Are you interested in embarking on a career that pays well, involves interesting and important work, and only requires a 6-month or 2-year certificate to break into the field? Whether you are just perusing potential career options or are looking to switch to another path altogether, the role of medical transcriptionist might just be the job for you. Medical transcription jobs provide essential administrative and transcriptionist support to doctors, nurses, and other individuals within the healthcare field.
Unequivocally, medical transcription jobs are an important aspect of the healthcare sector, as individuals who fill these roles compile reports and other critical paperwork to create electronic records documenting patient histories, keeping information detailed and current.
What Are Medical Transcription Jobs?
Examination of the Role
Medical transcription jobs require you to listen to audio records made by doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals and transcribe them into written form. Medical transcriptionists also analyze and revise medical documentation which has been created by speech recognition. They decipher the unique medical phraseology and shortened notes, converting them to comprehensive medical histories, discharge reports, and other pertinent documentation.
Medical transcriptionists are usually employed by hospitals, doctor’s offices, and transcription companies. Some operate as self-employed, independent contractors. Other employers of medical transcriptionists include nursing homes, public health, and home health entities.
Medical transcription jobs require you to have a keen sense of detail and an eye for grammar as well as a thorough knowledge of medical terminology and syntax. You also must be up to date and educated regarding anatomy, pharmacology, surgical procedures, and other medical treatments.
Job Aspects & Duties
The day-to-day process involved in medical transcription jobs is multi-faceted and requires you to handle a wide assortment of crucial information with organization and competency. Medical transcriptionists can work either full-time or part-time, with most putting in a standard 40 hours per week. To delve into the details of the role a bit deeper, the job of a medical transcriptionist begins after the physician, nurse, or health care practitioner has dictated their reports and notes after performing procedures on or treating a patient.
Medical transcriptionists reproduce the dictated information in written form and edit any necessary reports. The final product is stored in the patient’s records and left in electronic configuration and becomes a part of that individual’s larger medical history on file. Many medical transcriptionists receive the audio files to be transcribed via speech recognition software. This software is prone to difficulties and error as the transcription system must learn as it goes.
Speech recognition software requires the transcriptionist to pay special attention to the words being uttered and ensure that nothing is lost in translation rather than using standardized dictation and documentation procedures. There are varying schools of thought as to the effectiveness and efficiency of using speech recognition software in the transcription process, but it is something an individual in the field should be aware of and prepared for.
There are a number of essential skills and qualities required by medical transcription jobs. To go into more detail on a number of the key elements noted above, medical transcriptionists need to not only maintain a keen knowledge of medical terminology and grammatical excellence but must also be good with numbers and able to use technology aptly. It is crucial be able to follow instructions closely, have a fast typing speed, and keep records organized.
Proficiency in and a comprehensive understanding of anatomy, physiology, and diseases is pertinent, as is the ability to transcribe the four standard types of medical transcription categories. These are patient histories and physical exams, consultations, operative reports, and discharge summaries.
Medical transcription jobs demand that you be able to transcribe personal and medical information precisely whether the task involves notes from a surgical procedure or recording the patient’s social security number. Transcriptions must be invariable and noted consistently to keep track of every record completed.
Medical transcriptionists often must refer to medical references to maintain key knowledge of procedures and terminology. Another important part of the role is collecting the audio files for transcription and sending off the final reports, checking work to ensure consistency and accuracy.
Salary & Qualifications
Salaries for medical transcription jobs tend to vary based on location, credentials, and individual employment situations. For example, a self-employed medical transcriptionist may be able to charge higher amounts and make more than one working for a physician’s office would be able to take home.
The median yearly salary for a medical transcriptionist falls around $35,000 per year with individuals on the high end of the earning spectrum pulling in closer to $50,000. Again, this is prone to variation, with some in the field making far more and some far less.
For instance, the average hourly wage comes to about $15.30 per hour, but earners in the top 10th percentile can make $24.00 per hour. As with most career fields, the more experience you gain, the higher your earning potential is.
If you are interested in earning more and would like to go the self-employed route, just be aware that it takes time to build your business and achieve higher earning potential. Location is also an important factor, with companies on the west or east coast usually paying higher than those in the Midwest or the southern states.
In order to apply for medical transcription jobs, you will need to obtain a certificate, diploma, or two-year associates degree. You must already have your GED or high school diploma completed before commencing. The role requires that you graduate from a certified medical transcription program. These programs train students in grammar formation and syntax, computer technology, medical language, anatomy, physiology, pathology, and transcription abilities pertinent to the filed.
How Long to Become Qualified?
Medical transcriptionist training programs last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, culminating in a certificate, diploma, or 2-year associates degree. The majority of programs that trainees go through last between 9 and 12 months. Most programs are cost effective and time efficient as they are much shorter than other post-secondary education options and do not involve a huge financial investment.
Upon graduating from the medical transcriptionist training program, it is advised that you go the next step to become officially certified by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity. This involves taking a national exam, with those who pass being awarded the role title of a Certified Medical Transcriptionist. Taking the national exam is highly recommended for individuals looking to make a career and grow within the medical transcriptionist field.
As with other fields, the greater your education and knowledge within the field is, the more opportunities will be available to you. Becoming a Certified Medical Transcriptionist tells employers, and clients, if you plan to go the self-employed route, that you are deeply knowledgeable and skilled to complete the highly detail-oriented work required by the job. Maintaining your certification through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity requires you to take continuing education courses every three years.
Medical transcription jobs have boomed as a career option for individuals looking to support themselves with interesting, steady work, which provides decent pay and the potential for growth. While it should be noted that an increased number of medical transcriptionist duties have been outsourced to a cheaper workforce in more developing nations, there is still a strong demand for domestic medical transcriptionists in traditional roles.
Currently, a large number of medical transcriptionists work from home as self-employed contractors. The consistency of healthcare providers and transcription services outsourcing labor has contributed to this as well as increased growth in technology and transcription software. These facts have created certain difficulties for some medical transcriptionists, who have been forced to accept lower rates for their work or compete with technology to secure work.
However, the fact remains that there is still a substantial need for qualified medical transcriptionists to complete the necessary tasks involved, and the field still offers a good deal of potential to driven individuals looking to succeed. Plenty of hospitals, physician’s offices, and other medical facilities are in need of qualified transcriptionists to turn dictated notes into written content for patient files. Medical transcriptionist jobs require a succinct attention to detail and the ability to transcribe in an accurate and grammatically satisfactory manner. Outsourcing via cheap labor and technology only accomplishes this to a point.
Medical transcription jobs also demand in-depth knowledge regarding a variety of key medical topics and terminology and a deep understanding of the human body and its many diseases. The job requires discipline, organization, and strong multi-tasking capabilities. Obtaining the necessary education and becoming certified are important steps to securing a steady and dependable work within the field and growing as a medical transcriptionist.
Medical transcription jobs play an invaluable role in support of the ever-expanding healthcare field and can provide a fulfilling, interesting career choice to motivated individuals. If you are willing to put in the time and effort to become educated and certified, the world of medical transcription jobs may be a viable option to grow as a professional and achieve your career goals.