How to Become a Legal Transcriptionist


Legal transcriptionists are professionals who transcribe legal documents and information. They listen to dictations from attorneys and transcribe them into organized and legible records. The average starting salary of a legal transcriptionist, who works in an office setting, is $40,000. Those who work from home can earn around $24.00 per hour.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with modem
  • Internet access
  • Word-processing software
  • WavPlayer with foot pedal
  • Polish your typing and basic English skills. The faster you can type with grammatical accuracy, the more you can earn. Buy a software program designed to increase your typing accuracy. You can find free programs online to get your typing up to speed.

  • Enroll in and complete a legal transcriptionist course. While you're not technically required to have specialized education or training for this field, it's useful to have a working knowledge of legal jargon and the formats for legal documents. There are self-study courses available online which can take between 8-12 weeks to complete successfully.

  • Update your resume to reflect your new training as a legal transcriptionist. It might be worthwhile to hire a professional resume writer to help you.

  • Apply for jobs as a legal transcriptionist. Online job boards such as and often list firms and individuals looking for legal transcriptionists. Market yourself to the lawyers and law firms in your area, if you're looking for freelance work.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may want to familiarize yourself with the U.S. court system and the way in which cases are brought to trial.
  • Furthermore, if you're planning to work as a freelance transcriptionist, you may want to consider investing in a foot pedal and WavPlayer, an audio media player. WavPlayer allows users to control the audio with a foot pedal, making the transcription process easier by freeing up your hands to type. This will enable you to work more efficiently from home and maximize your earning potential.
  • Be wary of any job offer or website that requires you to pay to get a job. There are many scams that prey on individuals looking for freelance or work-from-home jobs.

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