Examination Information

Please Retain for Reference

In this document, the Court Reporters Board (CRB) has attempted to answer many of the frequently asked questions regarding the application-examination process. Further questions may be directed to the CRB office at (877) 327-5272.


All persons desiring to practice as Certified Shorthand Reporters in the State of California (Section 8017, Business & Professions Code) must possess a valid license issued by the CRB. Licensure is attained by successfully completing a written/skills examination offered in three subjects, as well as other eligibility requirements discussed herein. Persons applying for the FIRST TIME must complete an Application for Examination and submit it to the CRB together with the required qualifying documents and the fee indicated on the checklist of the application. Every item on the application must be answered; if the question does not apply, simply state "not applicable." Your qualification date is calculated dependent upon your method of qualification. If you are qualifying through a school, the date of the transcript is used. If qualifying as a working reporter and presently employed, the date of your qualifying letter is used. If not presently employed, then the date you last worked is used. If qualifying with an out-of-state license or an NCRA certificate, the original issuance date of the certificate is used. Persons applying for RE-EXAMINATION do not need to re-qualify but must complete and submit an Application for Re-examination together with the fee indicated on the checklist of the application.

An applicant must take and pass all three parts of the examination within three (3) consecutive years to have passed the examination. If an applicant fails to pass all three sections of the exam within the three-year period, they will have to take all three sections again. The three-year period shall begin from the date of the examination for which the applicant is first scheduled and continues to toll even if you skip one or more exams during the three-year period.


Applicants with Disabilities: Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, special testing arrangements are available for applicants who can substantiate the need for reasonable accommodation. It is the responsibility of the applicant to notify the CRB of such needs, in writing, when filing each application so that suitable arrangements can be made. Medical verification of the disability must accompany this written notification. The written requests for special arrangements and medical verification must be received with each application in order to receive consideration. No special accommodation will be provided if the required documentation is not submitted with the application. Please contact the CRB to request a special accommodation form to submit with the application.



Dictation & Transcription. Includes four-voice dictation from an actual court or deposition transcript, at 200 words per minute for 13 minutes. Only the last 10 minutes will be transcribed. The material will be dictated live and video recorded. 97.5% accuracy is required to pass. The exam is administered remotely via Realtime Coach. It is made available for three weeks during March, July, and November.

For more information on the online skills examination please go to this link:


The English and Professional Practice written examinations are conducted via computer-based testing at a PSI test center. After an applicant completes the examination application and is approved by the CRB to take the written exams, the candidate information is sent to the test vendor for scheduling. The test vendor mails to the candidate a "Candidate Information Bulletin" that has the candidate's unique identifying number plus complete information on how to schedule yourself at a test center. The determination of the test center for scheduling, date and time of scheduling is completely up to each candidate. Candidates can sit for any written examination a maximum of once every exam cycle: July-October, November-February, March-June. For more information on the English and Professional Practice examinations, or to review the candidate information bulletin, please go to PSI's website at http://candidate.psiexams.com/index.jsp.


Dictation examination results are mailed on the same date to all exam candidates after grading has been completed. Results are not available by telephone. Please do not call the CRB to inquire when the results will be mailed. Each call requires that the examination process be interrupted and takes just that much longer for the final results to be processed. Dictation test results will be mailed within four to six weeks at the end of the testing window. Per board policy that was amended in November 2020, notification is pass/fail only. Actual scores are unavailable.

English and Professional Practice written examination results are mailed out approximately two weeks from the exam date.


A printed English dictionary may be used during the transcription portion of the Dictation/Transcription Test.

If there is any concern or confusion regarding spelling, hyphenation, or one-word/two-word designation, Merriam Webster's most current "Collegiate" dictionary will be considered the definitive and deciding reference. The CRB is currently using the 11th edition as reference to grade the examination.


If, after an application has been submitted to the CRB, an applicant finds that he or she is unable to appear for the exam, the CRB must be notified immediately. An eligible applicant who fails to appear for the assigned examination subject shall forfeit his or her fee.

In cases where an applicant must cancel, the CRB can elect to hold the fee over for one exam only, if written request is mailed to the CRB within 10 days of the exam testing window. There will be no refunds issued. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS.


Examinees who receive notification that they have completed all examination subjects are at that time declared eligible for licensure. ACTUAL LICENSURE IS ATTAINED BY SUBMITTING THE STATUTORILY-REQUIRED FEE AND THE FORMS PROVIDED BY THE CRB. SUCCESSFUL EXAMINEES SHALL NOT REPRESENT THEMSELVES AS CERTIFIED SHORTHAND REPORTERS UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THE FEE HAS BEEN SUBMITTED AND THE LICENSE HAS BEEN ISSUED. Upon issuance of the license, the licensee is entitled to all the PRIVILEGES and RESPONSIBILITIES which the State of California has conveyed to the licensee in the form of a license. The license is, at all times, the legal property of the State of California.


The Shorthand Reporters law is contained in the California Business & Professions Code beginning with Section 8000. The regulations adopted by the CRB are contained in Title 16 of the California Code of Regulation, beginning with Section 2400. In addition to the Business & Professions Code and the Code of Regulation, other laws exist which govern reporting practice and administration which appear in the following California Codes: California Constitution, Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Evidence Code, Government Code, Labor Code, Penal Code, Probate Code, Rules of Court, U.S. Constitution and the Welfare & Institutions Code. Candidates should be familiar with the contents of these reference materials, as well as the references identified in the school curriculum in the California Code of Regulations, Title 16, Division 24, Section 2411 (k)(1) and (2).


Business & Professions Code, Section 123: "It is a misdemeanor for any person to engage in any conduct which subverts or attempts to subvert any licensing examination or the administration of an examination, including, but not limited to:

(a) Conduct which violates the security of the examination materials; removing from the examination room any examination materials without authorization; the unauthorized reproduction by any means of any portion of the actual licensing examination; aiding by any means the unauthorized reproduction of any portion of the actual licensing examination; paying or using professional or paid examination-takers for the purpose of reconstructing any portion of the licensing examination; obtaining examination questions or other examination material, except by specific authorization either before, during, or after an examination; or using or purporting to use any examination questions or materials which were improperly removed or taken from any examination for the purpose of instructing or preparing any applicant for examination; or selling, distributing, buying, receiving, or having unauthorized possession of any portion of a future, current, or previously administered licensing examination.

(b) Communicating with any other examinee during the administration of a licensing examination; copying answers from another examinee or permitting one's answers to be copied by another examinee; having in one's possession during the administration of the licensing examination any books, equipment, notes, written or printed materials, or data of any kind, other than the examination materials distributed, or otherwise authorized to be in one's possession during the examination; or impersonating any examinee or having an impersonator take the licensing examination on one's behalf. Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under the authority provided for in any other provision of law. In addition to any other penalties, a person found guilty of violating this section, shall be liable for the actual damages sustained by the agency administering the examination not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and the costs of litigation.

(c) If any provision of this section or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the section that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this section are severable."