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What Is a Transcriptionist and How To Become One

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Are you looking to work from home?

Then you need to learn what is a transcriptionist and how you can become one!

Because it is a great way to earn money while working anywhere.

You can set your own schedule and do it on your own time.

It’s also a great opportunity if you are looking for something part-time or full-time!

There are many benefits of becoming a transcriptionist including flexible hours, no commute, and being able to listen to audio files anywhere.

This means more freedom and flexibility than most other jobs out there!

And as long as you have good listening skills, typing skills, and some free time each day, then becoming a transcriptionist is definitely possible!

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

What Is a Transcriptionist?

A transcriptionist is someone who records, transcribes, and proofreads recorded speech to written form.

Transcribing them includes listening to the recording, analyzing it, typing up the information that you’ve heard, then editing it for spelling errors.

Transcription work can vary in difficulty depending on the project.

Some job listings will ask for fast, accurate transcribers with great attention to detail.

While others are looking for transcriptionists who can take shorthand and type up dictation at 150 words per minute (wpm).

If you’re not sure what kind of transcription you can do, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Listen first and transcribe later

Always listen first and transcribe what you hear on your own time before submitting for approval from the client.

Listening is an essential skill for any transcriptionist.

And will help you to avoid having to re-listen and correct a transcription that doesn’t match what is said.

Always make sure your recording is clear

If the person dictating has an accent or there is a lot of background noise.

It can make understanding difficult for someone who isn’t familiar with those situations.

In order to avoid having to make corrections, you need to make sure the quality is clear and that you can understand what is being said.

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Proofread, proofread, proofread!

No matter which transcription job you are working on, remember to always double-check your work before submitting it for typos.

The higher the quality, the better chance of getting more work

Keep in mind that most work from home transcription jobs will require specific formatting.

Which means every document needs to be perfectly formatted and error-free before submission.

If your transcriptions come back full of errors, there is a good chance you’ll loose the client.

What do I need to get started?

In order to become a good and reliable transcriptionist, then you will need a few things to get started.


If you’re just starting out with transcription, then the first thing to look into is a good pair of headphones.

It will prevent distracting noises from entering your ears and overwhelming your concentration which can result in slower typing speeds or even mistakes.

Headphones will also help you focus on the audio and block out any distractions.

And they are crucial for transcribing audio files with heavy accents or speaking too quickly.

High-speed Internet and a Computer

Most clients will usually send the audio file to be transcribed via email which means you’re going to need an email account too.

It’s also best if your computer has a full keyboard with a number pad.

Some transcription software requires you to key in numbers so having the right keyboard can make all the difference.

Knowledge of Proofreading and Editing Techniques

This skill will also come in handy when you’re beginning since most jobs will ask you to proofread for errors.

If you are not confident in your editing skills, then you may need to brush up on them before applying.

Here are a few apps that can help you with grammar and proofreading:

Grammarly: checks for spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes in your writing.

ProWritingAid: helps writers with readability, plagiarism detection, word choice suggestions, overused words, and other problems.  

Having Listening Skills Will Help You Succeed

Listening skills are also very important too as you need to pay attention for key points within the audio recording.

This will help you understand what exactly the client needs and what to focus on during transcription.

Ultimately, it’s not just about typing fast but also about listening carefully and producing a high-quality transcript.

Also, because of the nature of this industry, it’s best if someone can work independently without much supervision.

So, you should be able to work well under pressure, fast but accurately.

Do you need to have experience to land a transcriptionist job?

Unfortunately, you’ll need to have some experience under your belt if you want a transcription job.

But don’t let that stop you because there are a lot of ways to learn how to transcribe and get the skills.

For a new transcriptionist, it’s best to start with easier files that don’t have many technical terms or industry-specific phrases.

Industry-specific documents can be very hard to transcribe because of all the jargon that goes into them.

You can also start with easier transcription formats such as texts and interviews before moving on to more complicated files.

For medical and legal transcriptionists, training courses are a must!

Most companies looking for transcriptionists in these fields will ask for at least 1 year of previous experience.

So if you don’t have any experience, then training courses are the way to go.

Here are a few transcriptionist courses you can take:

How to Become a Transcriptionist

Step-by-Step Transcription from Home: Start A New Career

Types of transcription jobs

There are many different types of transcription jobs available, here are a few you can look at:

Medical Transcriptionist

This is perfect for medical professionals who want to work at home while continuing their normal job.

You will mostly type out reports detailing the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

To become a medical transcriptionist, you’ll need to have at least one year of experience.

It’s also best if you know about anatomy and medical terminology which you can learn by taking courses or reading books on the subject.

Legal Transcriptionist  

A legal transcriptionist takes recordings from court cases and transcribes them for evidence in court cases.

The main thing you have to do is to type up information accurately and to the point.

To become a legal transcriptionist, you should start by taking transcription courses to increase your speed and typing accuracy.

It’s also important to familiarize yourself with legal phrases and jargon as well as understand the basics of law.

Business Transcriptionist

This is another type of transcription job that will allow you to earn more money.

Because you will be transcribing conference calls and company meetings.

It’s important to pay attention to key points during the recording so you can type them up correctly.

Just like legal transcription, you should familiarize yourself with business terms and jargon as well as technical manufacturing or engineering.

General Transcriptionist  

This is the most common type of transcription work and involves transcribing different audio files.

You’ll need to work quickly and accurately as well as pay close attention to detail.

General transcription is perfect for someone looking for flexible working hours since you can choose your own hours and clients.

Demo Transcription

You will transcribe demos for musicians or bands so music producers can have a better idea of what to do with a song.

It’s also good for musicians who want to learn how to transcribe music themselves.

Where to find transcriptionist jobs?

There are many places to find transcriptionist jobs.

The most common way to find a job is through an agency that will match you with a client.

You can also find work online by searching on freelance platforms like:


Finding transcriptionist jobs on Upwork is simple.

Just type “transcriptionist” in the search box and browse through the potential jobs available.

To make it easier for clients, add a transcription sample so they’ll know more about your work quality.


Craigslist is an excellent place to look for transcriptionist jobs.

Remember to practice your typing speed and accuracy before applying.

This will allow you to have a better chance of getting hired.

But make sure to always check that the job you are applying for is legit to look for job scams online.


Fiverr is another platform where you can find transcription jobs.

To get started, just type “transcription” in the search box and browse through thousands of job listings.

You can also specialize your services by applying for a particular service that you would like to do.

For example, if you love sports, then you can choose to transcribe recordings or videos related to it.

Again, make sure to carefully check the job listing to avoid falling for transcription job scams.

If you want more work at home ideas, check out this article to help you find Fiverr gigs.

How Much Does a Transcriptionist Earn?

The pay for transcriptionists will depend on the company, position type, and your experience.

On average, a beginner transcriptionist can earn between $15-$40 an hour.

While experienced medical/legal transcriptionists can earn more than that depending on their employers.

There are also those who choose to become freelancers so they set their own rates and availability.

In terms of choosing a transcription company, make sure they require workers to pass at least one test.

This will make sure that you’re working with professionals who want to offer top-notch service to their clients.

It’s also important that the company is hiring ASAP and offers flexible hours and contracts.

Benefits of Being a Transcriptionist

As a transcriptionist, you’ll gain many benefits such as:

Flexible working hours

You can choose your own working schedule so if you want to work around your normal job then this is perfect for you.

Your income is also not limited to full-time or part-time hours.

And you can choose how many hours you want to work in a day/week.

Ability to Work From Home

Not everyone wants to be confined in an office for eight hours a day.

And being a transcriptionist allows you to work from home and avoid annoying morning commutes.

Less Stress

This is perfect for those who are interested in transcription because it’s usually less stressful compared to working in an office.

You can also enjoy your own personal space, choose when you’re ready to work and have more control over your life.

These are just some of the benefits of being a transcriptionist, but if you’re still not convinced then feel free to give it a try and see how it works for you.  

How To Become a Transcriptionist

To become a transcriptionist, you will need to do the following:

Step 1  – Pass the certification test.

The best way to get started is by taking free training courses on sites like TranscribeMe so you can improve your typing speed and accuracy as well as increase your knowledge of industry terms.

Once you think you have enough experience or you’re already familiar with the transcription process, then you can take certification tests.

These tests will prove to businesses and employers that you know what you’re doing and they’ll give you a higher chance of getting hired.

Step 2  – Resume and cover letter

You’ll need a stand-out resume since it’s how employers will know your background and why you’re the right candidate for the job.

It’s important that your resume highlights all of your qualifications and skills to get an interview.

Check out this course to help you create a resume that will help you land an online job.

Step 3  – Prepare for the interview

When you get hired, make sure to ask about their company policies to understand what you need to do.

Click here to take a course that will help you succeed in your job interviews

Step 4  – Prove yourself and work hard

Being a transcriptionist allows you to set your own hours but this also means that there’s no manager telling you what you need to do.

That’s why it’s important that you’re dedicated because no one’s there to make sure you get the job done.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what is a transcriptionist, let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions.

How much do transcriptionists earn and how much time is involved?

They earn an average of about $15-$40 per hour and you can work as little or as many hours as you want.

Do I need a degree to be a transcriptionist?

You can have a college degree or not, it doesn’t matter as long as you pass the companies test.

What does a transcriptionist need to do?

You’ll be transcribing audio recordings into written text so you must have excellent listening skills with accurate typing abilities.

What kind of equipment will I need?

You’ll need a computer or laptop with an internet connection and headphones or earbuds.

Can I work from home as a transcriptionist?

Yes, a lot of companies allow their employees to work from home which is perfect for those who hate going to the office every day.

What do transcriptionists transcribe?

Transcriptionists typically transcribe recorded audio files such as meetings, lectures, and interviews.

Transcription can also be used for other purposes like taking down lyrics in music or legal documents.

So there you have it, you have learned what is a transcriptionist and how to get started.

There are many types of transcription work depending on your preferences so choose the one that best fits your lifestyle.


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