Job Duties

Stenographers take dictation from clients and either transcribe their notes using a work processor or type directly into a dictating machine. Their dictation is often used to create letters, legal documents, technical or statistical data, and other types of documents. They ensure that these documents have correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization. They must make distinctions between words that have different meanings but sound the same. They often use dictionaries for reference when completing their work. While stenographic work is the main skill for which they are hired, stenographers spend varying time completing these tasks.

When they are not completing specific stenographic tasks, stenographers often do clerical work for their office. They type materials from longhand copy, set up and maintain files, keep records up to date, and compile statistical or other reports based on these records. Sometimes they compose routine letters, sort mail, answer telephones, and perform other receptionist duties. Some become supervisors and direct the work of other stenographers and employees. Some stenographers are specialists in fields such as law, engineering, or medicine. These specialists have knowledge of particular vocabulary and documents common in their field. Most stenographers work in hospitals, education, and varying levels of government. They usually work in well-lit offices, but the work environment may by noisy and busy. They are often required to meet strict deadlines.

Job Skills

Stenographers need to have good hand-eye coordination, as well as manual and finger dexterity. They should have normal or corrected hearing. They need to be able to pay attention to extremely fine details. They also need to be able to follow directions precisely and stay alert for long periods of time.


Earnings for stenographers varies depending on experience, the location of the employer, and the level of responsibility they have in their jobs. Stenographers earn a median hourly wage of around $11. Supervisors may earn $4,000 per month or more. Benefits may include vacations, sick leave, insurance, and pensions.

Training and Education

Employers require applicants for stenographer positions to have a working knowledge of the English language, including spelling, punctuation, grammar, and vocabulary. They must be proficient in typing and shorthand. Some require applicants to know how to use a stenotype machine. Entry-level position require a typing speed of 40 to 55 words per minute and a dictation speed of 80 to 100 words per minute. Stenographers need to know basic math, including fractions, decimals, and percentages. Word processing equipment is becoming more and more standard, and those who are familiar with it will have a major advantage. A high school education with courses in English, grammar, spelling, typing, shorthand, and office skills is usually sufficient. Employers prefer applicants who have completed 1- or 2-year programs in college-level business. Advancement may come in the form of increased salary and responsibility, or in the form of promotion to higher positions, such as secretarial, supervisory, or administrative assistant positions. Visit this page about executive assistant schools for more information on related careers.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, employment of stenographers is expected to decline. However, new specialties within the field are opening up, such as legal stenography, and this will create new opportunities for trained stenographers. A growing shortage of trained applicants means those with quality training will have the best opportunities. Those who have little training may find it difficult to enter the occupation.

Stenographer Training

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            Associate of Arts: Paralegal Studies
            • Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the top 10 out of more than 2,100 colleges & universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility.*
            • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.**
            • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
            • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help you get the most out of your hard work and maximize the credit you previously earned.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Jurisprudence with concentration in Legal Studies (Bachelor of Science) - Online
            • For the 12th consecutive year, Cal U was named one for the best schools in the Northeast by The Princeton Review 
            • Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017
            • Quality Online courses at Cal U have the same objectives, content and learning outcomes as campus-based programs and are taught by the same expert professors.
            • Offers private school amenities at a public school cost. Student-to-teacher ratio of 20:1
            • CAL U online programs complete an annual assessment of student learning to ensure outcomes are focused on your success in career entry, advancement or enhancement!
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Certificate: Paralegal (Legal Studies)
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
            • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
            • Online courses help make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 24 months and a master’s degree in 12-18 months.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits