Medical transcriptionists play an important role in health care by taking the doctors' or other health-care providers' dictation and transcribing it into medical records. Documents that medical transcriptionists prepare include discharge summaries, reports of medical histories or examinations, reports from surgical procedures or consultations, autopsy reports, progress notes, and referral letters. Most employers prefer people who have a medical transcription degree or who have taken medical transcription classes. Several vocational schools, community colleges, and distance learning programs offer a two-year associate's degree or a one-year certificate program in medical transcription.
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A Career as a Medical Transcriptionist
To understand and be able to transcribe reports that have been dictated, you need to study medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, diagnostic procedures, pharmacology, and treatment assessments. You should study medical terminology and abbreviations so you can translate them into their expanded forms. Course work in legal issues relating to health-care documentation is highly recommended, as well. Knowledge of English grammar and computer skills are essential. Some medical transcriptionists are paid by the hour, while others are paid by how many reports they transcribe. Pay can range from about $10 an hour to more than $21 an hour. Medical transcriptionists can work from their home as independent contractors, or in a health-care setting such as a hospital or physician's office. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for medical transcribers should be good, especially for those who are certified, as baby boomers age and the demand for health care increases.