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Legal Transcriptionist Diploma Program Details

Penn Foster’s Online Legal Transcriptionist Diploma Program consists of courses to help prepare you to work in the legal field. Gain knowledge about legal terminology, the U.S. Court System, Computer Applications, Business English, and foundational interpersonal, communication, stress, and time management skills.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To prepare students for an entry-level career as a legal transcriptionist.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...

  • Describe the legal transcriptionist job requirements, career opportunities and related occupations
  • Identify the various kinds of documents used in litigation and the basic process of litigation in federal and state court systems
  • Identify common legal terms and their meaning
  • Outline the structure of the court system, the sources of law, and some key legal concepts that form the foundations of American law, who legal professionals are, the environments in which they work, the kind of work they do, and some of the special obligations of the legal profession.
  • Identify how history has shaped the organization and structure of our courts and molded our legal system of case law, codes, and administrative regulations
  • Identify and list federal and state courts, and distinguish the functions of each
  • Identify the differences between civil and criminal litigation as well as procedural and substantive law and the steps to litigate a civil trial
  • Describe the levels of authority in American law, references used to find relevant information for research, and where to look to find the most recent law decisions.
  • Recognize and prepare effective office correspondence and a variety of the documents commonly used in legal offices using the correct format
  • Create, edit, format, and add graphics and tables to Word™ documents
  • Create Excel® spreadsheets, using simple and complex formulas and functions, incorporate useful charts and graphs, and lay out table data
  • Apply written communications skills in transcription exercises
  • Produce accurate and grammatically correct legal transcripts
  • Discuss various legal specialties

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.


  • Understand how to use your Student Portal.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.

The field of legal transcription offers you the opportunity to work for many different types of employers. You may choose to work for an administrative agency, a corporation, or a law firm — you may even choose to work from home. With the proper background, a diploma or certificate in legal transcription can set you on the path toward a long, rewarding career in a well-respected field.


  • Understand the areas of law that require the services of legal transcriptionists.
  • Compare the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.
  • Identify career and continuing education opportunities for legal transcriptionists.
  • Describe the personal characteristics and typical duties required of professional transcribers.

Familiarity with common legal words and phrases is required when creating and interpreting legal documents. This lesson will introduce you to a broad range of basic legal terminology and documents.


  • Define and understand common Latin legal terms and terms associated with litigation.
  • Compare the various types of jurisdiction and kinds of documents used in litigation.

A solid understanding of the language of law is essential in your career as a paralegal. This lesson will continue to introduce you to a broad range of legal terminology and documents.


  • Understand criminal procedure and common criminal defenses.
  • Recognize the elements commonly included in contracts.
  • Describe the ways in which contracts may be terminated.
  • Explain the various legal actions associated with family law.
  • Understand the terminology used in recording ownership of real property.

The American legal system is complex, but it’s understandable once you know the basics of its structure and functions. This lesson works through the building blocks of American law.


  • Outline the structure of state and federal courts.
  • Explore the sources of law and discuss some of the most important Constitutional protections in the American legal system.
  • Understand how a case moves through the federal court system.
  • Identify the kinds of cases that can be brought in federal and state courts.
  • Examine the legal professional’s working environment, the kind of work they do, and special obligations of the legal profession.

Learn how history has shaped the organization of contemporary courts as well as the legal system of case law, codes, and administrative regulations.


  • Identify the legal theory from which a particular law originates.
  • Explain how the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights apply to modern laws, procedures, court decisions, and theories.
  • Identify the federal and state courts, and distinguish the functions of each.

This lesson helps you develop a better understanding of litigation and the process involved for both state and federal courts.


  • Compare civil and criminal litigation.
  • Define and identify procedural and substantive law.
  • Understand the steps involved in litigating a civil trial.
  • Describe the differences between litigation in the state and federal courts.

This course will allow you to build your computer skills through a combination of reading and hands-on practice while learning Microsoft® Office.


  • Create, edit, and illustrate Microsoft® Word™ documents.
  • Apply formulas and functions to large data sets in Microsoft® Excel.®
  • Incorporate useful charts and graphs to summarize data.
  • Add, delete, sort, and lay out table data.
  • Create presentations in Microsoft® PowerPoint® using advanced tools, tables, and charts.
Project: Microsoft® Word™

This project gives you a chance to use your Word™ skills. Create four promotional documents for a company’s training event: a cover letter introducing the company, a facts sheet highlighting product features, a flier promoting the event, and a registration form.

Project: Microsoft® Excel®

This project gives you the chance to use your Excel® skills. Create a simple worksheet to calculate the cost of office supplies, and track their increase or decrease in cost over a two-month period. Graph the results.

In this course you'll learn the skills you need to become more confident in your writing.


  • Know the parts of speech.
  • Use pronouns and modifiers properly and effectively.
  • Explain subject-verb agreement.
  • Use end marks, commas, and other common punctuation marks.
  • Use capitalization correctly.
  • Explain common spelling rules and use them in your writing.
  • Cite research sources.
  • Compose a variety of sentence structures.
  • Construct unified, coherent paragraphs.
  • Connect paragraphs to build a well-organized, logical document.
  • Identify your audience, medium, and purpose.
  • Focus and organize your ideas.
  • Plan both informal and formal writing projects.
  • Revise, edit, and proofread to make your final copy accurate and professional.
  • Write well-structured, professional letters.
  • Format business letters, memos, and emails.

This lesson is designed to help you develop professional relationships in the workplace.


  • Understand and explain the components of communication, both verbal and nonverbal.
  • Develop effective listening and observation skills.
  • Recognize prejudice in interpersonal relations.
  • Describe personal traits essential for successful interpersonal relations.

This lesson teaches you how to apply stress-reducing techniques to tense situations.


  • Identify common stressors and symptoms of stress.
  • Discuss effective stress management coping strategies.
  • Set goals and determine priorities.
  • Establish efficient, effective daily routines.

As a Paralegal, you’ll find yourself doing legal research for your supervising attorney. This lesson will introduce you to the great number of tools that can be used in legal research and will allow you to practice using these tools.


  • Approach a research problem from different access points.
  • Look up cases and statutes using the appropriate sources.
  • Read and brief a case.
  • Use basic procedures for citation.

One of the most important skills for a paralegal or an attorney is the ability to communicate effectively in writing. This lesson is designed to provide training in the kind of writing that you’ll actually be doing as a paralegal.


  • Write an effective legal memorandum that answers questions of law or supports a motion.
  • Format legal writing.
  • Perform some basic techniques to enhance your writing.

Legal transcription is a type of information management. This lesson guides you through the role of legal transcriptionists, the type of documents they work with, and the rules for using legal terminology. You'll practice using the technology and developing the professional skills that will prepare you for employment as a legal transcriptionist.


  • Accurately transcribe all types of legal documents and produce legal correspondence using the correct format.
  • Use legal resources efficiently and effectively.
  • Apply your verbal and written communications skills in transcription exercises.
  • Discuss basic concepts in the main legal practice areas.
  • Describe the importance of attorney-client privilege.
Learning Labs

In this project you’ll learn what you need to know to become a proficient legal transcriptionist in a working environment. First, review some essential topics about your equipment and general transcription guidelines. Then, transcribe several documents. It’s very important that you complete each document assigned in your textbook, both graded and practice assignments—these are designed to reinforce what you’ve learned. This practice is essential in helping you to gain the expertise you need to work in a professional transcription environment.

Additional Unit Materials

Textbook: Legal Transcription

Learning Aids:

  • Start-Stop® Universal Transcription System

Additional Details

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered in the Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this Program. Click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Penn Foster Career School Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster has been accredited for over 50 years. Penn Foster Career School has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations, certifications, and licensing. Most importantly, Penn Foster Career School is both regionally and nationally accredited.

Surround Sound Support

Surround Sound Support

Whether you prefer chat, text, email, or phone, our faculty is here to help you achieve your goals. Penn Foster students also have access to our expert team of Success Coaches to help with budgeting for your education, career guidance, or simply some extra motivation.

Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools

Our customizable goal-setting tools will help you create a schedule and stick to it. Need some extra time to complete a lesson or take an exam? Not a problem — you can adjust your study plan at any time to set a pace that works for you.
Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools
Penn Foster Student Community

Student Community

Looking to connect with other Penn Foster students? Our Student Community is the perfect place for you to interact with your peers — as well as Penn Foster faculty and staff — to discuss your online learning experience, congratulate fellow students, and share your Penn Foster experience.

Sample Legal Transcriptionist Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a Legal Transcriptionist course would look like.
Legal Transcriptionist Sample Lesson
Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you’ll need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows® 10 or later, Microsoft® Office 2019 or Microsoft 365®, and an email account to complete this program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
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