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How to Become a Legal Transcriptionist


Are you looking to take your career in a new direction? Exploring employment opportunities as a legal transcriptionist may be a viable option. These trained professionals specialize in creating legal documentation and transcribing audio recordings for paralegals and attorneys. This requires comprehensive editing skills and functional knowledge of legal terminology. If you have a penchant for written communication and are interested in the legal field, here’s what you’ll need to do to refine your craft and become a legal transcriptionist.

Legal Transcriptionist Benefits

By exploring a career as a legal transcriptionist, you’ll be immersed in fast-paced business environments that will expand your knowledge of the legal field and potentially open up other career opportunities, such as becoming a paralegal or court reporter. Many legal transcriptionists are also able to work flexible hours from home depending on client requirements. In some situations, legal firms won’t allow sensitive documentation to leave the building, which would require you to work in an office setting. The average salary for the position is $26,400 per year, but depending on your experience and skill level, you can make as much as $60,000 annually.

Skills and Qualifications

Becoming a legal transcriptionist requires keen attention to detail and advanced editing skills. Since you’ll often be writing sensitive legal documents that will be used in court, accuracy will be key in performing your duties effectively. These documents may include pleadings, motions, correspondence, legal memorandums, court proceedings, and discovery. You’ll also be working under hard deadlines, which means you’ll need typing speeds of at least 85 words per minute to ensure your projects are completed on-time.

Education Requirements

Education requirements for legal transcriptionists are fairly limited. If you already have experience working at an office setting in a legal firm, a high school diploma may be sufficient to secure a position. Associate degrees are sometimes preferred, so completing a program related to business law or legal administration may be a viable strategy to increase your employment opportunities.

Voluntary Certifications

You can also look to obtain voluntary certifications to enhance your marketability with hiring managers. The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT) offers the Certified Electronic Transcriber certification. You can also obtain an Accredited Legal Secretary certification from the National Association for Legal Secretaries, which requires either one year of experience or the completion of a training course.