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Medical Transcriptionists


Training and Education

What's Needed:

  • Medical transcriptionists must complete an intensive training course at either a dedicated educational institution or a community college.
  • Aspiring transcriptionists can opt to take a certificate course that runs for one year or pursue a two-year associate degree.
  • Since a wide range of educational institutions now offer medical transcription courses prospective students should focus on the perceived quality of each program that they consider. Many transcription-specific online institutions that offer accelerated certificate programs may place their graduates at a disadvantage by providing inadequate instruction.
  • Prospective students are advised to seek out two-year associate degree programs with classes taught by experienced medical transcriptionists.
  • Many medical transcription programs are not accredited. To ensure that they receive high-quality instruction students should gravitate towards accredited programs.

What you study:

Medical transcription students typically study these kinds of subjects:

  • Medical terminology
  • Communications
  • Advanced grammar
  • Medical law

Medical transcriptionists who have previously worked in the medical field may be able to take an accelerated transcription program before sitting for a certification exam.

What courses you'll take

Below are examples of courses that you'll likely take as a medical transcriptionist student.

Medical TerminologyIntroduction to the vocabulary used by health professionals. Focuses on: definitions; pronunciations; spelling; abberviations; prefixes; suffixes; roots; combinations; exceptions to general rules; and plurals using Latin and Greek. Teaches terms related to: diagnostics; diseases; pathology; radiology; clinics; laboratories; pharmaceuticals; and surgery.Understand the terminology used as part of a medical transcriptionist's work.
Basic Anatomy and PhysiologyReviews the human body's structures and processes including: skeletal; tissues; muscles; organs; cardiovascular; respiratory; urinary; nervous; digestive; and cellular.Ensure that transcriptionists have a working knowledge of the human body to assist their abilities to effectively transcribe detailed medical information.
PharmacologySurveys the language of drugs and their classifications generic names and how they are administered to patients. Also covers pronunciations and spellings.Ready students to properly transcribe pharmaceutical details.
Basics of Health DocumentationCovers the components of health records and how to prepare them in accordance to relevant standards. Overviews the professional practices for grammar capitalization and punctuation. Introduces legal and regulatory requirements as related to the documentation involved in a medical transcriptionist's work.Prepare students to understand the structure of the documentation they work with and how to properly prepare it.
Medical Transcription LabsOften spanning multiple semesters this coursework applies previous studies to begin practice of actual transcribing in a classroom lab. Teaches operation of word processing and transcription equipment. Lab work includes transcribing of: medical records; medical forms; case histories; consulting reports; discharge documents; and x-rays. Students also work on skills for proofreading editing and research while continuously improving accuracy and productivity.Develop the complete skill set needed to begin work as a medical transciptionist professional.

Video Overview

A quick intro into the work of medical transcriptionists. Created for the US Dept. of Labor.

Certifications and Licensing

Medical transcriptionists are not required to hold a license or certification in order to work in the field. However non-certified workers enjoy fewer career opportunities. The AHDI encourages those who aspire to work in the profession to pass the Certified Medical Transcriptionist exam within five years of receiving a diploma. This exam can only be taken by those with more than two years of experience in a variety of clinical settings including hospitals outpatient clinics and doctor's offices.

The AHDI also offers the entry-level Registered Medical Transcriptionist exam. This exam can be taken by those with one to two years of experience in the field. It serves mainly as a stepping stone for individuals who wish to sit for the Certified Medical Transcriptionist exam. Although both of these exams are currently voluntary the AHDI may eventually require some form of certification for all active transcription workers. Finally the AHDI confers the Fellow of AAMT designation on medical transcription "experts." Many Fellows of AAMT work as educators hospital department managers or transcription business owners.

Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time:

Medical transcriptionists work in a variety of clinical and private settings. Most work full-time. Those who work in doctor's offices or hospital departments typically adhere to regular business hours. Thanks to vast improvements in secure broadband Internet technology nearly half of the country's medical transcriptionists work from home. Although these workers also work full-time they often have greater control over their schedules. This allows at-home transcription workers to schedule their hours around continuing-education classes family outings and other obligations.

Recommended Websites

The following websites have excellent resources for those who wish to learn more about careers in the medical transcription field.

  • Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity — The AHDI is a full-service advocacy and professional-support organization for current and prospective medical transcriptionists. For the latter the AHDI's site offers multimedia resources that touch on certification programs licensing exams and mentoring. It also has a "Career Connection" feature with job postings across the United States.
  • MedicalTranscriptionist.org — This no-frills service provides information tailored specifically to aspiring medical transcriptionists. It offers written primers on certification requirements salary information and the industry's long-term jobs outlook. MedicalTranscriptionist.org also partners with educational institutions and medical transcription firms to provide access to certified training and exam-prep programs.
  • U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Handbook — The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides up-to-date information on the medical transcription field. Key resources that can be found here include salary information educational requirements and certification protocols. The BLS also provides a long-term look at the field's potential for job and salary growth.

Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

StateCity / RegionTypical SalarySalary RangeJob Count% of All Jobs
AKAnchorage$47460$39K – $58K500.03%
ALBirmingham – Hoover$30450$21K – $39K3300.07%
ALDothan$26520$21K – $34K700.13%
ALFlorence – Muscle Shoals$25700$17K – $35K600.12%
ALGadsden$25630$17K – $30K800.23%
ALHuntsville$26180$18K – $43K1100.05%
ALMobile$28540$24K – $37K1300.08%
ALMontgomery$22200$20K – $33KN/AN/A
ALTuscaloosa$26200$17K – $37K1000.12%
ARFayetteville – Springdale – Rogers$26030$19K – $36K900.04%
ARFort Smith$30830$21K – $42K800.07%
ARHot Springs$27940$21K – $40K600.17%
ARJonesboro$29620$21K – $41K300.07%
ARLittle Rock – North Little Rock – Conway$31420$25K – $44K1800.05%
AZPhoenix – Mesa – Glendale$36270$23K – $51K11400.07%
AZTucson$34030$24K – $46K1400.04%
CABakersfield – Delano$34480$21K – $45K700.03%
CAChico$37340$31K – $56K300.05%
CAFresno$47690$32K – $58K1000.03%
CALos Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area)$47870$39K – $62K13500.03%
CAModesto$42800$28K – $58K800.05%
CAOakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area)$42910$23K – $64K2700.03%
CAOxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura$50130$41K – $68K400.01%
CARedding$32770$21K – $48K500.08%
CARiverside – San Bernardino – Ontario$43530$34K – $58K2000.02%
CASacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville$42350$32K – $61K4200.05%
CASalinas$52120$37K – $72K500.03%
CASan Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos$46600$35K – $58K2700.02%
CASan Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area)$55880$32K – $73K1400.01%
CASan Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara$51250$24K – $61K3100.03%
CASanta Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area)$45210$32K – $60K2600.02%
CASanta Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta$22590$19K – $43K3600.21%
CAStockton$45410$32K – $62K500.03%
COBoulder$36100$18K – $48K1300.08%
COColorado Springs$35870$19K – $55K1100.05%
CODenver – Aurora – Broomfield$31870$22K – $45K6000.05%
COFort Collins – Loveland$$21K – $46K1800.13%
COGrand Junction$29680$17K – $45KN/AN/A
CTBridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk$38480$23K – $52K1300.03%
CTHartford – West Hartford – East Hartford$42950$32K – $58K2500.04%
CTNew Haven$30710$26K – $52K1600.06%
CTWaterbury$40220$31K – $52K400.06%
DCWashington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area)$41360$22K – $55K5400.02%
DEWilmington (Metro Area)$40560$32K – $47K1000.03%
FLCape Coral – Fort Myers$28460$17K – $38KN/AN/A
FLDeltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach$29730$22K – $42K1600.11%
FLFort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area)$35170$26K – $46K3700.05%
FLGainesville$28690$21K – $37K700.06%
FLJacksonville$23620$20K – $36K5900.10%
FLLakeland – Winter Haven$34660$26K – $43K1100.06%
FLMiami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area)$33340$24K – $41K4800.05%
FLNaples – Marco Island$41600$33K – $46KN/AN/A
FLNorth Port – Bradenton – Sarasota$29570$24K – $37K1300.06%
FLOcala$26280$17K – $37K800.09%
FLOrlando – Kissimmee – Sanford$34120$27K – $40K3000.03%
FLPalm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville$30060$25K – $38K900.05%
FLPensacola – Ferry Pass – Brent$32930$25K – $42K1400.09%
FLPort St. Lucie$31140$25K – $45KN/AN/A
FLTallahassee$34600$26K – $45K

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