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NCRA Develops New Certifications for CART and Captioning

With Congress appropriating millions of dollars in order to establish and strengthen realtime writing programs, CART and captioning have increased in popularity as a profession. Schools receiving federal funds will train writers in order to meet the mandates set in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which requires all new television programming to be 100 percent captioned by 2006 and allows greater CART access to those with communication access needs.

Therefore, the importance of the quality of both CART and captioning services has increased as well. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has developed new specialized certifications for captioners and CART providers in order to meet the ever-growing demand for quality services - the Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC) and the Certified CART Provider (CCP). NCRA has certified reporters since 1935, yet focused its attention on the application of reporting skills in the judicial arena. With the growing demand for realtime communication access services, and a clear understanding of the specific needs of people who are deaf or hard of hearing, NCRA has developed these new certifications to ensure that they are relevant to the specifics of the CART and captioning environments.

These specialized certifications, which combine both knowledge and skill requirements, will allow consumers to gain a better understanding of the standards that qualified broadcast captioners and CART providers are expected to not only meet, but exceed. The first certification exams will take place in November 2003.

The reasoning behind creating the new certifications comes from the fact that the knowledge base for all of the realtime environments is very different. The reporting world is changing, with different employment opportunities available for practitioners trained to write verbatim realtime. Students are now going directly to school to learn specifically how to be broadcast captioners or CART providers, and these new certification exams will serve as the entry-level standards of competency for these specialties.

These certifications will benefit the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in a variety of ways. CART providers will now have to pass a more specialized certification exam, preparing them more efficiently for the type of service they will provide. In the end, those requiring CART services will have a larger pool of qualified realtime writers to choose from as well as having the advantage of knowing they are working with a nationally certified provider.

Likewise, the new certification for captioners will hone their skills more appropriately for broadcast captioning. This means better television captioning for everyone. With 28 million deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans and over 100 million total viewers who benefit from closed captioning, it is important that the captioner has been specially trained and is able to provide quality captions.

The demand for CART and captioning services will only continue to grow. It is important to make sure that realtime writers have specialized training and certifications in order to provide the best quality services. NCRA will continue to maintain high standards for realtime writers and change with the times as these professions further develop according to the needs of communication access consumers.

For more information on CART or captioning, visit NCRA's Web site at www.NCRAonline.org. For information specifically on CART, visit NCRA's CART consumer Web site at www.CARTinfo.org.

About the National Court Reporters Association

NCRA is a 26,000-member nonprofit organization representing the judicial reporting and captioning professions. Members include official court reporters, deposition reporters, broadcast captioners, providers of realtime communication access services for deaf and hard-of-hearing people and others who capture and convert the spoken word into information bases and readable formats. Additional information is available by calling 800-272-6272 (TTY 703-556-6289) or visiting their Web site at www.NCRAonline.org.




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