How to Become a Legal Transcriptionist in 7 Steps

6 min read

Advance your career by training to become a legal transcriber. Legal transcriptionists enjoy considerable job security, even in flagging economies. Plus, the job permits transcribers to accumulate valuable insight into the inner workings of our justice system. Discover how to become a legal transcriptionist in 7 steps below.

What Does a Legal Transcriptionist Do?

A legal transcriptionist listens to live and recorded audio while converting it into textual documents. Many legal transcribers work from home because audio files remain readily available in digital format. Some of the different types of content that a legal transcription professional converts into text include:

  • Hearings
  • Depositions
  • Interrogations
  • Video surveillance footage
  • 911 calls

How to Become a Legal Transcriber in 7 Steps

Now that you know what a certified legal transcriber does, you need to decide whether becoming a legal transcriptionist is right for you. Whether you want to be a remote transcriber or a deposition transcriptionist, the field of transcription is broad enough to accommodate most lifestyles. Discover how to become a legal transcriptionist in 7 steps below.

1. Obtain a College Degree

Almost all legal transcription jobs require applicants to possess degrees from four-year universities or colleges. Holding a degree in English, criminology, pre-law, or a related field will increase your chances of success when working for online legal transcription companies. Plus, you can develop your abilities as a remote transcriptionist while studying.

2. Hone Your Transcription Skills

Four years of accurate note-taking in the classroom serves as the perfect preparation for a transcribing career due to the live setting and dense material. Try to achieve as close to 100% accuracy as possible while in class, but also record your classroom lectures for additional practice. You can even transcribe your favorite movies and television shows when not studying.

3. Earn a Transcriber Certificate

Stand out from the crowd of applicants by earning a transcription certificate. One of the most popular certificates for transcribers is for a certified medical transcriptionist (CMT). It allows you to work on complex medical malpractice cases, which prove more lucrative for legal transcribers in general. Another option involves becoming a certified electronic transcriber (CET).

4. Transcribe on Gig Websites

Now that you have the necessary education, skills, and certifications, you should apply for legal transcription jobs. While waiting for responses, you can start making money right away by registering with a few gig websites. By working on a per-project basis, you can gain valuable experience before landing your first full-time job.

5. Apply to Law Firms and Government Agencies

Search for open legal transcription positions with the largest law firms and government agencies. Private law firms will pay you the best entry-level wage, while government positions offer great benefits and job security with predictable future earnings. You can also perform legal transcription services to help major corporations govern themselves and stay compliant with regulations.

6. Find Private Legal Transcription Clients

After you’ve learned everything you could possibly learn about certified legal transcription services, you can start thinking about taking your own clients in the legal field. You can also work for non-legal transcription clients to mix things up. Some of the most common non-legal fields that need transcription are:

  • Television and film
  • Science and medicine
  • Journalism
  • Education
  • Marketing research

7. Fulfill Your Continuing Education Requirements

Even more important than becoming a legal transcriptionist is staying a legal transcriptionist. Most transcription certifications require continuing education. As long as you stay on top of the deadlines and fulfill the mandatory number of units, you can maintain your status as a certified legal translator indefinitely.

FAQ on Becoming a Legal Transcriptionist

How Much Money Do Legal Transcriptionists Make?

Legal transcriptionists make $50,000 per year on average. However, the mean salary for legal transcribers varies widely depending on location and experience. A veteran legal transcription expert in New York or San Francisco can easily make over $100,000 per year, especially with the right tools, technology, and support staff in place.

Is Legal Transcription Still in Demand?

Legal transcription is still in demand and will forever remain in demand due to the sensitive nature of legal documents. The exacting standards of court clerks and the life-altering effects of a court case call for certified legal transcription services from legal professional platforms. Talented transcriptionists in the legal field will always find a job, even during difficult economic times.

Here are some of the sites where you can find professional legal transcriptionists:


LexTranscribe is one of the leading legal transcription companies in the United States today. LexTranscribe provides a platform for experienced transcriptionists to get in touch with those in need of their services.


GoTranscript provides legal transcription and video transcription services. They provide transcription services to law firms, law enforcement agencies, and private investigators.


When you are looking for freelance legal transcriptionists who can work on small projects that are not too complicated, Fiverr should be your top choice. The site is also a platform for other types of services.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Legal Transcriptionist?

The qualifications you need to be a legal transcriptionist exceed those of a standard transcriber. All law transcriptionists need a college degree and a legal transcription certificate. Other required qualifications include:

  • Excellent typing skills
  • Impeccable spelling and grammar
  • Unwavering focus and mental stamina
  • Superb time-management skills
  • Computer proficiency
  • Keen hearing

Is It Hard to Be a Legal Transcriptionist?

It is hard to be a legal transcriptionist, but it becomes easier over time as you gain new skills and valuable experience. After all required training, a certified legal transcriptionist will start to settle into the job after 1-2 years of full-time work. After two years, a legal audio transcription professional may begin to perform most duties automatically.

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