These days there is no shortage of work from home opportunities. Surprisingly a relatively unheard of is the job of scopist. To be honest, even I hadn’t heard of it until I spoke to a very successful scopist and came to know just how much money she is making working from home!
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Scopists have a lucrative skill that’s in-demand for the foreseeable future and no shortage of work, plus the flexibility to work anywhere at any time.
Why haven’t I heard of it before?
There are several reasons for it. This is a very specific niche and this work is sometimes done by the court reporters themselves. Although scoping has been around for over 25 years and is among the top ten work from home jobs, for some reason, no one’s ever heard of it.
Do I require a background in law?
This seems like a job I would need to know the law for? I had the same doubts, too, but rest assured. Although the knowledge of law will be helpful, it is not mandatory.
Scoping, in fact, doesn’t require any expensive degree or certification to qualify for work. However, I would say that scoping is advanced work and it may seem like a fun job, but it requires skill.
But before getting into the technicalities of becoming a scopist. You really need to know if this is a job for you or not.
Are you suitable for the job?
As with any job, it is not for everyone. Here I am not talking about the training or any certifications you would. That comes later. First, you need to whether you are capable of working as a scopist. You need to answer a few questions.
Can you be self – motivated? This is important because as a scopist, you will work independently.
Can you be alert and accurate? Even though you build your skill as you go up, there are a few essential skills you need to be able to start out. Scoping is not about speed or fancy vocabulary; it is about accuracy.
Can you work for long hours? Though the work hours are flexible, they are guaranteed and there will always be a deadline to meet.
If your answers are definite, then yes, you are highly suitable for the job.
Can anyone become a scopist?
If there no specific degree required, then anyone should be able to become a scopist, right?
No, you absolutely require some skills, without which training to be a scopist will not be of much help. I have asked around many scopists and people who train scopists and this is what they have to say-
- Dependable and task-oriented
- Someone who can sit in front of a computer for hours at a time, and meet deadlines.
- Grammar and proofreading skills with a high level of concentration.
If you think this looks like a job for you, great! Even if you do have concerns, you will find answers to all your questions in this post.
Let’s get a little technical, shall we?
What is scoping?
In very technical terms, scoping is a process that develops a written document (“scope”), as clearly and accurately as possible.
In laymen terms? The job of the scopist is to edit transcripts for the court reporters. The transcripts are written in a steno machine that needs to be translated into English.
If you love legal proceedings, then you will love working as a scopist.
What do scopists do?
its, it’s, there, their and they’re
Know when to use what? This is what a scopist is hired for. A scopist’s job scope is to assist the court reporter in the transcription process. Scopists are responsible for transforming undefined stenotype into English, ensuring that it is properly punctuated, researched, and formatted.
In addition to that, scopists have bookwork and other chores related to it.
Where do scopists fit in court proceedings?
Let us go through the entire process of court proceedings.
In a court system that’s riddled with fine print and loopholes, it’s vital to have accurate word-for-word accounts of what was said. And for that reason, court reports capture a live transcription of the spoken word using a stenograph during the proceedings of the court.
These transcripts help lawyers prepare their cases and also serve as a public record after the fact, and any mistake can be costly. This can lead to confusion and other consequences. This is where scopists come in. A court reporter will hire a scopist to translate and to edit the transcripts for them.
Once a scopist is sent a transcript and corresponding audio, it’s their job to research spellings and fix any mistakes, ultimately helping court reporters efficiently produce error-free transcripts. This again goes back to the court reporter for proofreading.
The end goal is to make a final readable and error-free document.
How do I become a Scopist?
Ideally, you need to be educated. Now I am not saying you need a fancy degree. But you need a good training before entering the market. The scoping and court reporting world is small but reputation-driven, so if you skirt real training and don’t really know your stuff, you’re almost guaranteed to fail.
The first thing to do before you start working is to get some training. There are many ways to get trained, depending on your finances. I have listed down for you some ways to
- Learn from a court reporter or scopist: Although this is not a formal training learning from a practitioner is the most effective way as they can inform you about the nuances of the industry. This may or may not cost you any money depending on your terms with the court reporter.34% of scopists polled received their training from court reporters or scopists. The good part is one on one training.
- Online Scoping schools: Another way to learn scoping is through online scoping schools. This can cost $2,500. There are many courses to choose from. 24 % of people opt for online training according to a recent survey. There are three good online schools which I will recommend to you.
- ISS ( Internet scoping school): Linda Evansonm owns this and it is among the first online scoping school.
- Best Scoping techniques: This is operated by Judy Rakocinski and Cathy Knox, who have more than 40 years of experience in this profession. The benefit of getting trained online is that it will be comprehensive and in-depth. These courses are developed and taught by scopists. The training schools can set you up with court reporters when you start.
- Train yourself. What I would suggest to you is to buy a scoping software, read the manual and just give it a go. But I would also say that there is more to learning than just knowing the software.
- Learn the traditional way: And by that means actually go o a real school. There are a few schools which give you training in scoping. The benefit of learning from a school is that you get the opportunity to build your networks, which will be helpful in the future.
What tools do scopists require?
There are a few must-have tools to start out as a scopist.
- A computer and a good condition and high-speed internet.
- Audio gear: Invest in a good audio gear, as a scopist you need to lister to the court proceeds in case of discrepancies.
- Foot pedals are not completely necessary to be a scopist, but they are very popular with scopists and they do help a lot.
- Software, the cost varies, but it can cost you anywhere around $ 1,5000.There are many scoping software available in the market. Which one to buy, solely depends on how much work you are thinking of doing. For example, if you buy from a big brand, it would be expensive but you will find bigger, a lot of clients because so many court reporters use significant brand software. On the other hand, you can also buy from a smaller brand, and as you would be among the few who use that software, you will receive excellent and steady work. Here is a list of a few of the scoping software you can check out
Is Scoping a growing industry?
It is undoubtedly an industry that won’t die anytime soon. This may not be ‘the’ job everyone desires. This is for someone who likes to stay away from all the office politics and want a laid back work which is fun, but doesn’t require you to communication. This is a steady industry. You may, of course, sometimes have more or less work.
Becoming a scopist will guarantee you a, fixed monthly income. However, credibility is important to being successful in this field. Do you know why? Because it’s a small industry and a bad reputation could ruin you.
Can I work from anywhere?
Yes. Scopists are self-employed and work online.
Depending on how much work yo take. Traditionally this is a full-time work, but because of the nature of the work, the work hours can be flexible. This means that as long as you meet the deadlines, you can work from anywhere at any time. After being in the profession for some time, you can actually set your timings and your rate.
You could be traveling and working!
How much do scopist earn?
Before starting a career as a scopist, you should know the earning potential of being a scopist.
Scopists get paid well. The primary reason is that outsourcing the tedious editing allows the court reporters to make more money. This is why scopists are valuable and in demand. The other reason is that One of the reasons scopists and court reports both earn on a per-page basis and not hourly.
Three factors will majorly decide your earnings – your reputation, your connections, and skills. Scopists make an average of about $1.00 to $1.25 per page for a regular turnaround job (approximately 2-3 business days).
Getting paid per page is a difficult concept to grasp. That’s why I have roughly done a per-hourly estimate of what you will get paid. The average pace at which a moderately experienced scopist can scope a transcript is 23 pages an hour.
Realistically speaking, most scopists make around $1,000-$1,500 a month when first starting out
Considering that, as a scopist with some experience, you can earn $28-$30 per hour. Which makes the potential average earning per month, with approximate 87 hours of work, $25,000.
If you are starting out new, then you will make anything from $25000-$30,000 a year. With experience, your speed will increase and you can earn as much as $50,000 to $60,000 a year.
How to get clients?
Now that you have decided to give this a shot, let me help you get started. This is the digital world and getting clients is at the tip of your figure. Today, Scopists nowadays receive and return work via the internet and can work with reporters anywhere in the world.
Here is a list of few sites where you can find suitable work.
A word of Advice by the best in the industry
A word of warning for everyone, who thinks that scoping will make you productive. This is not a get rich real quick job. It is a real career that requires actual skills. The advice to people starting out would be that, get your face in front of as many court reporters as possible. Let them know you are available to take work, and as I said before, there is always work.
I would also advise you to join your state, national, and/or local reporting association and attend conventions. A personal meeting always better, and this way, you get listed in their directories, which can result in work coming your way.
Regarding work ethic, I would say that, do not take up more work than you can do. Put your heart and soul and always be presentable. In this industry, reputation spreads through word of mouth. So keep up a good work ethic.
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