Whenever physicians or other healthcare professionals make a voice recording, it's the medical transcriptionist's job to convert those oral notes into a written report. Typical duties of medical transcriptions include:
Listening to a doctor or physician's recorded audio notes
Interpreting recorded notes from operative reports, referral letters, diagnostic test results and similar documents
Checking the accuracy of drafts recorded by speech recognition software and editing for clarity, tone and style
Putting medical jargon and abbreviations into their official long form names
Entering reports into electronic medical history systems
Medical transcriptionists typically work indoors in a seated position for long periods of time. An attention to detail, knowledge of medical jargon, a basic grasp of the English language, and typing proficiency are key skills for medical transcriptionists.
Medical Transcriptionist Job Education Requirements
Medical transcriptionists typically get their training through postsecondary programs in vocational schools, community colleges, and distance-learning programs.
This coursework typically consists of anatomy, healthcare law, English grammar and punctuation, and medical terminology classes spanning a one-year certificate program or a two-year associate's degree. Some medical transcriptionists have previous experience as other medical staff such as nurses or medical secretaries.
Medical Transcriptionist Job Market
Between 2012 and 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a growth of 8 percent (about as fast as the average for all occupations) in medical transcriptionist jobs, which adds up to approximately 6,400 jobs for a total projected employment of 90,500 by 2022.
Recent federal legislation will increase the number of people seeking healthcare, thus increasing the demand for nearly all medical professions — including medical transcriptionists — for the foreseeable future. However, new developments in healthcare and transcription technologies may make existing transcriptionists more productive, thus tempering demand for this profession. Although some healthcare institutions have also began outsourcing transcriptionists positions overseas, there will likely be stable demand in the U.S. due to data security concerns.
Medical Transcriptionist Job Salary Information
Medical transcriptionists earned a median salary of $34,020 in May 2012, with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $22,400 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $47,250. Hospitals on the state, local and private level offered the highest median salary at $35,540, physicians' offices offered a median of $34,180, and administrative and support services offered a median of $29,650.
Two-thirds of medical transcriptions work full-time while the remaining third worked part-time in 2012. It is possible for some medical transcriptionists to work from home.