Medical transcription offers a wide variety of job opportunities as well as the ability to work from home as an employee or subcontractor or within a doctor’s office or hospital. Transcription in general is a growing home based employment field that offers those wishing to work from home the ability to easily do so.
Medical Transcription Schools By State
Education and Training Requirements
Medical transcription is a specialized field of work. Employers seeking a medical transcription professionals will likely require someone with a minimum of a one year certificate in medical terminology and medical related courses. The most important training associated with a medical transcription position is the knowledge of medical terminology including anatomy, diseases and treatments. Some medical transcription opportunities exist in specialized fields such as radiology and pathology. These positions require targeted education to learn the terminology used. Also, because the medical field involves highly specialized vocabulary that is constantly being revised, updates to training are recommended.
Many who work in medical transcription are employed in physician’s offices or hospitals. These people may have other duties in addition to transcription including scheduling appointments or greeting patients. As a medical transcription professional gains experience, they may wish to become self employed and build a client base enabling them to make a good income from the comfort of their own home. Self employed transcription experts tend to work odd hours such as evenings, weekends and on call.
For medical transcription work in an office, the work tends to be closely related to that of a medical secretary. Transcription is done as needed and other work generally will be done when transcription is not needed. Medical transcription is done by listening to audio recordings of patient visits, test results, diagnostic reports and other things and creating a text document which will eventually become part of the patient’s permanent record. As a transcription professional gains experience and knowledge of medical conditions, they may be able to spot errors in treatment or procedures recommended, resulting in a correction of care which may result in a better outcome for the patient.
Medical transcription can be a physically demanding job through the mere fact that it involves long periods of sitting in the same position as well as repetitive motion of the hands and wrists. Because of this, medical transcription professionals are prone to back, neck, and shoulder problems as well as eye strain. Carpal tunnel is a very common condition in the profession as well.
Job Opportunities and Earning Potential
Medical transcription offers a wide variety of opportunities. People in this field can choose specialized work within any number of medical specialty categories or can choose general practice covering typical physician reports and discharge documents. While some areas are beginning to see a decline in the use of medical transcription professionals due to the use of voice recognition software, the need for editing and proofreading of these documents will always exist.*
For self employed medical transcription specialists, the level of income has a direct correlation to the hours worked and documents produced. However it is estimated that on average medical transcription professionals earn about $13.60 an hour. Compensation varies for this profession as some are paid by the hours worked while others are paid by the work performed. Rates vary within the profession as well. Employers who employ the majority of medical transcription professionals include hospitals, physician’s offices and office support services.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Other job opportunities that are available to those with a medical transcription background include medical secretary or medical office assistant. Also, general transcription work and court reporting can be done as well, although court reporting requires additional training in the legal field. An experienced medical transcription professional today still has a very large job market available to them.
As the use of voice recognition software increases and the technology becomes more sophisticated, medical transcription positions are being decreased. However, while the use of this technology is becoming more wide spread, there is still a need for proofreading, editing and correcting the documents produced. Some medical professions choose not to use the software currently due to the high number of errors that have been found with its use. Errors in medical documents can result in negative outcomes for patients and problems for the physicians involved.
The editing and proofreading of documents can be done by medical secretaries, but many doctors and hospitals prefer a trained professional to do this. As a result, as more physicians use voice recognition software, more medical transcription professionals are gravitating towards the editing and proofing rather than doing the actual transcription of the reports and documents. While the field is rapidly growing and changing, the education and training requirements remain the same.
Independent contractors and self employed medical transcription professionals tend to earn more than the employee medical transcription professionals. However, this group also has higher expenses and no benefits and risks termination more readily than the employee medical transcription professionals.