Medical transcriptionists listen to dictated recordings made by physicians and other health care professionals and transcribe them into medical reports, correspondence, and other administrative material. The documents they produce include discharge summaries, medical history and physical examination reports, operative reports, consultation reports, autopsy reports, diagnostic imaging studies, progress notes, and referral letters. Medical transcriptionists return transcribed documents to the physicians or other health care professionals who dictated them for review and signature or correction. These documents eventually become part of patients’ permanent files.
To understand and accurately transcribe dictated reports, medical transcriptionists must understand medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, diagnostic procedures, pharmacology, and treatment assessments. They also must be able to translate medical jargon and abbreviations into their expanded forms. Medical transcriptionists must comply with specific standards that apply to the style of medical records and to the legal and ethical requirements for keeping patient information confidential.
Medical Transcription Education
Completion of a 2-year associate degree or 1-year certificate program - including coursework in anatomy, medical terminology, legal issues relating to health care documentation, and English grammar and punctuation - is highly recommended, but not always required. Formal accreditation is not required for medical transcription programs.
Medical Transcriptionist Salaries
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for medical transcriptionists was $34,890 in May 2015.
Medical Transcription Certification
The AHDI awards two voluntary designations, the Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) and the Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT). Medical transcriptionists who are recent graduates of medical transcription educational programs, or have fewer than 2 years experience in acute care, may become a registered RMT. The RMT credential is awarded upon successfully passing the AHDI level 1 registered medical transcription exam. The CMT designation requires at least 2 years of acute care experience working in multiple specialty surgery areas using different format, report, and dictation types. Candidates also must earn a passing score on a certification examination. RMTs and CMTs must earn continuing education credits every 3 years to be recertified. As in many other fields, certification is recognized as a sign of competence.
Medical Transcription at Home
More and more employers are allowing their experienced MTs to work from home. However, many will require you to work at their facility or in their office before sending you home to work on your own. In addition, many experienced transcriptionists have successfully become self-employed. The home transcriptionist needs an excellent knowledge of the medical language, as well as the English language, and may have to make a substantial investment in reference materials and equipment. Those who provide the highest quality transcription are most likely to be successful.
Salary and employment figures are based on a national median and may vary by location.
| Kaplan University Online
Medical Transcription - Associate of Applied Science
The Associate of Applied Science in Medical Transcription is designed to help you achieve the specialized skills and knowledge you need to become a certified professional online. In addition to helping you develop self-discipline and ethical standards, the curriculum focuses on:
Courses for the Medical Transcription major include:
- Developing typing accuracy, speed and competency with the software applications most commonly used in medical transcription
- Strong communications skills, including writing, editing, proofreading, and preparing office correspondence
- Transcribing health care dictation for use in patient records and other documentation
- Understanding medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and pharmacology
- Academic Strategies for the Health Care Professional
- Medical Law and Bioethics
- Medical Terminology
- Software Applications for Health Care Professionals
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Diseases of the Human Body
- Pharmacology and Laboratory Medicine
- Medical Records Transcription
- Professional Development for Medical Transcriptionists
- Medical Transcription Externship and Evaluation