Obviously fast and accurate typing skills are an important requirement, but how fast may vary considerably — with low-end data entry jobs accepting home typists with speeds as low as 60 wpm (and paying them at the low end as well) and realtime transcription jobs, or captioning from home, requiring speeds as much as 300 wpm.
In addition, good hearing and listening skills and the ability to understand accents are important when transcribing audio files. Knowledge of proper spelling, punctuation and grammar is a must, and computer skills, beyond simply using word processing software, are necessary for the home typist, who may have to install new software, log on to a company's system remotely, upload files, troubleshoot issues with his or her own computer, etc.
As with most work-at-home jobs, companies typically prefer to hire home-based typists with on-site experience; often two years are required. However, since some companies pay based solely on the typist's output, these may be willing to take on a beginner, but the pay is low.
Most transcription jobs do not require post-secondary education or special certification, the exceptions being medical transcription and court reporting. However, classes and training in office software may be helpful. Keep in mind, though, that some work-at-home scams can be dressed up to look like online training, so be wary of any job posting that tries to sell you classes.
Type/Length of Employment:
- Internet access, usually high speed
- Computer (Some may require it be a PC and/or have a certain operating system.)
- Transcription software
- Food pedal to control audio
Where to Find Work as a Home Typist:
The "piece" that transcription pay rates are based on may be per page, per audio minute or per word; for example rates might be $.005 (or a half a cent) per word. The hourly rate that this will work out to may vary based not only on you skill and stamina but on the difficulty of the work.