Do you want to know how to become a scopist? Look no further. This guide is all you need to get you started on becoming a scopist.
Being a scopist is a great option for those who want to work from home. It is a flexible freelance career option and it is relatively easy remote job to learn!
Read on as we discover:
- What exactly a scopist does
- How to become a trained scopist
- The best scopist training that is available online
- How much you can make
- Tools that scopists use for their work
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What Is A Scopist?
Admittedly, not many people may have heard about being a scopist. However, that does not mean that they do not perform a vital function!
A scopist essentially takes the notes that are done by a court reporter and transforms them into full court transcripts.
Roughly, the process is as follows:
- The court reporter uses a stenotype machine to type out what is being said during court proceedings. This is done in shorthand.
- The court reporter then gives these notes to a scopist, together with the audio of those proceedings.
- The scopist then refines the shorthand notes into a full transcript.
- The role of the scopist is to ensure that the transcript is as accurate to the notes and audio recordings as possible.
- They must also ensure that spelling, formatting, and punctuation are correct in the final transcripts of the proceedings.
The final transcripts of any legal proceedings are of utmost importance because these are the documents that are relied on by lawyers and/or record keepers for any future dealings in relation to the proceedings.
As such, the role of the scopist in ensuring accuracy is paramount.
Steps To Become A Scopist
Becoming a scopist is not difficult. However, it is important to note that there are certain steps to follow in order to launch your freelance scoping career.
Step 1 – Equip Yourself With Scoping Skills
It cannot be denied that being scoping is somewhat of a specialist field. As such, there are certain skills that you must possess to become one.
Scopist skills include:
- Attention To Detail
It is important to pay close attention to the audio recordings of the proceedings and the notes from the court reporter to ensure the highest level of accuracy.
- Knowledge of Legal Terminology
Having knowledge of legal terminology will make the scopist transcription process easier and more efficient.
- Have A Broad Vocabulary
Court proceedings can cover a wide array of topics. Having the necessary vocabulary to transcribe the same is an important skill to have as a scopist.
- Research Skills
Research skills are invaluable. The ability to research any terminology or legal procedure to put forward a full and accurate transcript will definitely make you stand out from the competition.
- Editing and Proofreading Skills
Since the court transcript as done by the scopist is likely to be the final court transcript, it is important to ensure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors in the work. Sentence structure and accuracy are also important in the final court transcript.
Step 2 – Learn From A Court Reporter
This is probably one of the more practical ways to learn how to be a scopist. Almost all court reporters will have the necessary skills to be a scopist.
However, not all court reports may have the time to ensure that the final full transcript is accurate and error-free.
This is where you can come in.
Offer your services to them in exchange for practical and hands-on scopist training from the court reporter.
As they say, experience is the best teacher, and who can be more experienced in the world of scoping than a court reporter.
Step 3 – Become Trained To Be A Scopist
While it may sound like being a scopist is no different from being a transcriptionist, it can be seen that special skills are needed.
This is because being a scopist is a relatively niche profession and so it is not something you can just wake up and jump into.
While you do not need to attend accredited scoping schools to get you started on your career, it is important to have some formal training and introduction,
Scopist training will usually cover:
- Legal terminology
- How to use computer-aided transcription software
- How to format court transcripts
- How to transform court notes into full court transcripts efficiently
- Practical training in the form of practice files
Step 4 – Apply For Scopist Jobs
Once you are a fully-trained, you can then begin your hunt for scopist jobs! There are many places where you can source for jobs. Some of these include:
Make sure your profile is updated to reflect your newly-minted scopist skills and make it known that you are looking for jobs!
This is a membership based platform that lets you take on work whenever you need to.
This is a popular place to look for scopist jobs. Additionally, you can post up your profile so that those who are looking for scopists can contact you.
Best Scopist Training
Here is some of the best scopist training online to get you started.
This is probably the best scoping school that provides the most comprehensive online scopist training.
The instructor, Linda Evenson has been providing training to aspiring scopists since 1999. With over 35 years of experience, Linda has trained more than 650 people to become scopists.
The Internet Scoping School is also highly recommended by the National Court Reporters Association.
Linda’s course teaches you the theory of being a scopist as well as all the practical, hands-on techniques that go into being a scopist.
If you feel that you are not ready to invest in a full scoping school course, then The Internet Scoping School also offers free scopist training to get you started.
Once you are ready, then you can purchase the full course to get the best scopist training tips to launch your freelance scopist career.
One of the best things about the Internet Scoping School is that you have the option of paying for the course in installments, depending on your budget and financial situation.
Additionally, you get lifetime access and updates and lifetime support. As you can see, this is truly a worthy investment into your career!
Another place that provides scopist training online is the BeSt Scoping Techniques. This is a self-paced scopist training program that teaches you all the necessary skills to become a scopist.
This means that there is no rush to complete the scopist training within a fixed time.
As one of the best scopist schools, this training program will also teach you about the factors to take into account when choosing your computer-aided transcription software and also offers students discounts when purchasing some of these.
The BeST Scoping Techniques also provides you with a full set of course materials, study aids, and practice files.
Taught by instructors who have over 40 years of scoping experience, this is most certainly one of the top scoping schools that are available online.
This online scoping school takes pride in keeping the learning process of being a scopist as simple and as straightforward as possible.
That being said, don’t underestimate this scopist program!
The Accolade Scoping Education also provides training on scoping for court reporters who may want to expand their career options and work from home as a scopist.
- They are the only scoping training that has 30 recorded classes that you can watch in your own time.
- It also has one-on-one interaction with scoping students who have enrolled in the course.
With a focus on positive teaching and ensuring that all scopists are equipped with the necessary skills, The Accolade Scoping Education is most certainly a popular online scoping school.
How Much Money Does A Scopist Make?
Once you have completed your scopist training and are ready to take on the world of scoping and turn it into your freelance business, let’s take a look at how much money you can earn!
Firstly, it is important to note that how much money you can earn will depend on whether you intend to take it on as a part-time or a full-time career.
Of course, your scopist rates per page depend on your experience.
On average, a scopist page rate is about $1.25. This can certainly increase once you garner more experience.
How much you earn will also depend on how quickly you can return the completed court transcript. The more transcripts you can complete, the more you earn.
According to salary.com, a full-time scopist can make an average of $32,590 and $48,378 per year. Factors that are taken into account when determining this include:
- Any additional skills
- Number of years being a scopist
Tech and Tools That Scopists Need
While you do not need any fancy bells and whistles, there are 2 essentials that you must have before you embark upon your career as a professional scopist:
1. A Good Laptop
Let’s face it – you need a laptop no matter what kind of work you do. However, if you are a freelance scopist or a digital nomad scopist, you need a laptop that is lightweight and fast.
These are most commonly referred to as computer-assisted transcription software or CAT software.
Essentially CAT software programs allow you to create real-time transcriptions of spoken English words.
This is especially useful for scopists, as the software does most of the major transcription work from the audio that is given.
As a scopist, you would then need to check this transcription against the notes and the audio to ensure accuracy and completion.
This will definitely save you plenty of time when you are carrying out your scopist-related tasks!
At this juncture, it is important to note that most CAT software programs are designed to work only on the Windows operating system. As such, do ensure that your computer meets these requirements before purchasing any CAT software.
While there are many CAT software programs available online, there are some that are designed especially for scopists.
Some of the best ones include:
This is one of the more well-known scoping software programs. It has efficient editing features and can quickly correct any punctuation errors that are in the transcript.
This intuitive transcription software edits transcripts to perfection. It scouts for any formatting, punctuation, grammar, and typo errors and corrects them accordingly.
This is most certainly one of the best tools you can invest in, for the best quality scopist work.
If you are looking for a fuss-free CAT program then the Eclipse Edit Scoping Software is for you.
While it is substantially pricey, especially if you are first starting out in your scopist career, Eclipse offers financing options to help you make your payments for the software.
This is one of the rare CAT programs that come with a free 90-day trial. It is easy to learn and offers comprehensive and has all the features you need to carry out your tasks as a scopist.
Other tech gear that you may found useful and that may enable you to carry out your work tasks more efficiently include:
A Good Pair Of Headphones
A pair of headphones that will enable you to pick up every little audio detail will most certainly make your job much easier.
One of the best wireless headphones is the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones with Mic. This has superior audio quality and lasts up to 30 hours on a quick charge.
If you don’t like using headphones or if you would rather not immerse yourself too deeply into the audio, then a good pair of speakers will do the trick perfectly as well.
The Logitech 3.5mm Jack Compact Laptop Speakers give you a rich and powerful sound. It is easy to set up and more importantly, because of how compact it is, it takes up very little space on your desk.
While this is not essential, it definitely will make your job easier and enable you to carry out your tasks more efficiently.
A foot pedal allows you to control the pause/play functions on your computer so you don’t have to keep dragging your mouse to the buttons. It keeps your hands free to focus on typing.
The iKKEGOL Upgraded USB Single Foot Pedal is perfect for this. It is steady, durable, and easy to install and use. You can also easily customize the functions according to your preferences.
As you can see, being a scopist is most certainly one of the more lucrative freelance career options. Once you become trained up, you will officially be skilled in one of the more in-demand work from home careers!
More importantly, scoping is considered to be a relatively unique career. As such, when you are trained up, it is easy to stand out and make your mark as a scopist.
This will definitely allow you to increase your rates substantially over time and become an expert in the scoping field and earn a full-time income while working from home.