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Degree Overview: Associate of Closed Caption Reporter

Majors Overview July 20, 2013

Students enrolled in closed captioning programs are prepared to seek entry level jobs in various careers that involve the provision of closed captioning communication to hearing-impaired people. Coursework in an associate’s degree program in closed caption reporting focuses on hands-on experience through courses in shorthand and transcription.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Closed Captioning Degree Program

Students in an associate’s degree programs in closed captioning are provided with the skills needed to transcribe spoken word communication into text communication; this process is performed in real time to benefit hearing-impaired individuals, and is also referred to as Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART). Schools offer these programs in augmentation of court reporting or real-time programs, offering some of the programs in online formats. Coursework may include an internship in a non-judicial or judicial setting. Some closed captioning programs are accredited and guidelines provided for the coursework by the National Court Reporters Association. Typically, community colleges and technical schools offer the terminal program of two years’ duration in which students are prepared to take professional certification exams. Generally, admission criteria require applicants to hold a general educational development (GED) certificate or a high school diploma.

Program Coursework

Students must complete core coursework along with general educational requirements. They will gain hands-on experience with computer-compatible machine shorthand as well as computer-aided transcription systems. Students also learn how to take dictation and transcribe with accuracy. Program course topics may include the following:

•Captioning in the classroom
•Broadcast captioning
•Machine shorthand theory
•Grammar and punctuation
•Medical and legal terminology

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

Students who have earned their associate’s degree that seek immediate employment may find jobs as judicial reporters for legal cases and court systems, CART reporters for conventions or in educational environments and broadcast captioners for television stations or other visual media outlets, which provide closed captioning options. From 2008 to 2018, employment of court reporters, among which closed captioners and related professionals were counted, is expected to increase by eighteen percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Job opportunities for court reporters are not limited to within the courtroom and this high job growth projected is explained by many factors. There are federal regulations that mandate the captioning of all Spanish- and English-language television programming. In addition, there are the Americans with Disabilities Act that mandates that access be given in real-time translating at colleges and universities to hearing-impaired students who want such access. In May 2010, court reporters, including captioners, took home an average annual salary of $47,700 (BLS).

Certificate and Licensing Information

Certification and licensure are mandatory in some jobs and states (BLS). The Certified Court Reporter designation is mandatory in some states for individuals who want to become court or judicial reporters; such certification is awarded upon the passage of a state examination. Certification and licensing can only be maintained through continuing education.

The National Verbatim Reporters Association offers a Real-Time Verbatim Reporter (RVR) credential that measures an applicant’s aptitude for real-time judicial reporting, captioning and transcription. The National Court Reporters Association offers the Certified CART Provider (CCP), Certified Real-time Reporter (CRR) and Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC) credentials to individuals who provide assistance to hearing-impaired people through captioning services. Additionally, the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT) and the United States Court Reporters Association offer specialized certifications.

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