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The Real Truth About Transcription Work From Home

Updated on October 11, 2014

Want To Know What The Job Is Really Like?

Have you ever considered working at home? One of the options out there is transcription. You will find many legitimate programs out there that promise to provide you with the education needed to be successful in this field, but for every legitimate website there are hundreds of scams. The internet can be a scary place, so you have to do your research before you begin to study for a job in transcription. There are so many guarantees and promises out there, but even the real ones do not tell you the full story. Below, I describe what needs to be done to prepare, and I will illustrate some of the realities that you may not be aware of.


Step 1: Research The Job.

There are many aspects of research that need to be explored. You can start by simply asking around. Do you know someone successful in the field? Do you have contacts which you can use to find people successful in transcription. I wish I had done more of this. A friend of mine told me her sister worked as a medical transcriptionist and that she made good money. I took this as an encouragement, rather than actually talking to her. I should have asked for her number and asked her about the job. I would have learned valuable information this way. Instead, I plunged head into a course in medical transcription without doing any research.

You can also research the internet. There are many forums out there for medical transcription. I will use this as the example since that is what I trained in. By reading forums, you can get a sense of the job market. You can find out how successful others have been in the field. You can make valuable contacts, which can be of help in getting a job. The internet can also be valuable in job searching. Look up transcription jobs using sites such as or If I had done this PRIOR to finishing my medical transcription course, I would have learned that it is almost impossible to find a job in medical transcription, specifically, without 2 years experience. What a crush it was to discover, after all of my hard work, that I could not find a job!

Third, you want to know what type of education is required for the position you want. You want to be as diversified as possible for a job in transcription. Do your research on the programs out there. Beware, this is where you will find the scams. There are sites out there promising quick training and job security. Do not fall for these traps. There are legitimate online college courses in transcription. Which leads into....

Step 2: Research Courses

So you have decided that transcription is for you, now you need to find out how to get the education you need. Transcription involves listening to a dictated file, but it is so much more than that. A good course will provide you with real time dictation. The pace of the files will take time to get used to. That does not include if the person dictating has an accent! A variety in dictation exposure is very helpful. Ask if you will be given the opportunity to dictate an actual file. I have to back up for a minute. The first thing you need to find out is what type of accreditation the program has. I went through U. S. Career Institute. I have to say the program was great, but they are not accredited by a reputable medical transcription accreditation program. I am not sure if this would have made a difference in finding a medical transcription job or not. U. S. Career Institute is, however, accredited by the Distance Education Training Council. I have to think that accreditation is a benefit. You want to ask these questions before you enroll. AHDI, which stands for Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity, is just one type of accreditation available in transcription, for example. AHDI online has a wealth of information including accredited programs and certification. Accreditation is important for transferring of credits, if you chose to switch schools. It is also a way to verify that a program is legitimate. These programs are monitored by experts in the field and this gives credibility to the school.

Step 3: Research The Cost

Like I mentioned, there are things you do not consider when you do not do the research. With transcription, you will need to consider buying a few essential tools. One would be a good set of headphones. This will help with sound quality. Every nuance of a dictated file has to be heard. You never know when you might miss a key phrase because you could not hear it. You will also want to consider getting a foot pedal. These controls will help you stop and start a dictation file with ease. It keeps your hands free to type as well. Everything you can do to save time will be beneficial. You will need to consider some sort of software to play the files on. You are lucky in this aspect. Express Scribe is a free tool that is downloadable. You can download at your own risk, but I have not had any viruses with this site, and the program is very helpful in slowing down speech to a rate I can type to.

Finally, you want to consider whether your computer needs upgraded, or if you need a new computer. You will need something with good sound quality and the capabilities to run multiple programs at one time. Adding memory may help in this aspect. Make the investments if you want to be serious in this field. You will be happy that you did.

Step 4: Research Your Environment

When starting a job working from home, you need to think about your work space. Do you have a place that is quiet? Noise can be very distracting when you are trying to listen to a doctor with a Chinese accent. I've tried squeezing in time with the kids playing in the background. It just doesn't work. Do you have room for a desk, computer, and foot pedal? You want to be comfortable while you type. Transcription can be tedious, so you want to have a space prepared for the job. It is essential to claim a space in your house that is committed to work. This will help put you in the frame of mind to "go to work", and it will help the kids to know that this space is a workspace. There will be an adjustment when you begin working. Home has been about relaxation and family, but now it has a new use as a workspace.

Duel Debate Module

Is working at home right for you?

Step 5: Research Your Time

Begin by analyzing how much time you can allot to work. The beauty of working from home is that you can set your own times. The downside is that you may take much longer getting the job done than you think! Now the pay sounds very appealing, and I have to agree that it is decent pay. You will have to take into account your learning curve however. Transcription takes time to be good at, and you will spend lots and lots of time listening to dictation. I am still getting started, and it takes me a few hours to get my dictation done. Over time, I hope that I will be faster. The Express Scribe program, as mentioned above, will help you in the process. I did not take into account that it would take me so much longer to complete an assignment than a seasoned pro. The pay is good until you consider the time put in. You may not make much money starting out. That is one thing I want you to come away with. You will have financial headaches if you think that this will pay all the bills, at least not in the beginning. I cannot speak for a pro. I am not one, but I hope to continue to hone my skills. I am just not that fast. Do not forget to make time a variable in your decision making.


You might not make much money at this, at least in the beginning.

I Have A Job.

Be open to the possibilities, and do not give up. I felt pretty defeated when I found out that most medical transcription jobs require 2 years or more of experience. I looked for jobs from time to time, but I just felt that nothing was out there for me. One day, I searched around the internet. I ended up on Craig's List. On it, there was a job listing for transcription for TV. There was a test involved. I had to dictate a video file, so I went for it. I got the job! I am now working! My job involves transcribing for closed caption on tv. It's interesting work. I think it is more entertaining than listening to surgery dictation anyway! Ha! I am still stressed with the new job. I'm still slow, but I am pushing forward. This job takes experience, and the only way I can get that is by doing it. I hope you keep pushing forward because you will find a job. It just takes determination and a little planning!

How is your job search going?

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    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I'd never be good at transcription, but, fortunately, it's not the only job one can do at home.

    • dc64 lm profile image

      dc64 lm 6 years ago

      I did transcribing at home for three different people and I liked it; however, the pay wasn't that great compared to the hours it took to do the transcribing. I did like working at home and would have kept doing it if it paid better. I learned a lot while doing the transcribing, though.