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DMACC program to be the only one-of-its-kind in the state of Iowa

Des Moines Area Community College’s (DMACC’s) Board of Directors unanimously approved a new Court Reporting Program for the Newton Campus at their February meeting. While the curriculum must receive final approval from the Iowa Department of Education, plans are underway to start the first class this fall.

“DMACC has been working with the Iowa Court Reporting Association for more than a year to develop the curriculum, hire the faculty and work out other details related to starting a new program. We are also planning a Captioning component to start in fall 2015,” said Mary Entz, Provost of the DMACC Newton Campus.

The National Court Reporting Association says there is a strong national movement to use more court reporters. “Iowa has a long history of providing exceptional reporting by certified shorthand reporters. That tradition can continue only if Iowa has a school that will continue to produce excellent reporters. The Iowa Court Reporters Association is ecstatic that DMACC is starting a court reporting program and will lend support in any way it can to ensure the program is a success,” said Sarah Hyatt, President of the Association, which will hold its Spring Seminar in Newton later this month.

The average Court Reporting salary in Iowa is $48,000, but according to the National Association, pay can top out at $100,000 a year. U.S. News & World Report’s calls Court Reporting a “Top 50 Career” nationwide and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the career outlook is “excellent,” with projected job growth at 14 percent through 2020.

Court Reporters create word-for-word transcripts. Workplace settings include:

· Federal and state court trials

· Hearings

· Conferences

· Depositions

· Meetings

· Conventions

· Medical transcribing

Some of the required skills include attention to detail, focus, precision, speed and accuracy.

Guy R. Cook, trial lawyer and President of The Iowa State Bar Association said, “The Court Reporter is an essential part of any legal proceeding. Court reporters are the guardians of the record. Accurate transcription of a proceeding is the key to a fair hearing and any appeal. Indeed, the value of court reporters has increased in recent years because of all the things they do outside of the legal realm. Now, you are likely to find court reporters engaged in translation services, working for the hearing- impaired, providing closed-captioning, and more. On behalf of the 8,000-plus members of the Iowa State Bar Association spread throughout Iowa’s 99 counties and beyond, I thank DMACC for making this important investment in Iowa’s legal system.”

Entz noted DMACC’s Newton Campus will be the only institution of higher education in Iowa to offer the Court Reporting degree. She estimates the program will be able to accept 24 to 32 students the first year. “The Court Reporting degree will be a tremendous addition to the Newton Campus. We’re looking forward to helping meet a nationwide demand for these professionals,” she added.

The DMACC Newton Campus is located at 600 North 2nd Ave. West in Newton. For more information about the Court Reporting degree and the broader Realtime Reporting program, please call 641-791-3622 or go to www.dmacc.edu/newton.

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