CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) - Some believe that court reporting is a dying industry, but court reporters are saying it's quite the opposite, as they're in high demand right now.

The profession of court reporting has been seeing a decline for the past few decades.

"When I first started working 20 years ago, as far as active reporter licenses, (there were) 3,000 (people), and now we are looking at 1,700 active and 500 of those work for the state already," said court reporter Melissa Clagg.

Additionally, people believe that in order to be a court reporter, that person needs to have a college degree, but that's far from the truth.

"It's basically a vocational profession. You don't need a four year degree," said Clagg.

With this shortage can come a price. There could be a slowdown in the court system waiting for a record of proceedings.

"The average age of court reporter(s) is 52 years old. They are getting ready or preparing for retirement," said Tammy Bumgarner, director of court reporting services.

She said the average age of court reporters in Illinois is 52 years old, which means many are eligible for retirement.

Take for example the Champaign Courthouse. They have about seven court reporters and three of those are eligible for retirement.

"They can decide to retire at any time and we don't have anyone to fill their shoes," said Clagg.

So Tammy Bumgarner came up with First Steps. It's an introductory course to teach people about court reporting and how to get a license.

One of those courses will be held at the Champaign Public Library on both Wednesday and Saturday for 4 weeks. For additional information and times. visit this website.

They have about 20 locations all over the state.

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