How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist

By Alex Jenkins
  4 Min Read
Working from home, having a flexible schedule, and earning a good living are great benefits to consider when looking for the right career. It is these desirable perks that make the medical transcription and editing field so appealing! A career as a medical transcriptionist offers job security in the healthcare industry along with the freedom to work from home. And training for a medical transcription career can be completed in a quarter of the time and at a tenth of the cost of a traditional college education!

What Do Medical Transcriptionists and Editors Do?

A medical transcriptionist is responsible for converting voice-recorded reports, as dictated by a doctor or other healthcare professionals, to a written text document. This lets doctors easily review a patient’s record or chart for past diagnoses and treatments, and because these records can often mean the difference between life and death, they must be incredibly accurate. In recent years, medical transcriptionists have expanded their roles. They still type the written reports of the audio files that doctors record when they are with patients. But, now transcriptionists also act as editors who perform quality assurance checks and correct reports created by speech recognition software. You may ask, “Wait, there is speech recognition software? Wouldn’t that technology make a transcriptionist's job obsolete?” That’s why transcriptionists are now acting as editors. Voice software can never match the accuracy of a well-trained medical transcriptionist; the software often has trouble with doctors who have heavy accents or don’t articulate well. This can turn a simple sentence into a word salad, which needs the eyes of a qualified medical transcription editor to determine what was actually said.

Is The Career Right For You?

If you have a knack for grammar, accuracy and voice-based dictation, this could be the perfect job for you. It’s also a suitable career path for those who want the flexibility of working from home. 

Where Are the Jobs?

Medical transcription jobs can be found in facilities such as hospitals and clinics, but most transcriptionists work for medical transcription service organizations or MTSOs. These companies are large national operations that hire transcriptionists from all over the country to work remotely from home. Once you have the knowledge and skills of a medical transcriptionist, the only thing you need is a secure internet connection and you’re ready to go. MTSOs nationwide are always hiring. You will find many available vacancies in states like British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan among others. There are plenty of jobs, and whether you want to work from home or in an office, chances are there is a job waiting for you.

How to Get Started

Medical transcriptionists must have an excellent knowledge of medical terminology and healthcare documentation along with a basic understanding of anatomy, pharmacology, and disease processes.  Plus, to be successful in the modern world of medical transcription editing, you would need some experience with speech recognition software. Career Step offers one of the most employer-trusted medical transcription and editing training programs in the industry.  The training typically takes 6 to 12 months and includes lots of hands-on experience so you’re ready to start working as soon as you graduate. Career Step’s curriculum is approved by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity, and over 90% of graduates work from home in their first job.

Where to Study?

Apart from the above, you can also try out the following educational institutions for a course in medical transcription training:

Are There Any Student Aid Programs?

Certainly, there are. You can make use of Federal Student Grants and Loans to fund your medical transcriptionist training. Provincial and local funding might also be available, but you might have to check with your chosen college. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Got more questions about being a medical transcriptionist? Answers abound. Just check out some of the most commonly asked questions below -

Is medical transcribing really difficult? 

It’s precise work. Audio files might not always be the clearest and may have background noise. So a good ear for listening and having the ability to catch accurate terms is a must.

How much does a medical transcriptionist earn?

On average, a medical transcriptionist earns about $58,405 per annum. Again, this figure can go higher or lower depending on where you’re employed and your experience. 

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