Find An Accredited Online School

Explore Your Options to Become a Medical Transcriptionist

One of the largest industries in the entire world is that of healthcare. In every country and in every culture, medicine is an integral part of a healthy, happy life. Often, there are only a handful of careers associated with the medical profession.

Quick Facts: Medical Transcriptionist Industry
Median Pay:   $34,750 per year | $17 per hour
Entry-Level Education:   Postsecondary non-degree award
Work Experience:   None
Number of Jobs, 2014:   70,000

Medical Transcriptionist Occupations:

  • Medical transcriptionists$34,750

However, there is more to the field than doctors and nurses. It takes hundreds of thousands of individuals in a variety of different positions ranging from technical to administrative in order for the healthcare industry to thrive and even stay afloat.

If you want to explore a career in medicine that doesn't require extensive training, one great option is that of medical transcriptionist. Discover more about what transcriptionists do, where they can find work, what kind of training is required to secure a career, average salaries and job growth predictions for the United States.

What Do Medical Transcriptionists Do?

The first step toward exploring any new career is learning more about what individuals in this profession do on a daily basis. At the most basic level, transcriptionists in the medical field turn verbal recordings from medical professionals into written documents that can be saved, archived and accessed by doctors and nurses in the future.

Since the material is so important, the transcribing has to be done by someone with extensive medical knowledge. Sometimes, the recordings by physicians will have technical medical jargon, but transcriptionists should be able to translate that into terminology more easily understood by others.

Best Education to Prepare For This Career

This is one of the few careers in the medical world that does not necessarily require a college degree. However, it is almost impossible to be hired as a transcriptionist without some kind of training in the field.

There are a number of vocational and online courses available that teach students the basics of transcription as well as a background in medical terminology. However, many of the best jobs in this field will go to those who have a minimum of an associate degree.

While there is no official medical transcription major, students may have success by studying things like healthcare administration, English or business administration. A two-year associate degree is typically sufficient for this field, but a bachelor's degree may be able to open more doors and lead to the highest-paying careers in medical transcription.

Certification and Licensing Requirements and Recommendations

While there is no certification necessary to become a transcriptionist, many of those who make a full-time career of this will decide to have some kind of licensing. Perhaps the most widely accepted of these licenses is offered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) which offers two major certifications in the field. It is ultimately up to each individual to determine the best course of action.

The Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist, or RHDS, is specifically for those who have less than two years of experience and want to work in a single location such as a family doctor's office.

The more advanced certification is the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist, or CHDS, which is for those who want to work in multiple medical specialties and have a minimum of two years of work experience behind them. Both of these certifications require an exam that is offered online as well as through testing centers located across the country.

Where Medical Transcriptionists Can Find Employment

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are a variety of different places where medical transcriptionists can find work. The largest group of medical transcriptionists work directly for hospitals, and they might be assigned to transcribe verbal tapes from a number of different physicians and medical professionals over the course of a single day.

Another common place for transcriptionists to work is in private medical facilities. In this case, it is possible to work entirely from home, and many transcriptionists work for two or even three doctors at a time in order to earn a complete salary.

Finally, some medical transcriptionists work in administrative capacities, which could be an insurance company or a medical billing and coding firm.

Average Salaries For This Career

The exact salary for a medical transcriptionist can be hard to pin down because there are so many variables at play. Many in this field get to set their own schedules or work from home, and as many as one-third are part-time employees.

Overall, however, the BLS reports that the average annual salary for a transcriptionist in the medical field is $34,020. Transcriptionists working in hospitals tend to earn more, but the geographic location where you are employed will also make a big difference in total salary.

Job Growth Predictions For the Future

While roughly 84,100 individuals in the United States currently work as medical transcriptionists, the BLS expects that number to grow by an additional 6,400 positions over the next decade. This translates to a roughly eight percent job growth rate, which is average for careers in the country.

Attributes of Successful Medical Transcriptionists

Being a great transcriptionist is about more than simply being able to type quickly. The very best transcriptionists in the medical field have a strong medical knowledge, and they are able to easily understand technical jargon used among physicians on a regular basis.

Obviously, listening and writing skills are also vital, and having excellent grammar is a big advantage. Since much of this job involves sensitive medical records, critical thinking is also important, and transcriptionists should be able to spot and then report inconsistencies that could cause problems for patients down the line.

Similar Careers Within the Field

If you are interested in learning more about similar medical careers in this field, there are several to choose from. Jobs that also do not require a bachelor's degree and involve healthcare include that of medical coder, health information technician, healthcare administrative assistant and medical secretary. Explore your options to earn a degree in the medical field.

Medical transcriptionists often have a lot of freedom in their careers and flexible schedules, and it may be the right career for your future. An associate degree or a certification course online can help you achieve your employment goals.