StarTran Testimonials

"I LOVE STARTRAN!! I love it, I love it, I love it! I would not be a court reporter today if it weren't for StarTran! I just cannot say enough wonderful things about it! I just think it is the best, the best, best theory ...out there!"
Ann Gunther, StarTran Graduate 

"Thank you so much! The whole StarTran realtime theory was perfect for me. I'm now working as a court reporter in California!"
Trudi O'Brien, CSR 

"StarTran is a very well-thought-out theory and is impressive in its simplicity and structure."

Brenda McSwigan, Owner
National Professions, Inc.

"Very well put together! You have a great product."

Donna Philip, Lead Instructor 
Argonaut Court Reporting


"I am very impressed with the teaching technique of your lessons. It is quite obvious that you have many years of teaching experience, as quite a bit of what I read in your texts reflects exactly my thoughts. In many ways your theory is superior to the one I have been teaching."
Mona Cross, Program Director
Wilson College


"I'm starting Lesson 10, and I absolutely love StarTran so far!! It makes much more sense to me than Phoenix."
Penny Beaver, StarTran Student


"I love your theory ... I also like the fact that I can work your course around my schedule and also that the price is very reasonable. Thank you again for a great program and reasonably priced product."
Linda Price-King
Independent Startran Student, Oakland, CA

Frequently Asked Questions
StarTran's straight answers.

Q - What is theory?
A - Theory is the language of stenography. Unlike a computer keyboard where each key represents a letter used to spell a word, a steno machine uses key combinations to make, or "write," as we say, whole sounds, words or phrases at a time. Theory class teaches you the all-important skill of writing on the steno machine in preparation for speedbuilding.

Q - Why haven't I heard as much about the StarTran Realtime Theory as I have about other theories like StenEd, Phoenix and StenoMaster?
A - StarTran Realtime Theory was written specifically for independent students and sold as a package of textbooks, audio CDs, and support.  Since becoming the first NCRA-approved realtime theory, StarTran has also been taught in campus schools in California, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma with much success.  Fast-forward to 2013, with the help of Marc Greenberg, the StarTran Package was adapted to the SimplySteno teaching platform and expanded so that Marlene Struss could personally present the program online in an affordable and effective manner that equals the classroom experience.  So far StarTranOnline has remained mainly an elite program for self-motivated individuals, but with Neosho College also using StarTranOnline for their theory class very successfully, you will likely be hearing more about StarTranOnline in the future!  As with other businesses you can think of, the best choice isn't necessarily the biggest, most popular, or most expensive...

Q - Why should I select StarTran Realtime Theory?
A - We understand that there are many court reporting theories out there - StenEd Theory, Phoenix Theory, StenoMaster and more. NCRA-approved StarTran Realtime Theory is a logical blend of writing short and writing smart. Its rules are consistent, making it easier to absorb. In addition, it's the WAY we teach that makes the difference. As a new student, you need structure and feedback. Our teaching platform provides plenty of both. 

In addition, there are features of StarTran Realtime Theory that are vital but missing from many other theories:  conflict resolution practice all the way through; incidental instruction on vocabulary building, punctuation use, and transcript writing and production; emphasis on technique; practice on brief variations and derivatives as well as basic briefs; a free 90,000-entry CAT dictionary; a comprehensive and well-organized Reference Manual containing all theory principles and words...just to mention a few. StarTran is the only theory that can claim to cover every aspect of machine shorthand writing you need to become a realtime writer. So wherever you go after theory, if you need or want to transfer schools or programs, you needn't worry about missing any vital parts of your machine writing education -- you have learned it all in StarTranOnline.

Q - Are you a school?
A - StarTranOnline is a business that presents StarTran Realtime Theory in an online, active manner using videos, audios, instructional text, etc.  You will learn everything, and more, that you might learn in school.  You will take tests and receive personal support from a professional court reporting instructor, but no grades, no certificates, no attendance requirements are given.  StarTranOnline requires self-motivation and self-discipline.  Theory is the first and most important course, but not a complete court reporting curriculum.

Q - Don't I need to attend a school to work someday?
A - The short answer - no. Most states require either the RPR (Registered Professional Reporter), CSR (Certified Shorthand Reporter) or no certification to work as a deposition reporter. Basically, anyone can take the RPR exam if they are in a program of some kind - it doesn't have to be a "court reporting school" - it can be a speedbuilding program like SimplySteno. Many states that require a CSR exam will also let you test directly through any teaching platform. In a few states you can pass the RPR exam, qualifying yourself for their CSR exam, or they will accept the RPR in place of the CSR. Michigan is the only state that has some roadblocks in place. If you are in Michigan and have a desire to become a court reporter, please inquire for further details. To find out what you need for your state, check out this complete list - State Requirements. Bottom line, court reporting is a skills-based career.  You must show you can do it.

Q - How long is the course and what is the cost?
A - The StarTran Online program consists of 40 lessons, with each lesson taking between 10-15 hours to complete. It generally takes anywhere from 6-9 months to complete the course, depending on your time, motivation and skill. You'll have access to the StarTran Online course for 1 year for a one-time fee of $1,300. The extra time can be used for theory review and practice.

Q - What if I don't complete StarTran Theory in a year?
A - Although you should be able to complete the 40-lesson course in 6-9 months, we understand that situations arise, students go on vacation, family situations come up. That's one reason we've allowed access for one year upon your initial payment. If for some reason you cannot complete the lessons in one year, one additional year (only) may be requested for the amount of $1,200.  That said, it is best for the student learning theory to get a momentum going and stick to the regimen.

Q - What materials do I need to get started?
A - Check out the To Start link to see what you need.

Q - What happens after I learn theory?
A - Once you complete theory, you will be writing between 60-80 words per minute on your steno machine. At that time you will need to join a speedbuilding course, either at a brick-and-mortar school or an online course. We encourage students to move into the SimplySteno Court Reporting Program. The StarTran Theory Online Program is built upon the same teaching platform, so the transition would be seamless.

Q - How do I know if I have the ability to become a court reporter?
A - There is no entry-level test to take to see if you have that ability. Associations have tried in the past to create an entry-level test without much success. But it does take a student who is driven, follows directions, and who is able to put in the hard work. Reading comprehension is a must. Good mental and physical health is necessary.  You must be a high school graduate to become a court reporter.

Q - How long will it take to become a court reporter?
A - There are many variables that come into play - your work ethic - your home life - your work life - your family life. Many students have completed court reporting school in 2 years, while other have taken 6 years or longer. It's a skill-based program, so the smarter you work, the better you'll do. StarTran Online will get you off on the right foot!

Q - Do you offer financial aid?
A - We do not accept financial aid. Many students find themselves in what we call the "financial aid loop." This happens when a student has been in school a couple years, racking up $10,000, $20,000 or more in financial aid bills. If they drop out of school, they will have to start paying back financial aid. So rather than dropping out of a program that isn't the right fit, they push forward, build more and more debt, and find themselves in the "loop." We've priced the StarTran Theory program at a value low enough that we hope prospective students can avoid that loop. If you are qualified, it makes sense to take advantage of PayPal Credit.  There is no interest as long as you pay off the loan within six months. 

Q - Can I take a leave, if needed?
A - The StarTran Online course is broken down into 40 lessons, with each taking 10-15 hours to complete. Once you start, you'll have access to the lessons you need for a full year. That extra time should give you plenty of cushion to get the solid court reporting foundation you need, plus take a little time off if needed. That said, theory is best learned by working in a steady manner each week, building momentum.

Q - Are there live classes?
A - No. Instruction is online through videos, audios, textbook downloads, and written instruction. You can log in when you have the time each day - your daily work will be there waiting for you. If needed, we can also arrange for phone sessions. Whatever it takes to keep you on track.

Q - How do I get started?
A - Since each student is on an individual track, you may start on the day of your choice. To get started, just make your payment from the Join Now page. Once payment is confirmed through PayPal, expect an email from StarTran with further details.

Q - Is learning theory in one place and speedbuilding in another a good idea?
A - If you learn your theory well, it should make no difference. When you are ready for speedbuilding, if you have a solid understanding of your theory, you should be able to jump into any speedbuilding course without issue.