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Do you want to become a transcriptionist but don’t know where to start? 

If you’re looking for a way to make money from home, transcription may be the perfect opportunity for you. Here are five steps on how to become a transcriptionist.

It can be hard to figure out where to start when you’re looking to get into a new career. Especially one in high demand, like the high-income skills a transcriptionist has! 

We did some research and put together a 5-step guide that will help you get started on your way to becoming a transcriptionist!

Follow our 5 simple steps, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful transcriptionist in no time!

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What Is A Transcriptionist?

A transcriptionist is someone who takes a video or audio file and produces a written transcript of the spoken word.

They may work for various clients, including doctors, lawyers, and business owners, while at home or in an office.

Why Become a Transcriptionist?

There are many reasons to become a transcriptionist:

How Much Do Transcriptionists Make?

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Freelance transcribers can either be paid by the hour or by the word.

If you’re paid by the audio hour, your income will depend on how many hours you work. The average is around $15 per hour, with great potential to increase your rates.
If you’re paid by the audio minute, you make more money on large recorded files. You’d typically charge $0.75 – $ 1.50 per audio minute

The amount paid and payment method will vary in each industry, and we’ll discuss the foremost industries besides general transcription below. But a transcriptionist who works on general transcription files may make more per audio hour than some niches because of higher job availability.

It’s possible to earn more than $30 per hour for some jobs with complex content, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that a medical transcriptionist made about $17 an hour in 2020.

It’s essential to research what other transcriptionists in your area charge before committing to your prices. You can negotiate higher rates with clients depending on the type of work and your previous experience.

Transcriptionist Requirements

Transcriptionist requirements vary depending on the type of transcription job.

Generally, it would be best if you had excellent skills, a good knowledge of grammar and spelling, and experience using the software used to transcribe.


To be a transcriptionist, you’ll need excellent skills in turning around your transcription tasks. Finding a company that hires inexperienced transcriptionists isn’t too hard, but most companies require a test to see where your skills are ay.

You’ll need typing skills to accurately and quickly transcribe an audio file into text using software like Express Scribe.

Good listening skills are also a must, mainly transcribing audio for business meetings. You need to be able to tell the difference in multiple voices on the audio to accurately transcribe the audio file.

Also, you will need to know the terminology for the transcription niche you choose to work in, like medical or legal.

Training & Certifications

Transcriptionists typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. However, if you want to do legal or medical transcription, you’ll need post-secondary education in transcription or a related field.

There are several places where you can get formal training, plus you can find some free introductory courses to get a feel for the field. 

Transcribe Anywhere is one of the most popular places to get certified, and they have a FREE mini-course to give you a taste for becoming a transcriptionist. They offer a variety of courses, from basic transcription training to becoming an excellent legal transcriptionist.

You can also get certified by taking a paralegal course, a medical transcription course, or whichever industry you choose.

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headset computer work

To do transcription work, you’ll need a computer with a high-speed internet connection, transcription software, Microsoft Word, a headset with a microphone, and possibly wants a foot pedal.

Some transcriptionists prefer to use a specific foot pedal type for playing audio back. But with some software, a foot pedal is optional as a keyboard can be used instead to control the audio playback.

5 Steps How To Become A Transcriptionist

Becoming a transcriptionist can be a great way to earn a living, whether as a side hustle or full-time job.

There are several things you need to do to become a transcriptionist- it takes more than just good hearing and quick typing to get your new career started!

Here are our 5 steps on how to become a transcriptionist:

1. Pick Your Field 

The first step to becoming a transcriptionist is deciding which field you want to specialize in.

There are many different types of transcription, from legal to medical to financial, which we’ll go into detail about below!

Before diving into any new career, do your research! This is especially true for careers like transcribing, which require special skills and training. Make sure you understand what the job entails and what skills you need to succeed in that position.

2. Practice Your Transcription Skills

man typing on computer

Transcription is a skill that can be learned with practice. The more you practice, the better you will become at it.

There are several ways to improve your transcription skills. Here are three tips to help you get started:

Use a dictation app to help you get used to listening to audio recordings and typing them out.
Practice typing with typing apps and tests to help you become an accurate and fast typist.
Make sure you are familiar with grammar rules and can spell words correctly.

3. Take Online Courses

Once you’ve picked your field, it’s time to get training! A college degree and certification is not required to become a transcriptionist, but it can help improve your chances of getting a job as a transcriptionist and lead to higher-paying jobs.

Online courses can be found through various websites and providers rather than heading back to school. They offer comprehensive training on how to become a transcriptionist.

Many of these courses also offer certification, which helps showcase your skills and increase your chances of getting a job as a transcriptionist with a transcription company.

One of our picks for transcription training is Transcribe Anywhere, which also offers a FREE mini-course to get you started.

The Transcribe Anywhere training course teaches you the basics, including listening to audio files and typing them out accurately, plus grammar and spelling to produce accurate transcripts.

General Transcriptionist course is a complete at your own pace course and can help you improve your skills and stand out from the competition. It covers “everything you need to not just learn about transcription, but how to become an excellent transcriptionist – one that actually gets hired.”
Legal Transcription course covers everything you need to know to become an excellent legal transcriptionist, from the basics of legal terminology to accurately transcribing legal audio files to starting your legal transcription business.

Certificates of completion from Transcribe Anywhere can help you showcase your skills and increase your chances of getting a job as a transcriptionist.

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4. Prepare Your Resume

Having a professional-looking resume is vital for clients to take you seriously and get your foot in the door for potential jobs.

You can create your own resume if you don’t have one already, or you can use templates on Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or even from the internet to get it started.

Check out this example resume to give you a feel for what your resume should look like. You’ll need to include information such as:

Applicable/important job experience
Education, certifications, and applicable courses taken
Your skills, general and technical
Programs you know how to use

In my experience, you can include a career/professional summary, but most people create a separate cover letter that sums it up better. It also frees up room on your resume sheet so you can stick to one page, front and back, as needed.

5. Apply For Transcription Jobs

Once you have finished your training on how to become a transcriptionist, it’s time to find transcription jobs.

Applying for jobs can be a bit daunting because you may be required to pass a transcription test, but if you’ve practiced and taken some courses, then you’re prepared to get out there!

Here are five tips to help you get started:

Check job boards and classified websites.

There are several websites where you can find jobs, like Indeed, Fiverr, and FlexJobs.

Join Groups On Social Media.

One of the best ways to find freelance transcription jobs is to join groups on social media. Groups on social media are a great way to connect with other transcriptionists and learn about upcoming job opportunities.

But watch for lower-paying companies that may lowball your rates- remember to get paid well for higher-paying work!

A lot of companies hire transcriptionists through word-of-mouth. So, it’s essential to network with other transcriptionists and keep your ears open for any opportunities.

Apply For Positions Directly

Some companies post their open positions on their website. You can apply for these positions directly by sending your resume and cover letter to the company.

Companies like TranscribeMe hire workers directly and distribute work from clients, rather than you finding clients and projects solo.

Start Your Own Business

Offering transcription services is a great way to make money from home. It’s a challenging and rewarding career, and with the proper training and skills, you can become a successful freelance transcriptionist.

But don’t forget- you’ll need a website to promote your services and work! We recommend signing up with BlueHost for only $2.95 per month, where you can get your domain name for FREE today.

On your website, you want to list your transcription experience and the transcription services that you’ll provide as a freelance transcriptionist. Then you’ll need to include how much you charge for any transcription services.

You’ll want to let people know whether you are going to transcribe video or audio files, or both.

Transcription Job Industries

General Transcription

General transcription jobs usually involve transcribing a wide range of audio, including interviews, meetings, and even college lectures.

General transcriptionists may work for various clients, including bloggers, podcasters, and business owners. They may also work for transcription companies that have a variety of clients in a range of industries.

According to Glassdoor, the average transcriptionist salary is around $44,000 per year. However, with experience and skills, transcriptionists $53,000 per year and sometimes more.


A legal transcriptionist transcribes audio of court proceedings, depositions, and other legal proceedings into written documents.

Legal transcriptionists may work for various clients, including lawyers, law firms, transcription companies, and business owners.

The average legal transcriptionist salary is around $37,000 per year, or up to $53,000 per year with more experience and skills under your belt.

The amount an attorney’s transcriptionist makes varies depending on their level of expertise, the sort of work they do, the size of the firm they work for, and whether they have certification through an association like the National Verbatim Reporters Association or National Court Reporters Association.


A medical transcriptionist transcribes audio of doctor’s notes, patient charts, and other medical documents. The job requires knowledge of medical terminology, in addition to excellent grammar and spelling skills and typing quickly and accurately.

Medical transcriptionists can get certified as a Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist or a Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist and may work for various clients, including doctors, hospitals, and business owners.

Similar to legal secretaries, the average medical transcriptionist’s salary is around $37,000 per year and has the potential to earn more money.

Loan & Financial Analysis

A loan and financial analysis transcriptionist does transcription work by transcribing audio, mortgage applications, and other financial documents.

Loan and financial analysis transcriptionists may work for various clients, including banks, lending institutions, and other financial businesses.

Taxes & Insurances

A taxes and insurance transcriptionist transcribes audio files of tax forms, insurance forms, and other financial documents.

Taxes and insurance transcriptionists may work for various clients, including banks, lending institutions, and other financial businesses.

Places To Find Transcriptionist Jobs

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There are several places where you can find high-paying jobs with little to no experience. Job boards like Indeed, FlexJobs, and Fiverr list transcriptionist jobs from various companies.


Finding jobs on Fiverr can be a great way to get started in the transcription industry. You’ll often find small projects to take on, which is great for a transcriptionist just starting out.

Fiverr is a website where you can find various freelance jobs, including transcriptionist jobs for both new transcriptionists and experienced transcriptionists.

Several transcriptionists offer their services on Fiverr. You can browse through their profiles to see their rates and the types of transcription work they offer. It can help you determine what courses to take, what services to offer, and how much to charge for your work.


Finding transcriptionist jobs on FlexJobs is similar to Fivver. FlexJobs is a website where you can find various freelance jobs, including transcriptionist jobs, and you’ll often find career opportunities besides freelance projects.


Indeed is an excellent resource for finding transcriptionist jobs, in addition to general advice for starting a career, creating a resume, and more.

You can search for jobs by keyword or location, and you can filter the results to show only transcriptionist jobs.

You can also read reviews of companies hiring transcriptionists and see what others have said about the company’s working conditions, pay, and benefits.

If you see a job, you are interested in, you can apply directly on Indeed. Your resume and cover letter can be uploaded on Indeed and automatically sent to the company’s hiring manager when you apply.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the skills needed to be a successful transcriptionist?

Skills needed to be a successful transcriptionist are excellent typing skills, ability to listen carefully, have good grammar and spelling skills, and knowledge of transcription software.

What type of jobs are available for transcriptionists?

Transcriptionists have a wide range of choices as there are many different niches to select from. For example, General Transcription, Legal Transcription, Medical Transcription, Tax Transcriptionist, and Insurance Transcriptionist are just a few niches.

What equipment do I need to get started as a transcriptionist?

You will need a computer with a good internet connection, transcription software (a free version may be available), and a headset with a microphone.

You’ll also need a foot pedal to control the playback of audio files. Some transcriptionists prefer to use specific foot pedals, but most work just as well with whichever ones you choose from.

Final Thoughts

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We hope this article was helpful and provided you with some helpful information on how to become a transcriptionist.

Transcription can be a great way to start a new career or make some extra money online on the side where you can work from home with online transcription.

The requirements we listed should give you an idea of what skills and training you need to get started with a transcription career and the essential equipment to do the job successfully.

Once you’ve got your basics done, you can easily apply to jobs on Fiverr and FlexJobs, start your own website, or join transcription companies to earn money in 2022.

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