I wouldn’t say the proofreading market is flooded with transcript proofreaders at all. There are some people who will sign up and not move forward for whatever reason: they might not be as good at it as they thought, they might not like it as much as they thought, they might have a family issue come up… these are all risks you take. Most people don’t think twice when spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a degree, though, and they come out no less able to get a job than they went in. The implied risks here are no different: simply taking a course doesn’t mean you’re going to make any money. It is a lot less pricey than college, though 🙂
Court reporters are entering the work force at a much higher rate via the various schools across the nation than they are enrolling in my transcript proofreading course, that is for sure. Check out this post, too, for more of my thoughts on the demand there is for skilled transcript proofreaders (really — go read it. It’ll open a new tab, promise.).
Is the Proofreading Market Flooded?
I will say that the traditional proofreading market is flooded, though, because there is much less technical skill involved in traditional proofreading (before anyone sends a nasty e-mail, I didn’t say there is less skill, I said there is less technical skill). Transcript proofreading is a whole ‘nother animal when compared side by side with proofreading a college paper or a book. Transcript proofreading is higher paying, yes, so it’s attractive to people, but there’s so much more technical know-how involved. Is it worth it? Yep. But it’s not for the faint of heart.
Some people who want to proofread for profit would rather stick with lower-paying, less work jobs because it’s easier, and it’s for this reason I’m not worried about the market ever being flooded with highly-skilled transcript proofreaders. The highly skilled ones know they have nothing to worry about. The unskilled ones? Well, they may get work initially, but they won’t keep those clients for long. It’s kind of like I don’t worry about there being too many bank salespeople or teachers — the pay isn’t too bad, but it’s HARD WORK to learn it, and there are more people wanting to do it initially than who actually end up doing it, because it’s no cakewalk 🙂 It’s survival of the fittest, in a way, not because we’re fighting tooth-and-nail for work (we aren’t), but because the best proofreaders are going to be the ones who not only get clients, but keep them.
“Saturation” is never a problem for the fittest, either. I’m very straightforward about this: you MUST be good at this to be successful. I’m not talking about being good at marketing — pretty much anybody can learn to be good at marketing. I’m talking about being GOOD at transcript proofreading. That means taking your time in the course and working diligently through every single one of the 3,109 practice pages so you can truly become an excellent transcript proofreader. It’s not just a hat you put on. You become it. What you’re paying for with your enrollment fee is for the tools to do just that.