McQuin says she’s enjoyed her 32 years of working as a Winnebago County court reporter.
"I love it because it’s different every day," says McQuin. " You get to work with a lot of great professionals. The judges are great. I have the best seat in the courtroom. I get to hear a lot of great things. I just really enjoy my job."
But McQuin says she’s worried about the future of her field.
"The problem is we’re not getting enough students coming out of school. I don’t think students hear about it and think about it as an option."
Winnebago County Chief Judge Eugene Doherty says there are roughly 500 court reporters working in court systems in Illinois.
"We are concerned. Of that 500 we’re looking at maybe half of them or more being replaced in the next ten years," says Chief Judge Doherty.
As the current workforce prepares to retire, court systems like Winnebago County are working to recruit the next generation of workers. To work in Illinois court reporters need to complete roughly 2 years of school and pass a test before they get the gig.
"A court reporter has to keep up with a lot of things and we rely on them and their skill in order to make sure that record is accurate," says Doherty.
And while technology progresses, Chief Judge Doherty says it won’t push out those employees.
"I think that’s what’s going to happen with technology in this field, it will make court reporters more productive, but it won’t replace them. You still need that human element and that judgment to produce an accurate record."
If you’re interested in this career you can find more information on classes, seminars, and potential training in our area here.