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What is Medical Transcription?
An individual working in the field of medical transcription will be required to take recorded notes by physicians and other medical professionals and transfer them to digital transcripts available for access in the future. The work requires individuals to carefully listen to notes provided, and accurately document them. The need for accuracy is high due to the transcripts being used in patient histories, with errors possibly having negative results in future treatment or care. Employment is normally offered through specialized offices or medical centers such as clinics or hospitals.
While it is true that medical transcriptionists are not currently required to have postsecondary degree, many hiring managers prefer applicants with college training. The types of colleges that offer training and degree programs for a medical transcriptionist include: community colleges, trade schools, career colleges, vocational schools, and online colleges. Medical transcription programs from these schools include a 12-month certificate program or associate degree.
Educational Requirements for Transcribers
A medical transcription degree qualifies an individual to transcribe oral notes of physicians and hospital administrators. An education in medical transcription requires an individual to have excellent hearing and a large medical vocabulary, including abbreviated and slang terms in order to accurately record what has been said in order to attach it to the permanent record of the patient. Certificate and associate degree programs are available to aspiring medical transcriptionists with the program taking between one and two years to complete.
Courses that may be offered in a medical transcriptionist program:
- Legal Terminology
- Healthcare Documentation
- Medical Terminology
What Degrees Exist for Medical Transcriptionists?
The certificate program will be focused on core classes (medical records, medical editing, terminology, pharmacology, lab data, medical specialties, anatomy & physiology, and transcription essentials) while the associate degree program will also include an array of general education courses & additional core classes in a two-year program.
There are 2 voluntary credentials for a medical transcriptionist worthy of consideration for prospective and current professionals. The two programs are the include the Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) and Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) designations. The CMT is a professional certification for medical transcriptionists with at least 2 years of experience while the RMT is designed for those with less than two years of work experience in the field. Make sure to check with your employer or school counselor as certifications may be requisite for certain employers in your area.
Top Traits of a Medical Transcriptionist
A medical transcriptionist must be proficient with an array of medical terminology (examinations, nomenclature, diseases, tests, drug types, human anatomy, diagnosis, procedures) to effectively process and transcribe recordings. It is vital for a medical transcriptionist to possess exceptional communication skills, active listening skills, strong grasp of grammar, computer proficiency, and can accurately process spoken words into discernable text.
Unlike traditional transcription performed by a court reporter, a medical transcriptionist will need to translate words and shorthand, format codes, and understand medical languages prior to being able to properly perform their job. Many medical transcriptionists will work from home and receive digitized documents and audio files to transcribe and edit.
Top Job Titles of a Medical Transcriptionist
You may see a number of different job titles for a medical transcriptionist depending on the employer’s preference and job responsibilities. Nonetheless, we have compiled a list of the top job titles of a medical transcriber for your to review as a resource during your research for the best programs. The list includes:
- Clinical Medical Transcriptionist
- Medical Transcription
- Documentation Specialist
- Medical Transcription Supervisor
- Medical Language Specialist
- Medical Secretary
- Radiology Transcriptionist
- Medical Transcriber
- Medical Transcriptionist
Schools Other Students Requested Information From:
Employment Outlook and Certifications
Medical assistants will work with doctors and administrators to ensure that all notes and recordings pertaining to patients are accurately cleaned, edited and transcribed so that they may be placed within the patient file for future reference. Medical transcriptionists typically work 40 hours a week within the hospital, clinic or office. A medical transcriptionist should have excellent hearing and command of the English language.
Though it is not required, most employers prefer individuals who have graduated with a certificate or degree in medical transcription. Additionally, certification in medical transcription is available through the Association of Healthcare Documentation Industry (AHDI). To increase job security and obtain higher pay, medical transcriptionists are encouraged to become registered medical transcriptionists (RMT) or certified medical transcriptionists (CMT). Those who pursue certification will have to update that certification every few years through continuing education courses.
Job Growth & Salary Outlook in Medical Transcription
The need for medical transcriptionists is expected to remain steady over the next decade as the population gets older and more administrative assistance will become necessary in the managing of hospital operations.Additionally, the expansion of the healthcare industry in the United States has created a need for transcription services due to increase patient care and a reduction in available time by physicians and others to perform such duties on their own. The median annual salary for a medical transcriptionist is $35,720 per BLS data.
Individuals interested in medical transcription may also be interested in health care administration, medical administration, or medical office administration. For additional information, read our Career Guide on Medical Transcription on the MatchCollege blog here.