Career Tips

How To Be A Successful Medical Transcriptionist

A transcription job is one of the most popular ways to make a living from home. In fact, over the years, this line of home-based career has become very competitive salary-wise especially if you will pursue becoming a medical transcriptionist.


Getting into a medical transcription job is easy if you are a fast and accurate typist, you are excellent with regards to meeting deadlines, and you have exceptional listening skills. Having a medical background would also be a plus – and may even be your key to getting higher pay!


We know what’s in your mind! Perhaps you are thinking why in the world will you get yourself into a typing job after years of studying and earning a college degree!? Well, here’s the thing — transcription jobs are one of the best ways to get your home-based career started. Needless today, you have the option to specialize in a particular type of transcription job according to your preference or interest. But, one of the best options, and highly recommended of all is medical transcription.


If you are looking for a high-paying homes-based job, and you aim to launch a lucrative career in just a year or less, being a medical transcriptionist is definitely the way to go.


What is Medical Transcription?


If you are not familiar with this line of work-from-home job, well, let us help you understand what this industry is all about.


Just so you know, medical transcription is defined as the process of listening to medical audio files from different health professionals, and then recording them into written documents. After the audio file has been transcribed, the document becomes a part of the patient’s permanent medical record.


The person who transcribes a medical audio file is called a medical transcriptionist. However, the ones who correct and edit written reports produced by a speech recognition software are called as medical transcription editors or dictation editors.


With that said, depending on your ability and your interest, you may opt to either be a medical transcriptionist or a medical transcription editor.


What is the job of a medical transcriptionist?


Over the years, the medical transcription industry has already evolved. Unlike in the past years, today, there are a lot of doctors and hospitals that use speech-to-text software. This kind of software is designed to automatically turn a recorded dictation into text.


But, you know, nothing compares to what humans can do. Thus, even in this considered high-tech era, human intervention is still needed to ensure the accuracy of data – especially since we are talking about very sensitive and highly important records in here.


With that said, a medical transcriptionist is needed to either or both transcribe dictation and/or edit speech-to-text files.


Before you even wonder what the difference between the two are, here’s a simple explanation about the scope of work between the two jobs.


On one hand, as a medical transcriptionist, your job is to listen to any recorded dictation from healthcare providers and transcribe the words in verbatim. Your output or the transcribed file will automatically be part of a patient’s medical record.


On the other hand, as a medical transcription editor, generally, your job is to review, correct, and edit the report produced by a speech recognition software.


If you want to succeed as a medical transcriptionist in this generation, you better step up your game and make sure you can do both. Being able to do both also means you can make more earnings for yourself and for your family as well.


Is there training in order to become a medical transcriptionist?


The answer is YES. If you want to succeed is a medical transcriptionist, the initial step is to go through training, which will allow you to familiarize medical terminologies, anatomy, and physiology, as well as medical reporting.


Remember that you are not just dealing with ordinary records here. What you are transcribing may have something to do with someone’s health condition. Thus, any error is unacceptable. Also, if you are really serious about getting into this career field, you must be aware that most transcription companies favor the ones who are certified in medical transcription.


Now, there are a lot of career institutions, as well as community colleges that offer medical transcription training. It’s up to you to choose where you will take up your medical transcription training – but we highly suggest you do our homework first before getting yourself into any institution or college. Research about them, and/or ask around if you know people who are working on this field. For your information, however, most medical transcription programs last for about four to nine months to be completed.


Since we are already in the digital era, there are also institutions that offer online medical transcription training programs. In fact, these online programs can be completed a little earlier compared to the traditional ones. It can only last for about four months! That is already a huge timed saved if you come to think about it.


What’s even better is the fact that some of these online institutions also offer tuition assistance, special funding for those who belong to a military family, and the best of all, they offer graduate support to help you find a job.


If you want to become a highly competitive medical transcriptionist, needless to say, get a higher salary rate, you may take the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) exam, which is a voluntary test that needs to be retaken every after three years. While it is not necessary, being an RHDS helps establish your credibility in the medical transcription industry especially if you are just starting out in this field.


What skills do you need to be a medical transcriptionist?


We already mentioned earlier some of the skills you need to be a medical transcriptionist. But to give you more idea, here are some of the skills that most medical transcription companies look for in a medical transcriptionist:


  • Knowledgeable on medical terminologies
  • Types accurately
  • Fast typing speed
  • Impeccable punctuation, grammar, and syntax
  • Multi-tasker
  • Computer literate
  • Analytical and have excellent problem-solving skills
  • Strong listening skills
  • Excellent research skills
  • Open to learning
  • Have a focus and the capability to concentrate on work
  • Outstanding attention to detail
  • Self-motivated and diligent


If you believe you have all or most of these, then who knows? Maybe medical transcription is the perfect job for you!


What are the technical requirements in medical transcription?


Apart from the skills and knowledge, to be able to launch your medical transcription career, you also need to invest in the following technical requirements for the job:


  • Reliable desktop computer or laptop
  • High-speed internet connection
  • Good quality headphones
  • Transcription software (this helps easy playback, fast-forward, rewind, and pause recorded audio file)
  • Word processing software like Microsoft Word
  • Medical dictionary
  • Foot pedal to playback the audio files (This is super helpful! It makes transcription job so much easier!)


Although there are some hiring companies that provide appropriate equipment for the job, most still do not. So, if you really think you will last long in this field, you better acquire this equipment.


How much does a medical transcriptionist make?


How much a medical transcriptionist make depends on the load of work that you do. So, basically, the thing here is – the more work you do, the more likely you are to earn much. Also, your credibility, your years of experience, and expertise will also be taken into consideration.


However, according to the data of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average medical transcriptionist earns about $30,000 a year or about $2,500 a month, which is quite reasonable. Imagine, you will just be doing the job at the comforts of your home, and you get that amount in a month! Not bad at all, right?


If you are a beginner in this field, expect that you are going to earn a little less. However, as mentioned earlier, since medical transcriptionists are paid upon production, if in a few weeks or months you get to increase your speed performance, the easier it is for your hourly pay rate to increase. At the end of the day, it still is based on how much work are you able to finish accurately.


Although there is still a lot of healthcare providers that hire medical transcriptionists, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that many doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals are slowly transitioning from recorded records to digital documentation, thus, there is a decline in terms of the need to hire medical transcriptionists. In fact, they have foreseen a -3% decline from 2016 to 2026.


So as the saying goes, strike while the iron is hot. While it still is in-demand, you better jump into already.


Where to find medical transcription jobs online?


Generally speaking, medical transcriptionists are hired by doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals, as well as business support companies.


If you want to pursue a home-based medical transcription career, here are some of the companies that you may want to check out:


  1. Ascend Healthcare Systems


If you have at least three years of experience as a medical transcriptionist, then Ascend Healthcare Systems is for you. They specifically have opportunities for both medical transcriptionists and quality assurance specialists. To be able to get hired, you will have to go through their usual application process and must be willing to go through a background check (which is common in the medical transcription industry since you will be dealing with confidential records of patients). Also, you must agree to a 90-day probation period.


  1. iMedX


iMedX is a well-known company, which primarily provides health information and clinical documentation services. It offers both full-time and part-time medical transcription jobs for different work-from-home shifts throughout the day, as well as night. Like the previous one in our list, iMedX also requires medical transcription experience. Applicants must also pass a test that is particular to the medical area/s of medical transcription.


  1. Nuance Transcription Services


Unlike the two previously mentioned companies, Nuance Transcription Services only requires at least one year of acute-care transcription experience in a wide variety of specialties. In addition to that, the applicant must be willing to type recordings made by people who are non-English speakers.


Nuance Transcription Services offers both fulltime and part-time (which requires at least 20 hours a week) jobs.


Just so you know, Nuance has other transcription companies, which they have acquired over the years. These companies include Focus Informatics, Encompass Medical Transcription, Accentus, Transcend Services, Probity, and Webmedx.


  1. Eight Crossing


Eight Crossing requires at least two years of medical transcription experience. However, they take into consideration those who have earned approved training programs regardless if they do not have work experience yet.


Based in Sacramento, Eight Crossing often recruits for medical transcription jobs for both office and home-based positions.


  1. FastChart


If you aim to work as an independent medical transcriptionist for FastChart, all you have to do is fill out their online application form, and send it along with your updated resume. Once approved, you will then be required to take and pass a medical language and terminology test (thus a medical transcription training is really important), plus of course, a typing test.


  1. Absolute Transcription


If you are a resident of the United States who wants to work as a medical transcriptionist, then you may want to consider working for Absolute Transcription, a company based in Oklahoma City. The company provides transcription service for HIPAA-complaint, security, encrypted transcription in different branches of medicine. They guarantee complete confidentiality to both doctors and patients, at the same time, provides an easy means of dictation and transcription services.


To be a medical transcriptionist at Absolute Transcription, you will be screened, tested, and you must possess a prior medical transcription experience. The company also requires in-depth knowledge and understanding of medical terminologies, as well as terms and drugs. You must be proficient in Microsoft Word as they require using the said software only. You also must meet a 24-hour turnaround timeframe and must have a medical spell checker to ensure the accuracy of text and data.


Absolute Transcription does not offer benefits, but they payout every 1st and 15th of each month via mail.


  1. Athreon


Athreon is one of the leading transcription outsourcing companies for different businesses both in North America and Europe. They work for a variety of highly-successful companies in a variety of industries including the medical field.


To qualify for a home-based medical transcription job, for instance, you must have gone through a transcription training program and must be willing to provide proof of graduation, or you may at least have 2 years of relevant work experience as a transcriptionist.


They pay their transcriptionists weekly through PayPal. Just like any other transcription companies, they pay based on the work produced.


  1. M*Modal


Unlike other companies, M*Modal calls its home-based transcriptionists as “clinical documentation specialists”. To be able to qualify for the said position, you must have at least a year of recent work experience as a medical transcriptionist. Otherwise, at least a recent graduate of a certified medical transcription program.


The company offers both fulltime and part-time work to both medical transcriptionists and editors. The company uses cloud-based documentation solutions to ensure accuracy and efficiency in speech recognition, coding, and transcription.


Unlike other companies, M*modal pays its workers per line on a biweekly basis.


  1. Precision Transcription


Precision Transcription, LLC was born when two transcription companies, Precision Transcription, and American Medical Transcription Service merged. The company boasts in providing “old-school customer service” to its clients. They also take price in their accurate and high-quality work.


Precision Transcription hires medical transcriptionists who have at least three years of recent acute care experience, have excellent time management skills, as well as moderate to high-level computer skills.


How to succeed as a medical transcriptionist?


Apart from having all the skills and equipment required (which we have earlier mentioned), like any freelance jobs or businesses, you will need to educate yourself about the industry’s best practices, file all necessary paperwork, and get both your financial and legal ducks in a row.


To help you get started make sure you:


  1. Create an Online Presence. You do not necessarily need to have a website. Maintaining an updated and well-written LinkedIn profile is enough.
  2. Continue Educating Yourself. While a medical transcription training is enough to get you started as a medical transcriptionist, having a new set of skills like marketing, organization, and productivity will get you further in this line of business. So, continue learning. Read books, attend training, etc.
  3. Market Your Business. Promote your medical transcription services. Choose the right methods for you. While there are several ways to promote your business, the key, however, is efficiency, accuracy, and consistency.


Final Thoughts


A medical transcription job is open to anyone who wants to get into this field. However, just like any job, working as a medical transcriptionist requires love for the job, and passion to do the work. Needless to say, you better be a fast in typing, be accurate, and must have high attention to detail. But all these are very attainable as long as you have the will for the job.


In addition, before getting into this line of job, it pays to research and studies what the industry is all about. Take advantage of online resources or of friends who are working on this field. Reading and asking will help you gauge if this industry is indeed the right one for you.