Medical Transcription

How to Start a Career in Medical Transcription

woman at office desk with headset on
Reza Estakhrian/Stone/Getty Images

How Do You Start A Career in Medical Transcription and Work From Home?

Most who are new to medical transcription from home don't know how to get started so here is an expert overview of the medical transcription industry and medical transcription jobs.

What Is Medical Transcription?

Medical transcription is the process whereby one accurately and swiftly transcribes medical records dictated by doctors and others, including history and physical reports, clinic notes, office notes, operative reports, consultation notes, discharge summaries, letters, psychiatric evaluations, laboratory reports, x-ray reports and pathology reports.

Medical transcription involves receiving dictation by tape, digital system or voice file, the use of ear/head phones, a foot pedal for start-stop control, a variety of word processing programs and sometimes the use of a printer and a modem.

Is Medical Transcription a Legitimate Work from Home Career?

Medical transcription is most definitely a valid work at home career and, unlike work at home medical billing, it is not plagued with widely advertised scams that you see online or in newspapers. Medical Transcriptionists have three options when deciding how they want to work:

  1. Work as a Medical Transcriptionist inside a practice, hospital, etc. - If you take this route then you could make the equivalent of $9-15 per hour in a medical transcription job depending on your skill, accuracy and location. As with any other job you will be supplied with everything you need (including benefits) by your employer.
  1. Work in medical transcription independently on a self-employed basis - This is when you work completely for and by yourself: You take care of your taxes, you sign up and maintain your own client/accounts, you market your services, you provide your own benefits, etc. You'll probably start out at the equivalent of $10-15 per hour (or 6-14c per line) and in time (years) you could be earning the equivalent of $15-$40 per hour working at home as an independent medical transcriber, depending on the amount of work, clients and type of equipment that you use. Or;
  1. Contract to provide medical transcription services with one or more national, regional or local companies as an at-home Medical Transcriptionist - This is called "work from home medical transcription" and it is the same as the independent/self-employed medical transcription option 2, except that the company with which you contract usually pays 7.5% of the FICA tax (their share of the "SE Tax" you'd otherwise have to pay as a contractor), they might give you certain equipment to do the job their way and they will assign the workload expectation and set the pay scale.

Today, many work at home medical transcriptionists still deliver their completed work back to the office, but with technology being what it is now, it's just as simple to deliver the work via a modem. If you work from home in medical transcription for a national company they may require you to use a modem to download and transmit the work.

Up Next: What You Need for Medical Transcription Jobs

This article is part of the Home Work Guide

What Skills Do I Need for Home-Based Medical Transcription?

Having a computer at home and knowing how to type fast is not enough to become a medical transcriptionist. You MUST:

  • Take a really good online medical transcription training course (or complete a good community college, trade or vocational school program).
  • Have good listening skills.
  • Have great English grammar skills.
  • Have excellent computer skills.
  • Have superior research skills.
  • Be a fast and highly accurate typist.
  • Pay attention to details.
  • Have a good foundation in medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, laboratory tests and values, medical equipment and procedures.
  • Possess the ability to work alone
  • Possess the ability to work under pressure, and sometimes, under a deadline.
  • Possess the ability to sit in front of a computer for extended periods of time.

To provide medical transcription services, you will need to invest in several different types of publications such as: an English dictionary, a grammar and style guide, a complete medical dictionary, a drug index, a laboratory and pathology word book, a medical word book by specialty, a surgery word book, a medical abbreviation word book, other specialty word books and a physician directory and other journals.

You will also need to use several different pieces of software such as a medical spell-checker and an abbreviation system such as PRD or Smartype.

You will also need to learn all you can about your own computer so you can employ all the tricks and shortcuts it offers for enhancing your productivity. Remember that you'll always want to have your hands on the keyboard because the more you type and type accurately, the greater your pay in home based medical transcription will be.

What's The Initial Investment to Get Started in Medical Transcription?

How much you will need to start working in an at-home medical transcription career varies and it depends on several factors, including:

  • Do you already have a home office or are you starting from scratch?
  • Do you have formal medical transcription training or not?
  • Do you already have most of the books you will need?
  • Do you have the necessary software programs to do the job professionally?
  • Do you need to purchase additional software or hardware?

You can buy “gently used” equipment from eBay and other places that support the home-based medical transcription industry. Your four major purchases will be your medical transcription training, transcriber, computer and reference books, so your total investment will be minimal in comparison to work at home medical billing.

How Can I Learn Medical Transcription?

When it comes to medical transcription training courses you will have a plethora of choices (especially if you search online). Let's begin with some possible choices:

  • College courses
  • Vocational school or trade school medical transcription courses
  • On–the-Job training
  • Learning on your own
  • Learning medical transcription online

Note: Everyone learns differently.

You need to choose what’s right for you when it comes to learning the ins and outs of medical transcription.

What Should Medical Transcription Training Include?

Here's what good medical transcription training courses consist of:

  • Medical terminology, acronyms, eponyms, abbreviations
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Laboratory tests and values
  • Medical procedures and equipment
  • Drugs
  • Transcription formatting
  • Ethics of medical transcription
  • Research methods and resources
  • Brush-up typing (if you need it)
  • Brush-up English grammar
  • Marketing
  • Medical transcription business skills

You should also look for a medical transcription training course that will give you all the up-to-date equipment you'll need to learn on (at no additional charge), award you with a "Certificate Of Completion" (not to be confused with "Certification"), and if the course or school has free employment placement programs for those who complete the medical transcription training, that’s even better!

Just take the time to speak with several working MT's, home based medical transcription specialists, schools, online medical transcription training courses, the alumni of medical transcription training courses and then apply a little common sense before you decide to enroll in any medical transcription program.

More on Medical Transcription from Page 1

This article is part of the Home Work Guide