If someone were to tell you that you can stay at home, yet have a stable and lucrative career, what would be your response? Had it been a few years ago, I would have probably laughed at their face. Not anymore. Working from home is a very real possibility provided you are in the right occupation.

One such occupation is medical transcription. For so many people seeking work from home careers – from moms who don't want to send their kids to daycare to retirees looking to generate a supplemental income –medical transcription provides the perfect opportunity.

It is a legitimate, profitable and flexible profession.

Getting started

Starting a home-based medical transcription career is not hard at all once you have decided to take the plunge. Like any other profession, the first step is to get an education in the field that will qualify you for medical transcription jobs.

Getting an education will not only maximize your employment opportunities, but also increase your earning power. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the standard educational requirement for medical transcriptionists is postsecondary training.

Many career schools, community colleges and online institutions offer medical transcriptionist training. Depending on the program you choose, it may take a few months to two years to complete your training. A medical transcriptionist training program typically includes coursework in the following topics:

1. Medical terminology

2. Anatomy and pharmacology

3. English grammar and punctuation

4. Legal issues in healthcare documentation

5. Medical record types and formats

In addition to the skills you learn at school, there are some other skills that are an essential part of a medical transcriptionist's repertoire such as attention to detail, ability to type fast, ability to work independently and meet deadlines.

Just like medical transcriptionist training is the key to better job prospects and higher paycheck, so is certification. Though not mandatory, it is a much desirable credential that you can highlight ever so proudly on your resume.

Setting up shop

Once you have completed your medical transcriptionist training, you can start developing a strategy for setting up your home office. As a trained and certified medical transcriptionist working from home, you have two options.

You can provide medical transcription services to a variety of clients independently, which means the onus of finding clients, tracking payments, taking care of your taxes, etc. all fall on your shoulders. But you will get to decide your rates and the volume of work you want to take up.

The other option is to sign up as a contractor with a firm that provides medical transcription services to healthcare facilities. The advantage with this option is that you don't need to go hunting for clients or handle your own tax liabilities. You may also receive some on-the-job training and be provided with basic equipment for your home office.

So far as equipment is concerned, other than a computer, you will likely need a fixed telephone line, a printer-copier, and a fax machine. It's also a good idea to invest in some medical dictionaries and load your computer with word processing, medical spellchecker, line counter and other helpful software programs.

You should also designate a quiet, well-lit corner of your house for office space. Keep your home office uncluttered, organized and free of distractions like television. Flexibility to work on your own schedule is one of the biggest advantages of a home-based medical transcription career, but take care to not turn this into indiscipline or you'll find yourself losing favor with clients very quickly!

Author's Bio: 

Nancy is a 36-year old stay at home mom of two. She worked as a medical assistant for five years before taking a break to be with her children. Her experience as a medical assistant gave her valuable insights in to the medical billing and coding industry, which she likes to share with others through her writing. Medical billing and coding programs often find mention in her writings. Her expertise in Medical billing and coding training stems from her extensive research on the subject.

Her other interests include gardening and baking. She stays with her husband and two daughters.