Training programs for caption writing professionals are accredited through the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) and are generally offered as an associate's degree in real-time reporting with an option in broadcast captioning.
Students in these programs learn to use stenotype equipment connected to a computer with special software to produce almost immediate captions of the words spoken in a broadcast. Programs are offered in a variety of flexible formats, including online. Upon graduation, students are expected to produce broadcast material at a minimum of 180 words per minute with 96% accuracy.
Prerequisites for these training programs include previous experience in typing, excellent manual dexterity and a high school diploma or equivalent.
Associate's Degree in Real-time Reporting
Associate's degree programs generally require you to complete 4-5 semesters in order to graduate. You'll take core education classes in mathematics, English, social sciences and communications, as well as professional coursework in:
- Real-time theory and software
- Speed building
- Transcription skills
- Business administration
- Broadcast captioning
- Business ethics
Career Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), court reporters have similar job duties to broadcast captioners and voice writers, and in May 2018, earned a median salary of $57,150 per year (www.bls.gov). Closed caption writers work for local and national television stations or may have a home-based business operation. Due to current telecommunications laws, there has been an increase in demand for real-time captioners. Employment of court reporters, in general, is expected to increase by 7% from 2018-2028, the BLS stated.
The National Verbatim Reporters Association offers the Real-Time Verbatim Reporter (RVR) certification, which may be necessary in order to obtain licensure. The certification verifies your ability to produce real-time transcription, judicial reporting and captioning. Continuing education credits are required to maintain the credentials.
Students who would like to enter careers as closed caption writers or broadcast captioners may pursue accredited associate's degree programs in real-time reporting. Students take speed-building and transcription courses to learn how to produce accurate captions for broadcast programs.