How To Become A Transcriptionist (In 3 easy steps)

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Would you like to be a transcriptionist and want to earn some side income from home? If yes, then you are at the right place for the right purpose. There are loads of opportunities in the field of transcription both for the present and in the future – hence, the need to know how to become a transcriptionist.

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Transcription is the process of converting an audio or video file into text while the one who does the transcription is referred to as a transcriptionist (or sometimes called transcriber). So, the transcriptionist listens to the audio or watches the video and converts it into words.

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As of 2019, the transcription industry in the United States was valued at about $19.8 billion while it is projected to grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate of 6.1 percent between 2020 to 2027 – making it a goldmine for people to tap from.

Transcription services cover the following areas; academic, business, conference and events, market research, focus group, interviews, technical, medical, legal, and general transcription services. 

What Is A Transcriptionist

A transcriptionist is referred to as someone who can convert audio or video files to text or document files. Also, a transcriptionist can be called a transcriber – a transcriptionist is trained to handle all forms of transcription jobs.

Besides converting audio or video files to text, a transcriptionist also ensures that the document is free of grammatical blunders thereby providing a document of high quality.

As highlighted above, there are different areas of transcription but the most popular are the medical and general transcription services. However, those who are interested in majoring in medical transcription services would need to undergo training to familiarize themselves with terminologies used in the field.

How To Become A Transcriptionist

Photo of a computer and headphones; equipment needed for how to become a transcriptionist

Becoming a transcriptionist is relatively easy provided you have the necessary skills and equipment. Therefore, the under-listed skills and training are required to succeed as a transcriptionist;

  • Good command of grammar, punctuations, and many more; so, whether you are producing a word-for-word copy or a document that is not exactly like the original file – good command of the English language is therefore required
  • A transcriptionist needs to possess excellent listening skills which is being able to listen attentively to produce a meaningful and quality document. Also, it should be noted that some files might be easy to decode while others might not be so easy due to some background noise or accents of the speaker.  
  • Another skill needed by a transcriptionist is a fast and accurate typing speed. This is important because you are paid on an hourly or minute basis per audio or video file. As a newbie, a 40-word per minute speed is recommended – but this can scale up to 70 or 90-word per minute as you become good at transcribing.
  • Proofreading and accuracy are also needed to succeed as a transcriber. This will ensure that errors can be detected and corrected. It might be a difficult task but it’s worth doing if you want to have a quality document.

How Does Transcription Start

Besides the important skills and training highlighted above, as you begin your transcription career, the following equipment and accessories are needed in having a successful transcription career;

  • A good computer: this can either be a PC, laptop, or MAC and with good storage and RAM. Besides, your device must be compatible with Chrome, Word, Excel, ExpressScribe, and foot pedal.
  • A good and high-quality set of headphones that can be used for long hours without causing discomfort; you should buy a headset that has the feature of reducing background noise to the barest minimum.
  • Reliable, fast, and stable internet connectivity; it’s important because several transcription jobs are done remotely.
  • A keyboard that promotes fast and accurate typing
  • Transcription software like ExpressScribe and text expander software (though this might not be necessary but could help to boost speed)
  • The foot pedal for pausing, rewinding, fast-forwarding, and playing audio and video materials; will prevent you from taking these actions manually thereby enabling you to complete the task faster and better.

Finally, on the equipment, there is a need for the provision of a conducive environment within the home that will allow transcriptionists to focus and avoid every form of distraction.

How To Become A Medical Transcriptionist From Home

Photo of a transcriptionist

A medical transcriptionist converts audio files from a medical practitioner to text. So, working as a remote medical transcriptionist would require you to have all the necessary gadgets like a headset, foot pedal, and other important devices.

So, the following guidelines will enable you to become a medical transcriptionist from home;

A high school diploma or the General Educational Development (GED) test certificate is required to be a medical transcriber

Get certified in medical transcription; this can be done by searching through the website of the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI). However, you could still do without a medical transcription certificate but having it can give you an edge when searching for jobs.

Be RHDS certified; this is the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist certification that is issued to those not more than two years on the job. The examination will test your knowledge of English, grammar, and knowledge of medical terms.

Have a good typing speed; the better your typing speed, the more money you can make. Therefore, a 40-word per minute speed is ideal for starters but it can be increased as you progress in your career. Many online typing speed tests can help you know your typing speed.

Get a Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist certificate (CHDS). This examination will test your depth of knowledge on medical terms and jargon.

The next thing is to update your resume with all your AHDI certificates, work experience, and other relevant information. This should be professionally done as it could guarantee medical transcription job opportunities.

Medical Transcriptionist Online Job

There are many online platforms where one can find job offers as a medical transcriptionist. So, the following are some companies that hire remote medical transcriptionists;

Eight Crossing

To be eligible here, you must have two years of transcribing experience and must have passed through all the necessary training programs. Besides, transcribers must be able to process up to 1000 lines daily and they require you to have a certain level of typing speed before hiring.

Interested applicants are to send resumes and cover letters to [email protected]. Also, you will be required to state experience and certifications – successful applicants will have to go through a transcription test before getting hired.

Ascend Healthcare System

The minimum experience required to join Ascend Healthcare System is 3 years and the interested applicant must pass a background check. Also, they are put on a 90-day probation window before they are fully integrated into the system.


iMedX provides health information and clinical documentation. This platform is suitable for either full-time or part-time transcriptionists. However, intending applicants must have at least 3 years experience in medical transcription, typing speed of 70-word per minute, and also pass a test that is set for you.

Also, strong knowledge of medical terminology and the ability to work independently are other added qualifications that could give you an edge.

How to Get A Medical Transcription Job With No Experience

Here are some companies where you can find medical transcription offers that will require no experience, check them out;


Experience is not needed to get enlisted on Appen and they recruit from countries like India, Russia, and Canada. They offer good pay with a flexible work schedule based on the type of job per time.

There are opportunities for meeting personal goals and also a platform to learn new things.


Just like Appen, experience is also not required on GoTranscript but you must have a good command of the English language. It is flexible and jobs can be handled from anywhere. The payment could start from $1.08 per minute of audio transcription.


Scribie has opportunities for new entrants but the applicant must have a good knowledge of British, Indian, and American accents. Earning could range from $0.50 per minute to $2.00 per minute of the audio file depending on the type of work.


Transcribeme is another platform where a newbie can find transcription job offers without previous experience or upfront payment. However, the applicant must be fluent in English and also possess a High School Diploma. Their pay varies from $15 to $22 per audio hour of which you only get a payout when your account hits $20.

Medical Transcription Certifications

Certifications might not be a core requirement but they could give you an edge over those not certified when submitting job proposals. There are two certifications required of every medical transcriptionist, they are;

Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT)

This is designed for transcriptionists who have up to 2 years of experience in medical transcription with different transcription methods. This is not an entry-level certificate program.

Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT)

This is designed for entry-level medical transcriptionists with little or no work experience. It tests knowledge on medical skills and terminologies.

How To Become A Legal Transcriptionist

A legal transcriptionist is somebody that turns legal recordings into text. Besides, they convert recordings into different legal documents that might contain correspondence, interrogations, agreements, motions, and some other legal entities.

To become a legal transcriptionist, it is important to meet the following requirements;

Obtain a degree:

It is important to earn a high school diploma and must be experienced in the legal field. Other educational qualifications could boost your chances of securing legal transcription jobs.

Get certified:

In addition to obtaining a degree, there is a need to become a Certified Electronic Transcriber (CET) – this is offered by the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT). So, doing this will help to give you an edge when applying for jobs.

Other requirements are;

  • Developing your typing speed
  • Continue to renew your AAERT certification (this is done every 3 years)

Platforms for legal transcription jobs:

Transcription for everyone


Cambridge Transcription

American High-Tech Transcription and Reporting

Cyber Dictate

Kendall Creek Communications

Remote Transcription Jobs

So, here you will find remote transcription jobs where you can earn money from the comfort of your home – this is regardless of whether it’s a full-time or part-time job. Interestingly, most transcriptionists are given the opportunity of working as a freelancer, that is, they can choose when and how many hours they wish to work.

So, the following are some of the best remote transcription jobs platforms and their corresponding features;

Transcript Divas

This is one of the companies where you can earn a high pay of up to $2.98 for every audio minute. You do not need previous experience to work with Transcript Divas but you must deliver based on their standards.

To get hired, visit their website, submit your resume, and answer some questions to complete the application. However, only the applicants that meet the standard will be hired weekly. 

Payments: Average of $1.38/audio minute

Payment method: PayPal (resident outside of the US territory) or direct fund transfer (for US residents)

Payment frequency: Earnings are calculated based on the number of completed jobs in 7 days and then payment is done at the end of the month

Averbach Transcription

Averbach is one of the biggest remote transcription platforms in the United States that offers 100 percent transcription services. Every job goes through tough quality assurance to guarantee accuracy and only native English speakers are hired. However, you will need previous transcription experience to work on this platform.

You can earn up to $1 per audio per minute which can eventually increase to about $15 to $25 on an hourly basis – which implies that you should be able to transcribe one minute of audio file/video file five minutes or faster. However, you could turn down offers if it’s becoming cumbersome. 

To get started, visit the Averbach transcription website and take part in a skill test.

Payments: Average of $1 to $1.50/audio minute

Payment method: PayPal

Payment frequency: Not specified by Averbach transcription

Final Thoughts

You could consider transcription if you wish to earn some income while working from home. It is flexible thereby allowing you to set the pace at which you work. Also, getting the equipment needed – computer set, foot pedal, headset, and any other relevant gadget would make the work easier for you.

Besides, if you have a good command of English and grammar, and a good typing speed – you can choose the platform that offers what you desire and take your transcription journey to the next level.

Lily & The DollarCreed Team

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