Did you know that you can get paid to work at home doing closed captioning work? Yes, this means you are basically transcribing the audio from TV programming or movies — providing the black and white text you see across the bottom of the screen when you have your close caption settings on. Captioning is done for the hearing impaired.
There are actually two primary types of captioning jobs:
Offline Closed Captioning
People who do offline closed captioning transcribe pre-recorded TV programming and/or movies (things that won’t be airing live). To be successful as an offline captioner, it’s important that you type fast, have great English skills, are very comfortable using computers, and have a good understanding of time codes. A time code is defined as, “A coded signal on videotape or film giving information about such things as frame number, time of recording, or exposure.”
Offline captioners may transcribe a program first (listen to it in it’s entirety while preparing a script), and then use the script for captioning. Sometimes there will already be a script prepared for the transcriber to use.
Real-time captioning involves live programming. This is closed captioning for news broadcasts, sporting events, or anything taking place live. As you can imagine, real-time captioning involves a great deal of speed and skill and because of this, it’s known to pay far better than offline captioning does. In fact, some real-time captioners make upwards of $100K per year! Just as it is with offline captioning, you’ll need to be fast and accurate, and you’ll also need to have stenographic skills because real-time captioners typically use stenographic shorthand while working.
To get into this line of work, you’ll have to have been trained at a school that offers captioning courses. Many court reporting schools do offer degrees and certifications in captioning.
If you are interested in this line of work and want to train for it, the NCRA has a list of court reporting schools nationwide, some of which do offer captioning training.
The NCRA also has a job bank you can browse through if you are looking for companies nationwide that are hiring captioners. Always notice while you’re browsing whether or not the listing specifically says you can work remotely. Many (but not all) companies allow their captioners to work from home. I also have a post with a short list of companies that do regularly hire home-based closed captioners.