How to Train to Be a Closed Caption Writer

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Writers needed! Closed-captioning and real-time writing jobs are in high demand. The salary for a closed-caption writer starts at $40,000 and some make up to $140,000 a year. The American Disabilities Act (ADA) requires broadcasting networks to produce closed-captioning for those with disabilities. With new technology such as HDTV and on-line television broadcasting, the demand for these writers will continue to increase. Several demographics need closed-captioning besides the hearing impaired. Some of those include English learning viewers and public television viewers in places such as restaurants and bars. Train for a lucrative writing career in this field by following these steps.

Evaluate your talents. See if you have the skills necessary to keep up with the job's demands. Closed-caption writers have a natural talent of paying attention to detail. You must speak fluent English and an extended vocabulary is a plus, but not necessary. Fast, accurate typing skills are required, but those skills can develop during your training.

Attend an approved school. Approximately 60 to 70 credits will earn you certification from a certified court reporting school. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) sets the standards for professionalism in this field. The NCRA website has a list of schools that meet their training requirements. Upon graduation, you will be NCRA certified.

Get certified for closed-caption writing. After completion of an NCRA certification, apply for the Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC) certification. This additional certification professionally recognizes the closed-captioning field, and sets additional requirements for those writers.

Get experience. Most companies seek at least two years experience in closed-caption or real-time writing. To get your experience, apply for a job as a captioning assistant. Captioning assistance jobs are similar to relay operators, who relay telephone conversations to text format. The NCRA has job listings for closed-caption jobs, including those needing captioning assistance jobs.


Find a temporary transcription job during your training to gain some experience and prepare you for this type of career. Many of those jobs are available for online content. Get firsthand knowledge of the deaf and hard of hearing community by corresponding with them throughout your training. Understand the culture and disability so you can see the need and importance of a closed-caption writer, and gain valuable insight. Consider talking to other viewers in different demographics. Closed-captioning is not only for the hearing-impaired. Children, non-English speaking, and family of the hearing impaired use closed-captions. By talking with them, your training will be more valuable and you will gain practical insight over the technical insight.


Financial aid is available to those who qualify for training in accredited court reporting schools. Many community colleges offer court reporter training so education costs will be more affordable and financial aid may cover your education. Ask the school if they offer the CBC certification. If not, you may have to make additional arrangements and this could include additional costs. If you do not qualify for financial aid through government programs, you may need another form of payment. Make payment arrangements or apply for other types of aid early.