Medical Transcription

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O ver eighty percent of adults and over ninety percent of children have had contact with a health care professional in the past year, which creates a trickle down effect for various types of health care professionals and medical administrative staff, including medical transcriptionists.

What is a Medical Transcriptionist?

Each time a doctor sees a patient, they dictate oral notes, or write in medical shorthand about that visit and medical transcription is the translation of those notes into text format. Transcribing those notes into written documents enables themselves or other members of the health care team to easily read and understand those notes at a later date, thus providing more consistent care.

What are the Typical Duties of a Medical Transcriptionist?

  • They listen to a doctor’s dictation and transcribe it into documents such as patient history notes, operative reports, referral letters, discharge documents etc
  • Review and edit notes prepared by speech recognition software, to ensure that the transcription is correct, and consistent in style
  • Translate medical abbreviations into the correct long form
  • Review and identify any inconsistencies, errors, and missing information
  • Submit the records for the doctors/health care provides for approval
  • Ensure patient confidentiality guidelines are followed
  • Enter medical reports into electronic health records (EHR) systems

Education and Training Needed to Work as a Medical Transcriptionist

You will need to complete formal medical transcription training and earn a certificate or associate degree program from a community college or vocational school. Courses in a medical transcription program include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Legal issues within the health care industry
  • Typing and transcription
  • English Grammar

Finding the Right Medical Transcription Training Program

Many community colleges and vocational schools offer programs, both online and in class, so it’s important to contact each school to find out what training option will work best for you.

Do I need to be Certified

Certification is not required however some medical transcriptionists choose to become certified as this credential distinguishes them from those without the credential, and raises a potential employer’s confidence in hiring them.

You can become certified by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity, who offers the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) and the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) certifications.

  • The RHDS Certification (previously known as Registered Medical Transcriptionist or RMT) is for recent graduates with less than 2 years of experience and who work in a single specialty environment, such as a clinic or a doctor’s office.
  • The CHDS Certification (previously known as Certified Medical Transcriptionist or CMT. You must hold the RHDS designation to be eligible to write the exam for CHDS certification. CHDS candidates must also have at least 2 years of experience in acute care as well as other medical specialties.
  • To maintain certification, medical transcriptionists must complete continuing education requirements every 3 years.


Quick Facts about Medical Transcriptionists
2020 Median Pay $35,270 per year/$16.96 per hour
Entry-level Education Certificate or Associate Degree

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics April 9, 2021



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