What is Certified Broadcast Captioner?

A Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC) is an individual who has taken and passed the Certified Broadcast Captioner exam and thus gained certification in the field of broadcast captioning. This certification is offered by the National Court Reporter’s Association. The certification is a valuable credential and can be useful in securing jobs in the growing field of realtime captioning.

The National Court Reporter’s Association

The CBC exam and certification is, as noted above administered and conferred by The National Court Reporter’s Association, or NCRA. This is a national organization that supports professionals in the court reporting industry. It mainly emphasizes support for reporters that use stenographic methods (as opposed to voice writing) as a main transcription technique. This organization offers memberships at a few different levels in exchange for yearly dues. Members are eligible to take a number of different certification exams offered by the organization that provide credentialing for a number of facets and levels of the court reporting field. The website provides helpful information such as college listings and employment resources like classified advertising.

The CBC Exam

The CBC examination consists of two parts: a written knowledge test (abbreviated as WKT) and a skills test (abbreviated as SKT).

The written knowledge test or WKT portion of the exam lasts 90 minutes and consists of 100 multiple choice questions. These questions deal with four main subject areas (though the NCRA website points out that the test is not limited to these areas): Writing Realtime, Language Skills, Realtime Writing in the Broadcast Environment, and Research. The test taker must achieve a scaled score of 70% or higher on the WKT portion in order to pass.

The Skills Test or SKT of the CBC is identical to the skills portion of the Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) exam. It consists of three parts: In the first, the individual sets up a stenotype machine and CAT equipment. This shows that they are familiar with the technology and are efficient at getting it set up and ready for use. The second set is a five minute real time transcription session from recorded literary material spoken at 180 words per minute. The student must accurately transcribe this spoken content using the stenotype machine and CAT technology. When the transcription is done, the student must convert their file to an ASCII text file. It is this final file that yields the grade for the skills portion of the exam.

If an individual already has CRR certification (i.e. has taken and passed the CRR exam), he or she doesn’t need to take the SKT portion of the CBC exam.

Exam Eligibility

There are no eligibility requirements for taking the CBC exam other than that they be a member of the NCRA in good standing. In order to maintain membership yearly dues are paid, continuing education requirements must be maintained, and a member needs not to have been involved in any misconduct.

Advantages of CBC Certification

The advantages of having a CBC certification are mainly in terms of employment in the captioning field. Captioning is used both in television and internet broadcasting and at a wide variety of events at which there are hearing impaired individuals who need to follow what’s going on. The latter could take the form of occasions like meetings and public speaking events at which the hearing impaired are present. For work that is more focused on dealing specifically with the hearing impaired and other language challenged individuals, the NCRA offers the Certified CART Provider certification, which deals with captioning using the Computer Access Realtime Translation system. You can find an article on this topic also on this blog.

Continuing Education

The CBC certification must be maintained by taking continuing education credits. This is in fact the case with all of the certifications that the NCRA offers. The organization employs a system in which it grants continuing education credits called CEUs. In order to maintain the CBC the student must earn at least 3.0 CEUs over a three year period. They must also, of course, maintain membership in the NCRA.

The NCRA Website

Reporters wishing to sit for the CBC exam can register on the website. In addition to this, the NCRA website contains a wealth of information for both court reporting students and professionals already working in the field of. It offers college listings, classified ads for those seeking jobs or advertising their services, articles and news, listing of professional court reporting organizations on the state level, and many other useful features. Court reporters or students can access the website and use it as a kind of home base for their professional pursuits. It serves as an information resource and contact point that can help those starting out and long time court reporting professionals alike.

CBC certification is a useful credential for anyone interested in captioning, whether it is for broadcasting or other captioning related work, to have. Take a look at the NCRA website for further information on it at: http://ncraonline.org/