How To Become A Transcriptionist – Earn $65,000 Per Year

Do you want a work-from-home job that is both interesting and profitable? If so, then transcription might be the perfect career for you! This article will explain what transcription is and how to become a transcriptionist.

We will also provide tips for improving your transcription skills. So whether you are just starting out or looking to improve your skills, read on for everything you need to know about becoming a successful transcriptionist.

What is a Transcriptionist?

Are you a whiz at typing and have an ear for detail? A career as a transcriptionist might be the perfect fit for you! Transcriptionists help to turn audio or video content into written documents, providing accuracy and accessibility.

This job requires strong language skills and the ability to listen attentively. Transcriptionists can work in various settings, such as courtrooms or doctors’ offices, but many also have the option of remote work and flexible schedules.

So transcription work could be the right choice if you want a career that allows you to use your language talents while staying comfortable in your home office.

Types of Transcriptionist

When most people think of transcriptionists, they probably think of somebody typing up a recording in a generic office setting. However, that's the tip of the iceberg in the transcription world. In reality, there are three general industries:

  • general
  • medical
  • legal

General Transcription

The job of a general transcriptionist can sometimes feel like detective work. You listen closely to audio or video files, often pausing and rewinding to catch everything being said.

Transcription services are used for various reasons – maybe a writer needs an interview transcribed for their research, or a blogger wants to offer written transcripts of their podcast episodes.

But it's not all just typing – you use transcription software and tools to mark pauses, laughter, background noise, and even mumbled words. This attention to detail helps us accurately capture the content of audio files and provide clients with accurate transcripts.

Medical Transcription

Medical transcriptionists have an important job, listening to audio recordings from doctors and other healthcare professionals and turning them into written reports. These skilled individuals often work from home but can also be found in hospitals, labs, and operating rooms.

Medical transcription may seem like a solitary job, but it requires excellent attention to detail and an understanding of medical terminology. Plus, transcriptionists must accurately record sensitive information while maintaining confidentiality.

Overall, medical transcriptionists play an integral role in the healthcare industry, ensuring that patient records are properly documented and easily accessible to medical professionals.

Legal Transcription

The transcription industry isn't limited to just transcribing podcasts or transcription services for businesses – there's also a thriving market for legal transcriptionists. These transcription professionals provide written records of important legal proceedings, such as depositions, trials, and police interrogations.

These documents can be crucial in preparing for a trial and may even be used as evidence in the courtroom. Court reporters are one type of legal transcriptionist, but these transcription professionals can also be hired to transcribe victim interviews and undercover law enforcement recordings.

How Much do You Earn as a Transcriptionist?

Pay varies depending on whether you work for a company or freelance. Most general transcribers earn around $10 to $25 an hour, sometimes more.

You can expect to make minimum wage if you don’t have any experience or training. The average median income for a full-time general transcriptionist is $49,800. A legal transcriptionist earns around $65,000.

What Do You Need to Become a Transcriptionist

If you're interested in breaking into the transcription industry, there are a few skills and tools you'll want to have at your disposal.

Technical Skills

When it comes to transcription, there are a few essential skills that can help a transcriptionist thrive in the industry.

  • First and foremost, strong listening skills are crucial for accurately transcribing audio or video files.
  • Additionally, the ability to type quickly and accurately is important, as transcriptionists often deal with large amounts of text.
  • Time management skills also come into play, as transcriptionists may need to meet strict client deadlines. Being organized and attentive to detail can also go a long way in this line of work.
  • Transcription also requires knowledge of language rules and grammar and familiarity with commonly used terminology in various industries.
  • Finally, transcriptionists should have solid decision-making skills and an understanding of ethical considerations related to confidentiality and client privacy.

These skills can help transcriptionists excel in their careers and effectively serve their clients.


If you're thinking about starting a career as a transcriptionist, there are some essential tools of the trade you'll want to invest in.

  • First and foremost, a reliable computer with plenty of storage space and high-speed internet is a must. Many transcriptionists also recommend having an external hard drive for added backup.
  • A foot pedal, which allows you to control audio playback with your feet while typing, can also drastically increase efficiency.
  • A good set of headphones will ensure clear audio quality, while software like Microsoft Word and Express Scribe can help streamline the transcription process.
  • Finally, don't forget the importance of proper ergonomic equipment, such as a comfortable chair and keyboard, to prevent strain on your body as you work long hours at your desk.

With these tools at your disposal, you'll be well on your way to becoming a successful transcriptionist.

Transcription Training

Are you interested in becoming a transcriptionist but unsure how to get started? Fortunately, there are several resources available to help jumpstart your career.

One option is to take a transcription training course online or in person. These courses can provide valuable instruction on accurately transcribing audio and video recordings, navigating the transcription software, and building speed and accuracy.

Another option is to find a mentor or join a transcription peer group for support and guidance as you learn the ropes of the job.

And don't forget about good old-fashioned practice – transcribing sample materials and shadowing experienced transcriptionists can greatly improve your skills.

General Transcription Training

As a general transcriptionist, all you need is a good command of the English language and strong listening skills. Of course, accuracy is key in any transcription job, so improving your typing speed may also be helpful.

While certification is not typically required for this type of position, there are still plenty of opportunities for ongoing training and development as a transcriptionist. Taking a course in transcription can not only refresh your knowledge and strengthen your skills, but it can also open up new opportunities for higher-paying jobs.

Transcribe Anywhere offers a course in general transcription and a free mini-course to get you started. Additionally, Udemy has numerous options for further honing your transcription expertise.

Medical Transcription Training

Being a medical transcriptionist requires more than just being able to type quickly and accurately. It involves being able to understand complex terminology and being able to accurately transcribe various accents and speaking styles.

That's why it's important to undergo advanced training before trying your hand at these specializations. Luckily, community colleges and vocational schools offer plenty of options.

Additionally, suppose you specialize in medical transcription. In that case, you can consider getting certified through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity as a registered healthcare documentation specialist (RHDS) or a certified healthcare documentation specialist (CHDS).

This not only helps add validity to your skillset, it can also lead to better job opportunities and higher pay rates. So if you're considering becoming a transcription specialist, be sure to do some research and invest in the necessary training for your chosen specialization.

Legal Transcription Training

With so many options and associations offering certification, it can be tricky to know where to start. One reliable option is the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) designation offered by the National Court Reporters Association. This certification shows that you have demonstrated the necessary skills and knowledge to report proceedings accurately in real time.

Alternatively, you could consider earning a Certified Electronic Reporter (CER) or Certified Electronic Transcriber (CET) designation through the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers. These certifications focus on utilizing technology in reporting, transcribing, and captioning.

And don't forget about the National Verbatim Reporters Association, which offers a variety of professional certifications for court reporters. No matter what route you choose, achieving one of these certifications will demonstrate your proficiency as a court reporter and make you an attractive job candidate.

How to Become a Transcriptionist in 6 Easy Steps

Transcriptionists play a crucial role in transcribing audio files into written documents, whether for medical, legal, or entertainment purposes. And the best part is, becoming a transcriptionist is easier than you think!

Here are six simple steps to get started on your journey to becoming a transcriptionist:

  1. Ensure you have the necessary equipment: a reliable computer and high-speed internet.
  2. Brush up on your typing skills and become familiar with transcription software programs.
  3. Research a transcription company or individual clients to work with.
  4. Complete any required training or certification programs.
  5. Build a portfolio of experience by completing small projects or taking on low-paying gigs.
  6. Establish yourself as a transcriptionist by promoting your services through networking and online platforms like LinkedIn or Upwork.

Before you know it, you'll be making money transcribing audio files from the comfort of your own home!

Where Can You Find Transcription Jobs?

A variety of industries need transcription services, including legal, medical, and entertainment. One way to find transcription jobs is through online platforms tailored to connect transcribers with clients. These sites often have various job options, from one-time projects to long-term contracts.

Another option is to reach out directly to transcription companies in industries that interest you – many businesses hire freelance transcribers on an as-needed basis.

Finally, networking with other transcription professionals can potentially lead to job referrals or even partnerships on larger projects. So if you have excellent attention to detail and a knack for accurate typing, consider beginning your search for transcription jobs today.

FAQ for Getting Started as a Transcriptionist

How Long Does it Take to Transcribe One Hour of Audio?

A good transcriber spends three to four hours transcribing an hour of audio. You may need to playback the file several times to get the exact words.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Transcriptionist?

On average, it takes four months to complete training and begin working. Transcribe Anywhere offers self-paced classes so students can train at their own pace.

Are Freelance Transcription Jobs Flexible?

Yes, it’s an ideal way to work from home full-time or part-time. Your schedule is entirely up to you. You can decide when, where, and how often you want to work.

Final Thoughts on How to Become a Transcriptionist

If you have experience with transcription or want to start a freelance career, becoming a transcriptionist is a great option. It's relatively easy to start, and there are many ways to find work. You can even start your own transcription business with just a few simple steps. With some hard work and dedication, you can be on your way to success as a transcriptionist.