How to become a legal transcriptionist in 2024

Are you a transcriptionist and want to specialize? Being a legal transcriptionist has a promising future; according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2021 to 2031, there will be 131,000 new jobs in the legal field.

It represents a significant growth of legal occupations, and these specialists have good incomes and working conditions.

But as in everything, to be successful, you must love what you do. Do you like the legal area?

Read this post and find out if it could be an option for you and start training in 2023.

What skills do you need to be a legal transcriptionist

Before you start, you should know what you are dealing with and everything about legal transcription.

If you already have it clear, it's time to move on, but you might first want to be sure how much you can earn as a legal transcriptionist before you decide to start your new path.

legal transcriptionist from home

The following skills are required to become a legal transcriptionist:

  • Language proficiency (excellent spelling, grammar and syntax).
  • Attention to detail and thoroughness.
  • Ability to listen to different voices, tones and styles of language.
  • Computer skills to handle word processing and other software.
  • Touch typing (80+ words per minute with few errors).
  • Fast and accurate transcription skills.
  • Good time management skills to meet deadlines.

Additionally, interested in learning legal terminology, processes and procedures. A patient and frustration-tolerant personality is also required; sometimes, the audios are not high quality, and you must listen to them repeatedly.

These personal qualities are necessary to be a successful transcriptionist, but it does not imply having all of them at a good level of development; the important thing is that you know that they are necessary and that you develop them.

How to become a legal transcriptionist from home step by step

Becoming a legal transcriptionist is possible, little by little, from home; we tell you the steps to achieve it.

1. Legal knowledge is a must

Gaining legal knowledge is the first step; for this, there are many options for online training programs. You can explore community colleges, vocational schools, technical schools and universities.

You will learn legal terminology, legal brief theory, word processing techniques, transcript editing, writing styles and legal dictionary creation.

Duration depends on dedication, and programs can be completed in a few months. One of the most popular options is the Legal Transcription: Theory and Practice course by Transcribeanywhere, which offers 14 training modules and is one of the most comprehensive.

how to become legal transcriptionist

Wiley University Services also offers paralegal educational content, and you can log in and check out their offerings.

If you feel you don't have as good a foundation as a transcriptionist, you may want to consider taking the Transcription Certification Institute's general transcriptionist course first.

2. Take a legal transcriptionist certification online

The ideal is to obtain complete training, which is what online legal transcription certification is all about.

There are several of these programs; one of the most recognized is the Association of Electronic Reporters (AAERT).

Having an AAERT certification evidences knowledge of transcription and digital court reporting, is proof of professionalism and adds a lot of value.

3. Get the right equipment

In the process of becoming a legal transcriptionist, you need resources to work effectively:

  • A reliable computer with the power to process and store audio or video files. It can be a desktop or laptop with ample RAM and high-quality sound and video cards.
  • Reliable and stable internet connection, only then can you download and upload audio or video files and communicate with clients. It is necessary to ensure a fast enough connection service for video calls and handling large file transfers.
  • Transcription software There are several options, and they are required to transcribe audio or video files quickly and efficiently. These programs come with speed playback features, foot pedal support and automatic timestamps, all useful tools for fast and accurate transcription.
  • Good headphones are a must for working as a legal transcriptionist. They allow you to hear audio and video recordings more clearly and minimize distractions from ambient noise. You will likely spend many hours transcribing, so they should be comfortable and offer good sound quality.
  • You need a foot pedal to control file playback with your feet. This will keep your hands free, and you won't waste time constantly stopping and replaying the recording.
  • Word processing software, the most commonly used, are Google Docs and Microsoft Word. They allow you to type transcripts and have useful autocorrect functions, formatting options, spell checkers, etc.
    An ergonomic chair and keyboards will be great to avoid bad posture and fatigue.

legal transcriptionist certification online

The list is a bit long, but they are necessary resources to become a productive and efficient legal transcriptionist.

4. Practice on your own

The main activity of a legal transcriptionist is to transcribe audio and video recordings of legal proceedings.

If you have legal documents, you can also search for them online and record and transcribe them. When you have transcribed them, evaluate your accuracy and seek to improve it.

You can challenge yourself more and more; for example, type without looking at the keyboard and time yourself to increase the number of words typed per minute.

become a legal transcriptionist

Undoubtedly, more and more practice will lead you to become a legal transcriptionist with outstanding skills.

5. Take another legal transcription course (if you can).

Explore the offer of courses to keep you constantly updated about legal terminology and procedures.

You can check the universities' websites for their continuing education programs; beyond your knowledge, you can interact with exciting professionals and increase your network of contacts.

6. Create a portfolio

It is one of the most effective ways to create job opportunities; it is a summary of what you know how to do, since when you do it, educational training and courses, programs you manage and skills.

In case you do not have much experience, make the most of everything, for example, educational projects, and it is also valid to place if you have collaborated with the projects of others.

how to become a legal transcriptionist from home

Another possibility is to look for opportunities in NGOs or local institutions and work as a volunteer offering your services; this will add value to your professional portfolio.

7. Look for a job as a legal transcriptionist

Finding a job as a legal transcriptionist is excellent because you will learn directly from your supervisor as well as from paralegals, lawyers and other professionals in the field.

Take lots of notes and take advantage of the opportunity to be with experts to clarify doubts and learn as much as you can.

legal transcriptionist certification

Here are some tips for finding a job as a legal transcriptionist:

  • Access websites such as Flexjobs, Indeed and Monster and explore their job postings.
  • Explore companies like Kelly Services and Robert Half, which specialize in placing legal transcriptionists.
  • Access websites such as Freelancer and Upwork, which allow legal transcriptionists to find freelance work and build a client base.

8. Continue learning through experience

Additionally, you can offer your services to family, friends or acquaintances; it will help you to deepen your training and build your brand as a legal transcriptionist.

how to become a certified legal transcriptionist

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a selection of frequently asked questions that may help clarify some of your doubts.

How long does it take to become a legal transcriptionist?

Depending on the type of training chosen and the time of dedication, the time can range from 4 to 6 months or 1 year.

How much can I earn as a legal transcriptionist?

Here you can see the legal transcriptionist salary and how much you can earn in 2023, according to ZipRecruiter and Glassdoor, which are two important job portals in the United States.

Where to find a legal transcriptionist job?

There are offers on different portals; you can access Indeed, Upwork and the websites of the best top-paying transcription companies in 2023 and apply.

What do recruiters look for in a legal transcriptionist candidate?

Training in the area, experience may be preferable; speed and accuracy in transcription, ability to deliver on time and confidentiality with all content.


We hope we have provided you with useful information on whether becoming a legal transcriptionist is a good career choice for you.

If it is, we have given you clues regarding the skills to develop, the resources needed and the steps to become a legal transcriptionist.

If you decide on this career and take training courses, you will do well, because of its future job opportunities and good income level, from here we wish you much success.

Emil Nikkhah
Hi, I'm Emil Nikkhah.
For over 25 years, I have successfully built several television post-production companies.
Frustrated by the high cost and slowness of manual transcription and subtitling in this industry, we decided to create ScriptMe, a powerful software for automatic transcription and subtitling.
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