What is scoping? This is probably the question that popped in your head the moment you heard of the word. Good thing you’re here because we are going to tell you more about this job, and how to become a scopist yourself.
On one hand, scoping is a word that basically refers to the act of editing a transcript for court reporters. On the other hand, scopist refers to the person who does the editing or scoping.
Although scoping is a job that does exist, and has been there for a long time now, unfortunately, it is not as popular as any other work from home jobs out there.
Unfortunately, there is no specific data on the number of scopist currently employed in the United States.
However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does have data on the current number of court reporters in the country. Just so you know, technically speaking, all court reporters are considered scopists, too. Scoping, is in fact, an integral part of their job.
Anyway, as per the U.S. BLS, there are currently 15,700 employed court reporters (which the bureau generally defines as transcriptionists at trials) in the country.
Although court reporters are scopists, too, most of them still require or prefer working with a scopist, which is understandable given the kind of work they do. Needless to say, to ensure the accuracy of the court proceeding transcript, another set of eyes would surely be of great help.
So, if you think you have what it takes to be a scopist, or you want to know more about what scoping is all about, then, you are definitely at the right place, because as mentioned earlier, we are going to provide you with information you need in order to know and understand fully what scoping is all about.
For your reference, we are going to particularly tackle the following set of commonly asked questions about scoping:
- What is scoping?
- Who qualifies for a scoping job?
- How much does a scopist make?
- How to become a scopist?
- Where to find scoping jobs?
WHAT IS SCOPING?
In order for you to fully know and understand what scoping is all about, the very basic thing to do is to find the definition of the job.
It’s basically finding an answer to the question – what is scoping?
For you to be able to appreciate, at the same time, get more interested in becoming a scopist, it is very important that you make time to learn and know more about it.
So, to answer the question, what is scoping —
As mentioned earlier, scoping is editing transcripts for court reporters.
Technically, a court reporter’s primary job is to write or takedown proceedings as it happens using steno writers.
Once the proceedings are done, court reporters then import their steno notes into a computer-aided transcription software, which is capable of translating the steno into English.
In a lot of instances, people confuse scoping with proofreading. In reality, it’s not. While proofreading is part of the process, it comes after the transcript has already been edited by a scopist.
If you want to fully understand the difference between a scopist and a proofreader, check out this video by LadySteno:
A scopist basically reads the transcript on a computer screen, and then do editing to ensure everything is accurate before it is handed down to a proofreader for the final look.
What the Job Requires
A scoping job involves filling in missing words, ensuring words are properly spelled (especially the legal terms), as well as adding or correcting the proper punctuation mark.
For some people, scoping may sound like an easy job. But, in reality, it can be challenging especially because as a scopist, it is your job to ensure that the transcript is word-for-word exactly what was said during the proceeding. A minimal error can affect the whole transcript.
In addition, as a scopist, you also have to be knowledgeable in reading steno notes. You also need to know how to put a transcript together, as well as how to use CAT (computer-aided transcription) software. More so, you must also know how to properly format a transcript, knowledgeable in medical and legal terminologies, know proper ethics, as well as ergonomics.
Since most scopist work independently, it is also crucial that you know how to market yourself to reporters to be able to land scoping gigs. Makes sense?
So, there you have it. These are all some of the most important things that you need to know about scoping and about what is expected of you as a scopist.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR A SCOPING JOB?
Now that you already know what scoping is all about, this time, we are going to talk about what you need in order to land a job as a scopist.
Generally, people who love words are the ones who can be excellent scopists. They’re the most ideal people for the job because scoping is primarily dealing with words! In relation to that, having excellent verbal and most especially written communication skills, as well as listening skills would be great for the job.
Furthermore, excellent editing skills are also a must in order for you to be considered for the job. You have to know when a word is missing, or when a punctuation mark is missing or has to be corrected.
The job requires no room for errors, so, it is only right that you are particular with finding and resolving word errors. Being a perfectionist is perfect for the job.
More so, you must be dependable and task-oriented. You must be able to work on minimal or no supervision (especially when working from home) at all.
Being able to sit and work in front of a computer for long hours is also needed for the job. More so, you must be able to meet deadlines set by the client.
As mentioned earlier, to be able to become a successful scopist, part of the equation is to be knowledgeable in medical and legal terminologies. While some clients do not mind hiring inexperienced scopist or entry-level scopist, others may prefer those with previous work experience.
At first glance, it may look like scoping is for everyone, but to be honest, it is not. It is instead particularly ideal for people who are willing to put in the time and to master the craft.
While scoping may be a challenging job, essentially, it’s rewarding.
HOW MUCH DOES A SCOPIST MAKE?
We’ve already provided you answer to the question, what is scoping. More so, we’ve shared with you the qualities and skills you need in order to be able to land a scoping job.
This time, in this section, we are going to answer one of the most important questions of all — how much does a scopist earn?
Don’t worry, the question is very much valid. It’s part of knowing how fulfilling the job can be, and if it is a good alternative to whatever your current job is.
Anyway, generally speaking, scopists are paid by the page, which means that the hourly rate of a scopist will highly depend on factors like speed, the difficulty of the material, how well the court reporter wrote the material, as well as if there is a need to listen to the full audio with the transcript (there are cases that this needs to be done to ensure all information are correct).
In addition, your education, years of experience as a scopist, certifications, as well as additional skills may also be factored in to be able to come up with a specific rate.
An average scopist can make at least $20 per hour, which is equivalent to roughly $1.0 or more per page.
Meanwhile, professional or highly experienced scopist can make as much as $35 to $45 per hour.
In a website called, Salary.com, it says that the current average salary of scopists in the United States is $38,927. The salary range falls between $32,318 and $47,978.
As you can see, while it cannot provide you with a six-digit salary rate in a year, working as a scopists can be financially rewarding.
HOW TO BECOME A SCOPIST?
By now you are probably convinced already that there is fulfillment in working as a scopist, or maybe you are already considering pursuing a career in this field.
So, to help you understand fully how to land a job as a scopist, here are a few tips:
Earn a degree.
Contrary to what other people believed in, in order to become a scopist, you do not have to earn a specific degree or earn an expensive degree.
You can pursue whatever degree you wish to pursue. However, if you are really serious about landing a scoping job, it would best to earn a bachelor’s degree that will teach you and hone the skills you need for the job.
Some of the ideal courses for people who want to become a scopist are Journalism, English, Communication Arts/Mass Communication, Developmental Communication, as well as Political Science.
Work as an intern for a court reporter or professional scopist.
Working as an intern for a court reporter or a professional scopist will help you a lot if you are pursuing a scoping career.
Although court reporters need scopist, they themselves are actually trained as one. It’s probably safe to say that all court reporters are also scopist. Thus, they have the knowledge to teach you what you need to know to become a successful scopist.
Court reporters as well as professional scopists are knowledgeable in terms of using court reporting software, as well as the dos and don’ts of scoping.
Working side by side with them is a great opportunity to learn and understand not only the job but the entire industry as well.
Work as a court reporter.
If you are really serious about mastering your scoping skills, one of the best ways to do that is by working as a court reporter.
As mentioned earlier, all court reporters know how to do scoping because it’s a vital part of their job. If they could not get a scopist to work for them, then, they have to do it themselves.
Becoming a court reporter is indeed the best way to home your scoping skills. Needless to say, it’s an edge you have as you compete with other scopists out there.
Attend a Scopist Training Program.
Apart from what we have already mentioned, another way to master your scoping skills as well as to widen your knowledge about the job is to attend a scoping training program.
Luckily, there are institutions that provide scopist training programs. These programs provide the most comprehensive, and the most in-depth way to learn scoping and how to be successful at it.
While brick and mortar institutions do offer them, there are also scopist training programs that are available online. You just have to choose which you think works best for you — although during these times, the most ideal is to take such a program online.
Now, there are a lot of online scopist training programs out there, but, these three are the most popular in the field:
- Internet Scoping School – Owned and operated by a professional scopist named, Linda Evenson, This online scoping school provides you with all the necessary information you need as you pursue this career.
By opting to attend the Internet Scoping School, you get to enjoy: Lifetime access to future bonuses and updates, lifetime access to private scopist students Facebook group, and you also get to choose from several payment plans, whatever works best for you.
- BeST Scoping Techniques – Owned and operated by Judy Rakocinski and Cathy Knox, this online authorized scopist training program will provide you with what you need to know about the job. Both Rakocinski and Knox have over 40 years of experience as scopist, which makes them reliable sources of information on how to make it as a scopist.
The BeST Scoping Techniques offers training on more than one scoping software program, online networking group, as well as lifetime access to trainers and some coursework to its students.
By the way, just so you know, pursuing an online scopist training can cost around $2,500 or more depending on the program and the institution that provides it. So, better check your options, and weigh which one you’re more comfortable with money-wise.
While having professional training is key to start a career in scoping, it would also be a good idea if even after taking a scopist training program, you continue training yourself.
By doing so, you get to master the craft even more.
One way to train yourself is to buy scoping software and learn how to use it. Learning and mastering how to use scoping software would be a great advantage as you put yourself out there to find your initial client.
Not to dishearten you though, but, training yourself should not be an alternative to professional scoping training programs.
Please take note that as a scopist, you will be working with legal transcripts, and legal transcripts are very important documents. You don’t want to mess up with that as it may cost a lot.
WHERE TO FIND SCOPING JOBS?
So, you already know what is scoping, the qualifications for the job, how much you can make as a scopist, and of course, the steps you need to take in order to become a scopist.
This time around, we are going to share with you information on where to find scoping jobs. This basically completes all the basic information you need if you want to pursue a scoping job.
There are several ways to find a scoping job. You can find them in court reporting websites, court reporters, or scopists online groups, as well as in various online job listing sites.
You may also consider attending conventions or conferences such as the National Court Reporters Convention (it’s also an ideal venue to do networking, which is very important to be able to get a client), as well as joining and placing an ad in the Journal of Court Reporting (JCR).
If we may say, while there are a lot of ways provided as to where you can find a scoping job, the most ideal is through your network. Most court reporters usually hire scopists within their network. So, as much as possible, make sure to make build your network as early as you can so when you’re ready to do the job, you can easily go through your network and hopefully find someone who will take a risk in hiring you.
By the way, the Internet Scoping School does have intensive marketing training to help their graduates succeed in finding clients. Thus, we recommend getting your scoping training in ISS to be able to take advantage of that.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON WHAT IS SCOPING
Scoping may not be as popular as other work from home jobs out there, but one thing’s for sure, it is a financially rewarding job, and that it is particularly ideal for people who love words, and have ample knowledge in both legal and medical terms.
Have you been thinking about pursuing a scoping career? If your answer is yes, we got to say now is the perfect time to do so.