How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist

Medical transcription is the process of transcribing, or typing, an audio version of doctors’ notes and other medical records. You may have noticed at some of your doctor’s appointments the doctor will take out a small voice recorder and record verbal notes of your symptoms, diagnosis, and what type of follow up care will take place. A medical transcriptionist will listen to these audio files and types the information into a report, which will be placed in your medical records.

In the past, doctors would hire medical transcriptionist, also known as an MT, which were local to them. On assigned days throughout the week, the MT would come into the doctor’s office, pick up mini cassette tapes and come back to drop off the finished reports.

New technologies, such as digital recorders, have made it possible for doctors to hire a medical transcriptionist located anywhere in the world. The digital audio files can be uploaded to the internet and the MT can type the reports online and send them back to the doctor’s office.

What skills are needed to become a Medical Transcriptionist?

Someone interested in medical terminology as a career will need to complete a medical transcription course through their local college or online. In the course, you will learn many things, including medical terminology, which will be essential for understanding what the doctor is saying.

A good medical transcriptionist will need to be a fast, accurate typist. You may be paid per line or per hour, and if you are being paid by line, the more you type, the more you will earn. Being able to sit for long periods of time is also required.

What tools are needed to become a Medical Transcriptionist?

In addition to those skills, you’ll also need a computer with high speed internet access. You will be receiving audio files, which can be quite large. If you only have dial-up internet, it could take quite a long time to receive the files. Depending on who you work for, you may also be asked to download some software to your computer which will allow you to type the reports. There is also software available that will slow down the audio files you are listening to, enabling you to better understand and type what the doctor is saying.

How do you get started?

Many doctors outsource their transcription to agencies that specialize in hiring MTs that work from home. You can find these companies by searching online. Another option is to approach doctors located to you locally and offer your services to them.

The pay rate will vary depending on who you work for and how much experience you have. As someone who is brand new, you can expect to earn around $10 – $12 per hour. Once you have gained a year or two of experience, you can earn as much as $19 or more per hour.

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