Finding a career that allows you to work from home entirely behind a computer is a dream for many people. One career path that allows you to type in your pajamas is work at home transcription. Transcription involves converting speech into text, so it is the perfect behind-a-computer job when done remotely. Below, we will cover what the career involves and how to become a transcriptionist.

How to Become a Work from Home Transcriptionist   

As mentioned above, transcriptionists turn oral communications into text. When working from home, that usually involves listening to an audio file and typing out what you hear.

Is it hard to be a transcriptionist? That depends on your skills. Some of the soft skills transcriptionists must have include:

  • Listening: Everyone thinks they are a good listener, but do you have what it takes to listen to court depositions, medical operative reports, or long speeches without letting your mind wander? While the software allows you to replay audio, doing that too often will cut into how much you can earn per audio minute, and thus per hour. Attentive listening is key. 
  • Typing: You should be able to type fast, with minimal to no typos. Having to correct too many typos will also eat into your earning potential and get in the way of doing real-time/live transcription work.    
  • Time-management: You should know how to schedule your work so you are finishing every project in time for your deadlines.  

How can I become a good transcriptionist? Work on these soft skills by taking typing tests or classes, listening to speeches to increase concentration, and using time-management software.

What equipment will I need to get started? Transcriptionists usually use the following equipment:

  • Computer: many companies require you to work in Microsoft Word
  • High-speed internet connection
  • Headset: high-quality headsets or headphones can help you hear the audio more clearly so that you can transcribe it faster
  • Transcription software and foot pedal: These allow you to control the audio while typing, including pausing it, slowing it down, rewinding it, and speeding it up, all with the use of the foot pedal

These items tend to be inexpensive and many of us have some of the equipment to begin with, such as a computer and high-speed internet connection. If you are looking for a way to work from home, transcription can be a low entry barrier career to try.  

In addition to accessible equipment requirements, there are plenty of entry-level transcription jobs where on-the-job training may be provided. General transcriptionists usually do not need any education or certification qualifications. However, if you want to specialize in a certain type of transcription, requirements can get more complicated.  

The first step to get started as a transcriptionist is to decide if a career in transcription is the right choice for you. The best way is to take the FREE TRANSCRIPTION QUIZ by Transcription Certification Institute and find out if you're a good match to become a transcriptionist. is transcription right for me

Finding a Transcriptionist Specialism 

Generally, work from home transcriptionists come in three types:

  • General transcriptionists: These professionals may cover anything from speeches to recorded meetings to video or audio that is being prepped for translation.  
  • Legal transcriptionists: Some legal transcriptionists work from home. Others, known as stenographers or court reporters, cover court proceedings in person and transcribe in shorthand. In the US, court reporting as a career is expected to grow 7%, faster than average. 
  • Medical transcriptionists: These professionals record what will go into a patient’s file, usually transcribing notes dictated by doctors and other healthcare professionals. 

Like office-based transcriptionists, work from home legal and medical specialist transcriptionists often need a certificate or degree. Certain state or regional laws may require different licensure or certification, especially for court reporters. Legal transcribers may want to consider taking courses in stenography, composition, grammar, dictation, legal terminology, and court reporting.   

To boost your skills and look more attractive to remote companies, you may want to look into joining professional organizations, such as the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers, which allows you to become a Certified Electronic Transcriber.  

Where to Find Transcription Clients 

A great feature of transcription jobs is that these are fairly easy to find online. The most common way people go about finding transcription jobs is looking into the larger companies that offer transcription services and employ transcribers, who are usually based at home. 

A quick Google search will pull up plenty of options when it comes to transcription agencies. Companies range from wanting a couple of years of experience to looking for entry-level transcriptionists. 

You might also try looking on the major job boards, such as Indeed.com, Glassdoor.com, or Remote.co. Search for remote or freelance transcriptionists and you should see a wealth of opportunities popping up.  

You can also try using gig sites like Upwork or Freelancer.com. These are in a bidder style format where you bid on the project against others. For beginner transcribers, this is a great way to gain experience and see if you like the field. Good luck!