Broadcast captioners are court reporters who provide captions for television shows. They transcribe dialogues for television screens to help deaf people or people that have trouble hearing understand what is being said.

How to Become a Broadcast Captioner
How to Become a Broadcast Captioner

Should I Become a Broadcast Captioner?

If you are interested in becoming a part of court proceedings without getting a law degree, then you can opt for a career as a broadcast captioner. The following guide will give you a better understanding of what you need to do to start your career.




An Associate’s Degree or a Certificate

License/CertificationRequired in certain cases
Experience/TrainingDepends on the job requirements
Key SkillsGood concentration, Good typing speed, Impartial, etc.
Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National$64,990 (Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners)
Career Outlook (2019 – 2029)9% (Court Reporters)


Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has not published data specifically for the category of “Broadcast Captioners” but the data for a broader category of “Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners” is available. These professionals will enjoy a 9% growth in job opportunities between a ten-year period (2019 – 2029).

Steps to Become a Broadcast Captioner

You will need to complete certain steps to become a broadcast captioner.

Meet Educational Requirements

You will have to get an Associate’s degree or a certificate after high school to kickstart your career as a broadcast captioner. Getting better education will certainly improve your chances of landing a job and career progression. The certificate or the degree you opt for should be in the field of court reporting.

Clear an Educational Program

Broadcast captioners and court reporters have a lot of similarities. This is why a lot of court reporters institutions also offer programs for broadcast captioners or caption writers. The NCRA, National Court Reporters Association has a list of schools that offer these programs on their website and you can go through it to pick the one that suits you the most. Some vocational or technical schools might also offer Associate’s degrees in Broadcast Captioning.

Obtain a Certificate

It is always advisable to go for voluntary certification to increase your chances of getting a job. You can get the Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC) certificate from the NCRA. To get the certificate, you will need to sit through a written exam and also pass a captioning test of five minutes by typing 180 words per minute. You will have to complete continuing education requirements to renew your certificate every three years.

Clear State Licensing Requirements

Some states might require broadcast captioners to get licensed or get state-issued certificates. In that case, you will have to clear those requirements.

Get Some Practical Experience

Before beginning your career, it’s a better idea to first hone your skills in a field similar to broadcast captioning.

Apply for a Job

A lot of local as well as national media outlets regularly post job openings for captioners. Keep looking out for those vacancies to apply for jobs.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Broadcast Captioner?

The timeframe will vary as per the educational and training requirements. Normally it will take 2-4 years to become a broadcast captioner.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Broadcast Captioner?

  • Meet educational requirements.
  • Clear an educational program.
  • Get a certificate.
  • Clear state requirements, if any.
  • Obtain practical experience.
  • Apply for a job.

How Much Does a Broadcast Captioner Earn in the US?

$64,990 was the mean annual income of Court Reporters and Simultaneous Captioners employed in the US in 2019.

You May Also Like 

How to Become a Communication Access Real-time Translation Provider
How to Become a Communication Access Realtime Translation Reporter
How to Become a Court Reporter in Alabama
How to Become a Court Reporter in Austin