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How Do I Choose the Best Shorthand Courses?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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When considering shorthand courses, you should first determine your need for learning shorthand. There are several different shorthand methods, so if you plan to take a shorthand course at the behest of an employer, you may wish to ask your employer if you must learn a specific type of shorthand. If you can choose the shorthand method, research different methods and pick the one that you are most comfortable with. Finally, research various providers of your courses. Issues such as reputation and cost should factor into your decision to enroll a specific school.

Shorthand is a method of speed writing that allows its users to write the equivalent of hundreds of words per minute and accurately transcribe spoken words. The symbols of shorthand represent sounds, making shorthand a phonetic language. Before the advent of easily accessible recording instruments, stenotype machines, such as those used by court reporters, and computers, secretaries and journalists regularly took shorthand courses. In addition, many people, including students, appreciated being able to use shorthand to take notes during meetings, conversations, and lectures.

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The primary difficulty in choosing shorthand courses is that shorthand methods are not always taught in schools, even vocational or secretarial schools, in many industrialized nations. You may need to contact several secretarial or office administration programs to find out if they still teach shorthand courses. On the other hand, if you live in a country in which recording devices or computers are not easily accessible, you may find that secretarial and office technology programs still teach shorthand. Always take the time to investigate any school in which you enroll, and make sure that it holds any necessary approvals to operate in your jurisdiction.

If you live in an area where shorthand courses are hard to find, you have a few options. Some shorthand enthusiasts have established websites that offer lessons, downloadable textbooks, and support. Another option is to purchase a shorthand textbook from a used book dealer. Many shorthand users recommend establishing a regular practice schedule in order to learn shorthand.

Another option is to find someone who is proficient in shorthand and ask if he or she would be willing to offer private tutoring. If you know of others who are interested in learning, you may even be able to persuade this individual to teach a shorthand course to your group. If you decide to do this, you will want to investigate the person's background and ensure that he or she is capable of using shorthand as well as teaching it to others.

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