Can I Do Medical Transcription From Home?

"I am looking for a job that I can do at home so I can spend more time with my kids and not have to send them to daycare. Plus I really want to be able to organize my own time. Working in the office is just not for me. Most of the at-home jobs I have looked at don’t even look like real jobs, and I don’t want to deal with any more scammy offers. I’ve seen lots of postings for medical transcription jobs at home though, and I am wondering if those are more scams or if you really can do medical transcription at home?"

asked by Marge from San Jose, CA

While most of the at-home job postings you see are indeed too good to be true, medical-related jobs usually are for real. Many medical transcription workers do work from home. Medical billers and coders also telecommute sometimes. You may have seen ads for those jobs as well. All of these professions are auxiliary roles which allow you to provide remote support to medical professionals.

What will you be doing if you become a medical transcriptionist? You will be listening to recordings which physicians have made while doing their work and then type up those reports so that they are recorded in a written format which can easily be accessed and referenced without resorting to listening to the recordings.

While this job largely involves being able to listen and type at the same time (and type quickly), you do need some medical knowledge in order to be able to perform efficiently in the role. Knowledge of anatomy and medical terminology is key, because this allows you to understand what you are hearing and write down the proper transcripts. You also may do some additional work preparing medical histories and other patient documentation.

Medical transcriptionists are not all that highly paid, but considering you do not need to invest money and time transporting yourself to work (if you get an at-home job), $15.82 per hour isn’t all that bad. This is the average hourly wage for medical transcriptionists according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This comes out to about $32,900 per year for a full-time worker.

Becoming a medical transcriptionist and getting a telecommute job on the other hand may be more challenging that it initially appears. Unfortunately this field is growing quite slowly. The BLS has only projected 5,600 new openings between 2010 and 2020, and those telecommute jobs in particular will be subject to fierce competition.

To qualify to be a medical transcriptionist, you will either need to have an associate’s degree in the field or complete a one year program to earn your certificate. Your education will teach you about medical terminology, legalities in healthcare, and English grammar. While certification is technically optional, it is becoming less and less so these days with the stiff competition.

Look into becoming a Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) or a Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT).

Career Spotlight: Medical Transcriptionist

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