How To Become A Medical Transcriptionist

Physicians require many kinds of documents, including medical histories, discharge papers, medical reports, and more. Healthcare providers rely on medical transcriptionists to produce these materials. Medical transcriptionists take voice recordings and accurately transcribe them into written materials, then send it into the hospital or office.

In order to become a medical transcriptionist, a person should take a medical transcription program from a vocational school or community college.

Why Become A Medical Transcriptionist

Medical transcriptionists listen to the voice recordings of physicians, and convert those recordings into written reports. These reports often go into a patient’s medical history, a discharge paper, and other important documents. It is very important for a medical transcriptionist to have keen attention to detail and good listening skills. If they type something incorrectly, it could have a negative effect on what happens to the patient.

Medical transcriptionists work on a computer. They receive hours and hours of voice recordings, that must be transcribed. While some transcriptionists are paid a salary, others are paid based on the volume of material they produce. There is a lot of pressure in this profession to produce materials both quickly and accurately. If a transcription is not accurate, it will not be accepted by the medical company.

Today there has been a shift towards medical transcriptionists often working as freelancers in a work from home environment. This is a good opportunity for people who want to earn additional income and want a job that is flexible for their lifestyle.

Medical transcriptionists often work at home, in front of their own computer, using headphones to listen to recordings and type their documents. Being a medical transcriptionist can even be a good part-time job for somebody who needs to make extra income on the side.

A medical transcriptionist should possess the following qualities and skills:

Medical Transcriptionist Work Environment

Traditionally, medical transcriptionists worked in an office environment. In recent years, there has been a trend for companies to hire freelancers who are able to work in their own homes. This is a good choice for somebody who needs a flexible job. Medical transcriptionists receive many hours of video recordings.

They spend time on the computer, carefully listening to the recordings and transcribing what they hear. They wear a headset so they can listen to the recordings. This job involves spending time alone. It requires good knowledge of computers. It also requires self-motivation, because you will be working from home and have to motivate yourself to complete your work on time.

Medical Transcriptionist Salary

The median annual salary for medical transcriptionists was $35,720 in 2016.

Salaries may vary depending on the location a person is working in. Medical and diagnostic laboratories, for example, tend to pay the highest wages. In 2016, medical transcriptionists who worked in diagnostic laboratories earned $40,000 annually on average. Other venues such as freelance, administrative positions, and physicians offices tended to pay less, with $31,000 on average annually.

Some medical transcriptionists are paid an annual salary. Others are paid based on the volume of transcripts they produce for their employer. This allows a medical transcriptionist to be in control of their pay and to make as much money as they want in their position.

Average Medical Transcriptionist Annual Salary


The average annual salary for medical transcriptionists is $36,400 a year. Salaries start at $21,670 a year and go up to $51,410 a year.

Average Medical Transcriptionist Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a medical transcriptionist is $17.50. Hourly wages are between $10.42 and $24.72 an hour.

Stats were based out of 55,880 employed medical transcriptionists in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Medical Transcriptionists

Top Paying Cities For Medical Transcriptionists

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Medical Transcriptionist Career Outlook

Employment for medical transcriptionists is not expected to increase very much from 2016 to 2026. Due to the increasing costs associated with the healthcare system, hospitals, physician offices, and other places are looking to reduce their expenses. One way they have done this is to cut back on the medical transcriptionists they hire.

Advances in technology have produced voice recognition software systems, allowing physicians to quickly and easily transcribe things themselves. There is still a need for medical transcriptionists who are willing to freelance and work from home.

Medical Transcriptionist Degree

Many medical transcriptionists decide to take a program in medical transcription. These medical transcription programs are available at local vocational schools, community colleges, and online schools.

During these programs, students take courses in medical terminology, typing, grammar, basics of medical transcription, and more. These programs typically take about one year to complete. At the end of the program, students receive a certificate in medical transcription. Below are examples of classes that students can expect to take in such a program.

Medical Transcriptionist Coursework

Below you can find some of the typical courses that medical transcriptionists will take in a community college or vocational program.

Anatomy and Physiology: Students have an overview of the human body, which they need to be familiar with when transcribing in a medical setting. They will learn about various diseases, parts of the human body, and medical terminology. Transcriptionists must be familiar with these terms in this field.

Grammar: Students learn the basics of grammar, punctuation, listening skills, common prefixes and suffixes, similar sounding words, and other skills that they must know in this profession. This is very important because medical transcriptionists will need to listen and type documents accurately in their profession.

Transcription: Students learn about typing skills, digital security, diagnostic imaging, and editing medical transcription reports. They will learn the basics of the medical transcription profession.

Medical Transcriptionist Career Path

Career Overview Responsibilities Education Required Benefits
Medical Assistant A medical assistant is the main assistant for any physician office or hospital, often greeting patients as they enter the office They provide both clerical and medical duties, such as setting appointments, filing paperwork, medical billing, and taking vitals of patients. They record and update personal information for patients. They prepare samples for testing. Much work is done on a computer. Medical assistants must complete a medical assistant program. Work in a physician office and spend more time with patients.
Medical Coding Medical coders organize and manage health care data. They organize and maintain patient data through electronic systems, collect, store and analyze the data, and place it in patient records. They review patient records for accuracy and completeness. They maintain patient confidentiality. A medical coding program is required. Great for people who have a knack for critical thinking and enjoy working with data.

Related Medical Transcriptionist Careers

If you are interested in a career as a medical transcriptionist, you might enjoy some other careers as well. Below are careers that are similar to that of a medical transcriptionist.

Court Reporters: Court reporters work inside of a court room, where they transcribe all of the legal proceedings. They do this so that they can have the legal proceeding on written record. It is also done for television audiences.

Secretaries: A secretary provides administrative duties such as answering phones, filing paperwork, and scheduling appointments. Secretaries can be found in many different industries including the medical field.

Translators: Translators are able to translate text or speech from one language into another language. Interpreters are another career in this category. For example, a sign language interpreter helps those who are deaf or have other hearing impairments, by translating spoken word into sign language.

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