Court Reporters Certification

Frequently Asked Questions 

Certification & Registration

  1. You are required to:

    1. have a high school diploma or GED equivalent,
    2. pass the state certification exam, and
    3. pass a state and federal criminal history background check.

    The exam consists of:

    • part A (the skills portion) and
    • part B (the written knowledge portion).

    Texas does not allow passing the skills exam in "legs"; the literary, jury charge, and Q&A portions of the exam must all be passed at the same time. Please refer to the Exam page of our website for details on the exam and the Initial Certification page of our website for additional details on certification. Refer also to the FAQ regarding criminal history requirements for certification.

  2. Court reporting firms, as defined by the JBCC Rules, must register with the Commission. Rules 6.1 (f) of the Rules states:

    Court reporting firm, shorthand reporting firm, and affiliate office mean an entity wholly or partly in the business of providing court reporting or other related services in this State. A court reporting firm, shorthand reporting firm, or affiliate office is considered to be providing court reporting or other related services in this State if:

    1. Any act that constitutes a court reporting service or shorthand reporting service occurs wholly or partly in this State;
    2. The firm or affiliate office recruits a resident of this State through an intermediary located inside or outside of this State to provide court reporting services, shorthand reporting services, or other related services in this State; or
    3. The firm or affiliate office contracts with a resident of this State by mail or otherwise and either party is to perform court reporting services, shorthand reporting services, or other related services wholly or partly in this State.
  3. You can apply for registration by mail or via our online licensing and certification system. To apply online, please go to the online certification and licensing system on our home page. To apply by mail, forms are located on the  Forms page of our website. If you cannot access the forms online, you must submit a written request to the Commission to have them sent to you. Requests may be submitted to (Fax) 512-463-1117, (Email)  courtreporting@txcourts.gov, or to our general correspondence address of PO Box 12066, Austin, TX 78711-2066. Form requests are not accepted by phone. 

  4. If there is an incident in your past that you are concerned may cause a problem with your becoming a Texas CSR, and you are enrolled or planning to enroll in court reporting school or planning to take the certification exam, you may first request a criminal history evaluation letter from the JBCC. Under section 3.5 of the JBCC Rules, you may request a criminal history evaluation letter by a written request in which you state the basis for your potential ineligibility. The Commission will notify you in writing of its determination. If you wish to sit for the exam before a determination has been made you may do so, with the understanding that even if you pass the exam a certification will not be issued until the Commission makes a determination on your eligibility status, and that a refund of the exam/application fees will not be issued. Also, if you take the exam and the Commission then determines you are not eligible, you will not receive a refund of the application and exam fees.

  5. The Commission does not require attendance at a court reporting school to become a CSR; however, you must qualify to take the state test. (See FAQ on how to qualify for the exam.)

  6. A person whose certification has been expired less than 90 days may renew for 1½ times the normally required renewal fee. A person whose certification has been expired more than 90 days but less than one year may renew for twice the normally required renewal fee. You are strongly urged not to submit renewals at the last minute. The sooner you submit your renewals the more time you will have to correct any errors that may have been made. If your certification is expired for a year or more, you will be required to sit for the public CSR exam. Exceptions will not be granted and fees will not be waived, refunded, or transferred. Please refer to Rule 6.3 of the JBCC Rules for more information.

  7. Texas does not have reciprocity with other states; however, those seeking information on certification by endorsement must submit inquiries to jbcc@txcourts.gov for information on this process.

  8. To maintain your certification, you must renew it every two years. You must also pay the required renewal fee(s) and obtain the necessary 10 hours of continuing education, including 2.5 hours in ethics, TX rules, or both.

Continuing Education

  1. You must obtain 10 hours over your 2-year certification period. Of that 2 1/2 hours must be in ethics, Texas rules, or both.

  2. The Commission does not track CE hours. We will not know how many hours you have until you report them when you renew since reporting your CE information is part of the renewal process. Please note that under Rule 4.3 (g) of the JBCC Rules, you must keep a copy of the CE documentation for a period of three years after completion of the course.

  3. First, check the list of programs that have been approved by the Commission via the online certification and licensing system located on our home page. It is not a complete list of all programs in the State of Texas. Rather, it is just a list of courses submitted to us and approved. 

    If a course you want to take is not on the list, you must submit an application for course approval to the Commission. Your application will be reviewed to determine if, based on the rules, it would be approved and, if so, for how many hours. You can apply for course approval through the online certification and licensing system or by mail. To apply by mail, forms are located on the  Forms page of our website.

  4. No, court reporter CE hours do not carry over to the next renewal period.

  5. If you wish to use an NCRA approved program towards your CE requirements, you must submit an application for course approval. You may obtain the CE approval form from the Continuing Education section of the 'Forms' page of our website.

  6. No. Attendees can submit their applications prior to or after the program.

  7. Turnaround times can run up to 30 days from receipt of a complete application. Also, please remember that course approvals must be submitted  by September 30th of the year your certification expires.

  8. No. There are no provisions in rule to waive the CE requirement.

  9. No. Please refer to the Rules 4.3 and 6.6 for information on what is and is not acceptable for Texas court reporter CE requirements.

  10. Credit can only be given for actual attendance time. If the program is only 1.5 hours in duration, but NCRA gives you 3 hours of credit for it, only 1.5 hours will apply towards your Texas certification.

  11. There are no fees for course approval.

Criminal Histories

  1. The JBCC Rules, which were adopted by the Supreme Court of Texas, requires a criminal history record search by fingerprint submission. A Texas and a national search will be conducted through the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

  2. Under Rule 3.1 (c) of the JBCC Rules, this must be done no earlier than 90 days preceding your date of application. 

  3. DPS has a contracted vendor to take and process fingerprint submissions for licensing purposes. We strongly recommend you use this service. We can only accept criminal history reports that are electronically submitted by DPS directly to the Commission. Staff will email the required form needed to schedule their fingerprinting appointment to applicants who have not yet been fingerprinted for the JBCC, after we’ve received their applications.

  4. IdentoGO is a vendor contracted by DPS to provide fingerprinting services in the State of Texas. Fingerprints done with the vendor are submitted digitally to DPS. Results are submitted electronically directly to the JBCC by DPS. This results in fewer rejected fingerprints and faster processing.

  5. If the DPS or FBI is not able to read the fingerprints, they will require another set of fingerprints. If fingerprints are rejected twice the JBCC may request an alternative search method which may be conducted at no additional charge to the applicant. No further action may be required by the applicant. Also, if you do not follow the instructions when scheduling appointments for fingerprinting, the proper reports may not be generated and you may have to be printed again. You may also have to pay fees again. DPS will not issue refunds due to applicant error.

  6. No. Local sheriff's offices cannot submit fingerprints for applicant purposes, only for criminal justice purposes. If you reside in the state of Texas you should utilize one of the existing IdentoGO locations.

  7. Fingerprints will be sent digitally to the DPS by IdentoGO. DPS will submit the fingerprints to the FBI for the national search, and DPS will conduct the Texas search. The results of both searches will be sent electronically directly to the JBCC by DPS.

  8. Fees must be paid to IdentoGO either when you schedule your appointment to have your fingerprints taken, or when you show up to have them taken. Fees are subject to change.

  9. No, the fingerprints must be done by someone trained to collect fingerprints.

  10. Yes. By law, the fingerprints submitted to other entities ay not be used by the Commission to obtain criminal history records from DPS and the FBI.

  11. Schedule your appointment with the nearest IdentoGO facility or, if there isn't a facility close to you, you may be able to go to your local law enforcement department to be fingerprinted. However, there is no guarantee that they will fingerprint you. If your law enforcement department cannot fingerprint you, you may need to search locally for fingerprinting services. Once printed, mail the fingerprint card to the facility listed on your Texas Fingerprint Service Code Form. For information on locations, you must contact IdentoGO. Their phone number is 1-888-467-2080. You must submit your completed Texas Fingerprint Service Code Form with your fingerprint card as well. Staff will email the required form needed to schedule their fingerprinting appointment to applicants who have not yet been fingerprinted for the JBCC, after we’ve received their applications.

  12. This is a unique originating agency identifier assigned to the JBCC.

  13. Take it with you when you go to get fingerprinted because this document must be given to staff at IdentoGO when your prints are taken.

  14. Send inquiries to the Commission in writing via email, mail, or fax. Staff will route inquiries to DPS for further research and respond to you in writing via email, mail, or fax (depending on what format was used to submit the inquiry). When submitting inquiries please include your name, CSR or File #, specific problems encountered, the date and location of the fingerprinting facility, and, if known, the name(s) of staff who assisted you at the facility.

  15. You will receive notification only if further action is required.

  16. Under Rule 3.5 (c) of the JBCC Rules, if you are enrolled or planning to enroll in a court reporting program, and you have reason to believe that you may not be eligible due to a criminal history, you may submit a written request to the Commission to issue a criminal history evaluation letter regarding your eligibility. The request must also state the basis for your potential ineligibility. Upon receipt of your request, the Commission will contact you with instructions on what procedures you must follow in order for us to obtain your criminal histories. Once the reports have been received, a determination will be made on your eligibility and you will be notified of the determination in writing.

  17. Please notify us in writing if you feel your information is incorrect and whether or not you intend to challenge it so that staff may anticipate what, if any, actions are necessary on this end. If you believe your FBI criminal history record is inaccurate, you may change, correct or update the information. Procedures for doing so are set forth in Title 28, C.F.R., § 16.34. Please visit www.fbi.gov for more information. The Commission will not make a determination regarding your application until you have had a reasonable time to correct or complete the record, or have declined to do so (Title 42, U.S.C. § 14616, Article IV(c); Title 28 C.F.R. §50.12 (b)). You may also challenge the accuracy and completeness of your Texas criminal history record information. Please visit www.txdps.state.tx.us, then choose Crime Records for more information.

CSR Examination

  1. The CSR examination is currently administered by the Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA) on behalf of the Commission. Please refer to TCRA's website for questions regarding exam registration, exam fees, scores, etc.

  2. Currently the Eleventh Edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. This is subject to change, so check with the vendor prior to taking the exam.

  3. Accommodations are made according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You must submit written notification to the Texas Court Reporters Association, at the time you register for the exam. Please submit your registration paperwork as early as possible to allow time to research and make any necessary accommodations prior to the exam. Documentation from your physician relating to your disability will be required. This documentation must include the type of disability and the recommended accommodations.

  4. Yes. You are not required to use paper notes, but you are strongly encouraged to use them in the event you have equipment failure and can no longer access your notes electronically. Please be advised that only the final paper transcript is accepted for grading purposes. If you cannot turn in a transcript you will receive a failing grade.

    • You must submit an application ($85 fee included) for each method, along with the required exam forms and fees, for each method. You must also provide an SOP (statement of proficiency) for each method, which means testing at school for each method, (i.e., you must test at school for each method), and you must take and pass the oral exam twice, once for each certification. This would give you two certifications when you pass the exam- one under machine shorthand, and one under oral stenography- each certification will have a separate number. If you have previously taken and passed the written exam, you do not need to retake it, but you do need to note on your paperwork that you have passed it, when you passed it, and the file number you tested under when you passed it. The certification we issue will reflect the method pertaining to that specific certification number.
    • Upon certification, you will be required to pay two renewal fees (one per certification). You will also be required to get 10 hours of CE for EACH certification (i.e., 20 hours including 5 hours in Ethics, Texas Rules, or both) if they expire in different years.
  5. Please refer to the website for the Texas Court Reporters Association for this information since they administer the certification exam on behalf of the Commission.

  6. The only two options for qualification are as follows:

    1. If you are certified as an RPR (or another NCRA certification that is determined of equivalent or greater degree of difficulty than the RPR), you may submit a letter from NCRA, as an attachment to your application. The letter must be on their letterhead. It must attest to the fact that you have passed the RPR exam and are currently a certified RPR in good standing. It must also indicate the certification you've obtained and the expiration date of your certification. The letter is valid until the expiration date of your certification. If you're a member of NVRA, you may submit a national letter as well, following the same guidelines as listed for RPR's.
    2. If you are not an RPR, or are an RPR by way of grandfathering, you must pass 2 proficiency tests given to you by an instructor at a court reporting school (these can be done in any state). It must consist of new material and be given all at one time. Each test must consist of 180 wpm literary, 200 wpm jury charge, and 225 wpm Q&A. Proficiency tests cannot be given or passed in legs. You must receive a score of 95% accuracy or better on at least 2 tests. The 2 tests must have been taken and passed no more than one year apart. The proficiency is only good for one year and must be valid on the exam date for which you are applying.
  7. Regrades are done as quickly as possible. However, there are no guarantees that results will be provided before the registration deadline of the next CSR examination. It would be advisable not to wait on the regrade results if you're planning to sit for the next exam.

  8. Applicants must refer to the online certification and licensing system on our home page to confirm their eligibility status prior to registering with TCRA (i.e., they'll receive an automated email confirming their exam application was approved). All applicants will obtain their file numbers from the online certification and licensing system as well. 

    Additionally, if there are any problems regarding the eligibility of an applicant, staff will notify the applicant by email or by fax or regular mail if no email address is available.

  9. No. According to the rules, the proficiency is valid for one year from the last proficiency test date and must be valid on the exam date. 

  10. Test results will be provided according to the timeline established in Rule 3.11 of the JBCC Rules. Test results are not provided by phone, fax, or to third parties. Certification cards will be issued by regular mail after the Supreme Court certifies the names of the successful examinees.

  11. Applicants are required to receive their forms from the Commission. Applications for exam eligibility are to be obtained from the Forms page of our website. For exam registration forms please refer to TCRA's website.

  12. Under Rule 6.2 (h)(3), an applicant who passes Part A or Part B of the exam but fails the other part will not be required to be reexamined on the part that the applicant passed.

  13. You must submit the General Fees Remittance Form which is located in the Misc. Forms section of the Forms page of the our website and pay the applicable fee ($35) within 20 days of the date of notice that you did not pass the exam. Note that "date of notice" refers to the date that results were issued. You may also request a review of your skills exam after the exam has been re-graded.

  14. They can be viewed in circumstances when something is in question and to determine if someone cheated, but they cannot be considered when determining grades. The final (printed) transcript is the only document will be be used to determine whether an examinee passed or failed the CSR exam.

Renewals

  1. No. Courses must be approved before you submit your renewal, not simultaneously with your renewal. Under Rule 6.6 (c) of the JBCC Rules, the deadline to apply for course approval is September 30th of the year your certification expires.

  2. Renewal fees are nonrefundable.

  3. You may become recertified without examination only if you meet the following criteria:

    1. You were certified in Texas prior to moving out of state;
    2. You are currently certified in the other state;
    3. You have been practicing court reporting in the other state for at least 2 years preceding the date of application for recertification in Texas; and,
    4. Your certification is currently in good standing.

    If you meet the above criteria you may become recertified in Texas by following the procedures below:

    1. Submit the CSR Renewal Form, located on the Forms page of our website, and submit copies of your CE documentation (i.e., copies of your certificates of attendance).
    2. Complete all forms and mail them to the Commission (along with documentation confirming the above four criteria items) with the appropriate renewal fee(s). Please refer to Rule  (d)(5) and (6) of the JBCC Rules for details.
  4. The expiration date is established in rule and does not provide for extensions. Any certifications not renewed by December 31st of the year they expire will lapse into inactive status. Your only options would be as follows:

    1. Certifications which have been expired for 90 days or less may be renewed but the CSR is required to pay 1½ times the renewal fee;
    2. Certifications which have been expired for more than 90 days but less than one year may be renewed but the CSR is required to pay twice the renewal fee; or
    3. Persons whose certification has been expired for one year or longer must sit for the CSR exam and obtain a new certification.
  5. Renewal forms are available on the Forms page of our website. Another option would be to use the online renewal website. The link to this site is located on the Renewals page of our website.

    Friendly reminder: It is your obligation and responsibility as a certified shorthand reporter or court reporting firm to keep your certification and your contact information current with the Commission. Notification from this office is sent merely as a reminder.

  6. Check your certification to see the expiration date. Note: This is also the date that you should be putting on your transcripts. Another option would be to refer to the online certification and licensing system on our home page.

  7. You can apply for renewal by mail or via our online licensing and certification system. To apply online, please go to the online certification and licensing system on our home page. If you apply online, you must complete everything online. You cannot do part online and part by mail, email, or fax.

  8. The main reason that CSRs and CRFs do not receive their renewal notices is that they have not notified the Commission of address and email changes. Rule  (c) of the JBCC Rules  requires you to notify the Commission of any change in contact information, including a name change, within 30 days. Failure to comply with this rule may result in disciplinary action. 

    Note: Notifying the post office of your address change is not equivalent to notifying the Commission.

  9. Yes. If your county pays your renewal fees, we will accept their checks; however, your paperwork must accompany the payment and they must list (on the check, not the stub) the name(s) of who is covered by the payment.

  10. If you are unsure of the name of a seminar, or any other items on your certificate of attendance, contact the seminar provider directly for this information.

  11. Submitting paperwork or paying for a certification does not constitute renewal. You are not renewed until your paperwork has been processed and a certification card has been issued or your name has been added to the renewal list on the Renewals page. If your name is not on the renewal list it means your certification has yet to be renewed. We strongly recommend that you check the renewal list prior to reporting to work after December 31st to ensure you are certified to provide court reporting services. Providing services without a valid certification is a violation of the rules and may result in disciplinary actions.

Miscellaneous

  1. You can track your status and confirm receipt using the online certification and licensing system on our home page, or by submitting items using a method that will allow for confirmation on your end.

     

  2. Our forms can be downloaded from our website and the information typed in prior to printing them. You may enter the information in handwriting, but if a form is not legible, it will be returned and you will be required to submit a typed version at that point. Deadlines cannot be extended to allow for additional time to resubmit forms or make corrections.

  3. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board offers this useful website for assistance on various programs: www.collegefortexans.com.

  4. You can apply for a name change by mail or via our online licensing and certification system. To apply online, please go to the online certification and licensing system on our home page. To apply by mail submit the Change of Name and/or Address Form located on the Forms page of our website. Additionally supporting documentation will be required (e.g., copy of marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order).

  5. You must notify us in writing within 30 days of the change.  You can apply by mail or via our online licensing and certification system. To apply online, please go to the online certification and licensing system on our home page. To apply by mail submit the Change of Name and/or Address Form located on the Forms page of our website.

  6. All forms with fees must go to:

    P.O. BOX 13122
    Austin, TX 78711-3122

    If you choose to overnight your paperwork, it must go to the P.O. Box indicated on the application. Sending paperwork to any other address will result in a delay in processing your paperwork. UPS and FEDEX will not overnight to a PO Box; therefore, submitting through either of them (or any other entity with the same policy) would not be an option for submitting your paperwork via overnight mail. The post office, however, does offer a service that will overnight to a P.O. Box. You may visit their website for details: www.usps.gov.

  7. The deadlines are established in the JBCC Rules adopted by the Supreme Court and by Chapter 151-157, Texas Government Code, etc. Staff adheres to those deadlines.

  8. Personal contact information is exempt from disclosure to the public under Rule 12.5 (d) of the Rules of Judicial Administration. We use the information reporters provide to us for business contact purposes. Additional information regarding Rule 12 and the public's right of access to judicial records may be accessed from the Request for Records page of the JBCC website.

  9. P.O. Box 13122 is the lockbox for our payment processing center. All items with fees must go to this address. Examples of items that must go to this box are Renewal applications, Exam applications, Remittance forms, etc. It is usually a few days from when payments are received at the lockbox until they are received by the Commission. For timeline purposes it is best to estimate 1 week from when you mail something until the time it may be received at the Commission.

  10. When applications are received, standard procedure is to review them. If no issues are outstanding (such as incomplete or incorrect papers submitted, fees underpaid, etc.), the applications will be processed.

    To check the status of your paperwork, refer to the online certification and licensing system on our home page.

  11. For timelines, refer to the Texas Rules of Procedure for civil cases, and the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure for criminal cases. 

  12. Under Rule 6.3 (d)(2) of the JBCC Rules, a person whose certification has been expired may not engage in activities that require a certification until the certification has been renewed.

  13. The Commission does not have jurisdiction over court reporting for litigation in the courts of other states or federal courts. Contact the appropriate authorities for other jurisdictions to determine what rules are applicable.

  14. Applications are considered received when either actually received in our office, or when postmarked, whichever date meets the designated deadline.

  15. You can search for licensees via our online certification and licensing system. For information on our system, please refer to the home page of our website in the section titled “New Online Certification and Licensing System”. Please refer to the “Guide to Using the Online System” for step-by-step instructions on how to search for licensees.