How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist

How to become a medical transcriptionistMedical transcriptionists listen to dictated recordings from doctors and medical professionals and transcribe them into written reports, correspondence, and other materials. They use a headset to listen to the recordings, a computer or word processor to transcribe the recordings, and a foot pedal to pause the recordings as needed. As they listen to the recordings, medical transcriptionists are responsible for editing grammatical errors. Medical transcriptionists who work in doctor’s offices and clinics may also have administrative duties, like scheduling appointments, checking in patients, and answering phone calls.

Medical Transcriptionist Education Degree Requirements

Medical transcriptionists are not required to have postsecondary education, but most employers prefer to hire those who do. Vocational schools, community colleges, and online schools offer medical transcription training. Although medical transcriptionist education degree requirements vary from one employer to the next, many aspiring medical transcriptionists would likely benefit from completing a one-year certificate program or associate’s degree program in medical transcription.

Medical transcriptionists must be familiar with medical terminology in order to comprehend and accurately transcribe recordings. Students in medical transcription programs may be required to take classes in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, legal issues related to healthcare documentation, and English. Students also gain on-the-job experience under the guidance of experienced medical transcriptionists. It is important for medical transcriptionists to have good listening skills, strong grammar and writing skills, normal hearing ability, and advanced typing speed and computer proficiency.

Voluntary credentials for medical transcriptionists include the Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) and Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) designations. The RMT credential is open to those who have graduated from medical transcriptionist programs and have less than two years of experience in acute care. The CMT credential is appropriate for those who have at least two years of experience in acute care using different format, dictation, and report types in various specialties. To earn either credential, a candidate must obtain a passing score on a written exam.

Becoming a Medical Transcriptionist: Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of medical transcriptionists is projected to grow slower than averages from 2010 to 2020, at a rate of 6%. The demand for medical transcriptionists will increase as the population continues to age, but technological advances have made transcriptionists more proficient, which will limit the overall growth in the field. Transcription work is increasingly being outsourced abroad, but there will continue to be a demand for well-trained domestic medical transcriptionists, because reports transcribed overseas usually require significant editing before they meet quality standards in the United States.

Medical transcription is becoming a popular career choice because of the flexibility it offers. Although many medical transcriptionists work in doctor’s offices, some are able to work from home. Medical transcriptionists earned median hourly wages of $16.10 in 2011. They typically work a standard 40-hour work week. Self-employed medical transcriptionists may work irregular hours, such as evenings or weekends. Career prospects are expected to be best for those who hold certification.

If you would like to become a vital member of a healthcare team and are interested in healthcare documentation, consider becoming a medical transcriptionist. Medical transcription is an ideal career path for “word nerds” who are interested in the healthcare field and want to have the freedom to work remotely.

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