Transcription is a career which has, in the last couple of years, become a job that can easily be done from home. Thanks to the Internet, high-speed cable, and DSL, this job, which used to require a commute to an office, no longer does. If you have a computer, Microsoft Word, high-speed Internet access, or DSL, and can type 65 words-per-minute, all you need is a pair of headphones, a foot pedal, and the software to play downloaded files.
There are several different types of transcription, and depending on your education and background, you may be better suited for one than another. Medical transcription is the type of transcription most people have heard about. Medical transcriptionists transcribe doctor's office notes, hospital records, and other medical related audio. Legal transcriptionists transcribe court depositions, legal pleadings, interviews, and letters. Transcriptionists specializing in business transcribe conference calls, meeting minutes, and interviews. Finally, general transcriptionists transcribe just about anything, including focus groups, interviews, conference calls, podcasts, and radio shows.
Those interested in medical transcription will probably have to attend a school for medical transcription. There are several excellent ones that offer online classes and certification. It's probably best to have some background in law to do legal transcription, and a familiarity with business terms is helpful for business transcription. And while you can't specifically train for general transcription, your typing skills should be up to speed, and you should have a pretty strong grasp of grammar and spelling.
Pay varies widely among companies. But don't sell yourself short. Transcription isn't simply typing. It involves lots of research, editing, and proofreading skills. Difficult audio (audio with foreign speakers or lots of background noise) takes longer to transcribe than good audio. Transcriptionists just starting out may be willing to take lower paying jobs to get their feet wet. But once you're no longer new to the profession, don't sell yourself short. Do an excellent job, and expect to get paid a fair wage for your work.