Working as a Medical Transcriptionist

November 12, 2012 Portable Career

Medical transcription allows one to work from home while earning a good salary, making it a desirable portable career choice. With the right skill set and the proper training, a nice living can be made working in this field.

Job Descriptionmedical transcription is a great work at home portable career

A medical transcriptionist listens to audio recordings by doctors and other professionals in the medical field and types what they hear into word processing software. Reports to be transcribed may include lab reports, operating reports, autopsy reports, discharge summaries, or anything else that needs to go into the patient’s medical records.

The average salary for a medical transcriptionist is $16 per hour, but this can be higher or lower depending on factors such as location and the client one transcribes for. The top paying states include Washington, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, and Alaska, with an hourly wage ranging from $18 to almost $22 an hour.

To work from home, the transcriptionist would need the proper software. A computer program that plays audio files is necessary to listen to the files that need to be transcribed. Other helpful tools include a headset and a foot pedal. While they are not necessary, they can help the transcriptionist keep up speed and efficiency. The foot pedal can be used to control the audio file, and it can be used to play, rewind, fast forward, and stop the dictation. The keyboard can also be used for these functions, but it can slow the typing down if the fingers have to constantly move back and forth between the letters and the control keys.

Necessary Training and Skills

In order to be able to thrive in this industry, one must have the appropriate training. An understanding of medical terminology is a must. Medical terms can be confusing and complicated to the untrained ear, which would lead to inaccurate reports being transcribed. Knowledge of medical language will help the transcriptionist not only with accuracy, but also with speed, allowing for increased productivity.

A medical transcriptionist must also learn anatomy and physiology. This will help when the transcriptionist needs to use logic to try and decipher a word that may be unclear on the audio file. Anyone interested in this career can enroll in a community college or vocational training school. Online training is also an option. Many of these programs can be completed within 4 months if the student can devote the time to the training.

Aside from understanding medical terminology, medical transcriptionists must also have exceptional grammar and typing skills. Many online resources are available to aid the transcriptionist in these areas.

How to Find Work

Upon completion of the training, the medical transcriptionist will need to decide if they want to be an independent contractor and have many different clients or if they would rather be employed by a healthcare facility that will let them work from home. Some places will not outsource the work to an independent contractor or let an employee work from home, but others realize that they are saving money by not having to provide the office space or pay out any health insurance in the case of the independent contractor and will welcome the opportunity.

To find clients, transcriptionists can contact any doctor’s office, hospital, clinic, or any other type of healthcare administration center to see if they are in need of their services. The internet can also be a valuable resource for finding work. One can search job listings, freelance websites and can even advertise their services on any of the free advertising sites. Visiting hospital websites and the websites of other healthcare facilities to find out if they need help in this area may also be helpful.

Medical transcription is a field that has plenty of work and is expected to grow in the future due to an increase in the aging population. This fact combined with the option to work from home and the resulting benefits make this career choice an excellent one.


Dunya Carter writes on topics related to business and career development for several websites and blogs. She is currently writing for Ochre Recruitment, a recruitment agency specialising in medical jobs in Australia and working as a freelance writer.