Medical transcriptionists take oral medical records dictated by physicians or other caregivers and turn them into a permanent part of a patient's medical history. While the job is largely administrative, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that medical transcriptionists play a key role in ensuring medical records are accurate and consistent, which can help reduce the risk of patients receiving incorrect or ineffective care.
The job offers a great deal of flexibility: Medical transcription is also one of the few careers in health care that allows professionals to work from home, where you can set your own hours. You also can choose to work for a hospital, physician's office or other medical facility.
Most online medical transcription degree programs are offered at the associate degree level, but many employers also accept a certificate in medical transcription. Either way, you can expect a medical transcription online or campus program to take between one and two years. Though certification is not required, many employers prefer it.
Make a mark with a medical transcription degree
Medical transcription courses focus on anatomy, medical terminology, English grammar and punctuation, and legal requirements for medical record privacy. Proficiency with computers is required, and good listening skills are a must. Knowledge of medical jargon is also essential for helping transcriptionists keep accurate records.
According to the BLS, the job outlook for medical transcriptionists is expected to grow 11 percent from 2008 to 2018. California, Pennsylvania and Texas offered the highest levels of employment for the profession.
Medical transcriptionists made a mean annual wage of $33,530 in 2010. Though hospitals and physicians' offices had the highest rates of employment, the top-paying industries included scientific research and development services, office administrative services, and computer systems design.