How to Become a Transcriptionist: The Basics of Getting Started
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In this article, we’ll explain what a transcriptionist is, how much they can make, and tips on how to land that first client.
Is anything better than working from home? You skip the commute, get out of office gossip, and can even work in your pajamas. And, with a chance to make more money and set your own schedule, you can design your life around what’s important.
If you’re feeling stuck in your day job or want to make extra money on the side, being a transcriptionist can help you take control of your life.
Transcription work is easy to do at home and doesn’t require any special skills or experience. If you have a laptop and know how to use a keyboard, you’re halfway to finding success.
The best place to start is with general transcription, since medical and legal gigs generally require specialized knowledge. But don’t let that get you down – if you know where to look, you’ll discover plenty of general transcriptionist jobs.
If you’re ready to get the ball rolling and unlock your earning potential, here’s the inside scoop on how to become a transcriptionist and work from home.
What Does a Transcriptionist Do?
Transcriptionists spend their time typing what they hear. Whether the audio comes from a voice recording or a video, they convert the content into written documents and reports.
A few items you might transcribe into readable text are:
- Meetings or forums
- Telephone conversations
When you’re transcribing, you spend most of your day sitting. Between keying in the text and proofreading the document after you finish, you don’t have many opportunities for movement. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends pausing for five minutes every hour to rest your eyes and do some stretching to reduce the fatigue you might feel.
Proficiency in spelling, grammar, and punctuation is helpful, and you need a keen eye for accuracy to get the details right. Having excellent research skills is also beneficial since looking up industry-specific information and correct spelling of businesses might be necessary as you come across unfamiliar terms.
Overall, being a transcriptionist is a fantastic opportunity. A lot of businesses could rely on your skills to transcribe their audio into readable text and a wealth of options are out there waiting for you.
How Much Money do Transcriptionists Make?
Here’s the million-dollar question everyone wants to know: How much can I make as a transcriptionist?
As with most occupations, a one-size-fits-all wage doesn’t exist. Still, the potential for earnings is pretty big.
According to ZipRecruiter, the national average for a transcriptionist working from home in 2019 is $59,083 a year. Their study shows income as high as $145,500, but as low as $13,500.
If you consider the median household income in the U.S. is about $60,000, making a decent amount of money doing transcription is within reach.
Keep in mind, this isn’t a get rich quick scheme. The bulk of jobs will pay by the hour or have a per-page rate and you might need some practice before your speed increases.
How to Find Work as a Transcriptionist
You might wonder how hard finding legit work as a beginner transcriptionist is. Don’t worry – lots of companies will hire the new kid on the block.
Just like any other job, when you’re starting out, your earning potential will be a bit limited. You’ll want to keep track of the amount and type of work you do because your experience is excellent leverage for finding higher paying work later on. Transcription services are in high demand, so don’t sell yourself short by working for peanuts.
Transcribe Anywhere is among the most well-known training companies for becoming a transcriptionist. They offer a free course that covers the basics so you can decide if it’s right for you before putting a lot of time into it. If you decide to take it further, their paid courses are top-notch.
Two popular companies where new transcriptionists can find starter jobs are Rev and TranscribeMe. Before claiming work, these sites do require you to pass a skills test.
If you want to increase your earning potential, finding clients on your own can help you reach your goals. From corporations to your local shop, tons of businesses could use written documentation to their advantage.
Think about the companies who might benefit from turning audio or video recordings into text for training resources, blog posts, or marketing materials. Don’t forget about YouTubers who may want their videos transcribed for a better user experience or to share with deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers.
What Does a Transcriptionist Need to Get Started?
Although no specialized training is necessary to become a transcriptionist, having the right software and a few pieces of equipment can help.
To begin with, a computer and high-speed internet connection are essential. The audio or video files you’ll receive can be quite large, and slow internet speeds can interfere with the quality and speed of your work.
As for software, you need something to play the audio files. Express Scribe offers free transcription software that supports standard audio and video file types. The program works well with Microsoft Word and other text editors for transcribing.
You’ll quickly see that controlling the playback with your keyboard or mouse while trying to transcribe the audio into text is challenging. If your fingers are busy with the transcription software, your typing speed suffers.
Purchasing a foot pedal frees up your hands by letting your feet control the playback. Most foot pedals are plug-and-play, meaning you don’t have to do any special programming to get them to work. This one is a favorite among transcriptionists and easily connects to your computer with a USB cable.
If you’re looking for a flexible way to earn an income from home, you might consider becoming a transcriptionist. You’ll need to know your way around a keyboard and have a desire to learn the ins and outs of transcription work.
Finding your first client is the biggest hurdle. But once you land your first job, you’ll gain confidence that can help you land bigger clients and higher paying assignments.
You can have the freedom to make your own schedule and earn a healthy amount of money when you work from home as a transcriptionist.
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