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How to Become a CSR

Examination Process

The Iowa Certified Shorthand Reporter examination is usually held twice a year at the Iowa Judicial Branch Building, 1111 E. Court Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa.  (The Iowa Judicial Branch Building is on the State Capitol complex, and should not be confused with the Polk County Courthouse at 5th & Mulberry in downtown Des Moines.)

If you are a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) in good standing under the rules of the National Court Reporter Association (NCRA), you will only be required to take and pass the written portion of the Iowa examination. The written portion of the test is given online throughout the year and on the dates of the skills tests. When the written test is passed and verification is made of the applicant’s RPR status, the applicant will be notified by the board of his or her certification date. The CSR certificate will be mailed to the applicant.

If you are not a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) applicant, you will be required to take and pass both the written and skills portions of the Iowa examination. You will be required to submit written certification to the Board of Shorthand Examiners that your training and experience comply with one of the following:

  1. Attained proficiency of 200 wpm or more in a shorthand reporting course; or

  2. Had at least two years of experience as a shorthand reporter in making verbatim records of judicial or related proceedings; or

  3. Graduated from a shorthand reporting school approved by the National Court Reporters Association.

If the proper verification is not provided, you will not be allowed to sit for the examination.

Here is the application to take the exam to become a CSR 

Further information is available from the Board's administrative office at telephone (515) 348-4670.

Reciprocal Certification of Veterans and Other Persons

If you are a veteran or hold a valid reporting license in good standing in another state you may be able to qualify for certification via reciprocity. The certification requirements of the other jurisdiction in which you are licensed must be substantially equivalent to the standard of the National Court Reporters Association for the earned designation of Registered Professional Reporter. You will still need to take the Iowa written exam, however.

Here is the application form for submission of military service or education as satisfaction of the requirements to qualify for the exam. If you are a veteran you will need to download and complete this application. It is used to verify that you have the experience or education to take the examination.

Here is the application form to be used for those seeking reciprocal certification due to veteran status or certification in another state. Both veterans and non-veterans need to download and complete this application form. This is the actual application.

Please note that Iowa does not certify or allow voice writing (also known as verbatim or stenomask).

Notice of Written Examination Dates

The written examination for candidates who are Registered Professional Reporters (RPR) in good standing is administered online the year. The 30 day application deadline set in Iowa Court Rule 46.4 does apply to the written examination dates. If you wish to take just the written examination, please click here for the application.

Notice of Complete Examination Dates

The complete examination (skills and written) for candidates who are not Registered Professional Reporters (RPR) is administered twice each year, on Saturdays in September and in March:

Testing Dates

Saturday, December 9, 2023 - Skills and Written (applications need to be received by November 9, 2023)

Unless otherwise specified, candidates must report no later than 8:00 a.m. on these days.  The 30 day application deadline set in Iowa Court Rule 46.4 does apply to the complete examination dates. Pursuant to Iowa Code section 602.3107, the Board has discretion as to whether or not to allow an examination to be given to an applicant who has failed the examination on two prior occasions. The Board also has the discretion to postpone, cancel, or reschedule an examination.

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