There are several legitimate work from home transcriptionist jobs, but it is important that you prepare yourself before you start applying to places. You'll need to make sure you have the right equipment, the right skills, and the right resume. While it is possible to make a decent living working from home as a transcriptionist, it will be hard to pay the bills with the work when you first start out. You need to be willing to learn and improve if you want it to be a career.
What You'll Need
A Good Pair of Headphones
Before you try to transcribe your first file, you'll need to invest in a decent pair of headphones. You'll want ones that cover the ears completely, and not earbuds. So, if all you have is the earbuds from your iPod, the first thing you'll need to do is buy a pair of over-the-ear headphones. These don't have to be expensive. You can find a good pair for around $30. You want to make sure they are comfortable, since you will be spending a lot of time wearing them.
You'll also need a program that will allow you to play the audio and video files you will be transcribing. Express Scribe is one of the best and you can download if for free. You can set it up with hot keys or a foot pedal. This means that you can pause and rewind the file as you type without having to leave your word document.
You may also want to download another free player to help you when your audio files aren't clear. While The FTW Transcriber isn't as popular as Express Scribe, it is helpful for muffled audios. Many transcriptionists will use both, depending on their needs.
Fast Typing Speeds
While there is more to transcribing than typing, it is imperative that you are a fast typist. The faster you type, the more quickly you will be able to complete a file. Since you will get paid by audio hour or minute, typing more quickly is the easiest way to give yourself a raise at this job. Fortunately, fast typing can be learned. You should type at least 50 to 60 words per minute when you are starting out. Take a few minutes every day to do typing quizzes, exercises, and games so that your speed will increase.
A Good Grasp on Grammar
Grammar skills are another necessity for anyone who is thinking about becoming a transcriptionist. You should be comfortable with commas and semicolons. You don't need to have all of the rules memorized, but you should be comfortable with them and willing to brush up on your knowledge so that you can become a better transcriptionist.
Some companies use different styles, so be sure to download and study any guidelines that your company offers. If they don't have their own set of rules, a general grammar book is quite helpful to have. And, if you have any questions, the internet is a wonderful resource.
An Optional Foot Pedal
Foot pedals are extremely useful and will help you increase your speed and your earnings. But there is no reason to buy one when you are first getting started. You can use hot keys while you practice transcription. A lot of people start transcription, but not everyone sticks with it. If you decide that transcription isn't for you, you don't want to be stuck with a barely used foot pedal.
If you are ready to invest in a foot pedal, check out the Infinity digital transcription USB foot pedal. It costs around $60 and it is the brand that is most preferred by transcriptionists. Be sure to keep your foot pedal clean, as dust and hair might cause it to not work properly.
Different Kinds of Transcription
When people think of transcribing, they most often think of medical transcription. And while medical transcription can be challenging and rewarding, it isn't the only kind there is. There is also general and legal transcription.
Medical transcription is the hardest type to break into. It can also be the most lucrative for people who are willing to invest the time and money that training requires. In addition to being good at transcribing, you must also be familiar with medical terminology. Getting hired by a company is difficult, and most require years of experience before they will let you test for them.
If you want to learn how to be a medical transcriptionist, you should enroll in an ADHI approved school. There are three that you should consider. They are Career Step, M-Tec, and Andrews. Many legitimate work from home transcriptionist jobs will let you test for them if you are a graduate of one of these schools, even if you don't have any experience.
There are a variety of files that fall under legal transcription. While the field isn't as technical as medical transcription, you will need to know legal terms to do a good job. You might be transcribing a deposition or lawyer notes.
This is the easiest field to break into. There are no required accreditation programs and, while you will need experience to get some of the better jobs, there are still openings available to newcomers. Even if you think you want to specialize in a field such as medical or legal, starting with some general files is a good idea. It lets you get practice and will help you find out if it is a job for you.
There are a variety of files you might transcribe when you are working as a general transcriptionist. Meetings, voice mails, and conference calls are just a few examples.
Finding Legitimate Work from Home Transcriptionist Jobs
The best way to find transcriptionist jobs that are legitimate is to to network with other work-at-home transcribers. They will help you learn which jobs are hiring, which jobs are friendly to beginners, and which jobs you should avoid. Several work-at-home message boards have a transcription section and you can also find forums dedicated solely to transcription.