If you are a fast typer, you can earn over $20/hour by performing closed captioning services for various companies. Even better, you can perform closed captioning services right from home.

What is closed captioning?

In the broadcasting industry, closed captioning is the practice of placing text on television programs that are occurring either offline or in real-time.

With offline captioning, pre-recorded programs, like movies, have their dialogs broken up by frames and fitted into so-called time codes. These time codes enable the captions to sync with the frame dialog.

With real-time captioning, captions must be typed quickly and appear within two seconds of the words being spoken. As such, captioners must be more adept at listening to dialog and typing. Such work, because it is more challenging, is also paid a higher rate.

So, if you’ve ever been a court reporter or performed transcription, doing closed captioning could be a perfect fit for you. Even if you haven’t typed for a living before, training and working as a closed captioner could be a lucrative side gig- or even full-time job- for you.

There are several companies that hire closed captioners to work from home. So, if you can type at least 60 WPM, you may wish to check out these 10 companies and apply as either an offline or real-time closed captioner.

Companies that hire closed captioners

Aberdeen– This Christian programming focused company hires both offline and real-time closed captioners. It also hires caption editors. Real-time captioners are paid quite well (up to $75/hour), while offline and starting captioners earn between $12-$15/hour.

ASC Services This company provides captioning services to clients such as ABC, Bloomberg, CBS, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. As such, ASC requires that its captioners have three years of work experience. Knowledge of AP Style writing and a bachelor’s degree in English or journalism are the preferred qualifications.

ASC hires for various positions including news transcript copyeditor, financial at-home transcriber, financial editor, and editor/proofreader.

Caption Colorado– This company hires both full and part-time closed captioners for offline and real-time captioning. Benefits of its full-time employees include 401(k) plans, medical/dental/vision/life/disability insurance and health savings accounts. Pay ranges from $11.25 to $30.00 per hour “based on speed and accuracy,” at least according to Glassdoor.

Caption Max– This company hires offline and real-time closed captioners as independent contractors. At least one year of prior closed captioning experience is required. If you wish to perform real-time closed captioning, you’ll also be required to possess an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in Court and Conference Reporting. NCRA certification as a Certified Broadcast Captioner (or equivalent) may also be needed to perform real-time captioning.

The pay rate with Caption Max is fairly good, at least according to data published by Glassdoor; caption editors earn $13.39/hour and proofers make $15-$18/hour.

Caption Media Group– This company focuses on offline closed captioning and recordings produced in Spanish, English and Portuguese. At least 2 years of experience are required before you can work with them.

The company often lists its job openings on Indeed.com, not just its website.

CrowdSurf This company offers an online marketplace platform for clients and captioners to meet and collaborate. Pay varies depending on skill level and experience; however, most captioners are compensated between $0.03-$0.20 per media minute. Bonuses are paid out for high-quality work that is mostly error-free.

Rev– This freelance closed captioning business pays its remote workers by the video minute, with pay ranging from $0.50 to $0.75. According to the Rev website, their captioner freelancers earn an average of $240/month, and some top earners make almost $1,500/month.

RNK Productions This company provides offline captioning of movies, videos and other pre-recorded programming. New hires are brought on as independent contractors, with their pay ranging from $14-$30/hour (according to Glassdoor). While the company isn’t always looking for new contractors, it welcomes resumes at any time.

Talking Type Captions– This company offers closed/real-time captioning, scripting and foreign subtitles for movies and other programming, including the programming provided through big-name channels such as A&E, Big Fish Entertainment, PBS and The History Channel.

Depending on the work involved, the pay rate goes as high as $140/hour (according to jobs listed on the company website). Basic and starting captioners make $8/hour (according to Glassdoor).

Vitac This company offers captioning services for well-known clients such as Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Lifetime and BBC America. As a result, offline captioners are required to have a bachelor’s degree and real-time captioners are required to possess a typing speed of 225 WPM. The company offers a one week paid training program that must be completed on-site at its Pennsylvania location.

What equipment do you need?

As a closed captioner, you’ll definitely need access to a computer in order to view footage and caption it. Having a decent word processing program, like Microsoft Word, also helps, as does a foot pedal to slow down or speed up the footage.

It may help you to invest is a decent noise-cancelling headset so you hear words more clearly and aren’t bothering your roommates or spouse with program noise. A separate monitor helps too, enabling you to watch the action on-screen (and maybe even read lips, as needed).

Finally, many captioning companies recommend or provide closed captioning software.

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Join the Discussion

  • Jana

    This article is kind of inaccurate. Real-time captioning, performed live by people who were trained as court reporters or who went to CR school to train as such, is an extremely high-skill, difficult endeavor that requires years of training in steno writing at speeds up to 300 wpm. This is not a job one just drops into or picks up on the side.

  • Sebastian

    I’d highly suggest including 3Play Media on this list. I’ve been working for them as a transcriptionist for more than two and a half years and love it! (Plus it’s work at home!)

  • Francisco

    Wow, I never thought this could actually be a job, to be honest. That is very interesting. I’ve have seen some closed captioning here and there, but I always thought that it was meant for those who are helping edit the audio. Didn’t think that regular people could actually do this job as well. Thank you for the information!

    – Francisco

  • PaFoster

    Wow! I never realized my typing skills could be put to good use. I remember when schools stopped typing classes because they determined it to become an outdated skill. I still have the skills to type, and the freelance gig from Rev looks pretty promising for making some extra bucks. I am going to check out some of these opportunities, and also send this information to my son. I am sure he would find this information very interesting, and useful. I really appreciate your putting all this together!

  • greg smyth
    greg smyth

    Hi Steve,
    I’ve often wondered who does the writing for foreign based movies as they are a favorite of mine. Captioners of course, i see so many mistakes, some phrases just don’t make sense, but with a fast based transcription/translation/typing service i suppose we can allow a few mistakes.
    Great job for a fast typist.

  • isaac

    Wow! This can actually make money. Not only that, since most of the party depends on performance, it’s definitely a good incentive as we get better at typing. And since it can be done at the comfort of our home, it’s definitely a good way to supplement our income. Btw, do these closed captioning companies only hire native speakers of that specific program or movies?

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