How to become a medical transcriptionist

Last updated: July 23, 2024
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Eleana Bowman
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Looking for a job in the healthcare industry that doesn’t require years of a college education? If so, consider becoming a medical transcriptionist.

Medical transcription is an interesting career that you can start within 6–12 months, depending on how much time you have to take certification courses. It’s also a great opportunity to work from home, as long as you have the right equipment to do the job efficiently.

Let’s explore how to become a medical transcriptionist. You’ll also learn what a medical transcriptionist does, what responsibilities they have, and what you can expect regarding compensation when you undertake this career.

What is a medical transcriptionist?

A medical transcriptionist is a person who transcribes reports from medical professionals — usually doctors — from voice recordings to written reports.

Because doctors are so busy, they typically take vocal notes instead of writing things down when they have to note down information about a patient. This transcription allows them to clearly communicate information to other healthcare providers and to insurance companies.

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Medical transcriptionists play a big part in the electronic storage of medical records.

Healthcare facilities have a large volume of patients and paperwork to manage. Electronic storage makes it easier for healthcare professionals to access a patient’s file quickly.

Medical transcriptionist responsibilities

Your responsibilities as a medical transcriptionist will typically include the following:

  • Transcribing information about a patient, like other medical records, health information, and social insurance numbers

  • Transcribe audio recordings into text

  • Keep a log of all transcriptions

  • Look up the correct medical terms or medical procedures to ensure accuracy in a transcription

  • Edit any inconsistencies in your transcriptions

  • Format medical reports

You will likely have to communicate with other staff members in healthcare facilities as well.

What do you have to study to become a medical transcriptionist?

Medical transcription work has a few education requirements.

  • First, you’ll need to have your high school diploma, GED, or equivalent.

  • Next, you’ll then need to get certified as a medical transcriptionist.

While medical transcription training and certification aren’t required by law, most healthcare facilities won’t hire you without one. Many concepts are important to learn as a medical transcriptionist, such as HIPAA compliance and knowledge of medical terminology.

If you’re just starting, you can take the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) Certification. Once you pass your exam, you’ll be recognized as a professional medical transcriptionist and have a valid certification for three years. At the end of three years, you can retake the exam, take the RHDS recertification course, or earn 20 continuing education credits.

The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity has a list of accredited training programs and certificate programs you can take from community colleges and vocational schools to train for your certification exams at all levels. Some are available as online programs, too.

You can complete these degree programs and coursework as quickly as under a year.

How to become a medical transcriptionist

Think a career as a medical transcriptionist suits you? Here is how you can become one and find a job in the field.

How to find a job as a medical transcriptionist

If you have your RHDS certification, you’re ready to find a job in the medical transcription field.

Polish up your resume to get ready to apply for jobs.

To make the process faster, you can create an instant resume when you sign up for Jobcase. You can also check out this post for the best resume dos and don’ts to get hired in 2021.

Finally, you can look for medical transcriptionist jobs on Jobcase. You can choose entry-level jobs to give you a better chance as a beginner. Keep in mind that you’ll open doors to better opportunities if you take the time to get your CHDS certification after two years of the required experience.

How do I become a medical transcriptionist at home?

Several medical transcriptionist jobs are available as home jobs. If you want to work from home, you’ll need some equipment to make the job more efficient. You can do the basics with a computer, but a headset will make it easier to focus on what you’re hearing.

If you get a foot pedal, you’ll also be able to pause, rewind, fast forward, slow down, and speed up the audio while keeping your hands on the keyboard.

When searching for medical transcriptionist jobs on Jobcase, you can select ‘Remote Work Only’ to see all work-from-home opportunities.

What skills do you need to become a medical transcriptionist?

First, you need to have great listening skills. A solid comprehension of the English language will also be invaluable. Not all audio records will be crisp and clear, so if you master English and you have great listening skills, you’ll be able to decipher most voice recordings without issue.

Fast typing isn’t a must, but it'll be a tremendous help. The faster you can type, the more work you can get done in a short amount of time.

How much money can you make as a medical transcriptionist?

How much money you’ll make as a medical transcriptionist will depend on whether you’re working full-time, part-time, or freelancing.

Freelancing transcriptionists usually get paid per audio minute. The pay can range anywhere from just a few cents to a few dollars.

As a certified medical transcriptionist, keep in mind that your expertise is worth more, so don’t forget this when you get offered a certain amount of money per audio minute. Remember, it takes a considerable amount of time to transcribe. If a file is one hour long, it won’t just take you an hour to transcribe. Depending on your level of experience, it can take anywhere between four to six hours to transcribe one hour of audio.

If you’re working full-time, you’ll be paid per hour or with a yearly salary. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical transcriptionists average $17.94 per hour or $37.310 per year.

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Medical transcriptionist interview questions

Have you landed an interview for a medical transcriptionist job? Here are four questions to help you prepare for your interview.

1. How would you respond if a physician asks you for your transcript of notes from one of their colleagues?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you’re able to follow HIPAA guidelines to protect confidential patient information.

2. What would you do if part of the audio file is inaudible?

This question will allow the recruiter to evaluate your knowledge and experience in transcription.

It'll also allow them to assess your problem-solving skills. They need to know that you’ll be able to manage any type of file that doctors record.

Not all audio will be perfect. The best medical transcriptionists will find solutions to make sure they produce accurate transcriptions.

3. What inaccuracies do you look for when using speech recognition software?

Because many doctors are now using speech recognition software, employers will want to see if you’re familiar with this technology.

They’ll want to know if you’re accurately able to edit the output of this type of software.

4. What transcription type do you find the most challenging, and how do you approach it?

With this question, the interviewer will be able to understand your experience with transcription.

Medical transcriptionist jobs hiring now

If you believe you’d make a great medical transcriptionist, you should first complete your certifications.

But once that’s taken care of, you’re ready to find a job in the field. You can use Jobcase to find which medical transcription jobs are hiring right now.

Didn’t find anything? You can also get notified when relevant jobs near you get published.

Jobcase will also send you personalized job recommendations.

Start a career as a medical transcriptionist

Now that you know how to become a medical transcriptionist, you can choose whether this career is for you.

Because so many opportunities in this career are available from home, this is the perfect career for working parents or people who want to avoid long commutes. If you want to learn more about the career, you should reach out to your personal networks as well! You never know who you will get connected with.

Sign up for Jobcase today to get notified of the next medical transcriptionist job opportunities near you.



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