The Best Transcription Courses – Earn Some Extra Money

The Best Transcription Courses – Earn Some Extra Money

If you’re naturally fast at typing and looking for new ways to make money, transcription has likely crossed your mind before. However, after one try with real-time audio, you’ll realize there’s quite a lot to learn. Every file seems to have more static than the last, with more and more people talking each time!

How does anyone notate all the words without spending hours doing it? Is it even possible to distinguish what’s being said in the clip? If these concerns have been on your mind, finding an online transcription course could be the way to go. They often come with practice audio files, and they walk you through keyboard shortcuts and hotkey essentials so that you can get started.

While there’s useful information online, it can quickly get overwhelming. From general to legal to medical, how can anyone locate the necessary information to begin? The good news is that with transcription courses, the search for information is no longer your responsibility. It’s essential when it comes to saving time and giving you the boost that you need for your transcription career.

Below, we’ll go through everything you can expect from an online transcription course, noting down the best online options, and scribing any extra information you’ll need to get started!

Orientation

Transcription is one of the quickest jobs to pick up. Once you’ve mastered the skill, the effort required dramatically decreases. You’ll find job openings in every sector since many people, companies, and websites might need transcription services. From captioning to typing court cases, the possibilities are endless!

However, with so many directions that you can go in, it can quickly become overwhelming. After all, how do you know which field you want to focus on if you’re just starting out? Below, we cover the main details that distinguish transcription courses so that you have a better understanding of how to find the perfect one.

Scope

Transcription may sound simple at first. You receive audio input and turn it into a text output. After all, how hard is it to listen and type? As it turns out, it can become difficult depending on the subject, audio quality, and more. The content covered in various courses can range from legal material, medical material, or even general material. It all depends on the goal of the course – and knowing your final goal for transcription will help you pick the right one.

In addition to courses that specialize in certain fields, there are also those that are tailored to beginners. You might want to focus on building your foundations before diving deep into medical terminology. Maybe you’ve already learned and transcribed documents before, but now you’re looking for tips to improve. Ensuring the scope of the course covers your interests is the best way to get the most value for your money.

Certificates

When it comes to certification, the importance of having one depends on the field. For example, if you want to go into legal or medical transcription disciplines, certifications are necessary. However, if you want to become a general transcriptionist, certifications aren’t required, though they certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Keep in mind that when trying to get a medical transcription, a high school diploma or GED equivalent is required to enroll in the course. In addition, courses that come with medical and legal transcription certifications will be more time-intensive and costly!

Approachability

Courses can vary, with each suited to a specific set of students and goals. As a result, students will want to find the right course that’s tailored to their skill level! It’s all too easy to get stuck in a course that becomes overwhelming or end up breezing through the lessons without learning anything. We’ve tried to include a wide variety in our selection, so every type of student should have a few choices.

We recommend that beginners start with courses that go over the basics, while intermediate and advanced students may want courses focusing on practice and more specific subject areas. We’ve covered the various fields of transcribing here if you want to take a closer look!

Below are the three main categories of transcribers that we’ll be referencing throughout the rest of the article.

  • Beginners are those who have very little experience with transcription, and they’re just getting started! They have low accuracy and speed, and they need to focus on building the foundations before becoming more efficient.
  • Intermediate students are those who have worked with transcription before and have a few jobs under their belt. However, they may be looking for a course to help them refine their skills, focusing on tips and small technique improvements.
  • Advanced students are those who have extensive transcription knowledge and are looking to pursue a professional role. This might include medical transcription and other heavily specialized fields.

Time and Cost

Transcription courses can range widely when it comes to price and cost. Affordable ones meant for advanced learners or focusing on practice will usually cost around $50, while more intensive courses can be closer to $1000. It depends whether you want courses that provide an official certification or courses that solely focus on improving your transcription skills.

In addition, the time varies as well. For more intensive and serious courses, it can take up to six months of focus and studying before you finish the coursework. On the other end of the spectrum, easier courses only have 1 or 2 hours of instruction. However, you do need to aside several hours outside of instruction to practice as well!

Cheat Sheet

It can quickly get overwhelming when you’re looking at every available online transcription course! That’s why we’ve compiled a quick fact sheet with information on each of our favorite courses. Feel free to read through and only visit ones that stand out to you. We’ve tried to include a wide variety of courses, so that it will appeal to everyone no matter what their skills.

  1. If you’re getting started in the field and you want a comprehensive overview of all the skills required, we’d recommend you try the Transcription Skills From Beginning to Advanced course to help with your transcription journey!
  2. If you’re looking for an intensive course that covers every detail of transcription, Transcribe Anywhere makes it clear as day for you!
  3. If your goal for learning transcription is to find small jobs on Upwork, Fiverr, and other sites, you want to take note of End to End Transcription Jobs!
  4. Determined to be a professional transcriber? You’ll find the Transcription Certification Institute has everything you’ll need – and more!
  5. If you already have transcription experience and you want to refine your skills, Hands-On Transcription Practice puts your typing to the test!
  6. If you’re a born-and-bred entrepreneur and you’re ready to start your own transcription business from home, you’ll find a detailed guide in Step-By-Step Transcription From Home.
  7. If you have your heart set on medical transcription and you want to learn from the comfort of your own room, the Penn Foster Transcription Course goes through all the terminology!

“transcription” written on paper against keyboard

Top 7 Best Transcription Courses 2022


1. Best Comprehensive Overview: Transcription Skills From Beginning to Advanced

  • 1.5 hours $64.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: Chelsea Flint
  • Skill level: Beginner, intermediate
  • Number of Modules: 15 modules

Why we like it

As an introductory lesson that covers everything from keyboard techniques to audio cleanup, this course doesn’t leave anything out. Beginners and intermediate students can easily get a jump start into their transcription careers!

Our Review

If you’re just starting your transcription journey or looking for tips to brush up your skills, this comprehensive transcription course is best suited for your needs! You need to have access to Microsoft Word, headphones, and an Express Scribe account before you get started. The course starts by showing you how to use audio players to control the sound before you master your typing skills.

In addition, once the foundations are covered, you’ll start learning how to transcribe audio files with multiple speakers as quickly as possible! By the end of the course, you’ll know everything from cleaning up audio to knowing the best hotkeys and shortcuts. Each module builds upon the last, so students are never left confused and wondering.

The instructor, Chelsea Flint, is a professional transcriber. She’s worked for many individual clients and larger companies, such as KMS Transcription Services. As someone who remembers learning the basics, her course seamlessly transitions to the technical side of transcription without confusing anyone new.

Best Suited For

This course is best suited for those who don’t have extensive transcription experience. Beginners will find the introductory material useful, and intermediate students can benefit from the tips, hotkeys, and practice offered throughout the course. However, we don’t recommend it for advanced students, who may find much of it boring.

In addition, this course is best for those who want to be general transcribers. It focuses heavily on the techniques used within the transcription field, and it’ll serve as a good foundation for students who want to take more specialized transcription courses in the future. Also, the course is a manageable length for newcomers to get through.

Additional Materials

Within the course are several audio files for students to practice transcription. This includes audio files that help students develop the skills needed for timestamp transcriptions and audio issues within transcripts. There are a total of five practice letters in the lesson package, and there’s a bonus lecture towards the end.

Pros

  • Has solid coverage of the foundations
  • Serves as a good introductory course before a more advanced one
  • Covers the technology behind cleaning audio files
  • Teaches how to create more advanced transcription files
  • Includes 5 practice audio files

Cons

  • Not very suited for advanced students


2. Most Intensive: Transcribe Anywhere

  • 2-4 months $797 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: Janet Shaughnessy
  • Skill level: Beginner, intermediate, advanced
  • Number of Modules: 4 modules

Why we like it

If you’re ready to take the step towards being a professional transcriptionist, this course can boost you to the top. Offering both legal and general certifications, it takes an in-depth approach when teaching you about every aspect of transcription!

Our Review

Transcribe Anywhere is an online transcription academy that offers courses for both general and legal transcription. Both courses are certified, and they prepare you for full-time transcription work once you finish. In fact, this course boasts itself as the first “all-inclusive online education system for transcription”.

This course is one that can stand on its own. You don’t need any knowledge to get started, but you’ll have an in-depth understanding of all transcription techniques once you finish. In addition, the program is determined to help their students succeed – everyone gets deals on transcription equipment just by signing up for the course.

This class also gives a sneak-peek into working as a freelancer, quickly covering ways to market your transcription business. It also teaches you how to set up a transcriptionist website to become more visible to the public and land extra jobs. Of course, the “100% through” guarantee is the cherry on top – if you feel like anything is missing, they’ll add it into the course!

Best Suited For

This course is best suited for those who plan on becoming professional transcribers from the start and who are willing to invest the time and money. While we’ve linked the general course above, the legal course has much of the same structure and pricing and can be found here. If you’re looking to become a medical transcriber instead, you may enjoy the Penn Foster Transcription Course.

Students taking this course need to the determined. After all, it can take 2 months to complete even at the fastest speed; therefore, it’s only for students who have dedicated time each day to practice. Otherwise, as a self-paced structure, it can be easy to get distracted and end up taking much longer to push through. It’s also on the expensive side since it covers so many topics.

Additional Materials

In addition to the lectures, you’ll have multiple transcription style guides and documents to reference in the future. You’ll also get access to seven different levels of practice dictations to refine your skills. Purchasing the course also gives you lifetime access to all materials and any that may be added after you’ve finished.

Pros

  • All-inclusive and informative
  • Comes with certifications
  • Offered in the general and legal fields
  • Comes with style guides and downloadable templates
  • Lifetime access to the entire course and all future course updates

Cons

  • On the expensive side


3. Best for Landing Jobs: End to End Transcription Jobs

  • 1 hour $49.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: Fawas Pothuvachola
  • Skill level: Beginner, intermediate
  • Number of Modules: 5 modules

Why we like it

If you’re struggling to continuously pick up transcription jobs on your favorite job boards, End to End Transcription walks you through the best tips, tricks, and techniques needed to land the most coveted positions available on the market!

Our Review

Transcription can be one of the hardest fields to enter, especially with all the competition swarming the major job websites. This course takes a more general approach to transcription, covering how you can set yourself apart from the competition while working as a transcriptionist. It focuses less on the techniques and more on how you can land the transcription job that you want.

This course covers an introduction to transcription as well as a demonstration of what a transcription job may entail. With this demonstration, you’ll be able to try your own hand at transcribing. In addition, it goes beyond what other courses offer as it walks you through the best freelance websites and job postings around!

The instructor, Fawas, has personal experience when it comes to being a course instructor. He’s mentored freelancers for 7 years, and he’s one of the instructors for eLearning’s virtual classes. In addition, many of his tips for perfecting your transcription skills can be applied to other freelance and self-learning fields as well.

Best Suited For

This course is best suited for beginners and intermediate students who are having difficulty finding jobs on their freelance websites. After all, being good at transcription may not come in handy until you have a person willing to pay for that skill! The course itself serves as a manual for navigating job searching as a transcriptionist while giving tips on how to improve your skills.

However, if you’re looking for a course that focuses solely on transcription, you may not enjoy the content as much. After all, the focus is more on marketing yourself than on transcription, though the technical aspects of the latter topic are touched on throughout the course. For a more hands-on transcription-oriented course, you should check out Transcription Skills From Beginning to Advanced.

Additional Materials

Unfortunately, this course doesn’t include any additional materials besides lifetime access to the lecture videos. This is part of the reason why it’s one of the more affordable courses!

Pros

  • One of the more affordable courses
  • Walks students through the best types of transcription jobs
  • Shows students how to navigate freelance websites
  • The instructor has 7 years of teaching experience
  • Gives advice on getting hired as a transcriptionist

Cons

  • Doesn’t cover transcription techniques as in-depth
  • Doesn’t include additional materials to learn from


4. Best for Becoming Professional: Transcription Certification Institute

  • 6 months $499 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: TCI (Transcription Certification Institute)
  • Skill level: Beginner, intermediate, advanced
  • Number of Modules: 14 modules

Why we like it

The journey to becoming a professional transcriptionist can be scary, but TCI simplifies the process for you. Offering an internship for anyone who succeeds in their course, you’ll get that needed resume boost to heighten your chances of landing a job!

Our Review

Transcription Certification Institute offers – you guessed it – a certification with the completion of their course! In addition, the highlight of this program is what comes at the end. With a high enough score, you are automatically placed into a transcription internship program, where you’ll gain hands-on experience with what it’s like working in the field. The experience can also help you stand out from competitors.

Keep in mind that this institution only offers general transcription certifications. You can find courses with legal certifications from Transcribe Anywhere and courses with medical certifications from the Penn Foster Transcription Course.

While this course isn’t tailored to legal transcription, it does give a glossary of common legal terms to help you become familiar, in case you do decide to take a more in-depth legal course in the future. In addition, all lessons have a transcription discussion forum, so you can ask questions and see what other students have asked about in the past.

Best Suited For

The intensive training and combined internship at the end of this program make it best for anyone who knows they want to become a professional transcriber. After all, this course is one of the more expensive ones, and it takes a long time to complete. It’s not something you’ll be able to knock out in a single weekend, and it’s more suited to dedicated and serious students.

In addition, all skill levels could benefit from this. Beginners will learn everything from the foundations elements, while intermediate students benefit from the tips and practice sections. Even advanced students can gain experience from the internship program after completing the comprehensive examination!

Additional Materials

In addition to the internship gained at the end of the program, you’ll have lifetime access to all course materials, documents, and future updates. You’ll also gain access to TCI’s accuracy assessment tool, and you’ll have quizzes and exams to practice with as you progress. There are also multiple how-to guides and levels of audio for refining your skills.

Pros

  • Offers an internship after completion of the program
  • Gives a general certification for transcription work
  • Contains multiple quizzes and exams throughout
  • Gives access to a transcription discussion forum
  • Allows you to use their accuracy assessment tool as you learn

Cons

  • The focus is more on general transcription
  • On the more expensive side


5. Best for Practice: Hands-On Transcription Practice

  • 35 minutes $59.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: Amanda Fichter
  • Skill level: Intermediate, advanced
  • Number of Modules: 4 modules

Why we like it

Learning about transcription is one thing but putting the techniques into practice is another. With this course, Amanda gives students five separate fields and various levels of audio to practice their transcription skills and bolster their confidence!

Our Review

This course might only have 35 minutes of lectures, but it’ll take you a lot longer than that to get through. It’s meant to serve as practice, giving you exposure to several areas of transcription work so that you can confidently apply to future jobs. There’s no extra equipment needed to get started besides a text editor!

This course contains audio files in the fields of education, legal, market research, keynote speakers, and freelance writers. There’s a total of 25 files for you to practice from, with 5 different files from each section. The selection is also diverse enough to prepare you for most transcription work.

Amanda Fichter is currently a self-employed transcriptionist who’s had experience with the versatility required in the field. If you’re also looking to add on skills for starting your own transcription business after practicing, you may benefit from her other course titled Step-by-Step Transcription From Home.

Best Suited For

This course is best suited for intermediate or advanced students who are looking to sharpen their skills with more practice. There’s not much instruction within the course itself, so beginners may find themselves overwhelmed. Beginners would benefit more from courses like Transcription Skills From Beginning to Advanced.

In addition, the course itself is very loosely guided, meant for personal practice from the 25 audio files. However, if you want to find even more practice, you can look here or here, where the same instructor provides two other sets of 25 practice audio files each. That makes a total of 75 files you could practice with!

Additional Materials

Unfortunately, this course doesn’t contain many additional materials besides the 25 audio files. You will get one lecture for the introduction and one lecture covering the setup process, but there’s a lack of documents or software to help.

Pros

  • Gives access to various fields for transcription work
  • Comes with 25 audio files for practice
  • The course has 2 additional supplements for extra practice
  • Loosely guided and very flexible for practice

Cons

  • Comes with no additional documents
  • Doesn’t include transcription instructions for beginners


6. Best for Starting a Business: Step-By-Step Transcription From Home

  • 2 hours $64.99 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: Amanda Fichter
  • Skill level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Number of Modules: 6 modules

Why we like it

If you’re thinking about starting a transcription business, this course is a must! With a heavy focus on equipment, business, and marketing needs, it can boost your at-home career with minimal effort!

Our Review

When it comes to transcription, you might dream of starting your own transcription services, setting your own schedule, and being your own boss. While it’s ideal, it can be difficult to thrive in that state. This course teaches you how to get started when you want to open a transcription business, from marketing to working.

One of the hardest things when you’re starting is learning how to look for jobs. This course has modules tailored to help students know both where and when to look. In addition, it also goes over the technical aspects. Students get a first-hand look at how an office would be set up, from the transcription software to the best sort of headphones.

In addition, students will also be trained in multiple transcription styles. There are different types and levels, and many practice audios are included to help you perfect your skills. However, it doesn’t focus as much on tips for improving transcription techniques. It’s also not the most technical course available for transcription.

Best Suited For

This course is best suited for students who want to begin a transcription business, regardless of their skill level! It’s focused on the business and marketing side of things, helping students get their workplace set up and focusing on the work-life balance (a difficult topic when you’re working from home!).

It can pair well with a practice course such as Hands-On Transcription Practice or professional courses such as Transcribe Anywhere. It all depends on how much in-depth training the student wants!

Additional Materials

This course focuses heavily on the equipment, marketing, and details needed to get a home office running. MacBook users will get an additional lecture to help them set up, and there’s a bonus lecture at the end with extra tips for launching a business. It also includes several practice audios.

Pros

  • Includes practice for transcribing in many styles
  • Goes over necessary equipment for the home office
  • Teaches students where to search for jobs
  • Pairs well with other intensive courses that focus on technique

Cons

  • Doesn’t focus as much on transcription techniques
  • Teaches general rather than technical skills


7. Best for Medical Transcription: Penn Foster Transcription Course

  • 1.5 years $778 Our rating  
  • Course Highlights
  • Instructor: Penn Foster University
  • Skill level: Advanced
  • Number of Modules: 11 modules

Why we like it

Being a medical transcriptionist is difficult, but a certification from the Penn Foster institute can help you land your dream job in the field! Covering everything from anatomy to transcription, you’ll be more than prepared for your future role.

Our Review

If you’re looking for a place to get a medical transcription certification, look no further! This course walks you through everything you need to know, from medical abbreviations to making sure there’s no missing information that could jeopardize a patient’s health. However, you do need a high school diploma or GED to enroll.

The course is very intensive, covering many areas of anatomy as well. You’ll learn all the tests, procedures, and diseases needed so that you won’t make any spelling mistakes. In addition, you’ll be able to summarize many surgical methods and figure out errors within transcriptions done by speech-to-text software.

The course does more than teach you how to transcribe. It teaches you all the medical jargon needed, and you’ll have a deep understanding of every patient’s needs. You’ll even about medical ethics and how to directly enter medical reports.

Best Suited For

This course is best suited for students who know that they want to become medical transcribers. After all, the certification only helps in the medical field, and it’s definitely one of the biggest investments you could make in a course. In addition, the length of the course is quite long, and it’ll take dedication and determination to get through all the lessons.

However, once you’ve finished, you’ll be prepared for the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist exam immediately after! In addition, many of the skills can also be applicable for law offices or insurance companies. However, if you’re more interested in general transcription, you may benefit more from Transcription Certification Institute.

Additional Materials

For this course, you won’t have access to all lectures after attending class. However, each individual class will offer various practice documents, practice audios, and guide sheets for you to work with. However, to fully participate in this class, you need a Windows computer, as much of the software isn’t designed for MacBooks.

Pros

  • Gives an in-depth look into the medical field
  • Teaches transcription styles and anatomy
  • Allows students to practice every technique learned

Cons

  • Requires Windows software
  • Requires a high school diploma


FAQ

Transcription courses are worth it if you’re looking to save time. There’s a lot of good information available for free, but it’s difficult to sift through – especially when you’re just getting started! The best courses distill transcription down to the basics for you to learn!

If you’re talking about just getting started, you only need a month or two to become familiar. However, if you want to become a professional and work in medical or legal fields, it may take at least a year before you’re fully comfortable transcribing in a professional setting.

You don’t need to learn much besides the course. With the right medical transcription course such as Penn Foster Transcription, you’ll already have everything you need to ace the test.

It depends on the field. As a general transcriptionist, they’re not required. However, if you want to work in the legal or medical field, you will need a certificate. In addition, they can help you land jobs in the general field as well!

As a general transcriptionist, the average base pay is around $44,000 a year! Medical transcriptionists are even luckier, with the average making $58000 annually. Of course, you could also use it as a side job to make some extra cash without transcribing full-time.



Extra Credit

Now that we’ve gone over our favorite transcription courses, let’s dive deeper into what you need to know. We’ll start by covering the necessary equipment and materials, and then we’ll take a deeper look at pitfalls to avoid – and places where you can succeed. If you have questions, check out our FAQ section at the end!

What You Need

Transcription can be done on just a laptop, especially if you’re planning on using it as a smaller side job. However, if you want to become a professional transcriptionist, there are several things that you’ll want to have handy.

Computer

You’ll need a computer to type the words on for submission. It doesn’t have to be the highest quality, but you’ll want a decent one. In addition, Windows computers can be a safer choice since most software is compatible with those.

Headset

Headsets are essential for transcriptionists. It can help them catch words that are harder to hear and ensure the sound is coming through clearly. If you have a tape with bad audio quality, using a headset is a must.

Transcription Software

Transcription software, such as Express Scribe or FTW Transcriber, is important for improving efficiency. It can enhance audio quality, allow you to save timestamps, balance the speed of the audio, and more! While all of them might not be compatible with MacBooks, they will work on Windows.

On a similar note, we’ll include text expanders here. This type of software allows you to save many shortcuts and abbreviations for common phrases to help you increase your typing speed.

Foot Pedals

Foot pedals aren’t essential, but they are useful. They’re a small pedal that you can press on to pause the audio when needed. It can also fast forward or rewind, so you no longer have to use your mouse for moving around the slider at the bottom of the audio file.

Audio Practice Files

This is a must for anyone who’s just starting with transcription and wants to bolster their skills. There are many online resources with transcription exams and files that you can practice with. You may also want to choose a course that focuses on audio practice files such as Hands-On Transcription Practice.

Business Plan

This isn’t essential for everyone, but it is necessary for those who plan on launching their own transcription business. You’ll want to have an idea for how to find clients and set up your home office. Some courses like End to End Transcription Jobs or Step-By-Step Transcription From Home could come in handy.

Difficulty in Online Learning

When it comes to online learning, the biggest difficulty is having enough discipline. This can be especially important in classes that take longer, such as the Transcribe Anywhere. Often, it takes a very serious and determined student to finish one of the certified classes.

If you’re not sure about having the motivation to study a time-intensive course, you may also enjoy shorter classes that give more of an overview. One example would be the Transcription Skills From Beginning to Advanced course which has less than two hours of instruction!

Practice Makes Perfect

Transcription is one skill that requires extensive practice to nail down the technique. After all, hearing about the best ways to type doesn’t transfer the technique automatically to your fingers. Some courses may not have as many practice audio files, so this could be something to look for if you’re not confident in your transcription skills.

If you’re solely focused on audio files and you don’t have time for a more extensive class, you may enjoy the 25 practice exercises in the Hands-On Transcription Practice course. Of course, if you want to try a more extensive course, most of them are like Transcribe Anywhere where they have multiple levels of transcription practice.

Which Fields Need Transcribers?

There are three main areas where transcriptionists are wanted. Below, we’ll go over a quick explanation for each, along with some of the responsibilities that they may find.

General

When it comes to general transcription, many of the subjects don’t require prior knowledge. It could range from creating transcripts for short lessons to working on captions for YouTube. You might also be put on conference calls and transcribe everything that’s said. If you’re looking for a certification for this role, you might enjoy the Transcription Certification Institute course.

Legal

In the legal field, you might be expected to transcribe what is said in court cases. You’ll get used to legal jargon from attorneys, paralegals, and more. Often, you’ll be responsible for putting everything into legal documents and creating dictated notes. This role requires more intensive training and certifications which you can get from the Transcribe Anywhere course.

Medical

Medical transcriptionists need the most in-depth training, and certifications are required. You’ll also need to pass the RHDS exam to make sure you’re equipped. One of the best online classes for this field would be the Penn Foster Transcription Course.

Noting Your Next Steps!

Now that we’ve gone through everything you need to know about transcription courses, it’s time for you to start taking notes! The next step is picking out the right course to get a boost for your transcription career. Whether you want to caption YouTube videos or transcribe court cases, several of the courses mentioned above can help you on your journey. All that’s left is taking that first step to get started!