Maybe you’ve heard of scoping, but aren’t quite sure what it is. Or maybe you’ve never heard of it at all. You’re definitely not alone. It’s the work-from-home career most have never heard of! But don’t worry; it’s still an option to consider.
So what exactly is scoping?
Scoping is basically editing legal transcripts for court reporters. During legal proceedings court reporters type what they hear on a steno writer and use computer software to transcribe these steno notes.
The scopist receives this transcript and the audio from the court reporter and edits the transcript to exactly match the audio. Simple as that may sound, there are a number of skills required to get the job done. Internet Scoping School teaches everything you need to know to become a successful scopist, even without any prior knowledge.
[Updated April 8, 2019]
Introduction to Internet Scoping School:
Linda Evenson created Internet Scoping School (ISS) in 1998 after she saw a need for a good, thorough training program for scopists. As she describes the situation, “Court reporters were drowning in work and needed help,” but “there just weren’t enough good scopists to go around.”
Internet Scoping School provides in-depth, self-paced training covering a wide range of topics related to scoping, from the basics to more advanced concepts and skills. Over the years, the course has been updated, but the core remains the same.
In the fall of 2016, Internet Scoping School launched on a new site – the new website is very user-friendly and loaded with information about the training program and the career. Now, you will not only benefit from Linda’s 40+ years of scoping experience through web-based training modules, but you also have lifetime access to a supportive network via the accompanying private Facebook group.
- The course teaches you everything you need to know to build a successful scoping business, including how to market your business and red flags to watch out for as you’re running your business
- You don’t need a legal background to take the course; however, if you have a substantial knowledge-base in the field, there is an option to “test out” of some of the modules
- You can work on the course at your own pace
- The course is made up of easy-to-navigate modules, which are broken down into manageable lessons
- The course provides lots of practice – you learning by doing what you first read about
- The course provides a high-level of support through the ability to email questions directly to the course creator and through access to a private Facebook group
- There is a free introductory course so you can see what scoping is all about before you make an investment
- The Scoping Fundamentals (initial) module can be purchased separately to learn the basics of scoping and see if it’s the right fit for you before investing in the whole course
- The course is reasonably priced considering everything the course covers, and it offers a way to make a college-level income without the college-level costs
- It has flexible payment options
- You can take on the amount of work you want, and you can scale back or increase as needed over time
- Scoping is a highly network-based career; if a scopist does high-quality work, they are likely to get referrals for more
- Lifetime access to course materials, updates, and support
- It is not for everyone; it requires excellent punctuation, word use, and vocabulary
- It requires self-motivation to complete the course and get results
- It is not a “quick-fix;” it will take hard work to get your business up and running and to keep it going
- It will take time to build up your client base
- Increasing speed as a scopist takes time, so it may take a while to build a substantial income from scoping
Internet Scoping School Overview
Internet Scoping School is an intensive, online course that teaches the skills needed to build a professional career as a scopist. Those without any previous knowledge of court reporting, scoping, or the legal field can get started with the Scoping Fundamentals module, which can be purchased separately; once it’s successfully completed, students can purchase the remaining seven modules of Internet Scoping School.
All the modules are broken down into short lessons, most of which are task-based. The remaining modules include the specialized information you need to know to perform the job of a scopist, from training in relevant software and skills to additional tips for running a successful scoping business.
The course is designed so that students are fully equipped to take on their first client as soon as they complete the course. Each lesson concludes with a self-graded quiz and then each module concludes with a final exam, hand-graded partially or completely by Linda, depending on the subject matter. The last task in the course is to edit a transcript according to a reporter’s preferences, just like in real life.
Who Internet Scoping School is for
This course is for individuals who want to have a professional work-from-home career and are willing to invest in longer-term training. It’s great for moms who want the option to be home with sick kids or to attend field trips and appointments, individuals ready to retire from a cubicle or a commute, or someone with health concerns wanting to work on their own schedule, taking on as little or as much work as they want.
It is important that you:
- Have excellent word skills
- Are self-motivated
- Are willing to work hard
- Are interested in a “desk job,” but without the boss or commute
- Don’t mind working solo
ISS training and resources
Linda has created a comprehensive course that covers the skills needed to be a scopist along with how to market your business and additional, practical business tips. Through the course, Linda freely shares her knowledge from 35 years of working as a scopist.
For newbies to the field, the course begins with Scoping Fundamentals, which is an introduction to scoping and lessons on word usage mistakes. It is purchased separately from Internet Scoping School and ends with a test.
After taking Scoping Fundamentals, you should understand what a court reporter does and how steno works. You will be familiar with transcripts, formatting, vocabulary specific to the field, common errors, and more. It’ll give a good idea if you have the foundational skills needed to be a scopist, and if you even think you will enjoy this career path.
Following successful completion of Scoping Fundamentals, there are seven remaining sections of Internet Scoping School that dig deeper. Using training videos, downloadable workbooks, answer keys and worksheets, along with interactive quizzes, practice transcripts, an online support forum, and bonus reference ebooks, an extensive amount of material is covered.
Some of the topics for the remaining seven modules include:
- punctuation rules scopists need to know
- how to read raw steno in transcripts
- understanding common briefs
- medical terminology including Latin and Greek root words
- how to apply a reporter’s preferences and produce high-quality transcripts
- in-depth software training
- actual transcripts written by court reporters to practice on
- how to run a successful scoping business (relationships, ethics, time management, marketing, taxes,etc.)
Additional resources to be purchased by the student are Morson’s English Guide for Court Reporters and A Court Reporter’s Guide to Medical Terminology. Case CATalyst 4+ Software is also needed, but doesn’t have to be purchased before enrolling in the course and ISS students receive a discount on this software.
The Internet Scoping School syllabus provides detailed information about each module and the course objectives. You can also check out Linda’s free training or the public Facebook group for more information about scoping.
ISS takes pride in the fact that they are always working to improve their training, and in 2019 students can look forward to the following upgrades:
Video Clips: ISS is currently in the process of adding video clips to the training to demonstrate some of the concepts that are difficult for students to grasp when just reading instructions. The videos will make it much easier to understand and replicate software commands.
New Lesson: In Version 20 of the Case CATalyst software, a new real-time methodology called RealTeam has been added. This innovation allows the reporter, scopist(s), and proofreader(s) to all be connected as the reporter writes the proceedings, allows them to exchange information, and corrections made by all are added to the file. ISS will be adding a lesson so that our graduates will know how to use this awesome new technology.
New Section: The course is also adding a “Court Procedures” section that will cover information about working with official reporters (who report trials) and including one that is almost complete on Legal Terminology.
Support provided by ISS
Students receive lifetime access to unlimited email support. Linda says she prides herself on answering students’ questions. In her opinion, access to her time and expertise is part of what Internet Scoping School tuition pays for.
Students also have lifetime access to a private Facebook group as well where students and graduates of Internet Scoping School share information, resources, and even job referrals.
Technical support is also available as needed, and it is reported that technical issues are resolved in a timely manner.
Better still, Linda has recently added the free AnyDesk service to the support repertoire. If you book an appointment, the instructor can access your computer to help you understand concepts within the training. They can also be on the phone while sharing computer screens to provide you with one-on-one instructions. This feature will be super helpful to students who are struggling with any concepts!
It’s well worth noting that no other scoping training program offers this real-time assistance! It's yet another reason ISS stands out over other courses!
You have lifetime access to the course material, so your scoping education never ends! As things change or develop in the world of scoping, you will know about them.
Educational qualifications and skills needed
There are no pre-requisite educational qualifications. Those without any prior industry knowledge or experience begin with Scoping Fundamentals. Once that is successfully completed, the remaining Internet Scoping School modules teach you everything you need to know.
However, there are some basic skills needed to successful:
- Excellent punctuation, word use, and vocabulary are essential
- An understanding of technology
- Ability to work independently
- Computer and high-speed internet
- Word Processing Program such as Word
- Ability to download Case CATalyst 4+ Software
- Morson’s English Guide for Court Reporters
- A Court Reporter’s Guide to Medical Terminology
Price options for Internet Scoping School
Students without any prior industry knowledge begin with the Scoping Fundamentals Module at a cost of $197. Upon successful completion, this is applied to the cost of the full course and the possible payment options are as follows:
If you have basic knowledge in the industry, you can pay for the whole course as follows:
A la carte prices on the modules are also available, but that is not the preferred method, as it will cost you more overall. It is only a good option if you already have a wide knowledge base in the industry. For those with substantial industry knowledge, test outs are available along with the possibility of taking an abbreviated version of the course.
My Final Opinion
This course is the real deal for creating a professional, work-from-home career, for the right individual. For those who were considering a college degree and considering the idea of taking out debt to do it, it is an excellent alternative. It will take an investment of time and money, and it will require a big commitment to finish the coursework, which really is intensive and thorough. It appears to cover all the bases. When students successfully complete the course, they will be equipped to do the work and the marketing necessary to both find and keep clients.
Keep in mind, a student will not be successful if they are not self-motivated. To succeed at scoping, you will have to be proactive about finding clients, especially in the beginning. Also, it takes time to build up your income, because how much you make per hour will depend on your speed, and increasing your speed will take time. You won’t want to count on making a substantial income right off the bat.
However, if you follow through with the course and establish a base of clients that are happy with your work, you’ll have a referral-based business with the potential for a very nice work-from-home income. If you’re interested in pursuing scoping further, the free mini-course is a great place to start.
Verdict: It provides a legitimate anywhere anytime career.
Want More Info?
For more information, check out this interview with course creator, Linda Evenson. You’ll get a first-hand look into the world of scoping, learn how scoping might be a rewarding career that fits your busy life, and a glimpse of her sparkling personality.
You can also check out our group interview with 3 scopist graduates of ISS who provide a glimpse of what it’s like to be a scopist!
Last but not least, you can visit the Internet Scoping school website and check out their blog, features informative content written by both Linda and her students!
As always, I’m happy to answer any question you may have, and comments are encouraged. If you have anything to share about scoping, I’d love to hear it. Let’s get a discussion going!