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Medical Transcriptionists: Career Information

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Medical Transcriptionist Job Description:

Medical transcriptionists translate dictated recordings from doctors and other medical professionals into written reports, correspondence and other documents. Some medical transcriptionists who work in doctors' offices also have additional clerical duties.

Employment Facts About Medical Transcriptionists:

Medical transcriptionists held about 105,200 jobs in 2008.

Educational Requirements for Medical Transcriptionists:

Though medical transcriptionists aren't required to have post-secondary training in medical transcription, many employers prefer to hire those who do. Community colleges, distance learning programs and vocational schools offer this training, in the form of an associate degree or a one-year certificate program. Course work includes anatomy, medical terminology, legal issues relating to health care documentation, and English grammar and punctuation. Students often receive on-the-job training as well.

Other Requirements for Medical Transcriptionists:

A recent graduate or someone with fewer than two years of experience in acute care may become a Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) after passing a test administered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI). With more than two years of acute care experience, and after passing another exam, one can become a Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT). Neither designation is required.

Medical transcriptionists must have:

  • good English grammar
  • proficiency with personal computers and word processing software
  • normal hearing acuity
  • good listening skills

Advancement of Medical Transcriptionists:

Medical transcriptionists who have experience can advance to supervisory positions, home-based work, editing, consulting, or teaching. Those with additional education and training may become medical records and health information technicians, medical coders, or medical records and health information administrators.

Job Outlook for Medical Transcriptionists:

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment of medical transcriptionists will grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2018. Those who are certified will have better job opportunities.

How Much Do Medical Transcriptionists Earn?:

Medical transcriptionists earned $15.68 hourly and $32,600 annually in 2009.

Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much medical transcriptionists currently earn in your city.

A Day in a Medical Transcriptionist's Life:

On a typical day a Medical Transcriptionist will:
  • receive dictation from physicians or other health care professionals, increasingly over the Internet;
  • listen to recordings on a headset;
  • key text into a personal computer or word processor;
  • produce discharge summaries, history and physical examination reports, operative reports, consultation reports, autopsy reports, diagnostic imaging studies, progress notes, and referral letters.;
  • edit materials for grammar and clarity, if necessary;
  • look for inconsistencies and errors in reports and check with the physician or healthcare professional in order to correct them;
  • sometimes use voice recognition software which translates dictation into written text and creates reports which they must then edit for mistakes in translation and grammar; and
  • return transcribed documents to the physicians or other healthcare professionals who dictated them for review and signature, or correction.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Medical Transcriptionist, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos271.htm (visited March 17, 2010).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Medical Transcriptionists, on the Internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/link/details/31-9094.00 (visited November 30, 2010).

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