Starting as a transcriptionist? Here’s what you need to know!

By Rachel Tirabassi

Congratulations! You have a new gig as a transcriptionist. Time to get clients and start rolling in the dough! Whether it’s the beginning of a new career or side hustle, there are a few resources, products and tips you should know about before your first day. First, let’s start off with equipment and technology.

1. Technology and equipment

What they say is true, “you have to spend money if you want to make money.” Having the right gear, can improve every aspect of your career as a transcriptionist.  At, we’re all about stepping up your game with great software and equipment designed just for transcriptionists like you. Here are some of our recommendations!

Foot Pedal

Foot pedals help transcriptionists pause, rewind and fast-forward audio recordings. With the use of a foot pedal, additional shortcut keys are not needed to control audio functions. Using your foot to control this function frees one of your valuable hands and can improve your turnaround time. For a more in-depth review of our two favorite pedals, check out our blog. But for now, here are our top recommendations:


Headsets are another essential for transcriptionists. A good headset tunes out annoying background noise and helps muffled audio sound more clear.  The Caliber is exclusively sold at and it’s the best-selling headset for transcriptionists. This product is a reliable choice for transcriptionists requiring a 3.5 mm headphone jack connection. Why?

  • The in-line volume control also contains a stereo/mono switch.
  • The headphones have built-in bass-reduction technology, ear cushion replacements are easy to come by and the 5-foot cord has a sturdy braided nylon protective covering.
  • Plus, this full-featured headset comes in at just under an ounce.

Check it out at our website!

Ergonomic Keyboard

Most importantly, you’re going to need a keyboard. Hopefully, you’ve already realized that working as a transcriptionist requires typing on a keyboard all day. And if you haven’t…how did you think the words were going to appear on your screen? Anyway, if you use a low quality or non-ergonomic keyboard, it can slow you down or cause carpal tunnel syndrome. To ensure you can be the fastest and healthiest transcriptionist possible, we researched some of the top-rated boards on Amazon and picked out our favorites.




Our GearPlayer 4 Transcription software is one of the most universal and advanced transcribers in the industry. Playback is made easy with a foot pedal, on-screen buttons, or hot keys on the keyboard. If you want to do more research read our blog about GearPlayer’s features and benefits.

Next, we recommend getting GearCount Bulk Line Counting Utility Software. Most transcriptionists find the easiest way to charge their clients is per line typed. GearCount helps you give your clients a price without having to go back and count the lines yourself. As a transcriptionist, time is money. The quicker you move on to your next audio file, the more money you’ll make. The best part? GearCount is free when you get GearPlayer! Check it out:

2. Resources

Blogs, books, courses and other online forums can help step up your game as a transcriptionist.


There are a couple of online courses you can take to build your credibility. Transcribe Anywhere offers online training in legal and general transcription.  The courses come with sample audios, documents, grammar lessons and more. For free, you can even sign-up for their “mini” course that explains where to find work and how to be successful.

Transcription Certification Institute (TCI) is another website that offers online courses for transcriptionists. TCI has a guaranteed internship with a qualifying course, ongoing career support, and monthly Q&A webinars with transcription professionals. Even as an intermediate transcriptionist, TCI has great resources to improve your career. TCI’s website lists the fee to join as $699.00. While this may seem pricey, it could be worth your while if you take advantage of their great resources.


One of our favorite blogs “The Work at Home Woman” is a fantastic read for the work at home transcriptionist. It doesn’t just have to be for ladies! The website offers great articles on how to increase productivity, stay organized and make money.  Sign-up for the newsletter and receive the most up-to-date job leads, ideas and work at home information.

“Work at Home Adventures” is another awesome blog with motivational advice and tips on avoiding work from home job scams. The creator of this blog is a mother and wife who understands the daily struggle of balancing family and work. She shares different work from home opportunities that allow readers from all walks of life to earn income from home.


The Truth About Transcription is written by Janet Shaugnessy, the founder of “Transcribe Anywhere.” This book was written in March 2019 and it’s free! This book debunks the myths about working from home as a transcriptionist so you can be aware of training companies who only want your money.  One reviewer said:

“After reading, you’ll understand why transcription work is not a fast way to make a lot of money, nor is it an easy ‘side hustle’ that just anyone can do. It’s hard work, but it can pay off for those who put in the time and get the right training. It is also good to know that once you gain the skills to be a really great transcriptionist and learn how to market yourself, you don’t have rely solely on “big box” transcription companies for low paying jobs.”

Check it out on Amazon!

Another useful book is called  Jump-Start Your Work at Home General Transcription Career: The Fast and Easy Way to Get Started by Lisa Mills. Mills is the publisher of Work at Home Mom Revolution” and has been a general transcriptionist for more than a decade.  The book is recently updated in 2019 and is perfect for users who want to establish themselves in as a transcriptionist, earn a sustainable income and set their own hours. Mill says “In this ebook, I share the tips and tricks it took me years to acquire, which means you’ll be working smarter and faster and making more money right from the start!” With an average rating of 4.6 stars, it’s safe to say readers enjoyed the book.

3. Tips

Use Text Expanders

Text expanders use custom abbreviations to insert words or phrases for you automatically. You can use custom abbreviations to insert a wide range of text fragments, from single words to entire paragraphs. Advanced text expansion software can even auto-insert canned email responses, forms and templates. Expanders can also increase accuracy. You’ll reduce your spelling and grammar errors by entering words and phrases perfectly once; they’ll automatically be entered that way every time.

The most popular text expanders among transcriptionists are Microsoft Word’s AutoCorrect, Shorthand 10, Instant Text 7, and Phrase Express. To learn more about setting up Microsoft Word’s Autocorrect check out our blog post about text expanders.

Develop a social media presence

Promote yourself through social media to attract potential clients. If you plan on being social, you might need to make your current profiles (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook) more professional or start new accounts. Social media is a great place to share your expertise, post testimonials and interact with potential clients.

One example of a transcriptionist excelling at social media is one of our Twitter followers, Kelly. Kelly transcribes for motorcycle racing as a side-hustle. On Twitter, she promotes her independent transcription business called “KaBro Co.” The account serves as a way for her to grow her business, give professional updates and maintain relationships with clients.

Join a Facebook Group

One of the best perks about being a transcriptionist is that you get to work from home. Unfortunately, this means you are alone in an empty house without coworkers to talk or vent to. But this does not mean you are completely alone. Facebook has multiple private groups you can join to exchange tips, vent or share a laugh. One of the most popular groups, “Transcriptionists Helping Each Other Out” has 2,000+ members and encourages them to “offer a tip or get a tip.”

Some other groups include:

Welcome to the industry!

New transcriptionists: welcome to the wonderful world of transcription! We hope this post starts you off on the right track when it comes to your new job. Experienced transcriptionists: what advice can you offer? Are we missing any helpful tips, resources or tools? Let us know in the comments below!