Is there a demand for scopists? It could seem like there isn't, because you might not even have heard of scoping until now. Scoping doesn't even have a definition in the dictionary. That's how little-known it is in the everyday lives of most people!
And yet, the answer to the opening question is a resounding yes.
Why? Because scopists edit legal transcripts for court reporters, who are in very short supply. That shortage isn't expected to ease soon. There are simply more retiring reporters than there are new reporters entering the field.
Since court reporters earn their pay by being in the courtroom, they lose income if they do their own editing. It’s less expensive – and less extra work – for a court reporter to hire a reliable scopist to handle editing court transcripts. Many reporters have one or two scopists they work with regularly. They can build strong relationships that last for many years.
The court reporter is the one who writes court transcripts, and the shortage of reporters is ongoing. So the demand for scopists to take on the editing work is also ongoing. Dependable scopists can generally find as much work as they want, for as long as they want to do it. Linda Evenson, creator and President of Internet Scoping School, has spent over 40 years as a scopist!
A first look at scoping….
So what exactly do scopists do? They set the stage for their court reporter clients to present clean transcripts of court proceedings. As a scopist, you will use the same CAT (Computer Aided Translation) software reporters employ when they create transcripts. Your job will be to:
- make sure the stenography is rendered correctly
- all words are correctly spelled
- assure that all grammatical and punctuation errors in the non-dialogue parts of the transcript are corrected
- make sure all dialogue is recorded word-for-word as it was spoken
So, why is there a demand for scopists?
Scopists give their reporters more time to create transcripts – which means there are more transcripts for the scopist to edit! And that translates into college-level income you can earn right from home!
A beginning scopist salary can be $30,000/year. Experienced scopists can earn $50,000 or more annually (SimplyHired puts the average at over $80,000/year). Scopist rates per page go up with experience, and there are fast turnaround projects that pay even more. And all for a job you can do at home, in your pajamas, while your kids are at school or napping.
In this resource roundup article, we’ll look at what the experts say about scoping. You will learn why court transcripts are important and how long you can expect to invest in becoming a scopist. We will explore whether college or an online option makes more sense for you. We’ll share our recommendation and some interviews with Internet Scoping School graduates who have successful scoping businesses of their own.
When is remote scoping a good fit for stay-at-home moms? We can help you answer that question, too. We'll also explain why Internet Scoping School is a legitimate way to learn scoping skills.
Ready? Okay, let’s learn about scoping!
Why is there a demand for scopists? What the experts say
As we mentioned in the intro, good scopists are in high demand. Scopist job boards show many employment opportunities for those wondering, “How do I get a job as a scopist?”
We interviewed Linda Evenson of Internet Scoping School. Linda started ISS because “court reporters were drowning in work and needed help.” But, she explained, “there just weren’t enough good scopists to go around.”
This article on Stenovate says that a good team, including a scopist, can double a court reporter’s income (which might explain why it shares five places to find a good scopist!).
As the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) explains, scopists can compare stenography taken in court to the finished transcript to create accurate records. This skill is vital to the reporter’s success in their work. The answer to the question, “Can court transcripts be altered?” is no. A scopist's job is to make sure they aren't.
So court reporters are in short supply and courts still need their services. If you complete scopist training, you will be qualified to take on some of these jobs. Soon, you can be a remote scopist contributing to the legal process on your own schedule. And that will translate into a good income.
How long does it take to become a scopist?
That’s a fair question, especially if you’re a stay-at-home mom (or dad!), and need to arrange your coursework around your family’s schedule. You probably already have a long to-do list to get through each day, and adding more can feel overwhelming.
This 2020-2021 program from San Antonio College requires 23 credit hours. That's four semesters of training in order to earn a scopist’s certification. It might be just right for someone who wants to work within the court system as an employee. However, it doesn’t include the information you’ll need to build your own freelance scoping business. You'll also have to take courses that aren’t essential to learning the craft of scoping.
Tuition for online-only learning in the fall of 2022 at this college range from $99-$466 per credit hour. That adds up to $2,277 – $10,718 for the full 23 credit hours. And, once you’ve completed your coursework, you’ll be on your own unless you choose to enroll for further training (at additional expense).
Fortunately, there’s another way – Internet Scoping School (ISS). With ISS, you can finish your scopist training in far less time – usually only six to eight months. Better yet, you’ll have lifetime access to course updates, discounts on your scoping software, and an online community. Plus, you’ll learn what you need to know to start your own scoping business.
Why Do We Recommend Internet Scoping School?
Here at Anywhere and Anytime Careers, we take online learning seriously (and we are avid online learners ourselves). We help stay-at-home moms like you find options that work with your life. You won’t break the bank, and these courses won't keep you away from your family longer than needed.
As a part of our mission, we often do in-depth reviews of online work-from-home courses like Internet Scoping School, which we reviewed here. Our comprehensive assessment includes:
- an overview of the course and its focus
- an evaluation of the course delivery methods
- a breakdown of the lesson structure
- types of people ISS is (and isn’t) for
- pros and cons of the course
- the support system it provides
- pricing structure and thoroughness guarantee
- and more
Our review is a great way to get to know the course without spending any money up-front. You'll have valuable information so you can decide if the course is a good fit for you to learn what you need to be a scopist.
Over the last few years, Robin has also done a series of interviews with ISS graduates. Each has created their own business using what they learned in the course. This interview with three scopists explores how the course helped each of them build their skills.
Is There a Demand for Scopists Who Graduate from ISS?
In a word, yes! In addition to the three scopists in the interview above, Robin has more recently interviewed six more working scopists. All are also Internet Scoping School graduates. Each comes from a different background and has different life circumstances. All of them say that their ISS training was great preparation. It allowed them to start and thrive in their businesses.
Darcy Thornburg is a former graduate student. She was already working as a legal transcript proofreader when she enrolled in scopist training. She now earns thousands a month and was able to add scoping to her offerings. Two of her proofreading clients became scoping clients, as well.
Andrew Theodosakis was a stressed lab technician who needed to make a change in his life. He found scoping, and decided Internet Scoping School was a low-risk investment in his future. He loves the personal agency and flexibility of his career as a scopist.
Lyndsi Martel’s previous careers included being a hairstylist and a high school education assistant. While she loved the work, her family moved to a remote area where there was little demand for those jobs. In scoping, she found engaging and profitable work she can do from her Manitoba home even when the snow is piling up outside.
Is Scoping a Good Fit for Stay-at-Home Moms?
If you’re home with your family, you might be wondering how (or if) scoping can fit into your life. It’s not a good choice if you don’t have the ability to work while young kids are asleep, in school, or otherwise occupied. But if there are even a few hours a week when your children won’t need you, you can earn scoping income.
It’s possible to start small and scale up with scoping. Some new scopists take occasional jobs at first. You could work for various reporters or as backups for regular scopists when you're just starting out. When your kids are older, you’ll be better prepared to scale up and increase your scoping hours.
Meet Three Stay-At-Home Scoping Moms
Scoping also works well for stay-at-home moms like Chelsea Stock. She’s a military spouse. Chelsea chose scoping to contribute to her family’s income no matter where her husband is deployed. When Robin interviewed her, she was preparing for an overseas move. Her court reporter clients were willing to work with her on communicating from different time zones because they value her services.
Ashlie Pechin, the mother of “a sweet and energetic little one” is another mom who came to scoping from proofreading. She left her job as a personal trainer to work from home, seeking freedom and flexibility in her schedule. She decided to try scoping when one of her legal transcription clients asked if she’d thought about adding that service. Ashlie's story clearly answers the question, “Is there a demand for scopists?”
Ashlie works full-time during her son’s school hours now. When he was younger, she did her scoping during his naps and independent play times.
And Lauren Shissler is a scopist and farmer's wife whose family needed a reliable second income. She left a disappointing job as a journalist for a paper that didn't care about grammatical correctness. Lauren was a stay-at-home mom with two toddlers, but farming took a downturn. She became a transcript proofreader to supplement her husband's income while her daughter was under 2. A client asked her to learn scoping and promised to become a scoping client.
Now she has a solid income – and plenty of time to spend with her family, too!
Is Internet Scoping School a legit way to learn scoping skills?
Linda Evenson created Internet Scoping School in 1998. She saw that court reporters had a desperate need for good scopists. She met the need with a course that comprehensively trains scopists.
Linda has updated and expanded the course over the years. Since all students have lifetime access to the course, you’ll never miss out on an update. She also provides a “thoroughness guarantee.” Linda will add material if one of her students feels it was missed. This way, all current and future students benefit from that material. Honoring this commitment keeps the course up-to-date with student needs.
Linda has worked extensively with the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). ISS provides everything you need to meet the NCRA definition of a scopist. The course also includes marketing training and prepares students to notice potential problem areas in their businesses.
The Practical Side of ISS
Additionally, ISS includes skills training. You must complete or test out of this before purchasing the main course. This way, those not well suited to scoping don’t waste their time and money on the full scopist training.
Once you’re in the course itself, you get over 50 practice transcripts. This means you will have plenty of court transcript examples before you begin working. You can also assess your progress with self-graded quizzes. Passing the final exam earns you a certificate of completion and entrance to the marketing lessons.
Many of the graduates Robin interviewed mentioned the online support community as a valuable part of the Internet Scoping School experience. There, even if you're just beginning your scopist training, you can chat with and get support from seasoned remote scopists. Linda is active in the group as well. She's been known to post daily vocabulary words so you can build your word knowledge. Here, you can seek and find advice, celebrate wins, vent frustrations, and find a community that understands the realities of life as a scopist.
Conclusion: Is there a demand for scopists? Can you meet that demand?
Do you have a good grasp of language? Are you able to learn tech programs? Do you find the legal system interesting?
Internet Scoping School covers everything you’ll need to create a successful scoping business. You'll learn language basics and how to translate stenography. Once you pass your final exam, you get a marketing module. And through it all, there's a thriving online community support system. Linda Evenson’s course has it all – and her 40+ years of scoping experience – at your disposal.
Not sure if this in-demand career is right for you? ISS offers a week-long mini-course, delivered right to your inbox. Over seven days, you’ll learn more about what a scoping career is like and take a grammar and vocabulary quiz. And, best of all, this mini-course is completely free!
Is there a demand for scopists? Yes, there is! But if you still have questions we didn’t answer, or a thought to share, drop them below. We’d love to help you find answers, or just connect with you about scoping.