Career Detail

Medical Transcriptionist
“What Did the Doctor Say?”
Listens to recordings made by physicians and other health care professionals and transcribe them into medical reports, correspondence, and other administrative material.
The Job
The documents medical transcriptionists 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. Currently, most health care providers transmit dictation to medical transcriptionists using either digital or analog dictating equipment. The Internet has grown to be a popular mode for transmitting documentation. Medical transcriptionists who work in physicians' offices may have other office duties, such as receiving patients, scheduling appointments, answering the telephone, and handling incoming and outgoing mail.
Work Environment
Most are employed in comfortable settings, such as hospitals, physicians' offices, clinics, laboratories, medical libraries, government medical facilities, or their own homes.
College Majors
Certification as a Registered Medical Transcriptionists is available.
Minimum Qualifications
Employers prefer to hire transcriptionists who have completed postsecondary training in medical transcription offered by many vocational schools, community colleges, and distance-learning programs. Understand medical terminology. A have computer skills.
Personality traits helpful for this career
patience, pay close attention to detail
Quick Facts
  • About 41 percent worked in hospitals, and another 29 percent worked in offices of physicians.
  • Employers prefer medical transcriptionists who have completed a postsecondary training program.
  • More Info: Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity , 4230 Kiernan Ave., Suite 130, Modesto, CA 95356.
Compensation and Outlook
Wage-and-salary medical transcriptionists had median hourly wages of $15.41 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.02 and $18.55. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.76, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $21.81.
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