Your Path to Becoming a Medical Transcriptionist

Medical transcriptionists are responsible for transcribing recordings made by health care professionals, such as doctors and surgeons, from their written medical reports, correspondence letters and e-mails, and other administrative material. With the use of a headset and foot pedal to start and stop the recordings medical transcriptionists relay their work on word processor computer programs for editing and dictation. Their documents can include discharge summaries, physical examination reports, diagnostic imaging studies, autopsy reports, and referral letters.

Medical transcriptionists must be able to understand medical terminology and the various aspects of health care treatment. They must be up to date on new medical standards and terms and must be knowledgeable of all abbreviations in order to fill out their reports correctly. Many transcriptionists have the responsibility of fact checking and reviewing all data they receive to ensure that physicians have properly practiced medicine with no unethical or malpractice issues.

Step 1 Education

Hospitals tend to hire transcriptionists who have completed proper training and earned an associate's degree. Although community colleges or vocational schools don't have to be accredited in medical transcription for their degrees to be valid, those who attend schools approved by the Approval Committee for Certificate Programs stand to hold more prestigious positions.

In order to be officially registered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity one must complete issued exams. Advances in medicine are constantly changing requiring many transcriptionists to learn new terminology and update their certification. Most registered or certified transcribers will have to pay recertification fees and update their titles with continuing education courses on a 3-year cycle.

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Step 2 Job Search

Many medical transcriptionists can advance their careers into manager positions or relocate to work in private offices or simply from home. Over time, some will choose to continue their education so that they can transcribe for a specialized field of medicine in order to take in greater income.

Step 3 Career

Job prospects are very good for medical careers. Opportunities for open positions are expect to increase up to 11% in the next few years. Over time transcribe jobs are expected to taper off due to computer programs that will allow for physicians to speak out loud and have their reports dictated into report form.

Medical transcriptionists make around $30,000 to $40,000 a year. Those who choose to work in a specified field of medicine can earn much more. While job growth for transcribers isn't as high as other medical careers, private doctor's offices and other types of companies still have a strong demand for assistance.