Licensed Court Interpreters

Initial Licensure 

Becoming a Licensed Court Interpreter

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

To become a Licensed Court Interpreter, you must do the following:

  1. Complete the Exam Orientation Course. Applicants must successfully complete a 6 hour Commission Approved Orientation course before they are eligible to take the written and oral examinations. The certificate of completion must be submitted with the Application for Licensure. 
  2. Submit the Application for Licensure and Exam Registration Form.  You must apply for licensure and register for the exam via our online licensing and certification system. To apply online, please go to the online certification and licensing system on our home page
  3. Submit the application fee. Please see the Fees section of this page for information on amounts due, acceptable forms of payment, etc.
  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 all parts of a Commission-approved examination. (Note: A passing score on the written examination is valid for 2 years. An applicant who does not become licensed during that 2-year period must take the orientation course and pass the written examination again.)

Refer to sections 3.0 and 9.0 of the JBCC Rules for more information on licensure and requirements (including timelines for applications, exam scores, and orientation courses).

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

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

1. Submit the Application for Licensure 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 interpreter 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., the language you're licensed to interpret);

• 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 interpreter 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 interpreter 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: courtinterpreters@txcourts.gov 

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

Licensure 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 license. 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 Licensure by Endorsement, you must now do the following prior to registering for the exam:

1. Submit the Application for Licensure 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., the language you are licensed to interpret.)
  • A copy of your resume
  • A copy of your exam results; scores, method (i.e., language), 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 Interpreter applications for licensure by endorsement may be reviewed by the Court Interpreter 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 license that you hold.

You may not have to take the test, depending on your endorsement eligibility determination. If you do have to take the 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 courtinterpreters@txcourts.gov

Orientation Course Requirement & Courses

List of Approved Orientation Courses

The 6 hour orientation course provides the basic knowledge, skills and abilities on all three major types of court interpreting; Sight, Consecutive and Simultaneous, to become a licensed court interpreter. The goal is for the candidate to achieve a high level of mastery of two languages, and specific performance skills in the modes of interpreting. Candidates should perform each type of interpreting skillfully enough to include everything that is said, preserve the tone and level of language of the speaker, neither changing nor adding anything to what is said.

The course is designed to help candidates deliver services in a manner faithful to all professional responsibilities and ethics, and court policies regarding court interpreting promulgated by the judiciary. The course should provide information and discussion about what the profession requires to help students decide whether and how to proceed with the pursuit of a license as a court interpreter.

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.

Expiration

Your approval to provide court interpreting services will expire two (2) years after the last day of the month of certification and, upon expiration, unless renewed, your name will be removed from the list of certified court interpreters in our online licensing system.

Reinstatement of License Expired 1 year or More

See section 3.2 of the JBCC Rules for a certification (license) 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 courtinterpreters@txcourts.gov so they can reactivate your profile, thereby allowing you to submit the application online.

Reinstating an Expired Court Interpreter License

When initially applying to reinstate an expired license under option #1, do not create a first-time applicant profile in our online system. Instead, you must do the following as an existing certification to start the licensure process over again.

There are 2 options for reinstating a license expired for 1 year or longer. 

Option #1 (online only): Applicants reinstating an expired license must meet the same requirements as new applicants if they do not meet the requirements established under option #2 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 new certification and pay the application fee, 
  3. Click the button to apply for the exam and pay the exam fee.

Option #2 (online only): Former TX court interpreters who moved out of state and are returning may reinstate without examination only if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You were licensed in Texas prior to moving out of state;
  2. You are currently licensed in the other state;
  3. You have been practicing court interpreting in the other state for a period of at least 1 year preceding the date of application for (re)certification in Texas; and,
  4. Your license is currently in good standing.

If you meet the criteria in option #2 you may become recertified in Texas 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 new certification 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 courtinterpreter@txcourts.gov.

Fees

All fees are non-refundable.

Application Fee: $200.00

Acceptable forms of payment:  Credit Card

Updated: 01/21/2021