HomeMedical TranscriptionHow To Become A Medical Transcriptionist

how to become a medical transcriptionist

In order to become a medical transcriptionist, you must be trained to understand medical terminology, physiology, anatomy, treatment assessments, and diagnostic procedures. In most situations, a medical transcriptionist will need specialized training that is post secondary in nature, and they will need to possess a working understanding of basic grammar and the use of word processing software.

In May, of 2010, the average medical transcriptionist pay was $32,900. The employment for people anticipating work in this field is expected to grow by 6 per cent from 2013 to 2020.

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In order to become a medical transcriptionist, you must be familiar with medical terminology, pharmacology, treatment procedures, and general overall medical procedures and how the different facets of diagnosis and treatment work. The ability to correctly transcribe the information is critical to the level of ongoing care that the patient will receive, as many different health professionals will interpret their work over time.


Medical transcriptionists are generally self-employed, and work for hospitals, doctor’s offices, or transcription services of a third party nature. It is typical to find that many medical transcriptionist work from home, receiving all of the dictation work and submitting the finished work on an electronic basis.

A medical transcriptionist will listen to physicians and other professionals in the healthcare industry from voice recordings, and convert those messages into written reports. The transcriptionist must understand and interpret medical terminology and medical abbreviations that are used in the preparation of patients’ medical histories, summaries of discharge and other medical documents. The documents that are then created, are used to become a part of the permanent file of the patient.

Many transcriptionists who work on site in doctor’s offices may have other duties in addition to their transcription duties, such as answering the phone, greeting patients, filing of records, and other similar duties.

The process of the work itself involves the use of audio recording equipment, usually digital in nature, and it is played back through a headphone so the information can be typed into the word processing software on a computer. The software can have a special format to accommodate the medical nature of the report, as well as supporting medical reference materials.

If incorrect, misspelled, or confusing information is the result of the transcription provided, then the patient could be in real danger. Accuracy is the number one criteria of being a successful medical transcriptionist. Being a part of the team that delivers quality care to patients carries a big responsibility.

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In order to become a medical transcriptionist, you need to have completed high school, and will have completed post-secondary medical transcriptionist courses. This coursework is offered by community colleges, vocational schools, and you can find many medical transcriptionist schools online


Coursework includes a one year certificate, or a two year associate degree. The training itself will include studies in anatomy, legal issues pertaining to documentation of healthcare, medical terminology, English grammar and punctuation. There a many of these training programs that include on the job experience that is supervised. There are refresher courses that previous workers can take who have been out of the field for awhile, or for other medical personnel, such as nurses or medical secretaries can take if, for instance, they are entering the field.

Certification is not required, but some people in this field choose to become certified. There are two certification levels that are provided by The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).

The Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) certification is for recent graduates with less than 2 years of transcription service who work in a single specialty, such as a doctor’s office.

The Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CMT) certification is for transcriptionists who can work in several different medical specialties.

Passing of an exam and periodic continuing education and updates are required for both certificates and is a requirement to become a medical transcriptionist.

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