Legal Transcription Training Programs and Education Requirements

Preparation for a career in legal transcription involves educational courses and on-the-job training. Individuals looking to pursue legal transcription training can get into certificate or diploma programs and get their associate's degree, which offers instruction on advanced legal transcription techniques.

Essential Information

In some cases, a high school diploma and some experience in an office or legal setting might be sufficient for one to earn an entry-level position in legal transcription. However, taking at least a few courses in legal transcription, legal terminology and law can increase one's chances of employment. Some employers require completion of a 1- or 2-year program in legal transcription. Those working in corporate or insurance legal transcription might have to learn corporate policies and procedures, while those in law firms focus more on legal documentation and law procedures.

  • Program Levels in Legal Transcription: Certificate or diploma programs, Associate's degrees
  • Program Length: 1 year for diploma and certificate programs
  • Other Requirements: Background in typing often preferred

Certificate or Diploma Programs

Some community and technical colleges offer a 1-year diploma or certificate program for legal transcriptionists. In these programs, students develop computer, communications and business skills. Aspiring legal transcriptionists can also choose to enter a diploma or certificate program designed for legal assistants. Some of these programs offer courses in legal transcription, law and legal terminology. In addition to legal transcription courses, the curriculum typically addresses such topics as:

  • Keyboarding
  • Legal procedures
  • Courts
  • Criminal law
  • Legal research
  • Legal terminology

Associate's Degree Programs

An associate's degree for legal office administrators or legal secretaries can prepare students to become legal transcriptionists. These programs generally include introductory and advanced courses in legal transcription. Some course topics in these programs might include:

  • Transcription techniques
  • Legal word processing
  • Business law
  • Business communications
  • Legal office procedures
  • Legal records management

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The employment for court reports from 2012-2022 is expected to grow 10%, according to the BLS. These legal professionals as of May 2014 make a mean annual wage of $55,000.

Continuing Education

While there are no required licenses or certifications for legal transcriptionists, some working in this field might choose to obtain voluntary certification. The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT) offers the Certified Electronic Court Transcriber (CET) credential for court reporters and legal transcriptionists working in courtrooms ( One can choose the basic CET certification for analog transcription systems or the CET**D credential for those using digital systems. Those who perform legal transcription duties as legal secretaries also can choose to become certified. The National Association for Legal Secretaries (NALS) offers the Accredited Legal Secretary (ALS) certification ( Completion of a legal course, a NALS training course or one years' experience as a legal secretary is needed to take the exam for this certification.

Books about legal transcription and terminology used in legal transcription can be purchased at online and retail booksellers. Some titles include a CD-ROM containing practice exercises. Online courses in legal transcription are offered by a small number of colleges and technical institutes.

Related to Legal Transcription Training

Search Degrees, Careers, or Schools