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Medical Transcription Salaries and Education Information

June 22nd, 2009

medical-transcription-information.jpgMedical transcriptionists are needed because doctors often make notes by simply speaking into a recorder. It is then the medical transcriptionist’s job to listen to these recordings and type the notes into what will become medical reports. Medical transcriptionists must be familiar with medical terminology, including the specialized field they are working in, and generally work using dictation equipment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median salary for a medical transcriptionist was $32,060 per annum in 2008.




What Do Medical Transcriptionists Do?

Medical transcriptionists are necessary in the field of health care because doctors and other health care professionals often do not have the time to create their own reports. They need someone to be able to correctly transcribe their recorded words into the proper format. It is vitally important for medical transcribers to understand exactly what the doctor is saying in a recording, as it can involve diagnoses and prescriptions that will directly affect the health of the patient. Medical transcriptionists use the recordings to create medical reports, medical histories, patient reports and more.

Medical transcriptionists must be knowledgeable of all relevant medical terminology, and they must also have a clear grasp of grammar and writing skills, since many medical transcriptionists must edit the recordings they hear for clarity. The BLS reports that medical transcriptionists use digital or analog dictating equipment in order to transcribe. Other possible ways of working include transcribing over the Internet and through the use of speech recognition software programs. Additionally, medical transcriptionists who work in doctors’ offices may perform basic office duties such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, filing paperwork, and performing accounts payable/receivable.

Where Do Medical Transcriptionists Work?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that about 40% of medical transcriptionists work in hospitals, and another 30% work in doctors’ offices. Additionally, there may be work-from-home opportunities for medical transcriptionists who can work telecommuting.

Education Requirements for a Medical Transcriptionist

According to the BLS, the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity recognizes two programs — those that lead to a Registered Medical Transcriptionist (available for those who graduate from vocational schools or have less than 2 years of experience), and the Certified Medical Transcriptionist for people who have at least 2 years of acute care experience. Community colleges may offer two-year associate’s degrees in medical transcription. Certification is not mandatory according to law, but many employers require it.

The Career Outlook for Medical Transcriptionists

The BLS reports that job opportunities should be good for medical transcriptionists, especially those who seek certification. Growth in this field is expected to be 14 percent between 2006 and 2016. Although many medical transcribing jobs are expected to be outsourced overseas, those documents will still need to be edited by trained medical transcriptionists.


Eve Lopez is a professional writer with 10 years of editorial experience at companies including Amazon.com, The Seattle Times and Business.com. Her fields of expertise include relationships, careers, internet advertising, environmental issues, and volunteering.


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