Last Updated on April 3, 2021 by Kelly L. This post may contain affiliate links. Regardless, I only recommend sites I've researched and/or used and trust.
Considering a Closed Captioning Jobs for Income?
Getting paid to watch TV is actually the basis of closed captioning. For a captioner, the gist is, watch a show or video, and then transcribe what it said. And a lot companies offer closed captioning work that can be done from the convenience of your own home.
Here’s the rundown for what you need to know about this intriguing field of work.
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What is Closed Captioning
In it's simplest definition, it's simply adding text to video. Though the majority of closed captioning is done to aid for those with hearing impairments, it's not the only reason for using closed captioning. It can be used for those watching something muted or with hard to understand accents.
Closed captioning to allow for a larger audience. This is obvious by how many bigger YouTubers have their videos closed captioned. This obviously helps anyone with hearing difficulties enjoy the YouTubers content as well — but some with perfect hearing, simply prefer closed captions. It's also been said that closed captions on video help with ranking and SEO by having keywords in the video text.
Being a closed captioner or doing work as one, means you'll be watching the video, and adding the text that correlates with it. There are guidelines for captioning, but once learned and practiced, you'll find there are a lot of closed captioning jobs out there to be had.
Closed Captioning Jobs: Qualifications
While there is no shortage of available jobs out there writing captions for TV and video, you’ll need more than a high school diploma and a winning attitude to get hired.
Of course, requirements vary by company, but for the most part you’ll be expected to:
- Possess Stenographic Skills. Steno typing is done on those little machines you see court reporters using on all the lawyer shows you could be captioning. It differs from a traditional keyboard in that it uses codes or different buttons to signify turns of phrase. Captions are written in stenographic shorthand, which is a coded language all its own.
The vast majority of captioning jobs require specialized training in the form of captioning courses. Most court reporting schools offer certifications and even degrees in CC. Specific requirements vary by employer.
- Purchase Your own Steno Writer. These little babies, when purchased new, can run you anywhere from $1,200-$6,000 depending on the model and features. However, there are used and refurbished options that can run from $700 to less than $100.
- Be a Fast Typer. You’ll need a very high WPM to snag most CC jobs. An expert-level steno-typer can rock a pace upwards of 200 words per minute.
Two Types of Closed Captioning Jobs
Offline Captions: When you're not captioning live television, it leaves you a little more leeway in terms of time to perfect or edit your captions. The client sends you the program and gives you a deadline to meet. However, you’ll need to keep track of time codes, such as frame numbers, time of recording, and exposure-length.
Some offline captioning jobs already have the script prepared, and just need you to time the caption-release to the program for optimal viewing. Other positions will require you to write your own script before timing its release.
Live or Real-Time Captions: Live events, such as sporting events, televised concerts, or news broadcasts require top speed, accuracy, and precision. As you may guess, live gigs tend to pay (a lot) more. Live captioners can make more than $100K per year!
Today's Top 5 Captioning Companies:
Hiring both offline and real time captioners, this company tends to hire frequently. While real-time captioners can work from home, offline captioners are typically required to work in their offices, located in Minneapolis, New York City, and Burbank.
This company only hires those with an A.A. or B.S. in Court and Conference Reporting or equivalent.
For career information on Caption Max, click here!
This Christian-based broadcast services company handles live and offline captioning as well as subtitles and voice-dubbing. While they require captioners to have experience in the field plus a steno speed of 180 WPM or greater, they pay up tp $75 per hour for live gigs from home.
Caption Media Group
Offering captioning and translation services in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, Caption Media requires 2 years experience at minimum.
While this company does not have an official careers page, here is a link to Caption Media on Indeed.
This pay-per-minute service offers transcription, captions, and subtitles. Rev tends to pay less than other captioning jobs, but they do provide a great jumping off-point for beginners to gain some experience.
Captioners can expect to earn a by-the-minute wage of $.40-$.75. While it may not seem worth your time, a couple of years here allows you to be hired for more lucrative jobs down the road by some of the other companies on this list.
For more career information on Rev, visit this site.
Is Closed Captioning a Career for You?
Consider captioning more of a long-term career move rather than an immediate cash side-gig. Can it be done supplementally or on the side? Of course! But it requires commitment.
While the time and monetary investment typically required to get into this field might not be feasible for everyone, it does provide a lucrative option for stay-at-home moms or anyone else wanting to make a lasting and sustainable remote-work change.
Those interested in more traditional transcription, might want to take a look at my great interview with Janet Shaughnessy. She not only worked at home full-time as a transcriptionist for years, but also created a free, no-obligation mini-course to help those interested get more information about a career in transcription.
You can also check out current transcription jobs on the job board here at MoneyMakingMommy.com.
Want to Get Started with Closed Captioning NOW?
If you’re looking to take Stenographer classes or get certified, your best bet is to visit the official NCRA (National Court Reporting Association) site. Its the trusted authority on finding authentic captioning and transcribing classes and programs near you as well as legitimate employment opportunities.