By Holly Reisem Hanna
Are you a fast and accurate typist? Are you good at meeting deadlines? Do you have excellent listening skills? Then perhaps a home-based career as a medical transcriptionist is right for you.
What is medical transcription?
Medical transcription is the process of listening to audio files from medical professionals and transcribing them into written documents. Once the audio file is in written format, it becomes part of the patient's permanent medical record.
There are also medical transcriptionists, called medical transcription editors, or dictation editors, who correct and edit written reports generated by speech recognition software. So when you search for medical transcription jobs remember to search by all three terms.
Do you need special training?
While there’s not a license that is required to be a medical transcriptionist; individuals need to be familiar with medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and medical reporting; plus transcription companies prefer hiring professionals who are certified in the field. Most medical transcription training programs can be completed in as little as four to nine months. There are many community colleges and career institutions that offer medical transcription training – but the one I recommend is Career Step.
Career Step has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, they're endorsed by Dave Ramsey, and their program can be completed 100 percent online in just four months. They also offer tuition assistance, special funding for military families, and they offer graduate support to help you land a job. Once you've completed your training — you'll want to take the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) exam. This exam is voluntary and needs to be retaken every three years — but it's a great way establish your credibility in the field, especially when you're starting out.
What skills and equipment do you need?
To make it as a medical transcriber you'll need to have top-notch listening skills, fast and accurate typing skills, and excellent written communication — after all, what you're typing is going to be in someone's medical record, and their life could depend on the information you're transcribing.
Here's some of the equipment you'll need:
- Reliable computer or laptop
- High-speed internet connection
- Good quality headphones
- Transcription software and foot pedal to playback the audio files
Some hiring companies will supply the appropriate equipment that is needed for the job.
How much do medical transcriptionists earn?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical transcriptionists earn an average of $16.71 per hour or $34,750 annually. Ironically, most companies want transcriptionists with experience — so be prepared for lower pay rates when you first start out. The good news is … because most medical transcriptionists are paid upon production (how many documents are completed), you can easily increase your hourly pay rate as your speed and performance increases.
Where do I find medical transcription jobs?
Medical transcriptionist are generally hired by hospitals, doctors' offices, and business support companies. Here are some of the companies that regularly hire home-based medical transcriptionists:
More medical transcription resources.
- Benefits of Working as a Medical Transcriptionist from Home
- Work at Home with a Career in Medical Transcription
- How to Get (and Keep Medical Transcription Clients)
- AHDI (The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity)
- MT Daily
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