How to Become a Transcriptionist the Smart Way

Have you ever watched a movie or a YouTube clip that has subtitles and thought “that’s some pretty average subtitling… I could do a better job than that”. Well, now is your chance! 

Or perhaps you’ve seen a legal or medical document that shows a conversation between people and thought “does the person who wrote this work from home?” Well, you’re about to find out!

Here’s how to become a transcriptionist the smart way.

By the end of this blog post you’ll have the answers to these questions:

    • What is a transcriptionist?
    • What are the highest paying and best online transcription jobs for beginners?
    • How much does a transcriptionist make?
    • What do you need in terms of transcriber training and transcription equipment?
    • What sites pay well for transcription jobs from home?

Armed with all that information you’ll understand how to become a transcriptionist. So, let’s get stuck into it!


A transcriptionist is a documentation specialist who converts voice or video recordings into written words using a word processor such as Microsoft Word or the Mac equivalent, Pages.

There are many avenues to work in the field of transcription as a stay at home job. Some of the benefits of transcription as a home based job include:

    • Remote working
    •  Easy and inexpensive
    •  Flexible hours
    •  Good income
    •  Plenty of online work

There are several different types of transcription, so if one doesn’t tickle your funny bone then you can try some others until you find your groove. We’ll dive into the different types below, but first, let’s talk transcription skills you’ll have or gain on the journey for how to become a transcriptionist.

transcription skills for how to become a transcriptionist

Transcription Skills

Transcription isn’t a complex job, however if you want to be a transcriptionist you’ll benefit from having a specific skill set.

Also, completing some form of training before you start your career as a transcriptionist will also greatly help.

In addition to having strong typing skills, a transcriptionist must possess an eye for precision, be able to multi-task and deliver high quality written documentation to the client.

Attentive and focused listening alongside accurate and fast typing speed is mandatory. Additionally, strong command over the language (both formal and informal), punctuation and grammar are needed, but don’t worry. If you don’t feel these are your strong suits rest assured knowing that transcription skills are amongst the easiest to improve on with training and practice.

high paying transcription jobs for how to become a transcriptionist


Are you good at transcribing? Or perhaps you’re developing an interest in transcribing? If so you can easily earn money online by doing transcriptions.

But how much can you earn? Well, it all depends on your skills and abilities.

Numerous high paying transcription sites hire the transcriptionists that can offer accurate and excellent quality work. It is one of the best online job for beginners who are open to improving and practicing their skills.

While working as a transcriptionist, a big chunk of your job involves watching the videos or listening to the provided audio files and accurately typing what you’ve heard.

The best online transcription jobs for beginners are called ‘general transcription’ jobs (see below) and include tasks like converting YouTube video files into text, or converting voice recordings into written reports.

General Transcription

Transcriptions that are not specialized are known as ‘general transcriptions’. It covers a broad spectrum of topics and industries.

Demand for general transcription is great and is still growing. An extensive range of organizations, businesses, professionals and individuals outsource transcription tasks. These clients might include financial institutions, universities, authors, focus groups, consultants, public speakers and others.

general transcription for how to become a transcriptionist

General transcription include both audio transcription and video transcription of things like meetings, interviews, telephone conversations, teleconferences, online videos, webinars, classes, speeches, seminars and anything else that can be recorded.

It is a suitable job for beginners as it doesn’t require any specific education. When working out how to become a transcriptionist, give this field of transcription a good once-over.

Medical Transcription

The manual processing and conversion of audio reports dictated by the doctors or other healthcare professionals into text format is known as ‘medical transcription’.

As per the reports of US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career scope for medical industry transcriptionists looks bleak because the progress in speech recognition software and artificial intelligence solutions will decrease demand.

Medical transcriptionists generally aren’t required to have a special medical degree or any postsecondary education, however, most employers prefer hiring ones who do.

medical transcription for how to become a transcriptionist

If you’re working locally, check your local job postings for required qualifications. If you’re working online, check for any requirements within the job listing. You can get medical transcription training from vocational schools, online schools and community colleges.

This job is less suitable for the beginners because it involves medical reports and it requires perfect accuracy and precision. That being said, it’s certainly possible to start here if that’s where you see yourself.

Legal Transcription

Transcription of legal documents for the law industry is known as ‘legal transcription’. Legal transcriptions are typically used by legal firms, courts, attorneys amongst others.

Legal transcriptions include audio and video of both, court hearings, general correspondence, depositions and different articles for legal newsletters and magazines.

Today, many beginner legal transcriptionists are working remotely as it is suitable for beginners.

Beyond a legal transcriptionist needing to be well-informed and familiar with legal jargon and law documents, specialized training may be required for you to become a legal transcriptionist.

Similar to medical transcription, if you’re working locally, check your local job postings for educational requirements. If you’re working online, check for any requirements within the online job listing.


Transcription is a high-paying occupation with several growth opportunities.

A transcriptionist’s salary is around $15 for a beginner, while an experienced transcriptionist can earn upwards of $25. With this rate, you could earn around $2,100 in a month working just 3 days a week.

transcription salary for how to become a transcriptionist

PayScale stats reveal that the median transcriptionists’ salary is $15.22 per hour. With the freedom of setting up your hours and having leverage to work as much as you want on a weekly basis.

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, in 2017 the median annual transcriptionists’ salary was $35,250 per year, and about $16.95 per hour.

In addition to this, as per Glassdoor, the average basic salary of a transcriptionist is around $24,857.

As you can see, some healthy numbers. Ok so what’s the next step when working out how to become a transcriptionist?


Firstly, we shouldn’t neglect the equipment needed for a work from home job/business, so be sure to check out our blog on The Best Home Office Setup To Get You Up and Running

Now, some great news when working out how to become a general transcriptionist is that there are no licenses or official training requirements. However, taking a specialized transcription course will help in speeding up the learning curve and help you become an advanced transcriptionist much faster.

If you want to be a legal or medical transcriptionist, you may need a certificate or an associate degree in legal transcription, court reporting or medical transcription. Certification is required in many states so check online for your local requirements.

transcriber training for how to become a transcriptionist

Transcriptionists must have good writing, listening, critical thinking, time-management, concentration and computer skills.

There are many online courses to choose from, some seem fairly priced, whilst others seem too deer for the subject at hand and course inclusions.

We recommend selecting online transcriber training courses from sites that are transparent about the quality of the digital product by means of reviews and ratings. On that, the more reviews and ratings the merrier.

Several sites that we know, like and trust because of this is Udemy and Skillshare for online courses and Amazon and Staples for physical products.


In light of that, here are our recommendations based on a high number of reviews and high rating (where available) to help you on your journey on how to become a transcriptionist.

Transcriber Training Courses

Transcription Skills – Learn Beginning to Advanced Skills – This Udemy course was a ‘bestseller’ at the time of writing this blog, and with a 4.6 star rating from 536 ratings it would be a great investement for those wanting an introduction or advanced level upskill

Learn How To Transcribe – This skillshare course is for entry level transcribers and 80% off the 15 reviews had their expectations met or exceeded which is always a good sign

Transcribe Anywhere – This course is distributed privately, so gaining honest reviews can be difficult. We’ve added it to the list because it popped up quite a bit when searching online, so it’s probably worth checking out.

transcribe anywhere

Transcription Equipment

Express Scribe Pro Transcription Software with USB Foot Pedal – Use your foot pedal to control audio and video playback with… you guessed it… your feet! This product makes for a whole new level of efficiencies. You definitely want to give it a shot. The software enables variable speed playback, multi-channel control, video playing, file management, and more valuable features for transcribers.

You can also get this as a bundle with the addition of a Spectra FLX-10 transcription headset here.


Every transcriptionist wants to be paid well (bit of a no brainer!), however people find it difficult to connect with the websites that pay well and where you can work from home.

Following are the best transcription sites that will guide you towards how to become a well-paid transcriptionist.


Whether you are a beginner or an advanced professional transcriber, Speechpad is one of the most suitable transcription websites that you can work for in order to build your portfolio. Today, it is one of the best paying transcription sites, offering prompt replies to queries from transcriptionists all over the globe.

With Speechpad, you can earn over $50 per task as long as you are submitting quality work.

Scroll to the bottom of the home page and where it says Company click on Careers.


UpWork is a huge marketplace where all kinds of freelancers can find work like blog/article writing, graphic design, web design and of course, transcription. If you are working here, you will be freelancing and you’ll be in direct contact with your client. The client will send you a file which you have to transcribe to text.

Some benefits of freelancing include that you will be given more projects if your clients are satisfied, and you’ll have flexibility surrounding your working hours and means of payment. You can even negotiate your pay and increase your rate as you improve and gain positive reviews.


Rev is one of the top transcription sites that not only pays well but also allows you to select your projects and timetables. The company offers training for all the new transcribers and provides regular feedback to improve your knowledge and to build your transcription career.

Scroll to the bottom and hit ‘Become a Freelancer’. Another great site to help you work out how to become a transcriptionist.


If you are a beginner and you want to improve your skills in converting audio to text, then Scribie is the right platform for you.

You don’t need tonnes of experience to get work on Scribie. It offers transcription jobs from home and the rate is $10 per audio hour, which is flat for all workers. If this pay seems low as compared to other top transcriber’s website, don’t worry, it also offers bonuses and a promotion for the ones who submit quality work.

Scroll to the bottom and hit the Jobs button.

transcription jobs from home


TranscribeMe is another trusted transcription site that pays well. They claim that they “pay more than anyone”, so definitely worth checking out.

It is an excellent website for beginners who are not familiar with transcription given their support and access to training. You can get help from the Transcribe me training team to ensure that you are not making a mistake in your transcribing task.

Scroll to the bottom and hit ‘Monetize your Downtime’ or ‘Become a Transcriptionist’.


If you are good at transcribing audio files like conference calls for organizations, legal audio files, letters, messages, and medical files, then Quicktate is just the right place for you.

To work with Quicktate you’ll need to take a test in order for Quicktate to test your typing speed and skills. This assessment helps in determining if you understand the requirements or not.

Scroll to the bottom and hit the Become a Transcriber button. Another great site to help you work out how to become a transcriptionist.


GoTranscript is another great transcription site that pays well. This website offers numerous online transcription jobs and you are free to choose your projects as per your schedule.

If you get hired, then you have to complete their test job by using the guidelines provided. You have to transcribe a video as a test. You can earn around $0.60 for every minute of audio/video that you transcribe. You just need to have good English skills.


Tigerfish is great for transcribers and it is one of the best transcribing websites for beginners. As long as you have good speed and have strong command over English language, you can readily make a living by transcribing for this website.

The company’s management is known for friendliness and flexibility concerning the requirements of their freelance transcribers. Towards the bottom of the page there’s an Employment Opportunities button.


Today, transcription is one of the most popular ways to earn a living from home. Most of the transcription sites that pay well offer general transcription, which is great as it reduces the chances of needing official certification.

That being said, you’ll always win by working on improving your skills by taking a course.

Through transcription jobs, you can earn around $15 per hour by submitting good quality transcription work. The best thing about this job is that you can break into the industry with little to no experience and be a successful transcriptionist with just a bit of dedicated time.

You can also work transcription jobs from home as an employee or a freelancer, the choice is yours!

We sincerely hope you take away some new knowledge from this blog post on how to become a transcriptionist and understand much more about how to become a transcriptionist the smart way.

If so we’d truly appreciate you sharing this blog so that others can benefit too.


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