Real-Time Captioners

Outlook

Employment Prospects

Employers

Captioners are employed primarily by captioning companies such as the National Captioning Institute (NCI) and VITAC. These companies contract with broadcasters and production companies to caption live and recorded events. Captioners work either as full-time employees for captioning companies or as freelancers (that is, independent contractors).

Starting Out

You should seek employment at one of the few large captioning companies in the country or contact station managers at your local television stations to inquire about real-time captioning positions. As with many other businesses, the best approach may be simply to start calling the leading companies in the field and the local companies and see who is hiring. Gallaudet University, a postsecondary institution that provides education for deaf and hard of hearing students, provides useful information about captioning on its Web site, https://www.gallaudet.edu.

Before securing a real-time captioning position, you may have to "audition" as part of a pre-interview screening process that involves preparing raw steno notes from a sample recorded program. The notes are then analyzed, with employment consideration based on the results of the evaluation and job experience. A good way to prepare for employment evaluation is to practice on the kind of material you wish to caption and to offer to demonstrate your skills.

Advancement Prospects

Advancement for a real-time captioner is dependent upon performance, with salary increases and promotions to more responsible positions awarded with greater proficiency and tenure. Skilled real-time captioners may advance to supervisory positions.

Tips for Entry

Talk to real-time captioners about their careers. Visit the National Verbatim Reporters Association’s Web site, https://www.nvra.org, for a list of captioners in your area.

Visit https://www.ncra.org/discoversteno for information on careers in court reporting and broadcast captioning.

Visit https://www.ncra.org/jobs for job listings.