Medical Transcription Jobs

Medical transcriptionists play a vital role in the health care industry. Using a headset and personal computer, they transcribe recorded dictation by a physician or other health care professional into clearly worded, precise medical documents. Common medical documents such as physical examination reports, discharge summaries, medical history reports, autopsy reports, referral letters, and operative reports have been prepared by a medical transcriptionist and checked by a doctor before being added to a patient’s file.

Oftentimes a patient’s medical history dictates what treatment they will receive over time. By providing the most error-free and up-to-date information to physicians, the medical transcriptionist can prevent patients from receiving harmful treatment later in life. It is therefore very important that the medical transcriptionist be accurate, as well as familiar with routine medical language employed by physicians. There are many legal and ethical requirements regarding the use of confidential medical information, all of which the medical transcriptionist must be aware of when performing their job.

Oftentimes a patient’s medical history dictates what treatment they will receive over time. By providing the most error-free and up-to-date information to physicians, the medical transcriptionist can prevent patients from receiving harmful treatment later in life.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for medical transcriptionists is expected to grow 11% over the next ten years. This growth is concurrent with that of the health care industry, which is expanding due to the aging of the population and a renewed focus on physical health and fitness. Pursuing a career as a medical transcriptionist is a smart choice for job stability and compensation in the long run.

Finding a job as a medical transcriptionist should not be difficult, provided interested candidates have the appropriate training and skill set to perform the daily tasks associated with the profession. The first step in launching a successful medical transcription career is learning exactly what skills will prove most useful in the long run.

Required Skills & Training

The skills used daily by medical transcriptionists are not radically different from those of a physician’s assistant or medical administrator. Familiarity with the terminology, ethics, and laws governing the health industry, along with basic administrative skills, is essential. Many medical transcriptionists begin their careers as nurses, which helps them become fluent in medical administration and terminology. Unlike Other, medical transcriptionists must also have solid typing, writing, punctuation, and grammar skills. General skills required of a medical transcriptionist include basic computer knowledge and word processing proficiency.

Almost all modern employers prefer to hire transcriptionists with postsecondary education. Either an associate’s degree or certificate in medical transcription are acceptable credentials. Which credential is correct for the potential transcriptionist depends on their individual time commitment and past experience in the health care industry. Certificates take on average 1-year to complete and are ideal for individuals who have worked in health care and simply want to augment their work experience with transcriptionist training. Associates degrees take 2-years and include general education classes along with medical transcription training, which makes them more attractive to younger students without health care experience. Online certificate courses are also available for individuals who cannot attend classes on a regular basis.

Work Environment & Salary

Medical transcriptionists work in many environments. Technology has made it possible for many transcriptionists to work from home, but many are still employed by hospitals, private offices, transcription service offices, laboratories, medical libraries, and clinics. They generally work a 40-hour work week, though self employed medical transcriptionists can keep irregular hours.

Compensation for medical transcriptionists varies based on employer and experience. They generally charge an hourly rate. Medical transcriptionists employed by hospitals charge an average of $17 per hour. Medical transcriptionists who have been certified by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity will make more on average than their uncertified counterparts as the most lucrative jobs are reserved for those who have demonstrated a mastery of their profession. In general, however, very few medical transcriptionists charge less than $15 per hour for their services. Their salary is contingent upon the amount of work they complete during any given year.

As medical transcriptionists gain more experience in their field, they may transition into consulting or teaching positions. With additional training in computer technology, medical transcriptionists can become health information technicians, medical coders, and other information technology based professionals.