Court Reporters Certification

Initial Certification 

Requirement of Certification or Registration

Full Certification of Court Reporters

A person may not engage in shorthand reporting in this State or be appointed an official court reporter or deputy court reporter unless that person is certified as a shorthand reporter by the Supreme Court of Texas.

A certification must be for one or more of the following methods of shorthand reporting:

  1. Written shorthand;
  2. Machine shorthand;
  3. Oral stenography; or
  4. Any other method of shorthand reporting authorized by the Supreme Court.

To qualify for full certification, a person must pay all required fees, comply  with the application procedures, and comply with the following requirements:

  • Pass the CSR Examination.  
  • Have a High School Diploma or GED equivalent.     
  • Provide their state and national criminal histories.

In order to apply to become a fully certified shorthand reporter (CSR), you must:

  1. Submit the Application for Certification. 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
  2. Submit the application fee. Please see the Fees section of this page for information on amounts due, acceptable forms of payment, etc.
  3. Submit the Application for Exam Eligibility if you’re also applying to take the exam.
  4. Pass a criminal history background check by DPS and the FBI. 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. They should check their inbox (and spam folder) for this correspondence.
  5. Pass the required CSR examination.

Apprentice Certification

Important Note: The Following procedures are now available.

UPDATE: Existing applicants should now be able to apply for an apprentice certification online.

To qualify for an Apprentice Certification, you must:

1. Pass any part of the oral exam (i.e., Lit, JC, or Q&A) during the 2-year period immediately preceding the date of application.

2. Pass a criminal history background check by DPS and the FBI.

3. Have one of the following items:

a. A letter from a court reporting school verifying they’re a student at that school enrolled in an upper speed class and can report at least 200 wpm;
b. A certificate of completion from a court reporting school; or
c. References, work product, or other evidence of performing shorthand reporting services in a satisfactory manner in the course of actively engaging in the practice of shorthand reporting for 3 of the 5-year period immediately preceding the application for apprentice certification in a jurisdiction that does not license or certify shorthand reporters.

4. Have a supervising certified shorthand reporter (CSR) and include their name and CSR number on the application for apprenticeship.

Additional Information for Apprenticeship Certification:

• Apprenticeship certifications may only be issued in the same method of certification for which you’ve proven to be proficient in by your court reporting school.
• Those applying for apprenticeship must use a full professional version of computer-aided transcription (CAT) software without page limitations in order to report a legal proceeding.
• Apprenticeship certifications are valid for no more than two years and cannot be renewed.

To apply for an Apprenticeship Certification, you must do the following prior to registering for the exam:

1. Submit the Application for Apprenticeship and pay the required fee via the online system on our home page.
2. Submit the required documentation for one of the following items:

a. A letter from a court reporting school verifying they’re a student at that school enrolled in an upper speed class and can report at least 200 wpm;
b. A certificate of completion from a court reporting school; or
c. References, work product, or other evidence of performing shorthand reporting services in a satisfactory manner in the course of actively engaging in the practice of shorthand reporting for 3 of the 5-year period immediately preceding the application for apprentice certification in a jurisdiction that does not license or certify shorthand reporters.

3. Pass a criminal history background check by DPS and the FBI. 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. They should check their inbox (and spam folder) for this correspondence.

Provisional Certification

Important Note: For CSRs expired 1 year or more seeking provisional certification must email the licensing specialist at courtreporting@txcourts.gov prior to starting the application process so they can reactivate your profile, thereby allowing you to submit the application online.

To qualify for a Provisional Certification, you must:

1. Meet one of the four requirements (in a-d) below:

a. Have been previously certified in Texas within the 3-year period immediately preceding the date of application, retired or otherwise in good standing; or
b. Have been licensed or certified in good standing in another jurisdiction and actively engaged in shorthand reporting for 3 years out of the 5-year period immediately preceding the date of application; or
c. Have been actively engaged in shorthand reporting in the federal courts for 3 years out of the 5-year period immediately preceding the date of application; or
d. Currently hold a certification in good standing as an RPR issued by NCRA or another comparable or more stringent certification issued by NCRA or another comparable organization and have been engaged in the practice of shorthand reporting for 3 years out of the 5-year period immediately preceding the date of application for certification.

2. Pass a criminal history background check.

3. Pass the written exam.

Additional information for Provisional Certification:

  • Certification may only be issued under the same method of certification of which you were previously certified by Texas or your other jurisdiction.
  • Supporting documentation must be that issued by your licensing authority.
  • Provisional certifications cannot be renewed.
  • Provisional certifications expire when you become fully certified, or on the third anniversary of the date issued, whichever occurs earlier.

To apply for a Provisional Certification, you must do the following prior to registering for the exam:

1. Submit the Application for Provisional Certification and pay the required fee via the online system on our home page.

2. Submit all required documentation for one of the following:

a. Proof you were certified in Texas and, within the 3-year period immediately preceding their application, retired or otherwise ceased certification while in good standing;
b. Proof you were licensed or certified in good standing in another jurisdiction and actively engaged in shorthand reporting for 3 years out of the 5-year period immediately preceding their application;
c. Proof you were actively engaged in shorthand reporting in the federal courts for 3 years of the 5-year period immediately preceding their application; or
d. Proof you hold a certification in good standing as an RPR issued by NCRA or another comparable or more stringent certification issued by NCRA or another comparable organization and has been engaged in the practice of shorthand reporting for 3 years of the 5-year period immediately preceding the application for certification.

3. Submit proof of the method you were certified under in your other jurisdiction.

4. Pass a criminal history background check by DPS and the FBI. 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. They should check their inbox (and spam folder) for this correspondence.

Certification by Endorsement

Rule 3.3 (a) of the JBCC's Rules states: "The Commission may waive any prerequisite to obtaining a certification, registration, or license for an applicant after reviewing the applicant's credentials and determining that the applicant holds a certification, registration, or license issued by another jurisdiction that has certification, registration, or licensing requirements substantially equivalent to those of this State."

  • The certification by endorsement process does not extend to certifications held by associations.
  • The certification by endorsement process does not extend to those with an expired TX certification. Please refer to section 3.2 (f)-(g) of the JBCC Rules for the requirements on how to reinstate a certification expired for 1 yr. or more.

To apply for Certification by Endorsement, you must now do the following prior to registering for the exam:

1. Submit the Application for Certification and pay the required fee via the online system on our home page.

2. Submit all required documentation for the items indicated below:

  • Verification from your licensing authority that your license is current and in good standing
  • Documentation from your licensing authority of the requirements for certification
  • Documentation from your licensing authority verifying the method of certification you’re licensed under (i.e., machine shorthand, or oral stenography)
  • A copy of your resume
  • A copy of your exam results; scores, method (i.e., machine shorthand or oral stenography), and if it was a state or national test
  • Verification of how the exam was taken (i.e., taken in legs or passed in one sitting)  

3. Submit proof of the method you were certified under in your other jurisdiction.

4. Pass a criminal history background check by DPS and the FBI. 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. They should check their inbox (and spam folder) for this correspondence.

Once we have all these documents, your application will be reviewed and a determination made. Court reporters applications for certification by endorsement may be reviewed by the Court Reporter Certification Advisory Board on a case-by-case basis. You are welcome to submit additional documents that will help us to make a determination; for example: a description of what you did to become certified, any other certificates relating to court reporting certification that you hold.

You may not have to take the oral skills test, depending on your endorsement eligibility determination. You will be required to take the written exam, which covers Texas laws governing court reporters. You can take the written exam prior to a determination being made on your eligibility for endorsement, if you choose. If you do have to take the oral skills test, please be aware that the Texas oral skills exam consists of three parts. All three parts must be taken at one sitting, and a passing score received on each part. Should you have questions not addressed online, please submit inquiries to courtreporting@txcourts.gov

Certification of Military Spouses, Military Service Members, and Military Veterans

To apply for Court Reporter certification as a military applicant, under sections 3.4 (a)-(g) of the JBCC Rules, you must do the following:

1. Submit the Application for Certification via the online system on our home page.

2. Submit all required documentation for the items indicated below:

  • Documentation of being a military service member, spouse, or veteran, (such as military ID or other official documentation confirming you as being a military spouse);

  • Proof of holding a current certification or license as a court reporter in another state (such as a copy of your certification or license). The documentation must verify the method you are certified or licensed to practice (i.e., oral stenography or machine shorthand);

  • Proof of the current certification or license requirements of that state (which must be “substantially equivalent” to those of Texas), or proof that you held a certification or license as a court reporter in Texas within the last 5 years;

  • A letter of good standing from your current certification or licensing authority;

  • Letters of recommendation or a resume showing your work experience;

  • Proof of passing your state’s certification or licensure exam; and

  • Documentation of your state’s current certification or licensure requirements. (Note: the documentation must be from your state’s licensing authority. Applicants cannot create the documentation themselves.)

3. Pass a criminal history background check by DPS and the FBI. 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. They should check their inbox (and spam folder) for this correspondence.

To inquire about providing court reporting services as a military spouse applicant, under section 3.4 (h) of the JBCC Rules, you must submit your inquiry to the licensing specialist for this department at this email address: courtreporting@txcourts.gov.

Should you have questions not addressed online, please submit inquiries to courtreporting@txcourts.gov

Criminal History

All new applicants, and those renewing their certifications are required to obtain one-time electronic Fingerprinting through the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Fees for these services are paid at the time your fingerprints are taken. The results of the DPS and FBI fingerprint searches will be sent directly to the Commission.

Please refer to the Certification & Licensure Criminal History FAQ's  page for additional information. 

You do not need to have your fingerprints taken again once you have been fingerprinted. Upon receipt of your application and required payment, staff will request a new criminal history report and the results will be sent directly to the Commission.

Refer to section 3.5 of the JBCC Rules for additional details on this requirement.

Under section 3.5 (a) of the JBCC Rules, an initial or renewal application may be denied, and a regulated person may be disciplined, if the person's criminal history or other information indicates that the person lacks the honesty, trustworthiness, or integrity to hold the certification, registration, or license.

Please be aware that we must have an application from you before we can provide the instructions, service code and disclosure language that is required to make your fingerprinting appointment. When you submit your application for certification online, an automated email confirmation will be sent to your primary email address. This automated email will contain the code and instructions you need to get fingerprinted. Please check your inbox (and spam folder) for this correspondence. Do not rely on information or forms that you receive from a source other than the JBCC. Doing so may result in your having to be re-fingerprinted, and thus delays in processing your application.

Registration of Court Reporting Firms

A court reporting firm and its affiliate offices must register with the Commission.

A court reporting firm may not use the title or designation "court recording firm," "court reporting firm" or "shorthand reporting firm" or any abbreviation, title, designation, words, letters, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that the firm is a court reporting firm or shorthand reporting firm, or offer services as a court reporting firm or shorthand reporting firm, unless the firm and its affiliate offices are registered with the Board.

To register your court reporting firm you must:

  • pay all fees required by rule via the online licensing system, and
    • Effective 09/01/19, registration fees are waived for firms with CSR's owning more than 50% of the firm and that maintain actual control of the firm.
  • Submit the Application for Registration. You must apply for registration via our online licensing and certification system. To apply online, please go to the online certification and licensing system on our home page

The  registration form must state whether the firm or office or any officers,  directors, or managerial employees have been finally convicted of a felony or  misdemeanor other than a minor traffic offense or juvenile offense.

Reinstatements

See section 3.2 of the JBCC Rules and section 154.107 of the statute for requirements on reinstating a certification or registration that has been expired for 1 yr. or more.

Important Note: Before starting the reinstatement process, you must email the licensing specialist at courtreporting@txcourts.gov so they can reactivate your profile, thereby allowing you to submit the application online.

Reinstating an Expired Court Reporter Certification 

The two options for reinstating a certification expired for one year or longer are indicated below. 

Option #1: (online only) Applicants reinstating an expired certification must meet the same requirements as new applicants if they do not meet the requirements established under option #2 below.

  1. First, login to your existing certification profile (do not create a first-time applicant profile) in the online licensing system

    • If you do not know your login credentials, follow the instructions in section XIII of the pdf Guide to Using the Online System located on the home page of our website to obtain your login name and reset your password.
    • If you've never created an online profile, email staff so they can provide the instructions you need to create one. Once your profile is created, proceed to the step below.
  2. Second, click the button to apply for reinstatement and follow the instructions accordingly.
  3. Third, submit the exam paperwork and exam fees to the exam vendor (TCRA).

Option #2: (online only) Former TX court reporters who lived in state, moved out of state, and are returning to Texas may reinstate without examination only if they meet the following criteria:

  1. You were certified (and living) 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 a period of at least 1 year preceding the date of application for recertification in Texas; and,
  4. Your certification is currently in good standing.

If you meet the criteria in option #2 you may become recertified in Texas without retesting by following the procedures below:

  1. Login to your existing certification profile in the online licensing system

    • If you do not know your login credentials, follow the instructions in section XIII of the pdf Guide to Using the Online System located on the home page of our website to obtain your login name and reset your password.
    • If you've never created an online profile, email staff so they can provide the instructions you need to create one. Once your profile is created, proceed to the step below.
  2. Click the button to apply for reinstatement and follow the instructions accordingly.
  3. Submit the required copies of your CE documentation (i.e., copies of your certificates of attendance) by uploading it to the Additional Supporting Documents portion of your application.
  4. Submit all required paperwork to the Commission (along with documentation confirming the above four criteria) by uploading it to the Additional Supporting Documents portion of your application. Please refer to section 3.2 (g) of the JBCC Rules for details.
  5. Pay to the commission a fee that is equal to twice the normally required renewal fee. 
    • Note: the online app will assess the initial $200 fee, and the remaining amount due will be assessed via a staff generated invoice so that the total you pay will be twice the normally required renewal fee.

Should you have questions not addressed online, please submit inquiries to courtreporting@txcourts.gov

Reinstating an Expired Court Reporting Firm Registration

Applicants reinstating a registration expired 1 year or more must submit the Court Reporting Firm Reinstatement Application and all applicable fees.
Those expired 1 year or more must pay all unpaid renewal and late fees charged for the expired registration, in addition to complying with all registration requirements and procedures for a new registration, including the application for registration fee. Staff will include the amount due on the reinstatement application.

Expiration

Under section 154.107 of the statute, a certification or registration expires on the last day of the month of the second anniversary of the date the certification or registration was issued. For example, a certification or registration that was issued on 09/15/2018, when renewed, will expire 09/30/2020.

Fees

All fees are non-refundable.

Application for Full Certification: $200.00

Application for Apprentice Certification: $200.00

Application for Provisional Certification: $200.00 

Application for Firm Registration: $200.00

Acceptable forms of payment: Credit card

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Updated: 11/06/2020