Many people are interested in becoming a legal transcriber because of the freedom of working from home and creating your own schedule. Of course, doing this also means you are probably working for yourself and so will need to invest in training and equipment.
Training – $99-$5000
Very few transcription companies will pay you while you learn how to transcribe. Actually I can’t think of one that does so. At our company ALM Transcription LLC we used to offer training but we did not pay for this time, we only paid our independent contractors once they were proficient enough to do small transcripts, so they could earn while practicing, but their study time was unpaid.
Learning to transcribe is a process that takes time, and it is not financially feasible for a company to pay for this time, just like it would not be feasible for a hospital to pay you while you study to become a doctor, there is nothing you could do for the hospital before you have that knowledge that would earn them money.
So in order to become a transcriber you will likely have to take some classes or find a current transcriber willing to teach you. There are online courses for legal transcription and some community colleges offer classes, but most of these are quite expensive for what you really need to learn. Understanding grammar and typing skills are the basis of transcribing which you should mostly have before you start training, after that it is practice, practice, and more practice. There are tips to help increase speed, and specific templates and parts of transcripts that you will learn, but for the most part it will be the time you put in to practicing. Our legal transcriber course starts at $99.99, but other courses offered through for profit online schools go up to $5000.
Equipment – $200-1000
There will be an investment in equipment in order to do transcribing. You of course need a computer and Word which most people already have. Then you will need the software that will play the audio and connect to the foot pedal that will help you control the audio. The foot pedal generally has three buttons you push with your foot that will play, rewind and fast forward the audio so you have your hands free to type. There are many types of software, and you may end up needing more than one depending on the types of files you will be working with. The software we use most is $25, and a foot pedal can be ordered for around $50-100.
We also always recommend transcription headphones. You can use your normal headphones but we’ve found that transcription specific headphones help drown out extraneous noise and don’t damage your hearing over the long term. Many transcribers end up with tinnitus, a ringing in the ears, because they don’t use the best headphones. The headset we use in the office is around $25.