Medical transcriptionists listen to voice recordings of dictations given by physicians and other healthcare practitioners and convert them into ready to use written reports. The profession, which has its origins in the transcription process developed for the manufacturing industry, employed 95,100 professionals in the year 2010.*

As part of their day-to-day work, medical transcriptionists listen to and transcribe doctor dictations into a variety of healthcare documents such as medical histories, diagnostic reports, referral letters, discharge summaries, clinical correspondence and administrative material.

They are also required to check for inconsistencies in reports, edit them, and format these reports into standardized styles while maintaining patient confidentiality.

If you're interested in joining this allied healthcare profession, here's a complete guide to requirements for a career in medical transcription.

Early start

Once you have decided that your future is in a healthcare career, taking classes in health and life sciences in high school will lay just the right ground. Courses in biology, chemistry, etc. will prepare you for medical transcription school.

So far as educational requirements are concerned, you can get started on your medical transcription careers with a postsecondary training program.

The next step is to choose between an online medical transcription course and a classroom-based program at a career school. There are advantages and disadvantages of both options.

With an online medical transcription course, you can:

1. Create your own study schedule.

2. Complete your lessons at your own pace.

3. Save time and money on commuting to school.

But, you will miss out on the benefits of personalized instruction and classroom interaction that an on ground medical transcription course offers.

Medical Transcription School

After you have decided the mode of training that works for you, it's time to start scouting for medical transcription schools. While cost is one of the primary factors when selecting a medical transcription school, it's also important to take into account its reputation and experience in the field.

However, the most important criterion when picking a medical transcription school is the quality of the program curriculum. A medical transcription program should be approved by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).

Since the purpose of this organization is to uphold the standard of education in healthcare documentation industry, an AHDI-approval is like assurance of a program's quality.

At school, you can look forward to completing coursework in medical terminology, anatomy, pharmacology, medical record types, legal and ethical issues in healthcare documentation, keyboarding skills, English grammar and punctuation.

Some medical transcription schools also incorporate a practicum component to provide students hands-on training in transcribing doctor dictations.

Certification & Beyond

After you graduate from your classroom or online medical transcription course, you should consider getting certified. Although not a prerequisite for this job, certifications are known to boost marketability and earning potential of an individual.

AHDI offers two voluntary credentials - Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) and Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT). Both certifications require passing an exam and meeting other eligibility criteria.

And that's the end of the road to becoming a medical transcriptionist. But it's also the beginning of the journey as a medical transcriptionist and success will be yours if you keep abreast of changes in the industry and move in step – nay, one step ahead of it!



Author's Bio: 

Nancy is a 35-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 transcription industry, which she likes to share with others through her writing. Medical transcription training often finds mention in her writings. Being an SAHM, Nancy is a huge exponent of online vocational training programs that provide women like her the power to be their own boss.

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