Professional Development Conferences are held in the  fall of each year in various cities in the United States. These conferences are the sites for workshops which enable participants to improve their skills and learn more about braille code revisions, new techniques, software, hardware, and production equipment. Social functions offer the additional stimulation of informal visits with NBA members, members of other organizations, and agencies.

After canceling our 2020 Professional Development Conference originally planned for San Antonio, we began working to see how we could still deliver the same educational content to transcribers and teachers of the visually impaired. After months of careful planning, we've created a virtual experience to deliver the same great education.

This year, we'll be conducting the 2020 Professional Development Conference virtually!

Here's the info you need now:

  • There will be multiple online workshops each day of the week starting Monday, November 16th through Friday, November 20th. Each day will begin around 11:00a ET to accommodate our friends on the west coast.
  • You will need to register, but registration will be open to everyone at no cost.
  • Since we're making the entire conference available to attendees at no cost, we've developed ways for brands to provide financial support.

Stay tuned to this page as we unveil plans for the 2020 Professional Development Conference to take place virtually this November!

2020 Professional Development Conference


National Braille Association would like to thank these proud sponsors for their generous support with the virtual 2020 Professional Development Conference.





There will be no cost to attend the conference, but attendees will need to register. To do so, you'll enter your full name and email address, state and country in the registration fields. You will need to register individually for each and every workshop individually that you want to attend.

As of October 1st, registration for workshops is officially open!

To register, use this link to navigate to the calendar of all the workshops. On that page, you'll see the entire week of workshops listed. To register, click on the workshop you wish to attend, and you'll be taken to a screen to enter your info.



Monday, November 16, 2020

Unified English Braille Literary
11:00a - 12:30p ET
Roots, Prefixes, and Modes


Transcriber and Educator Services
1:00p - 2:30p ET

Communication and Collaboration Between Teachers (TVIs), Transcribers, and Paraprofessionals


Computer Assisted Transcription
3:00p - 4:30p ET
Major Changes in BrailleBlaster Version 2.0


Foreign Language Braille
4:45p - 6:00p ET

Overview of Foreign Language Transcriptions


Virtual Lobby: Social Hour
6:30p - 7:30p ET

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science
11:00a - 1:00p ET
Nemeth and Formats and How They Work Together


Prison Braille Services
1:30p - 3:00p ET
I'm Certified, Now What? A Transcriber's Resource Guide to Success


Unified English Braille Literary
3:30p - 5:00p ET

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Music Braille
11:00a - 11:45a ET
Introduction to Music Braille, Part One


Unified English Braille Technical
12:15p - 1:15p ET
Spatial Problems, Rules and Advice for UEB Technical Material


Computer Assisted Transcription
3:30p - 4:15p ET
The Wonderful World of NIMAS


Braille Formats
4:30p - 6:00p ET
The Not-So-Basics of Formatting

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Prison Braille Services
11:00a - 12:30p ET
Transitioning to Independent Success


Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science
1:30p - 3:00p ET

Best of 'Ask An Expert'


Music Braille
3:30p - 4:15p ET
Introduction to Music Braille, Part Two


Foreign Language Braille
4:30p - 5:30p ET
Foreign Language Formatting

Friday, November 20, 2020

Transcriber and Educator Services
11:00a - 12:30p ET
Basics 101 for Paraprofessionals


Unified English Braille Technical
1:00p - 3:00p ET

Algebra and Geometry Basics


Braille Formats
3:30p - 4:30p ET

Complications Continued


Absolutely. For the first time ever, you don't need to pay a single thing to attend. We'll be using GoToWebinar software, which we pay a licensing fee for. There is nothing for you to purchase.

You will need to register to attend, and you'll need to register individually for each workshop you wish to attend. You can attend one, or two, or all of them--it's totally up to you. If you do not register in advance of the workshop, we won't know that you really want to attend, so we won't know to send you the link to sign in the day of the workshop.

We'll be using software called GoToWebinar so you'll need some kind of internet access and an electronic device to access that.

If you cannot attend a workshop because you don't have internet access, you can call in during the workshops to listen to the audio portion of the training. However, you'll still need the internet to register yourself for the workshops you want to call in for.

When you register, you'll be sent an email with a phone number to call in with to listen to the workshop you've registered.

Like all of our conferences, we'll be providing handouts for each workshop where it is needed. We'll be making handouts available to attendees about 1-2 weeks in advance of the workshop.

Some workshops may include handouts that are provided right in the workshop.

NBA is not affiliated, associated, or endorsed by any particular higher education accreditation process, so official continuing education credits aren't available for our conferences. We do, however, provide evidence upon request of the amount of time an individual has spent with us in professional development training.

Since every employer is different and requires different things, it's impossible for us to know if your employer will accept a letter from us to count toward your required annual training. You'll need to check with your employer about what they will and will not accept.

At this time, we're unsure of what we'll be doing with the content generated from the workshops presented at this year's virtual conference. We'll be recording the conference, but we haven't decided what we'll be doing with those recordings afterward.

If there is a workshop you are particularly excited about, we recommend finding a way to attend that workshop. There is no guarantee that we'll be making that content available later.

Upon request, we have the ability to provide CART closed captioning for attendees who need it. We will only be hiring closed captionists for the workshops in which it is needed, so any requests for this service will need to be made prior to October 16, 2020. Please contact our offices letting us know which workshops you'll be attending so we can have ample time to book the service.

After October 16th, we cannot guarantee that the transcription service will be available.

Of course! Because we are opening registration to attendees at no cost this year, we are relying on the support of brands and businesses to help cover the costs of producing the week-long event.

To find out more about becoming a sponsor during the conference, please contact Chris Clemens in our offices at cclemens [at] national



The Mary Archer Scholarship Fund is used to provide scholarships equal to the amount of the cost of registration to those attending an NBA conference for the first time. Only current NBA members qualify to receive the grant.

There will be a maximum of two scholarships offered for any one conference and scholarships will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. We ask that those of you who already have the benefit of your employer or other resource paying for your conference registration forego applying. This will leave the scholarship funds available for those who pay registration with personal funds.

To help fund this process, please send checks to the National Braille Association and mark them for the Mary Archer Scholarship Fund.

To apply for this scholarship, please find an application in your most current Bulletin and submit to our office.


The National Braille Association would like to thank these generous donors for helping to sponsor our  2019 Professional Development Conference  in Phoenix, Arizona