Today, I have an interesting post for you on how to become a Scopist and earn a full-time income.
Yes, I know what you are wondering – what is a Scopist? what do they do? how to become a Scopist? etc. I am going to cover all of it for you.
Starting a side hustle allowed me to leave my full-time job, work from home, travel freely and spend more time with my family. If you are interested in starting a side hustle or looking for a full-time work at home job, I highly recommend you to read these as well:
If you are looking into work at home options or a side hustle, become a Scopist is an enticing option. So, let’s understand what Scoping is all about
What is it mean to become a Scopist? I have NEVER heard of this before!
Scoping is a made up term. You won’t find it in the dictionary, but it is a totally legitimate work at home option. This job has been around for over 30 years now, but people are not aware of this.
While it does sound fancy, scoping is actually about editing legal documents for court reporters. Basically, scopists work for court reporters and are professional transcript editors for court reporters.
People often confuse it with proofreading, but it is different from it in all senses. Proofreading deals with a fine-tuning a finished document, but scoping is all about working on an unfinished draft of the transcript.
If you are interested to know more about proofreading and earn a full-time income doing that, I highly recommend reading this guide – Become a proofreader and earn $40000 a year: This is how!
What does a Scopist exactly do?
As a Scopist, when you get a file to work on, it is already translated into English. Most of the time, you will have a steno to help you understand the transcript. You can then research spellings, punctuations, exhibits etc. Your end goal is to make the transcript understandable so your clients can share it with attorneys at the right time.
Did not understand anything? I know! Let me simplify it for you further.
A Scopist is a person who edits deposition, hearing or other transcripts for court reporters.
In any court proceedings, there is a steno who types on their machines which comes out in machine shorthand first. After that, it is translated into English by their machines (using a software).
It is important to understand that the computer matches the strokes they write against strokes they have pre-entered into their dictionary. Now, any word that isn’t a part of this dictionary or has been entered incorrectly by steno will come up as untranslated or mistranslated (basically, incorrect words).
When the reporter finishes this task of translation, they send it to a Scopist. As a Scopist, you will
- read the transcripts word by word
- Correct un-translated or mistranslated words
- Punctuate accurately
- Paragraph the document and formatting issues
- Research spellings and correct them
Once a Scopist completes his/her work, it is sent back to the reporter or a professional proofreader for the final review before it is sent to the relevant attorneys.
It is then transmitted electronically and/or bound, copied, and sent to the attorneys and the Court.
How big is the demand for scopist?
There is abundant demand for a good Scopist. By now you would have understood that every court reporter needs to hire a Scopist.
What did a Scopists rate per page, an hour or the salary? Basically, how does a Scopist earn?
On an average, the salary of a Scopist is $35000-45000 a year.
A lot depends on factors like
- The speed of finishing up the work
- How well can you write
- Years of experience
- Skills that you bring to the table
- Add-ons you can provide with your scoping services
If you’re an average scopist, working with an average reporter, you should be able to make 30-45K/year working pretty much full-time.
Even if you aren’t really good at scoping, you can easily manage a job that pays $20 an hour. As you gain more experience and get better at your work, you can increase your rates to $34-45 an hour.
Rush work pays a lot more but you will be dealing with a lot of stress and tight deadlines. You need to a fast editor and a writer to make most of these rush jobs.
How to become a Scopist? Do I need a college degree?
This a common misconception – many people think you NEED a college degree to become a Scopist. But, you DON’T need a degree or any legal experience. However, you may enrol in the best scoping schools online.
Look, when you work on your own and establish an online business, all that matters is your skill set. Court reporters want a Scopist who can give quality work so they shine for their own clients.
Note – This post may contain affiliate links to products I trust. This means if you make a purchase using the links I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for the support!
What do you require to become a Scopist?
Definitely, NOT a degree. We already talked about that.
If you want to start a successful Scopist career right off the bat, I highly recommend you to invest in the best scoping school online – Internet Scoping School. That would be an expense for your first year. We will go into the details of this course in a bit.
Besides that, you will be spending on a
- A laptop or a computer
- High-speed internet
- Case CATlyst software – the platform on which you will be editing the files
What will be your business expenses?
Once you are an established Scopist, you are likely to spend on the software, internet, and renewal of contracts with steno.
But, all this will seem minimal against the profits you will be making. Also, you get to claim deductions for taxes.
What do you need to know as a Scopist?
Oh, you need to know a lot to become a Scopist. The best Scoping schools teach you everything there is to know to be a successful scopist.
To name a few things, you are required to know
- Word usage
- Use of punctuations
- How to read the steno notes
- Putting together a transcript correctly
- Recognizing and finding correct spellings
- How to run the specialized court reporter software
- How to market yourself and land clients
What does it take to make clients in this space?
Just as any business, finding clients as a Scopist will demand a lot of marketing at first.
Once you have worked with at least 2-3 reporters, you will start getting work on word of mouth and reputation.
So, if you are the kinds who will give up on difficult transcripts or do it quickly, do not bother with being a scopist. The word will spread like fire and it can make or break your career.
Who is fit for becoming a Scopist? Is it difficult?
You got to be a word nerd. So, if you are not interested in words or don’t have a decently good vocabulary, it may get difficult at first. Rest everything, like punctuations, can be learned.
Similarly, you need to be tech savvy – at least enough to understand and fully utilize the software you will be using.
You also need to a deadline freak. Each and every client of yours will expect you to keep your word and deliver on time. If you cannot fulfill this, it WILL be a problem.
Besides these, if you are curious and a self-motivated person, you will kill it!
You can use this FREE 7 days email series to know more about scoping, how to become a scopist and take the word skills quizzes to determine if you can be a good scopist.
How do I become a Scopist, then? How do I learn all the tricks of the trade?
By now, you would have realized that becoming a Scopist needs training and learning a lot of new things. While you can do it all yourself, I do not recommend it. A scopist needs training on how to best do the job.
You will need to get a solid understanding of
- Punctuations (of what was spoken without changing words)
- Ability to read machine shorthand
- Basic knowledge of legal terminology
- Knowledge of how a finished transcript includes
- How to run the software used by court report you work with
- Scopist ethics
- Marketing techniques
- Time management
and, so much more!
Look, it’s simple – You are bound to make mistakes initially and this may ruin your reputation. Never risk that!
You will be dealing with legal documents – meaning – accuracy is everything!
And, you can find this accuracy, by investing in a scoping school online. In a Scopist school, like Internet Scoping School, you will learn everything you need to know. Once you graduate, you will know what to do or not to do. Besides that, you will also make friends along the way who are either new to this (like you) or already doing this (in which case they will help you).
Is there any Scopist training or Scopist online school?
Yes, the best scoping school online and the one that comes highly recommended is Internet Scoping School. The reviews for Internet Scoping School are great (much better than any other scoping school online).
- Word usage/punctuation training
- a thorough section on learning how to read the steno notes;
- Putting a transcript together correctly;
- how to recognize and find proper spellings for medical terminology;
- Running the specialized court reporter software that you and your clients use;
- how to market yourself as a professional and get clients.
Module 1 include
Besides this, there are AWESOME bonuses available. You get
- a step-by-step tutorial on how to build an effective website for your business
- The Ultimate Freelancer Tax Guide,
- The Look Better in Writing™ Handbook of Commonly Misused Words.
If you can dedicate 10-15 hours in a day, you will be able to finish this course in approx. 6 months of time. There are a lot of quizzes, exams, and assessments for students. They also provide detailed feedback for students to progress and learn effectively.
Internet Scoping School gives lifetime access – which means –
If the training material is updated, it is available for free to all grads. Similarly, if a new section is added, they are available at a steep discount. ISS also has a public and a private Facebook group – the latter for students and grads only. You get to interact, ask questions, refer work, share experiences, learn and Linda (owner of ISS) ensures that each person succeeds.
She is available online during working hours throughout the weekdays (Monday to Friday). She says it is a point of honor for her to respond to emails promptly and answer her students and grads. I take a personal interest in each of my student’s success. If there’s anything I can do to make an ISS grad successful, I do it.
So, who is Linda?
Linda has been a Scopist for more than 35 years! WOW!
Fun fact about her: The first computers she ever used were old monster mainframes. The disk was the size of a pizza and it costed more than $100,000 – and the only program they could run was the CAT (computer-aided transcription) system that was used for court reporting.
Now, she owns a $500 laptop which can run multiple programs, is infinitely faster and holds a large amount of information. Through the use of a high-speed Internet connection, she presently works for court reporters from all over the country and makes about three times the income she did. Ah, technology!
She knows her job and has been teaching people how to become a Scopist since 1998!
I want to know Internet Scoping school reviews before I invest – is it the best scoping school online?
These are some of the Internet Scoping School reviews by their students and grads
There you go – how to become a scopist simplified for you.
If you think you are a wordsmith, love crosswords and are research maniac – this might be for you. In any case, you can sign up for free course mini course to know if you are cut out to be a scopist. All you have to is take the quiz!
Are all your questions on how to become a scopist answered? Did I miss something? Let me know and I will add it to the post.
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Resources that will help you get started –
#1 Scoping course recommendation – Linda’s FREE mini course
In this course, you will learn
- Day 1: What is scoping? What does a scopist do?
- Day 2: How big is the demand for scopists?
- Day 3: What skills does a scopist need? + Test your word skills!
- Day 4: What about finding clients and marketing?
- Day 5: Do I need a degree?
- Day 6: What’s the earning potential?
- Day 7: What do I need to get started?
Resources that I love:
Get paid to write online – This is a FREE email course by Elna Cain where she talks about her strategies, tips, and trick to make your first $1000 by writing for businesses. Using this course, I built a successful writing business and earned $1000 in the first month of writing. Sign up!
Pinteresting Strategies – If you are interested in making money online (either with blogging, e-commerce store, digital products or anything else like coaching or writing services), let me tell you one thing – You need Pinterest. In any course you may buy for business, they recommend investing in Tailwind app (the only permitted scheduler for Pinterest).
Many of you, on a tight budget, would not be able to (or want to) pay for it. But, Carly Campbell has figured out a way to go from 1 to 300k by manually pinning on Pinterest. She is a Pinterest strategy goddess, grab her book here. Using her tactics, I quickly scaled from 0 to 150k views.
You can also signup with my link and get a month of Tailwind plus free (if you want to try it out before investing ANY money into it).
Skillshare – Skillshare is my go-to place to learn a new skill without having to splurge hundreds of dollar. It is an online learning community where you can explore thousands of classes in design, photography, business, and more. You can get started with a free trial using my link and get access to hundreds of courses.
VIPKID is an online service which deals with teaching English to children in China with the typically between 4-12 years of age. It offers $18-$22 per hour. You can use this method to quickly ramp up your side income.