In a nutshell, transcription work involves transcribing (or transferring) audio into text. There are three basic kinds of transcriptionists:
- Legal transcriptionists
- Medical transcriptionists
- General transcriptionists
Legal transcriptionists transcribe legal proceedings, meetings, and courtroom conversations. Medical transcriptionists transcribe medical records, physician notes, and similar items.
General transcriptionists typically transcribe audio for businesses that are not involved in the legal or medical profession. There are jobs available in all three industries, however, we’ll be focusing on general transcription jobs in this article.
Table of Contents
- Do I Need Experience To Work As A Transcriptionist?
- How Transcriptionists Get Paid
- Best Transcription Jobs to Work From Home
- 1. GoTranscript
- 2. Rev
- 3. GMR Transcription
- 4. TranscribeMe
- 5. Daily Transcription
- 6. Way With Words
- 7. CastingWords
- 8. Transcript Divas
- 9. SpeakWrite
- 10. Athreon
Do I Need Experience To Work As A Transcriptionist?
You might be wondering if you need to have experience or training to work as a transcriptionist. Well, medical and legal transcriptionists do need training – and often experience – before companies will hire them.
However, there are several companies that will hire general transcriptionists without any experience. Sometimes those companies will ask you to take tests to qualify, but we’ll share all of that as we review each company.
Know that if you are going to work as a transcriptionist you’ll earn more money if you have fast and accurate typing skills. Accuracy and speed are important keys to success in the transcription world.
Also, some transcription companies will require you to have a foot pedal. A foot pedal is a pedal that stops the audio recording as you transcribe. The foot pedal allows you to quickly pause the audio so your typing can catch up to the place in the audio recording.
Transcription foot pedals are widely available for sale online. They range in price from the low $30 range to $150 or more. Obviously, the higher quality foot pedal you use the more efficient your transcription work can be.
From what I’ve heard, a quality foot pedal is a necessity if you’re going to be doing any type of serious or long-term transcription work. You can work without them if a company allows it. But not having a foot pedal will make your work less efficient as you will have to take your hands off your keyboard to click your mouse.
Headphones are recommended (and sometimes required) for transcription work too. Wearing headphones as you work will minimize distraction and help you to focus on the audio you’re hearing.
There are some independent transcriptionist training companies offering courses that will train you in how to become a transcriptionist. Although this type of training isn’t often required to work for transcription companies, it can be helpful for beginner transcriptionists to get a leg up on the competition.
One such course, Transcribe Anywhere, takes two to four months to complete and costs several hundred dollars. Taking a transcription course might be a good idea if you are new to the field and want to earn more money at the outset of your career or side hustle.
However, some people simply choose to start with a transcription company that hires beginners and get their experience while they get paid. Check out transcription course options and see what route might be best for you.
Now here’s a review of some of the best transcription jobs you can work from home.
How Transcriptionists Get Paid
Transcriptionists typically are paid per minute of audio they transcribe. It’s important to note that this is not per hour of work. The speed at which you can work is what will determine your actual hourly pay.
For example, if a company pays 50 cents per minute of audio the most you could earn is $30 per hour. And that’s assuming you can accurately type at the speed of speech – which you likely can’t.
There are tricks of the trade, such as the aforementioned foot pedal that will make the work go faster. Another trick is to use a text expander that allows you to type just a few letters on the keyboard but entire preprogrammed sentences appear on the screen. This is perfect if you transcribe the same podcast every week and they have the same intro and outro. You can insert those automatically.
Speed and accuracy are critical to keeping your hourly wage up. If you want to see how fast you can transcribe, choose any podcast or YouTube video and give it a go. Measure how long it takes you to transcribe one minute of audio.
Most companies also pay via PayPal which will charge you fees to receive your money, so keep that in mind as well when you are calculating your expected hourly rate.
Also, it’s important to note that many transcription companies consider their transcriptionists to be independent contractors. If you work for a company that hires transcriptionists as independent contractors, you’ll be responsible for keeping track of your income and expenses.
You’ll also be responsible for paying your own taxes. For that reason, many independent contractors will put a percentage of their weekly pay into a separate savings account so that they’re prepared come tax time. Here’s some more information on paying taxes when you are self-employed.
Best Transcription Jobs to Work From Home
As we summarize a bit about each of these companies, we’ll talk about facts like hiring requirements, pay rate, and other company information. That way you’ll be able to make informed decisions as to which company or companies you might want to work with.
GoTranscript has been in the transcription business since 2005. Whereas other companies sometimes use both human transcriptionists and transcription software to serve their clients, GoTranscript only uses human transcriptionists as they feel it increases accuracy.
GoTranscript doesn’t require any experience to work as a transcriptionist. You do need to have a computer, a good internet connection, and good English skills. The company gives transcriptionists plenty of time to finish a job so that even slower typers can complete work. They give around six hours to transcribe ten minutes of audio.
Note that good listening skills are required. You do need to complete a test job to be hired, and the test job is an audio piece that’s poor quality with non-native speakers.
GoTranscript rates differ per job, but they’ll pay as high as $0.60 per audio minute. The average transcriptionist with GoTranscript (as of this writing) earns $150 per month, and the top monthly earnings at this time are $1,215 per month.
They pay every week via PayPal.
Rev has been providing transcription services since 2010. Along with typical transcription jobs, you can do captioning and foreign subtitle work as well.
With Rev, you select the jobs you want to take. The Rev website says there is always a large pool of jobs to choose from.
As with GoTranscript, Rev only requires that you have a computer, a solid internet connection, and great typing and English skills. Before you’re hired, you’ll have to take a quiz to demonstrate that you have good typing skills and a good working knowledge of the English language.
Then you’ll submit a sample transcript to Rev so they can analyze the quality of your work. If you’re accepted, you can typically start working within a few days.
Rev offers a long list of jobs to choose from every day, and there’s no limit to the number of jobs you can take.
The Rev website says they pay between $0.30 and $1.10 per audio minute of transcription. Those who work with captions and subtitles can get paid even more.
They pay weekly via PayPal.
3. GMR Transcription
GRM Transcription has been providing transcription services since 2004. As with GoTranscript, GMR Transcription works exclusively with human transcriptionists and doesn’t use AI transcribing services.
And as with other companies, you can choose which assignments you take. The company website says they have happy transcriptionists with a low turnover rate.
GMR has more requirements than the other companies we’ve talked about so far. To work for this company, you’ll need a computer with high speed internet, Microsoft Office, and a foot pedal.
In addition, you will need to pass a strict transcription test before you’re hired. The test equates to transcribing two hours of audio before you start getting paid. This test helps the company see if you’re a good fit for the job.
GMR Transcription does not disclose pay rates until you are hired. However, the GMR Transcription website says that their transcriptionists typically earn between $1,000 and $3,000 per month. Of course, this pay depends on the person’s skill level as well.
They pay once a month via PayPal or bank transfer.
TranscribeMe is another company with a long term history of working in the transcription business. Most of the audio you’ll transcribe with TranscribeMe is in short clips of audio (2 to 4 minutes).
These shorter audio clips might be more appealing to some transcriptionists. In addition, you can work as much or as little as you’d like with this company.
You don’t need prior experience as a transcriptionist to work here. Your application process with TranscribeMe includes taking an English Entrance Exam. Before you take the exam, you’ll need to read through the company’s Style Guide and Instructions documents.
These documents will help prepare you to successfully pass the exam. Once you’re hired, you’ll need to have a computer with stable internet access via the Chrome browser. A foot pedal is not required, but the software TranscribeMe uses does work with a variety of foot pedal models.
Beginner transcriptionists earn $15 per audio hour. It’s important to note that this is not the rate for each hour you work, but for each hour of audio you transcribe. So, the faster you transcribe, the higher your actual hourly pay rate will be.
TranscribeMe allows you to request payment once you’ve earned at least $20. Once you request a payout, you’ll get paid via PayPal on the following Thursday.
5. Daily Transcription
The Daily Transcription website says it prides itself on two things: hiring real humans for transcription work and paying a living wage. In addition, they’re committed to providing quality work for clients, which means they probably treat their employees well.
You don’t need to have experience to work at Daily Transcription. However, you do need to be able to type at least 50 words per minute. You also need to have a good mastery of the English language and be disciplined enough to meet the company’s strict turnaround deadlines.
When you apply to work here, you’ll need to pass a skills assessment test and a transcription test.
Daily Transcription also requires you to have a transcription software (there are free ones), headphones, and they highly recommend a foot pedal (although it’s not required). A dependable computer and internet connection are required as well.
Daily Transcription pays well; between $0.75 and $0.85 per audio minute for beginner transcriptionists.
This company pays weekly via check. If you live outside of the U.S. or Canada, they’ll make other pay arrangements.
6. Way With Words
Way With Words has been in the transcription business since 2001. They’ve got locations in the United States, Canada, the UK, and more.
Way With Words doesn’t require experience, however, they do require excellent knowledge of the English language. The company website also encourages applicants that can understand foreign accents well and have good researching skills.
As far as equipment goes you’ll need a working version of Microsoft Word and some type of audio playing software such as Windows Media Player.
After your application and test are complete and you’re officially hired, they’ll also recommend hardware and software to make your job easier.
The Way With Words website says their current rate of pay is between $0.45 and $1.73 per audio minute. They pay once per month via PayPal.
CastingWords has been in the transcription business for over 15 years. They specialize in both short and longer audio transcription services. The company promises high-quality transcripts with over 99% accuracy. That means you’ll need to have a high rate of accuracy to work there.
You don’t need experience to work for CastingWords, however you do need to be over 18. After you fill out the online application, you’ll get notified as to whether or not you need to take additional tests to be hired.
As with other companies, you’ll need a computer and reliable internet connection. CastingWords will let you know what other equipment you need after you’re hired.
CastingWords pays between $0.085 and $1.00 per audio minute. Your pay level is largely based on the quality of your work, and the company offers bonuses for high-grade work.
You’ll get paid every Friday via Paypal
8. Transcript Divas
Transcript Divas has been working in the transcription business since 2013. The company was started by a researcher who was disappointed in the quality of work he received when he hired out for transcription services. So he went and found his own transcriptionists to do the quality work he needed done.
And that turned into a highly-rated business by the name of Transcript Divas.
You do not need to have transcription experience to work at Transcript Divas, however, experience is preferred. You’ll need to fill out the company’s online job application to get started.
If you’re selected to move onto the next step in the application process, you’ll take a transcription test and do a phone interview. The website doesn’t specify what type of equipment you need to work there, but it’s safe to say you’ll probably need the common equipment – a computer, internet connection, transcription software, headphones, and a foot pedal too.
The Transcript Divas website says they pay between $0.84 and $2.98 per audio minute. The current average pay is $1.39 per audio minute. The more difficult the job is, the higher the pay rate is.
They pay you either by bank transfer or PayPal, within a week of receiving your invoice.
SpeakWrite is a long-running transcription company that services tens of thousands of clients at any given time. And they transcribe over one million jobs each year. SpeakWrite hires general transcriptionists and legal transcriptionists as well.
The company website says that they’re looking for people who are interested in making transcription work a career, not just a side hustle.
SpeakWrite hires transcriptionists with one year or more of experience in transcription and word processing. The website specifically says that data entry experience or general office experience doesn’t count.
You need to be able to type 60 words per minute with 90% accuracy to work for this company. You’ll also need to be fluent in the English language and have a thorough understanding of English grammar and spelling.
In addition, the company has a list of equipment you’ll need, including a Windows-based PC, Microsoft Word 2007 or newer, a foot pedal, and more. Also, you’ll need to be available to work at least four hours per week.
SpeakWrite says they pay an average of $450 per month and that their top transcriptionist earns over $3,000 per month. They pay twice each month via Direct Deposit or mailed check.
Athreon has been in the transcription services industry for over 30 years. The company does both general transcription work and medical scribe transcription work.
The company website says that transcriptionists they hire are sure to have steady work if they want it.
Athreon is probably the transcription company with the strictest requirements on this list. To work for Athreon, you’ll need to have completed a transcription training program or have completed two years’ work in the transcription field.
You’ll need a dependable computer with Microsoft Windows 10 or higher, and a reliable internet connection to work here. The company also encourages the use of a foot pedal, although that is not required.
And with this company, you’ll have to pass a background check before you’re hired. The Athreon website says this requirement is due to the sensitive nature of some of the work you’ll do.
Athreon doesn’t list an exact pay rate, but the company website says they pay competitively and have incentive-based pay programs as well. Pay is once per week via Paypal.
Working as a transcriptionist might turn out to be a valuable side hustle for you if you’ve got good listening skills, fast and accurate typing skills, and a good working knowledge of the English language.
And while pay can be low for beginners, you can earn more once you master those skills.
If transcription isn’t for you check out our list of other work-at-home jobs.
Have you ever considered working as a transcriptionist? Or have you worked as a transcriptionist? We’d love to hear about your experience. Feel free to share in the comments section.