Gordon Cooper Technology Center is launching a new program this month to prepare students for a career as a court reporter.

The intensive two-year class prepares students for licensure as an Oklahoma Certified Shorthand Reporter. Reporters are in high demand in Oklahoma and across the nation as official court reporters, freelancers, closed captioners, and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) reporters.

“Court reporting is like learning a second language and learning a musical instrument at the same time,” GCTC Management Development Coordinator Fran Topping said. “Lots of practice is required, but that learning and practice can result in a fulfilling career that pays wells.”

Four months ago, Oklahoma judicial officials asked GCTC to quickly establish a court reporter training program to address a looming employment gap in the field. Only five current members of the Oklahoma Court Reporters Association are under the age of 40. The Department of Labor has projected more than 5,000 vacancies nationwide in the next five years. In Oklahoma, court reporters make on average about $51,000 per year. Top earners can make up to six figures.

The GCTC class, which begins Jan. 22, includes a combination of hands-on machine shorthand practicum, theory, professional reporting practices, internships, live and recorded video, guest speakers, and real-world scenarios. The GCTC course is affiliated with the Mark Kislingbury Academy of Court Reporting.

“Kislingbury is the Michael Jordan of court reporting if there was such a thing,” Topping said.

The instructor for the GCTC course is Melia Melton, an official court reporter at the Cleveland County Courthouse.

For more information, call 405-273-7493 ext. 2216 after Jan. 3 or email Joni Stanley at jonis@gctech.edu.