Broadcast Captioning School and Training Programs: How to Choose

Aspiring broadcast captioners can enroll in certificate or associate degree programs in broadcast captioning and information reporting technology. Online options are available, though students must be fully equipped with captioning hardware and software to be eligible.

How to Choose a Broadcast Captioning School

Broadcast captioners translate television shows, sporting events and emergency announcements for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. They convert the spoken word into written communication using stenotype machines and real-time captioning software. Certificate and associate degree programs are offered at 2-year vocational and community colleges. After completing a program, students wishing to enter the broadcast captioning field must pass the Certified Broadcast Captioning (CBC) exam.

Because captioners act as the ears for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, they must have excellent listening skills and may benefit from courses about deaf culture. In addition to broadcast captioning, graduates can work as Communications Access Real-time Translation (CART) providers. Though additional certification is required, CART professionals use the same technology to caption live events for deaf individuals in the legal and education fields.

When choosing a broadcast captioning program, students may want to consider the following:

  • Associate degree programs generally take two years to complete, while a certificate program doesn't include general education requirements and can be completed in a year or less.
  • Students seeking programs should verify that they are certified by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), a nonprofit professional organization that ensures programs meet certain professional standards.
  • Aspiring broadcast captioners will likely benefit from programs that teach research techniques and proper formatting for a variety of shows and events, and that place an emphasis on shorthand speed while maintaining proper grammar, coherence and punctuation.
  • Many programs require students to purchase a stenotype machine along with the captioning software, so students should keep these extra costs in mind.

Broadcast Captioning Program Overviews

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs in broadcast captioning are intended for court reporting professionals who wish to continue their education. Those entering the field with no experience are required to take additional speed-building courses. Before graduation, programs require students to pass stenograph tests with over 96% accuracy and conflict-free content. Courses include:

  • Speed-building
  • Real-time theory
  • Basic broadcast captioning
  • Advanced broadcast captioning

Associate Degree Programs

The curricula for information reporting technology associate degree programs cover CART and judicial reporting, in addition to broadcast captioning. Many programs also include an internship as well as literary courses to develop grammatical skills. Additional topics include:

  • Editing legal documents
  • Legal terminology
  • Computer-aided transcription
  • Short writing techniques
  • Business law and ethics

10 Schools with Broadcast Captioning Programs

College/University Institution Type
Miami Dade College 4-year, Public
Cuyahoga Community College District 2-year, Public
El Paso Community College 2-year, Public
New York Career Institute 2-year, Private
Sumner College 2-year, Private
Prince Institute - Rocky Mountains 2-year, Private
Alfred State College 4-year, Public
Arlington Career Institute 2-year, Private
Lakeshore Technical College 2-year, Public
South Coast College 2-year, Private

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