Braille Formats

Braille Formats Certification

The Braille Formats Certification Exam is a test of a transcriber’s ability to properly apply the code to transcription projects.

The National Braille Association (NBA) is the only organization to offer a certification identifying a transcriber’s proficiency in applying the Principles of Print to Braille Transcription, 2016 as published by the Braille Authority of North America (BANA). To qualify for certification in Braille Formats, transcribers must first be certified by the National Library Service (NLS) in Literary Braille Transcription or by CNIB Foundation. Information on the NLS certification can be found here, and information on the CNIB certification can be found here.

Having the most current certification in a specific area can be attractive to a potential employer. Some employers may even require that you obtain the most current certification. But it is NBA’s belief that someone who has obtained a certification in Braille Formats 2011 and a Letter of Proficiency in Unified English Braille has adequately demonstrated their ability to accurately transcribe textbooks into braille according to the latest codes and standards.

About the Exam

The Braille Formats certification exam is completed by mailing the test materials. Those seeking to become certified will complete an application form, and submit the form with payment. Upon processing, a version of NBA’s own unique mini-textbook will be mailed to the exam taker. Individuals have eight weeks to complete transcription of this sample textbook and return all materials. Upon receipt, a grade accompanied by an error report will be returned to the exam taker within one month.

Click here to download the application form

Quick Facts

  • The cost of the exam is $175.00
  • Individuals have eight weeks to return the completed exam back to NBA from the date they were originally shipped
  • Submitted materials must be in simbraille with numbered lines, in portrait oriented printing
  • The exam is open book so you may reference codes or study materials, but consulting with other individuals is prohibited

Grades of 80 or higher will be awarded certification. Grades below 80 will be documented as a failed attempt at certification. Any exam taker receiving a failing grade on their first attempt make retake the exam right away. The process for a second attempt at certification is identical to the initial application process.

Individuals who successfully certify are given an electronic certificate and are listed on our website as evidence of their proficiency in the current code.

For those who are incarcerated and wish to become certified, we have developed a process to ensure that you will have access to the same opportunities to certify. Because of the sensitive nature of exam taking, some additional steps are required for those residing within an institutional setting. If you are incarcerated, or seeking information on behalf of someone who is incarcerated, please contact our office directly for more information.


In addition to the codebook itself that is available from the BANA website, we have written and published the 2018 Braille Formats Study Guide to help you familiarize yourself with the code and its application prior to taking the exam. Purchase of the study guide is not required for certification, but many exam takers find it helpful in learning the code and applying its concepts.

In addition to these materials, NBA has published a number of publications to help learn the intricacies of the Braille Formats code. These publications are available in our website store.

Each month, NBA conducts a free, 15-minute webinar focusing on one aspect of the Braille Formats code. Attendance for our Formats Friday webinar is free and open to all. Recordings of these webinars, as well as each of our webinars, is accessible to current NBA members.

News and Updates

[March 2018]

We have released the newest Braille Formats Study Guide in both print and ebook editions. Both editions are available in our online store for $50.00. For more information and to purchase, visit the product link here.

[August 2018]

The newest exam has been finalized and is currently in beta mode! We expect that the exam will be available to the public sometime in early fall.

[November 2018]

The exam to certify under Braille Formats 2016 is available! Click here to read the announcement.

Current List of Braille Formats Certified Transcribers

View a list of Transcribers Certified in 2016 Code

View a list of Transcribers Certified in 2011 Code

View a list of Transcribers Certified in 1997 Code