Looking for the best Scopist training?

    Before we get into what the best scopist training is, here’s what a Scopist does for those that are unfamiliar with scoping.

     

    What is the job of a Scopist?

    Scoping is probably the work at home job most people haven’t heard of! This profession has been around for over 30 years.

    Scoping is editing legal transcripts for court reporters. Court reporters hire scopists to help them save time so they can take on more jobs (and make more money) or just have more time for themselves.

     

    Scopists don’t have to be in the courtroom or meet the court reporter. A scopist’s work can be 100% done from a computer at home.

    Scopists earn approximately $30,000-50,000 per year working full-time hours.

    If you like crime shows like Law and Order and would like to read real court case transcripts, this might be a job for you!

    How can you train to become a ScopistThis post may contain affiliate links. Please read the disclosure for more information.

     

    How do you become a Scopist?

    Do you need scopist training?

    While you don’t need a certification to become a scopist, formal training will help you to become a successful scopist. To work as a scopist, you need to know how to use CAT software (Computer Aided Transcription), read steno notes, and work with court reporters.

    In my research, I came across a few courses for scopist training.

     

    The Internet Scoping School (ISS) offers the most extensive and detailed program. The training covers not only how to become a scopist, but also how to build a successful scoping career.

    They are the only scoping program that includes LIFETIME ACCESS to support. You will also get any content upgrades FREE with the initial tuition. There is a private Facebook group for students and graduates only where you can ask questions, give advice and get referrals.

    ISS offers a FREE ONLINE MINI COURSE to learn about scoping and whether it’s a right fit for you. You can decide from there if you want to commit to the full online course and pursue a career in scoping. The full course takes approximately 6 months or less to complete if a student dedicates 15-20 hours/week.

     

    I was fortunate to get in contact with ISS graduate Robin Newberger. She’s a successful scopist!

    She offers valuable insights on her experience as an ISS graduate and scopist.

    I’m excited to share my interview with her!

    Robin Newberger, Scopist at ScopeMaster Services

     

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    Can you tell me your story, Robin?

    I was studying to become a court reporter in the mid-2000s, and decided to change career paths to scoping, which is a niche profession within the court reporting field.

    My son was born in 2008, I wanted to find a career that would allow me to work from home.

    Scoping was a good fit for me in all respects: how much I wanted to work, the amount of money I needed to earn, and being able to be at home with my child and not work out of the home.

    Scopists read the transcripts that court reporters produce. We read them, edit them for punctuation, ensure the transcript’s formatting is correct, and many other job-specific tasks, and return the work to the court reporter on the agreed-upon deadline.

    Free Scopist Training

    How did you decide on ISS?

    ISS seemed to offer a range of courses that would adequately prepare me for the work.

    I was able to audit courses that I didn’t need because of my background in court reporter training, such as being fluent in reading steno, and English grammar and punctuation skills. I liked that this was an option because it saved on the cost of the course overall.

    Also, Linda Evenson is very much hands-on with her students, is always available to answer questions, and has decades of experience herself as a scopist.

    ISS was the best fit for my needs.

    Ten years later, I still consider it the best decision I made in preparing for my career.

     

    What was your biggest hesitation with taking the course?

    I didn’t have any hesitation going forward with the course.

    I was eager to complete the coursework because I felt that being well trained was key to having a successful business.

    It is not a requirement to go through a course to become a scopist, and there are no certifications currently in place. However, I knew that if I prepared well and took the training, I would go into the field with confidence, and also instill confidence in my clients.

     

    What’s the most valuable thing you learned at ISS?

    I can’t pick just one thing that was most valuable, but I would say that the course on the CAT software (Computer Aided Transcription) was extremely valuable.

     

    After completing the course, how did you obtain your first client?

    The way that I obtained my first reporter was not the most common way it’s done.  Usually, scopists begin advertising via social media like Facebook groups and the like.

    In my case, I was attending a software conference where I was learning more about the CAT software specific to scoping, and the majority of attendees were court reporters.  I met my first client at the conference, and she is still a client to this day.

     

    How many clients do you currently work with?

    I work with an average of three court reporters.  Some scopists work with one, some work with two or three, and some may work with more than that.  It just depends on how they focus their business.

    Become a Scopist

     

    How much money does a Scopist make?

    Scopists are paid by the page.  That rate is different depending on the turnaround time of the job.

    A turnaround time generally varies from “regular,” which is usually five days’ time, “expedite,” which is less than regular and usually between two to four days, “daily,” which is within 24 hours, and “immediate,” which is same-day turnaround.

    The shorter the time period, the higher the page rate. Page rates in California start, on average, at $1.00 per page for regular turnaround and increase accordingly.

    Being a stay-at-home mom, I set my work hours for when my son is in school.  My work averages ten to fifteen hours a week, roughly, part time. If I have a higher page load, I can adjust my hours, which is the beauty of working from home.

     

    What are your initial and ongoing expenses as a Scopist?

    The primary expense when you begin working as a scopist is the CAT software and a computer.  The scopist works with court reporters who use the same software.

    The cost to purchase software varies between vendors and they usually offer a scopist’s version as opposed to the full version that court reporters require.  The current cost of the software I use is $1595.00.

    The jobs are sent to the scopist via the Internet, so it goes without saying that Internet is a requirement.

    There is an annual support contract that should be renewed in order to keep up with the current version of the software.  This cost also varies per vendor. My cost for this is around $350 a year.

    Other expenses would include antivirus software like Norton, accounting software for invoicing (many are free), and basic supplies like printers, paper, etc., can all be claimed on your taxes.

     

    What is a typical day for you?

    A typical day is I check my business e-mail in the morning for any correspondence from clients regarding work, and then I work for however long I need to that day.  I calculate how many hours I need to work to return the job on time.

     

    What are the pros and cons of being a scopist?

    For me, personally, the pros of being a scopist are:

    • I can work at home,
    • I can set my own hours,
    • I learn a little bit about a lot of different subjects by reading transcripts, and
    • I enjoy my work.

    Scopist Training

    I don’t see this as a con, but the one con I can think of is working alone. If you are the kind of person who needs to be around people, then this aspect of the job would be a con. It isn’t for me because I enjoy working by myself.

     

    What kind of person is best suited to become a scopist?

    You have to have good English-language skills and be skilled at correcting it.  A scopist does not change the testimony in a transcript. We add/correct/delete punctuation and fix certain words accordingly.  We have to know these rules of English and when to apply them.

    For example, “The police did a canvas of the area,” needs to be corrected to, “The police did a canvass of the area.”  

    “The folder and it’s contents is their on the table” needs to be corrected to, “The folder and its contents is there on the table.”

    What I always say is that to be successful, you should really enjoy what you do.  A person who enjoys this type of work is best suited for it. Also, a scopist needs to meet deadlines.  This is a critical part of the job. If I don’t meet my deadlines, that reporter is not likely to hire me again.

    People best suited for this field are organized, on time, have an eye for detail, are good communicators with their clients, enjoy the English language, and don’t mind working alone.

     

    What does it take to become a successful scopist?

    The key to success is

    • having the aforementioned skills and maintaining them
    • staying current with the ever-changing software
    • keeping up with new tools to make you more effective, and, above all,
    • producing a good work product for the reporter.

    If you continue to do that, you will be successful.

     

    Do you have advice for an aspiring scopist?

    I believe in being properly trained, so I am a big proponent for training as a scopist before doing any work for a court reporter.  It is worth the time, effort, and cost.

    Once you are trained and working, you can begin to establish your clientele, and you have a career that can take you far into the future.

     

    A big thanks to Robin for giving us an in-depth look into the world of a scopist. Robin can be reached via her website here.

    If you’re interested in becoming a scopist, check out the FREE MINI INTRO COURSE offered online by the Internet Scoping School.

     

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