Medical transcriptionists translate dictated recordings from doctors and other medical professionals into written reports, correspondence and other documents. Some medical transcriptionists who work in doctors' offices also have additional clerical duties.
Medical transcriptionists held about 84,000 jobs in 2012. Most work for hospitals, physicians' offices and companies that provide transcription services to the healthcare industry.
These are usually full time positions. Other medical transcriptionists are self employed. Those who are typically work from home and have flexible hours.
Though medical transcriptionists aren't required to have post-secondary training in medical transcription, many employers prefer to hire those who do. Community colleges, distance learning programs and vocational schools offer this training, in the form of an associate degree or a one-year certificate program. Course work includes anatomy, medical terminology, legal issues relating to health care documentation, and English grammar and punctuation. Students often receive on-the-job training as well.
Although it isn't required, voluntary certification can improve one's job prospects in this field. A recent graduate or someone with fewer than two years of experience in acute care can become a Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) after passing a test administered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).
With more than two years of acute care experience, and after passing another exam, one can become a Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT). Neither designation is required.
Medical transcriptionists must have good grammar and be proficient with computers and word processing software. Good listening skills are a must as are good oral and written comprehension skills.
They also need strong critical thinking skills.
Medical transcriptionists who have experience can advance to supervisory positions, home-based work, editing, consulting, or teaching. Those with additional education and training may become medical records and health information technicians, medical coders, or medical records and health information administrators.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment of medical transcriptionists will grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2022.
Medical transcriptionists earned a median annual salary of $34,750 and hourly wages of $16.71 in 2014.
Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much medical transcriptionists currently earn in your city.
A Day in a Medical Transcriptionist's Life
These are some typical job duties taken from online ads for medical transcriptionist positions found on Indeed.com:
- Accurately transcribe physician's dictation of medical office visits, including incoming correspondence and x-rays
- Operate designated word processing, dictation and transcription equipment as directed to complete assignments
- File, store and receive materials as required
- Receive incoming lab orders and requisitions and enter relevant clinical data into the necessary software applications at a high level of speed and accuracy
- Review and edit transcribed reports or dictated material for spelling, grammar, clarity, consistency, and proper medical terminology
- Identify mistakes in reports and check with doctors to obtain the correct information
- Use designated professional reference materials
- Prioritize dictated reports based on level of continuity of care needs
- Troubleshoot dictation equipment as needed.
Occupations With Related Activities and Tasks
|Description||Annual Salary (2014)||Educational Requirements|
|Health Information Technician||Ensures the quality, accuracy, accessibility and security of medical records||$35,900||HS Diploma and certificate or associate degree in health information technology|
|Pharmacy Technician||Receives in-person or electronically transmitted prescription requests||$29,810||On-the-job training or postsecondary training from a community college or vocational school|
|Medical Assistant||Performs clinical and clerical tasks in a medical office||$29,960||1 to 2 year training at a community college or vocational school|
|Medical Secretary||Performs clerical duties in a medical office||$32,240||Training in basic office skills at a community college or technical school|
Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Medical Transcriptionists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-transcriptionists.htm (visited July 9, 2015).
Employment and Training Administration, US Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Medical Transcriptionists, on the Internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/link/details/31-9094.00 (visited July 9, 2015).