Careers In Steno


Extreme job demand + a strong network = OPPORTUNITY

Steno, or stenography, is a form of shorthand typing done on a special machine which makes it possible to produce a verbatim transcript. For instance, a court reporter types up everything said in the courtroom using a special writing machine and produces a transcript or record of the proceedings. Court reporters have used stenography for over a century to write at over 200 words per minute, faster than most people speak.


But…Steno is not just for court reporting.

Captions, composed of text, are used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing to access content delivered by spoken words and sounds. A captioner (often trained as a court reporter or stenographer) uses the same stenotype machine with a phonetic keyboard and special software.

With an average starting salary of over $50,000 per year and only 2 years of college plus 4 months of training to become a captioner, you can have a professional level salary in less time than the average 4-year college student.


Work remotely and set your own hours.

Realtime captioning can be used for programs such as: lectures, classes, live sporting events on TV, congressional or council meetings, and news programs, too.

Realtime captioning is often done remotely and then transmitted to the site where the program is taking place. Think about a lecture hall on campus. The instructor can talk into a microphone that is connected via telephone lines to a captioner in a different city. From that location, the captioner transmits the captioned text via the internet to a laptop in the lecture hall or to a laptop in a student’s home. This type of captioning is known as CART captioning – Communication Access Realtime Translation.



Most reporters start out in captioning working for a captioning company like VITAC. Many times, these jobs are remote positions with varied schedules working from your home office. Some captioning firms include paid training, equipment and benefits. It’s important to get experience in realtime captioning, and working for a company first before you go off on your own to provide freelance work is a good option.



If a career in steno is piquing your interest but you’d like to learn more first, there are several FREE resources that can get you on the right track. A FREE program supported by the NCRA called Steno A to Z teaches machine shorthand (steno). The A to Z program is for potential students to learn the alphabet in steno, write on a real machine, and decide if pursuing an education in court reporting or captioning is the right choice. In addition, Plover is a 100% free, open source steno program that lets you use your keyboard as a steno machine. The software works on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.



Becoming a captioner starts with education and learning steno as a realtime reporter. (Even though some trained as reporters never actually work in a courtroom!) Typically, a degree in stenography court reporting takes about 33 months for completion. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has a list of institutions that are committed to excellence in realtime reporter education. Check it out »



Job security is on everyone’s mind at some point and the same is true for court reporters and captioners. When the government mandates that these jobs are done, you can count on job security! Many entities have obligations under civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination and require the provision of accommodations, such as captioning, to ensure equal access, an equal opportunity to participate, and effective communication with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These entities have obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other laws.



The best job prospects and opportunities for growth will be in captioning and CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation). The NCRA predicts demand for CART captioners and realtime reporters will increase dramatically over the next five years growing at a rate of 14%. With over 5,500 new jobs opening and less people aware of this niche industry, some experienced reporters can earn more than six-figure salaries.


According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median annual wage for court reporters was $51,320 in May 2016. For captioners and CART captioners, the average salary is between $70,000 – $80,000 per year, with many freelance captioners averaging $75 per hour. There are very few careers that can offer this kind of salary with less than a 4-year university degree.

Watch Steno In Action



With 1 out of every 6 people dealing with at least some degree of hearing loss, providing captions for the deaf and hard of hearing is an incredible opportunity to impact those around you. CART and captioning services are life changing for those that need it and providing accessibility to those individuals will make a difference in their world AND yours.



You can be on your way to a new career in realtime reporting in short time. We’re happy to provide you with more resources and information about this great niche industry with huge potential for growth! Working from home, making a six-figure salary and a network of support are just some of the benefits just waiting for you to make the leap and get in touch.

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"I was new to the CART world when I first started working with Anissa, but when I completed her class, I felt like an expert. My dictionary improved immensely; far beyond what I could have done on my own."

Kayla C.
CART Captioner

"The one-on-one training that I received from Anissa was invaluable! Anissa gives you new ways to think about how you write. I would definitely recommend Anissa and LearnToCaption!"

Susan A. Zielie

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Donna Chafins
Court Reporter

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Kelly Spears
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Jodi Crutchfield

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Kathleen Wilkins

“After 25 years of court reporting, Caption Masters opened my eyes to a whole new way of looking at my writing, writing smarter and cleaner, focusing on perfect translation, and has taught me it IS attainable, allowing me to transition from court reporting to CART and live TV captioning. Thank you, Anissa! YOU ROCK!!”

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Cheryl Rooney

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Debi Pangburn

“Through her excellent teaching skills and dedication to each of her professional students that doesn't end at course completion - offering invaluable tips and guidance on writing, effective practicing and dictionary building and maintenance. Anissa has greatly helped this 37-year court reporting veteran on the road to our profession's Ph.D. jewel, closed captioning."

Aaron R. Alweis

"Anissa is a great instructor and prepared me well for my captioning career, which will begin upon my retirement from court. I recommend Caption Masters to anyone who wants to pursue a captioning career or just improve their writing skills. It was a fantastic course, and I can't even begin to tell you all I learned.”

Sara Lerschen

“Captions Masters was the catalyst in my transitioning from court reporting to CART/captioning. It was well worth it. I also used Dictionary Jumpstart. I trusted the process of those two things, and now I'm working in the field of CART/captioning.”

Candy Thomas

“I would highly recommend Caption Masters. I've been a broadcast captioner for almost a year now. Anissa is a hands-on instructor, and is there for you every step of the way & beyond. This class helped me make the transition from being a court reporter for 20-plus years to becoming a captioner.”

Lisa Grau

“I always thought cleaning up my writing after so many years would be this huge process that would take years and Caption Masters made it simple and effective in four months.”

Emily Niles

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