Guide to the Scopist Profession
The Scopist profession is a profession that falls under the legal field. This is not a new profession but it is a new profession for individuals who may not have participated in a legal education or legal related job. The following is a guide to the Scopist profession for those individuals who may not have any background in legal positions and you may be looking towards an inexpensive but lucrative legal education option.
The Scopist Profession: An Overview
The Scopist profession is a profession that utilizes both paralegal and court reporting methods. A Scopist's job is to take the court reporters documents or shorthand from a court case and translate those documents into a readable legal transcripts. This transcript is then submitted to the court reporter or to a legal office for documentation on the case it is concerning.
A Scopist will use a variety of equipment and software options which will later be discussed in this guide. During a Scopist training they will learn how to not only read and utilize shorthand but how to translate shorthand into readable documentation with and without software.
The educational requirements for a Scopist are basic. A Scopist generally holds a certification as a Scopist with some Scopists having a background as a paralegal. Though a paralegal certification or Associates degree does help in the Scopist profession, it is not required. There are several advantages to having a paralegal degree alongside of Scopist training. Those advantages will be discussed later in this guide.
A Scopist can expect to spend anywhere from six months to a year in Scopist training. A Scopist education will cost between $1500 and $3000 with an additional fee for these chosen software the Scopist decides to use. Scopist schools are available online and are generally offered through veteran Scopist or through paralegals and court reporters with strong Scopist backgrounds.
Types of Scopist Jobs
There are several types of Scopist jobs available. It's one of these jobs will be discussed in greater detail later in this guide. However, Scopists can expect to work as independent contractors with a few and rare jobs being available for full-time employment or part-time employment through either a paralegal or through a legal office. It should be noted that most court reporters do not hire Scopists on an employee basis and tended to work with Scopist you agree to be independent contractors rather than employees. A Scopist can expect to make between $15 an hour and $35 an hour or more depending on their experience and training.
Benefits of a Combined Paralegal and Scopist Education
Scopist training is available online through Scopist schools, court reporters or through veteran paralegals with the Scopist background. To become a Scopist you need only have the Scopist training as well as the Scopist software. However, there are options where having a pure legal background can benefit a Scopist. This may increase the time a Scopist is in training and will also increase the time it takes for Scopist to find a job. The tuition rate will of course increase as well. However, the benefits can be worth the time and money. The following are a few of the benefits of a combined paralegal and Scopist education for the Scopist profession.
Legal knowledge is one of the main benefits a combined paralegal and Scopist education. A Scopist with no legal background may find it difficult to maneuver through various terminology and the steps of the court case. A Scopist is given a crash course in how a court case works, having a solid legal knowledge and background that is awarded to a paralegal may be a benefit that will not only help a Scopist are your education but also benefit them on the resume when they are looking for a Scopist position through a law office or court reporter.
Scopists are required to have a base knowledge of legal terminology as well as medical terminology. The reason for this is due to the kinds of cases that a Scopist may be transcribing. Scopists generally do not focus on one particular type of court case. For example, a Scopist may have a court case that deals with a murder investigation while another court case deals with bankruptcy. Depending on the type of case the Scopist is expected to maneuver around the terminology and be able to determine if the terminology that is transcribed is correct and make corrections where needed. Having a pure legal and Scopist educational background is a benefit to those Scopists that may have clients from of variety of legal backgrounds.
Increased pay is another clear benefit of having a combined paralegal and Scopist education for Scopist profession choice. Individuals who are in the Scopist profession can expect to make between $15 an hour and $35 an hour. However, jobs may be difficult to find at first and working up to a steady income can also be difficult. To avoid this difficulty many Scopist professionals will have a background in paralegal studies in order to increase their pay. This means that a Scopist could not only work as a Scopist for a court reporter or law office but also as a paralegal which will increase their workload and increase the chances of a higher pay per hour. In fact, it has been reported by several Scopists with a combined paralegal background at their income can be almost double that of a Scopist with no paralegal training.
Precautions of a Scopist Education
There are several precautions that individuals seeking a job in the Scopist industry should be aware of. These precautions generally come in with the Scopist education. The following are a few of these precautions is that Scopist students, potential Scopist students and potential Scopist workers need to keep in mind.
It is been said many times with educational backgrounds that training is not always equal. One program may be more expensive than the other and offer less training. The best precaution to take is to look at the type of training and education a Scopist program offers. Talk to other Scopists and be sure of what kind of training you need. The best training is the training that is generally offered by someone who is a Scopist, has a strong background of Scopist and can prove their work credentials. If you take courses from a court reporter or Scopist who has a strong background in the topic you are likely to receive a better education than you would through an online program that may not be taught by someone with actual Scopist capabilities.
Cost is not Always an Indicator
The cost of the program is not always an indicator as to the program being a viable educational option for Scopists. In fact, many Scopist schools online will offer a perk or statement which is much more affordable than an overall payment. These per course payments may be in credibly cheaper than their certificate or trade school counterparts. Just because a course or a Scopist training program is not in the $1500 and $3000 range this does not mean that it is an indicator of a bad program. Again, the precautions and check with other Scopists who are already working in the industry that can give you a good idea of what educational program is right for you.
Computer Software Training
There are several computer software training programs and software programs that are used by Scopists. The two main programs used in Scopist profession are Eclipse and CAT. These programs are the two most popular though there are several other programs on the market. When you are looking for a Scopist educational program you need to be cautious and ensure that the program teaches you how to use this computer software. If the school uses a popular Scopist software but does not train you on the software then you may be left with gaps in your education that will cause you to lose jobs later. The best program is the one that not only offers you Scopist training that offers you training in the software so you are fully prepared to work on either platform within the profession.
Scopist Job Hunting
Hunting for a job in the Scopist profession can be difficult. It is primarily an independent contractor world and finding a job initially may be increasinly problematic. For those individuals who are looking for a job in the Scopist profession your first stop would be people already in the industry. Much like freelance writing, Scopists work on word-of-mouth. The following are a few ways to get started in the Scopist job hunt and in the Scopist profession overall.
Finding forums with other Scopists and active Scopist forums will lead you to knowledge about the Scopist industry that you may not be able to get anywhere else. This knowledge will also lead you to individuals who are looking for overflow workers. This means that a Scopist may have an overabundance of work that week or may have some work that came in at the last minute or have last-minute personal issues that mean they will not be able to meet their deadlines. In these cases, Scopists will put ads on forums looking for overflow workers. This is a great opportunity for new Scopists to get a chance to work within the field and get their name out there. Keep in mind, that the Scopist field is much like the freelance writing field and works on word-of-mouth. If you do a good job as an overflow worker you will increase your overflow capacity and you will be able to take on more jobs. In fact, many Scopists find that they work strictly on overflow and are able to meet their bills continuously.
Since the Scopist profession is primarily a word-of-mouth profession and a freelance profession, having your own business website is vital. The good thing about a business website is the can combine it with the overflow work you have done from forums that has come from other Scopists. Ask the Scopist you have done overflow work for if they will be willing to write a testimonial for your website. Place the testimonial on your website and if possible offer a link back or a way for an individual to contact the Scopist to get a reference for your work. This works as an online portfolio and will allow individuals to not only see the work that you have done but also see the testimonials as well as contact you for references or contact the Scopist that hired you for references.
Bidding Sites and Job Boards
Bidding websites are great place to find clients that may need ongoing work. Court reporters, Scopist and paralegals may use bidding websites to find new Scopists to help them handle large amounts of work. This is especially true when court reporters have several cases during the week and need to get the transcripts turned into their law office as quickly as possible. You can use the bidding site to find a job, bid on the job and land the job. A bidding site will also allow someone to rate your work which means that if you receive a four or five star rating you will be able to get more jobs and create a name for yourself to the bidding site. Job boards in cafés, courthouses and other locations are also a great way to find individuals and court reporters that need Scopists for overflow work or for ongoing work.
Creating Your Own Scopist Business
Creating your own Scopist business is the way that many Scopists view the profession. The idea is to create their own Scopist business by using work from overflow and court reporters. Here are a few ways to create your own Scopist business that will lead to ongoing work and consistent income.
Activity on Forums
The first step in creating your own Scopist business is to become active on forums. Finding forums that are based in virtual assistant professions, Scopist professions, court reporting professions and in legal professions is an easy way to begin finding work and turning out there. You can learn the ropes of the profession as well as find individuals in the profession looking for Scopists. Make sure that you remain active on the forms and that you respond overflow work as often as possible. Keep in mind that some of the overflow work may not fit your payment range, but remember that if this person posts continuously and is active on the form they will be able to give you a good word-of-mouth recommendation and the lower pay may be worth it in order to receive that recommendation. Remember to place the link to your business sites in your forum signature if the forum allows that kind of marketing.
Creating a business website can be done before or after you become active on the forums. Creating a business website should not be done on a free site. Though you can use blogger for your blog or WordPress for your blog you will want to make sure that your website is a.com or.net. You do not want to use a free website as it looks cheap to potential clients. A business website can be purchased for as little as $12-$24 a year. Find a hosting company that works with your budget and has a business template. This will allow you to create a business website quickly and easily and to have a professional presence online. Place your business website link on signatures and forums and online or you can create a Facebook account to help promote your business.
This guide previously discussed the concept of using bidding websites to find clients. Bidding websites and job boards are the two greatest ways to find clients if you are unable to find clients in overflow on forums. Keep in mind that the best way to find clients is through word-of-mouth. The Scopist profession is one built on freelancing and word-of-mouth from court reporters. If you meet your deadlines, complete the work on time and your transcripts of solid then you will be able to find clients ongoing. Remember that finding clients is a process. You will not be able to walk out of your Scopist training and find all the clients you need to create an ongoing stream of income. You will need to work at it, find clients through job boards and bidding sites or other ways.
Final Thoughts on the Scopist Profession
The Scopist profession is not new but it is seeing resurgence due to the massive changes in the criminal justice system and the changes of how law offices are handling their work. Many legal offices are now outsourcing nearly all their work to paralegals and court reporters that are then outsourcing to Scopist. If you have a background in paralegal and Scopist training you will be able to not only land jobs as a Scopist but also land paralegal jobs that can secure your position with a legal company or a law office.
The Scopist profession is not an inexpensive one to get started in. You will need to have enough money to purchase your own software which can cost between $3000 and $6000 depending on the type of software and equipment you choose. Once you have the education and the software you will be ready to start in the Scopist profession. Using the steps within this guide you will be able to find a job and overtime create a strong and consistent income stream for your Scopist profession business.