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Wondering how much you can make as an entry-level transcriptionist ? We wondered that, too, which is why we went ahead and looked into it for you. We took a look at several of the most popular, well-known transcription jobs for beginners and figured out how much you can expect to earn. It’s a little bit shocking !
One of my favorite ways to work online is to do transcription. I don’t have to talk to people. I don’t have to pretend I know stuff. I don’t have to glue my butt in my chair and crank out ‘whatever’. And because there are several companies that hire beginners, all I really have to do is listen and type.
Which is good because that’s about all I can do.
And there’s no shortage of blogs listing out transcription companies, claiming this line of work as one of the best ways to work from home.
True. Just about anyone can make money doing online transcription, as long as you have the basics like a laptop, decent typing skills and can listen to audio files.
BUT… there’s one BIG problem with those lists. You are never told the truth about how much money you really make !
On the surface, it appears you can rake in up to $18.00 an hour.
The reality: That $18.00 will take you a lot more actual hours to earn.
So I took a hard look at the best known places where you can make money doing transcription and sorted them by the highest payers. I was shocked – and a lot disappointed – when my research showed me what these jobs really paid.
But I gotta say, even though this isn’t the best paying work, entry-level transcription jobs are still a pretty good choice if you want to get started in this field. Heck, if nothing else, you’ll get free training and build up some experience. And it’s easy, flexible work !
I hope you read through this entire post because after I list the companies – in order of “best” paying to worst – I have some valuable, tried-and-true information that will get you better paying jobs and possibly a full-time income doing transcription from home.
Now, Let’s Get To The Reason For This Post:
Beginner Transcription Jobs- What Is The Real Pay ?
Let’s back up a sec. What is an audio file, you ask ? It’s the backbone of transcription. You listen to a recorded file and type out what you hear. Don’t worry, I’ll explain it in greater detail later.
Transcription companies typically pay per audio minute and how much you earn depends on the rate they set. BUT an audio minute can take several actual minutes to transcribe due to the necessity to rewind and play back the recording (because you did not understand what was said).
♥ Before we go any further, maybe you want to take this FREE 7day primer to pick up on the tips and advice that’ll help newbie transcribers? ♥
How I Determined The Pay
I am estimating the pay rate based on my personal experience, with my typing speed of about 60 words per minute. Adding in a few minutes for proofreading per audio file, I figure the following:
- It can take 1 hour to complete 15 audio minutes
- 2 hours for 30 audio minutes
- 3 hours for 45 audio minutes
- 4 hours for 1 audio hour
So…If paid $0.50 cents per audio minute, that is $30.00 for an audio hour
But…if it takes 4 hours to complete an audio hour, that is $7.50 per hour pay rate (30 / 4)
BRAND NEW, INEXPERIENCED TRANSCRIBERS
- It can take 1.5 hour to complete 15 audio minutes
- 3 hours for 30 audio minutes
- 4.5 hours for 45 audio minutes
- 6 hours for 1 audio hour
So…If paid $0.50 per audio minute, that is $30.00 for an audio hour
But…if it takes 6 hours to complete an audio hour, that is $5.00 per hour pay rate (30 / 6)
The Companies And What You Can Expect To Earn
BEST Rev pays $0.40 cents to $0.60 cents per audio minute, which comes to $24.00 to $36.00 an audio hour. For an experienced transcriber, let’s assume it will take 4 hours to complete 1 audio hour. That’s $6.00 to $9.00 an hour. A brand new, inexperienced transcriber may earn $4.00 to $6.00 an hour.
You’ll need to pass a skills test before getting work with Rev, but don’t worry, the tests aren’t too hard. And if you don’t pass the test you can re-take it 45 days later. After a while, when you get more experience, you can apply to be a captioner or a translator. These positions earn a few pennies more per minute of work. Rev pays every Monday via PayPall and claim the average earners make $245.00 a month.
You can apply for a job with Rev here.
SECOND PLACE They claim to pay $0.60 cents an audio minute, with top earners making up to $1,215 per month. Sounds good, but what is the pay for the average person ? If you can type 60 words a minute, that would come to a pay rate of $36.00 an hour, right ? Woohoo !
But that’s if the audio minutes are perfect. And if you have plenty of files to work on. And if you are a perfect typist with a perfect ear for all spoken accents.
Figuring in the transcription calculation I came up with earlier, it could take a beginner 6 actual hours to one audio hour. So, a $0.60 cent audio minute translates to a 36 dollar audio hour. Which takes 6 real hours to transcribe. That’s a pay of $6.00 an hour.
To see if you’ve got the chops, for your skills test this company intentionally gives you an audio file that contains non-native English speakers. And, because they say a lot of their files are like that, you can expect to have a lot of somewhat difficult files to transcribe.
You can apply for a job with Go Transcript here.
THIRD PLACE They pay $5.00 to $20.00 an audio hour and give a monthly $5.00 bonus for every 3 audio hours you complete. Considering each audio file can take 4-6 hours to complete, depending on your experience, you can expect to earn anywhere from .83 cents to $5.00 an hour.
This is a very popular company for beginners because it’s easy to get promoted from being a transcriber to a reviewer – and possibly making twice the money. You can pick and choose the audio files you want to work on but be sure you complete the transcription within the two hour turn around time.
You can apply for a job with Scribbie here.
TIED FOR THIRD The pay is all over the place because Casting Words is more of a platform for others to request transcription services. Each job pays differently, depending on a number of factors not limited to the type of transcription job you do and your level of experience. The average pay rate seems to be about $0.75 cents per audio minute.
That said, there is the possibility you can earn $7.50 an hour (.75 per audio minute x 60 minutes in an hour / 6 hours to complete an hour = $7.50). Keep in mind, though, most of the audio files are short and sweet, only a few minutes long, so the pay might be only a few dollars an hour. The pay will be closer to $5.00 an hour, accounting for the type of job, the level and grade Casting Words gives you, and the amount of work available
You can apply for a job with Casting Words here.
FOURTH PLACE They pay $0.004 to $0.0055 per word and $0.40 per audio minute for projects with longer turnaround times. Basically, for the super-simple, super-quick files, you are paid one cent for every four-and-a-half words up to just over one cent for every two words.
For the “larger” files, the ones with longer turnaround times, we need to do some assuming, Accounting for pausing to play back an audio file, let’s assume you can transcribe 30 words a minute (you normally type 60 words per minute). That would equal an earning of $.12 cents a minute, or $7.20 an hour. Now, if you add in some proofreading time, let’s assume it takes twice as long to actually transcribe the words in an audio minute. That would come to $3.60 an hour.
AccuTran Global is a Canadian based company that hires work-from-home transcriptionists in the US and Canada. At first glance, their pay seems extremely low but it is on par with most companies that hire beginners. Your earnings will be deposited into your bank account on or before the 15th of each month.
You can apply for a job with Accutran Global here.
LOW PLACE !!! $0.33 cents per audio minute; up to $20.00 per audio hour. Same time considerations, an experienced transcriber can earn up to $5.00 an hour and a brand new transcriber might earn just over $3.00 an hour.
Just like Rev, you’ll have to pass a skills test. But, If you fail, you have to wait 6 months before re-trying. Once you pass the test, though, you’re in ! They pay weekly via Paypal. On the downside, there is a waiting list.
You can apply for a job with Transcribe Me here.
YIKES !!! According to Quicktate, the rate of pay is $0.0025 per word. That’s one cent for every four words for the simple, quick, and short files.
To figure out how much you might make per hour, let’s do some quick math. Assuming you can type 60 words per minute that would come to $0.15 cents a minute (60 x .0025 = .15). Hmmm…not bad, considering that would translate to $9.00 an hour.
Not so fast…
Audio files are far from perfect. And you will not be transcribing in solid chunks of hours. In fact, you might be lucky to get in a whole hour a day.
So the reality with Quicktate is, your earnings will probably be around $1.00 an hour.
Once you pass the skills test, you can start making .01 cent for every four words transcribed. Although not the best payer, the audio files are short and simple – mainly voicemail messages. After a while, under good standings, you may be promoted to iDictate, QuickTate’s sister company. With the promotion comes twice the pay. Which is weekly via Paypal (for both Quick Take and iDictate).
Here’s something to consider, straight from QuickTate’s sign-up FAQ page: “After you pass the Quiz and the typing test, we will run a background check on you. You agree to pay the $20 cost of the background check…”
You can apply for a job with QuickTate here.
HONORABLE MENTION I did a lot of research on this company but could not come across any reliable sources indicating the rate of pay. So, assuming they are in line with the rest, consider this job one of those that will bring in a couple hundred a month.
A good place to get some verbatim court reporting and transcription experience under your belt. According to their website:
If you type over 60 words per minute and need to work from home, you may be what we’re looking for in a legal transcriber. No transcription experience necessary, but you must be willing and able to work on overnight delivery. Timeliness is a must, as are excellent English language skills. Please apply only if you can transcribe at least 5 hours of audio per week.
You can apply for a job with Neil R. Gross here.
WATCH IT ! They charge a non-refundable application fee of $10.00 I want to put this one on this list because it is one of the highest payer as of this date, at $0.60 cents to $3.00 per audio minute ($6.00 to $30.00 per audio hour). But there’s still the fee.
You can check out 1-800Typeitup here.
The Transcription Learning Curve For Beginners
So now you know there are plenty of companies where you can do transcription from home. But did you know you more than likely will have to pass a skills test?
But don’t let those tiny little words scare you. Even if the company takes on beginners, they want to be sure you have the chops: Is your typing up to snuff? Have a good ear for the English language? Know your way around a simple audio file?
I strongly recommend taking this FREE 7-day primer. It shows you what you need to get started and covers the basics so you have a leg-up on the competition.
Practice Makes Perfect
In the case of Rev, I know from personal experience that the application process starts with a quick little typing test. followed with a 10 minute grammar test, where you select the right answer to a series of questions and statements, and ending with you doing a sample transcription.
All very simple. Sorta. Unless you’re me. And your typing sucks.
So if you want to be sure you have the chops, hop on over to TypingTest.com and take a sample typing test. Then scurry on over to Exam English and check out your grammar and vocabulary prowess. I promise, you’ll be glad you did.
You May Need More Than One
Once you pass the skills test, you can start working. For beginners, transcription is a great way to make money at home, but if you only work for one company you won’t make a full-time income. And the work may be sparse at times. So, what I recommend, is signing up with a few of these companies and working as much as you can.
Pro Tip: When I first started out, I worked for Rev, Scribbie, and AccuTran and pulled in about 650.00 a month. My busy life only let me I work about 10 hours a week and because I used three companies there always seemed to be plenty of work to do.
Audio Files Are The Backbone Of Transcription
You listen to a file and type-up what you heard. It’s an easy job, but it can be repetitive – sometimes you have to re-play an audio file because you didn’t understand what was said. Poor quality, unclear dialog, broken English and thick accents all contribute to replaying audio files, which adds more time to the overall transcription process. But the longer you do it, the better you get.
Audio Hour vs. Work Hour And How You Are Paid
When trying to figure how much you will make by the hour, you need to to a little bit of math.
Audio hour = the length of the audio file – or culmination of audio files – that make up an hour of someone talking.
Work hour = the length of time it takes to transcribe an audio hour.
Audio hour is not the same as work hour. It can take more time to transcribe an audio file than the actual length of the file. In my experience, often twice the time.
Yeah, I know. A bit confusing.
Let’s say an audio file is 30 minutes long. That’s 30 minutes of someone talking. And the pay is .40 cents an audio minute. That’s potentially $12.00 for this 30 minute file.
So you might think to yourself “if I do one file an hour, that’s $12.00 an hour ! Woohoo! “ Not so fast. As a beginner, it could take you several hours to complete the transcription for this 30 minute file. So you spend a few hours working but get paid the rate for the 30 minute file…$12.00. That 30 minute file could equal less than $3.00 an hour !
And because each company pays differently, how much you are paid is a tough question to answer. But I will tell you this: every company I have come across pays by the audio minute (or rounded up by the audio hour) – not the working hour.
Ready To Start Making Money Today?
Now that you have a good idea of what you can expect to earn with beginner-level transcription companies, and you still want to give it a try, go ahead and fill out the applications and take the tests. Start making money today – even if it starts out as just a little extra cash. In no time it could turn into a full-time career, especially if you invest in yourself and reveiw this FREE 7-day mini-course that will show you more than the basics of making money doing online transcription.