Court Reporters Certification

Exam 

Inquiries Regarding Paperwork

Applicants must confirm receipt of their applications, and the status of their applications, by referring to the View Pending Applications page of their online profiles. All applicants are sent automated email confirmations of successful application submission, and when applications are approved. Inquiries for application status checks/timeframes for applications, or receipt confirmations will not be replied to unless determined by staff that there’s been a delay in processing your application, and you have not received prior notification. We receive many of these inquiries and each email takes time to research and respond to which delays the processing of applications. Thank you for your understanding.

Exam Dates 

Applications must be received by the established deadline date. If forms are incomplete, missing documentation, or are not received by the deadline, the applicant will be considered ineligible to take the current CSR exam and must reapply for the next exam. Once exam registration closes no further exam items will be accepted.

Please continue to check the schedule below for future dates. Additional dates are added, per calendar year, once confirmed. The dates listed below are the first day the exam is given; exams may be offered over one, two, or three days, depending on the number registrants and availability. Refer to TCRA's website for additional information.

Important Note: If new exam dates are not posted, please wait to apply until the dates are listed as you will be required to include the date on your application. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please continue to monitor schedule below for updates. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dates may be subject to change. 

Exam Dates & Deadlines
Exam Part & Date Exam Location Deadline Date
Oral- 05/09/22 Online 04/09/22
Written- 05/16/22 Online 04/16/22
Oral- 08/1/22 Online 07/02/22
Written- 08/08/22 Online 07/09/22
Fall Dates to be determined Online TBD
Fall Dates to be determined Online TBD

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Exam Procedures 

We strongly recommend taking the oral exam prior to the written exam, to prevent written exam scores from expiring prior to becoming certified. See Exam Results section for additional information.

The exam registration process is two-fold and must be followed prior to when you first apply to test.

  1. First, all first-time applicants (i.e., those who've never applied with us before) must submit their Application for New Court Reporter Certification to the Judicial Branch Certification Commission (Commission or JBCC).
      • non-first time applicants (i.e., those who've already submitted Applications for New Court Reporter Certification to us before) would just go to step #2 (i.e., register to test with TCRA).
  2. Second, applicants must register for the certification exam with the Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA), which is administering the certification exam on behalf of the JBCC. You must register with TCRA each time you wish to take the exam.

Please refer to the Exam Dates section for dates, deadlines, and locations of upcoming exams. The deadline to register for the exam is 30 days prior to the exam date.

Before the Exam

  1. All applicants must get fingerprinted using the Texas Fingerprint Service Code Form. 
  2. Applicants apply for certification with the JBCC. You must apply for certification via our online licensing and certification system. To apply online, please go to the online certification and licensing system on our home page.
  3. Applicants register (apply for) for the exam, and pay exam fees, to TCRA using their website. (Refer to TCRA's website for registration details such as forms, fees, etc.) Please note that any references to a file number on exam paperwork for TCRA refers to the file number assigned to the applicant by the JBCC. We will provide this number directly to TCRA. 
    • Please do not submit exam registration applications via the JBCC online system. Exam registration applications submitted via the JBCC online system will not be processed
    • Those who do not have the required Application for New Court Reporter Certification on file with the JBCC will not be permitted to take the CSR exam with TCRA.

Fingerprinting Required for Background Checks

All applicants must get fingerprinted using the Texas Fingerprint Service Code Form.

  • First-time applicants that apply for certification online will receive the service code form via the automated email confirmation they receive after submitting their application for certification online. Please ensure to check your inbox (and spam folder) for this email.
  • Staff will email the finger print service code form to:
    • initial applicants who are required to apply by mail, including those reinstating, (after their applications are received), and 
    • to non-first-time applicants who have not yet been fingerprinted for the JBCC (after receiving the list of registered examinees from TCRA).

After the Exam

  1. TCRA will provide test results to examinees after the results have been confirmed.
  2. Applicants can confirm their certification via the JBCC's online certification and licensing system (i.e., an automated email confirmation will be issued once certified). Certification cards will also be issued to the mailing address on file.
  3. TCRA conducts all exam regrades and/or exam reviews. (Refer to TCRA's website for details such as forms, fees, etc.) 

Application Process

How to Apply for Certification:
First-Time Applicants Not Seeking Certification by Endorsement or Reinstatement (i.e., those who have not applied with the JBCC before):

  • Create your online profile, and submit your application for certification, following the instructions in section I of the pdf Guide to Using the Online System on the home page of our website. 

First-Time Applicants Seeking Certification by Endorsement

Please refer to the Initial Certification page of our website for more information on this process.

  • Create your online profile, and submit your application for certification, following the instructions in section I of the pdf Guide to Using the Online System on the home page of our website. 

First-Time Applicants Seeking Reinstatement

Please refer to the Reinstating an Expired Certification section of the Initial Certification page of our website for information on this process, including how to obtain the required paperwork.

Existing Applicants Seeking to Add a Certification

Those seeking to be certified in both Machine and Oral methods must submit the items below prior to taking the oral exam:

  1. Change of Endorsement Form.
  2. Pay the application fee.

    How to Apply for the CSR Exam:

Existing Applicants (i.e., those who’ve applied for certification with the JBCC):

• Go to TCRA’s website and follow their instructions on applying for the exam. Do not apply for the exam using the JBCC online licensing system. 

ADA Accommodations. Upon request, reasonable accommodations will be made for ADA conditions. Send your request for accommodation to the JBCC as far in advance as possible, but at least 10 days in advance of the exam date (weekends and holidays not included). Requests received less than ten days before the exam date cannot be honored. Your request for accommodation may accompany your exam paperwork, or may be sent separately. Either way, the request for accommodation is subject to the ten days in advance of the exam date deadline, per section 3.10 of the JBCC Rules.

Exam Security and Cheating

Per section 3.7 of the JBCC Rules, the contents of any examination that is required for the issuance of a Commission certification or license are confidential.

Except for those whose ADA accommodations have been pre-approved by the JBCC, when an applicant must take an examination in order to obtain a certification or license, the applicant may only use methods of assistance that are available to, and authorized for, other persons taking the examination. 

Violation of exam security includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • obtaining or attempting to obtain from any source examination questions or answers for use by an applicant, prospective applicant, or any other person, including a person associated with a school or examination preparation course;
  • providing or attempting to provide examination questions or answers to an applicant, prospective applicant, or any other person, including a person associated with a school or examination preparation course;
  • presenting a falsified or fraudulent document to gain entry to an examination;
  • presenting a falsified or fraudulent document concerning an individual's results from an examination;
  • taking an examination for another person;
  • an applicant or prospective applicant, knowingly allowing another person to take an examination for the applicant or prospective applicant;
  • while taking an examination, using any materials not authorized by the Commission or testing service for use in the examination, including but not limited to notes or study aides;
  • bringing to the examination site or leaving the examination site with examination questions or answers obtained from the current examination or from previous examination attempts;
    • This includes writing down questions or contents of the exam after completing testing (for any reason).  
  • while taking an examination, communicating with any person, other than an authorized representative of the Commission or testing service, about the examination; 
  • bringing any items into the examination, including hand-written notes, not pre-approved by the Commission or testing service.

An applicant who cheats on an examination will be disqualified and may not take the examination again until two years have elapsed from the date of the examination at which the applicant was disqualified.

Examination Results

Exam results shall be provided to examinees according to section 3.11 of the JBCC Rules. Additionally, per subsection (b), the Commission requires the vendor, the Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA), to provide results to examinees.

Please be advised that passing the exam is one part of the certification process; therefore, receiving a passing score does not equate to being certified.

  • Results will not be provided by the Commission.
  • Test results are not provided by phone.
  • Results are not provided to third parties.
  • Candidate numbers will not be provided by the Commission; applicants must obtain their numbers from the vendor.

Please refer to TCRA's website for additional details.

Exam Results for Those Who've Applied for Certification on or after 09/01/17:

  • Effective 09/01/17, per section 152.201 (c-1) of Chapter 152 and section 3.11 (d) of the JBCC Rules, passing exam scores are valid for a period of 2 years after the date of the examination. If you've not become certified within 2 years of passing the exam, you must retake the exam passed.
  • Per section 6.2 (g)(3) of the JBCC Rules, you would not have to retake the exam passed if the scores have not expired.

The regrade deadline for the May 2022 exam is 06/20/22.

Note: It is possible that results may not be available prior to the exam registration deadline for the next exam. We strongly advise non first-time applicants not to hold off on applying for the next exam until results are posted as this may prevent you from meeting the registration deadline for the next exam if for any reason you should have to re-test.

Certification

After you have passed the exam, your application for certification will be processed. Please allow up to 30 days from the date you receive your exam results for your certification card to be issued.

Certification cards will be issued by regular mail, to the primary mailing address on file, after the Supreme Court certifies the names of the successful examinees.

Once you’re certified, you will receive an automated email from our system advising that your new certification application has been approved. Please check your inbox (and spam folder) for this correspondence. Once you receive this email, or you get your certification card in the mail, or verify your certification online, whichever comes first, you may begin to provide court reporting services. 

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Fees

Examination Fees (due to TCRA)
Oral Exam $175.00
Written Exam $100.00
Regrade Fee $35.00
Application Fee (due to JBCC)
Application Fee $200.00

All fees are non-refundable.

Acceptable forms of payment: Credit Card

Make payable to: The Office of Court Administration

There is a one-time application fee. First time applicants must pay the application fee. Those reinstating their certifications by taking the exam must pay the application fee the first time they retest.

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Oral Exam (Part A)

Part A Component

  • Part A will be composed of five (5) minutes of two-voice dictation of questions and answers given at 225 words per minute, five (5) minutes of dictation of jury charge given at 200 words per minute, and five (5) minutes of dictation of selected literary material given at 180 words per minute.
  • Each applicant shall personally take down the test and shall reduce the takedown to writing on a manual or electric typewriter or computer.
  • The minimum passing grade on each section of Part A is ninety-five percent (95%) accuracy.
  • Applicants may use a dictionary during Part A.
  • Applicants will be allowed three (3) hours to complete the transcription of Part A of the test.  If time permits, an applicant may review his or her transcript but may use only the original takedown from which the transcript was prepared to review the transcript.
  • The oral exam cannot be passed in legs.

Grading of the Oral Certification Exam

The minimum passing grade on each section of Part A is ninety-five percent (95%) accuracy.  An error shall be charged for:

  1. Each wrong word;
  2. Each omitted word;
  3. Each added word not dictated;
  4. Each contraction where read as two (2) words;
  5. Two (2) words where read as a contraction;
  6. Each misplaced word;
  7. Each misplaced period that materially alters the sense of a group of words or a sentence;
  8. Each misspelled word;
  9. Each plural or singular if the opposite was dictated; and
  10. Each wrong number.

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Written Exam (Part B)

Part B Component

  • Part B of the test shall consist of objective questions touching on elementary aspects of court reporting, spelling, and grammar and Texas rules and procedure.
  • Applicants may not use a dictionary during Part B.
  • The minimum passing grade on Part B is seventy-five percent (75%).

Please be advised that the Commission does not provide study guides for the exam.

List of TCRA Recommended Study Materials for the Written Exam

Materials recommended for study in preparation for the written portion of the examination include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • National Court Reporters Association Publications:
    1. Systematic Guide to Medical Terminology
    2. Grammar for Shorthand Reporters
    3. Punctuation for Shorthand Reporters.
  • The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure applying to the duties and responsibilities of court reporters.
  • The Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure.
  • All Texas Statutes relating to the duties and responsibilities of court reporters, especially the following:
    1. Chapter 52 of the Government Code, V.T.C.A.
    2. Articles 36.27, 36.28, 52.07 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  • Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition), and
  • Black's Law Dictionary relating to vocabulary and spelling.

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Updated: 05/31/2022