Legal transcriptionists use dictation devices to record court hearings and other legal proceedings for law firms and legal services. Certificate programs and courses for aspiring legal transcriptionists are most commonly offered through career schools or continuing education departments of 4-year universities. Students learn principles of dictation, typing and grammar and gain a thorough understanding of criminal law and the U.S. legal system. Students will need a high school education to enroll, with a background in general office administration being highly recommended.
Certificate in Legal Transcription
Legal transcriptionist certificate programs are vocational programs and don't generally include courses related to general education. Core courses provide students with the foundation to obtain a position as a legal transcriptionist. Practical training components of legal transcription programs train students to master standard dictation devices. Aside from Criminal Law and English Grammar, courses may include:
- The U.S. Court System
- Civil litigation
- Law office procedures
- Legal terminology
- Dictation practicum
- Legal research and document preparation
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Individuals who earn a certificate in legal transcription can apply these skills to a position as a legal transcriptionist, legal secretary, or legal assistant. They may work for a law firm, legal service or freelance. According to PayScale.com, transcriptionists who worked as legal secretaries earned a median salary of $48,755 in January 2016. Those who worked as legal assistants earned a lower median salary of $44,208. Legal transcriptionist can be paid an annual salary, per page or per line of transcription.
There are no certifications specific to the field of legal transcription. However, organizations that offer general certification in the art of transcription include the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers and Legal Secretaries International Inc.
Legal transcriptionists typically learn their skills through certificate programs. After completing this program, graduates can go on to earn general transcription certification from the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers and Legal Secretaries International Inc.