Inside Medical Transcriptionist Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Great Preparation For Future Careers...
I am most surprised about how much I am able to learn as a Medical Scribe. I feel that I am getting more prepared each day for furthering my education, to become a Physician or PA one day." (Virtual Medical Scribe; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Health Studies at Walden University in Minnesota; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Automation Replacing Jobs...
I have been surprised the most about the increasing use of EMR software being used in place of traditional dictation/transcription. This is beginning to take away jobs from transcriptions, and leave less jobs to find for those new to the field, and putting a software program in their place instead." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Utah, female
School: Studied Medical Transcription at Career Step in Utah; completed Certificate degree in 2005

"Doctors Are Human Too...
Most people would be surprised to find out how human doctors are. I know this seems obvious, but the doctors I have worked with seem very immature and flaky. Even more surprising is how much guess work goes into diagnosing patients." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2014)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Medical Transcription at East Harlem School Of Transcription in New York; completed Certificate degree in 1983

"Finding A Job In This Field Is Difficult...
I was surprised to find out how difficult it was to find a job as a medical transcriptionist. I did very well in college and graduated at the top of my class. The supervisor I had in my program said there would be many open positions in my field of study once I graduated, but it was more difficult finding a job than I thought it would be." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Minnesota, female
School: Studied Medical Transcription at MSU in Minnesota; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"it great to help people" (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, male
School: Studied Medicine at University Of Phoenix in Maryland; completed Master degree in 2010

"Being A Medical Language Specialist Requires A Variety Of Skills...
Medical transcription was once a lucrative career choice but with the changes in technology and health care, jobs are scarce and conditions are unfavorable. Most people are surprised to find that you need strong grammatical and medical language skills as well as tech savvy to be able to even begin to perform this job." (Medical Language Specialist; 2014)

Career: 19 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, female
School: Studied Business And Technical Writing at SVSU in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"II was surprised that it was so easy to find a job and start my career in medical transcription after graduation from the certificate program at my college." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Medical Transcription at Central Texas College in Texas; completed Certificate degree in 2012

"Doctor's Elementary Mistakes...
Doctors often use incorrect grammar and will sometimes even spell things out to "help" you but will spell them wrong!" (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in South Carolina, female
School: Studied Medical Transcription at Everett Community College in Washington; completed Certificate degree in 2012

"When I was studying to be a transcriptionist, I was surprised about all the classes I had to take to learn the terms. I took a medical assistant class, an anatomy class, a billing and coding class, among others. I just figured it would be medical terms and grammar classes." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Administrative Assistant/Medical Transcription at Hartsville TTC in Tennessee; completed Certificate degree in 2011

"Low Pressure And Excellent Managerial Support...
Indeed, it was a pleasant surprise to experience far less pressure and a less demanding pace than I anticipated. ALSO- my supervisors allow me to work independently, do NOT look over my shoulder and offer the RARE bit of constructive advice, followed by an earnest "good work Gary..we appreciate it.." or something similar." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, male
School: Studied Health Education at Kent State University in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 1998

"Science Knowledge Helps With Medication...
I was surprised about how much knowledge you can receive about pharmacy by taking science classes. To be able to see how the medications break down in the body will help being able to relate to the pharmacy field." (Pharmacy Tech; 2014)

Career: 14 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Biology at Wake Technical Community College in North Carolina; completed Associate degree in 2010

"I Was Upset With How Much Work Is Sent To India...
Overall the career choice over the years has not been as productive. There is a lot of off shoring and editing involved, as this cuts down to how much you are paid per line. I have took a big pay cut (50%) over the past 5 years alone and with no benefits as most hire only self employed right now." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2014)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, female
School: Studied Medical Transcription at Kishwaukee College in Illinois; completed Certificate degree

"Low Pay And Little Respect...
Before starting my medical transcription training, I researched the profession and thought it would be a respected and good-paying profession. I was wrong. My experience has been that medical transcriptionists get very little respect or appreciation. It shows in the way the higher-ups treat MTs and also in the low wages." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Medical Transcription at Career Step in Utah; completed Certificate degree in 2005

"There Are Many Distractions When Working From Home...
I was surprised to find how difficult it is to work at home when there are so many distractions. When my children were young, I had to work around the times they were sleeping or, later, in school. It is not something you can do while they play around you. It is flexible, though!" (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

Career: 20 years of experience, female
School: Studied Medical Transcription at College Of Southern Nevada in Nevada; completed Certificate degree in 1992

"Must Be Willing To Learn Always...
I was surprised at the amount of diversity you come across. You must learn to be very flexible and willing to constantly be challenged. If you are not willing to learn new things, you will not make it in this career. You must be able to have varying hours and pay depending upon the amount and quality of work available as well. The comradeship surprised me as well. If you reach out to other transcriptionists most are forthcoming and helpful with tips and tricks to work more efficiently. You can easily find people who are willing to help you out with a frustrating task and offer support when you have run out of ideas." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Medical Terminology at Blackstone Career Institute in Pennsylvania; completed Certificate degree in 2012

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Medical Transcriptionist: "My job can be very interesting for those interested in medicine. I see a wide range of illnesses. Over the years, I have learned the symptoms of many different ailments, as well as the required treatments. I also get to work from home. It has been great to be able to work and stay home with my kids. On the downside, some doctors can be very hard to understand. They might talk very fast, slur their words, or have a foreign accent. Also, sometimes I do the same types of reports over and over and it can repetitive and boring." (2011)

Medical Transcriptionist: "The best parts of my career are that I do not have to deal with the general public, I work fairly independently, and the stress level is fairly low. I also worked from home for a few years and it is nice to have that option available. The worst parts of my career are that it is somewhat boring and repetitive. Also, sitting in front of a computer all day can cause eye strain and back pain." (2011)

Medical Transcriptionist - Self Employed: "As mentioned above, the best part of my career is that my job is flexible. It was important for me to be home with my kids as much as possible. With this job, I was able to be home when they got home from school. I was also able to volunteer at my kids' schools so I could be a part of their lives at school as well. If there was something I wanted to do during the day for my kids, I knew that meant I would give up my evening to type or type after they went to bed." (2011)

Career Background

Medical Transcriptionist

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Educate! Educate! Educate...
If you want to be a successful pharmacy technician, continue to educate yourself on the field and medications as much as possible." (Pharmacy Tech; 2014)

"The Importance Of Medical Terminology Study...
If you want to be a successful transcriptionist, you should read medical books and journals to keep your medical terminology up to date." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2014)

"How To Break Into Medical Transcription...
If one desires to pursue a career in medical transcription, one should talk to many MT's to gain knowledge of what the best approach would be. Attaining an internship in-house with a hospital or medical office might be the best bet to get some of the required experience needed before entering into national work." (Medical Language Specialist; 2014)

"Do Not Just Stick To One Thing...
Make sure to also learn something else, just in case this does not work out." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2014)

"Using Search Engines...
If you are a Medical Scribe or Transcriptionist, get comfortable using Google! Especially when I started, I would Google hundreds of terms and abbreviations every day. Before you know all the terminology of the field, you often need to look things up, because sometimes it can be tough to read a doctor's handwriting." (Virtual Medical Scribe; 2014)

"Memorization Is Key...
Memorize as much as you can about medical transcribing while in college. Memorization is a big part of medical transcribing." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

"Grammar Is Important...
Study your grammar! For most it has been many years since we studied it in elementary school, and everyone can use a refresher course!" (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

"Excellent Working Conditions, Nice Pace Of Work, "...
You can enjoy working with many excellent people while performing your daily tasks at a very reasonably pace. Take pride in doing your best and caring for details and you'll be successful." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

"Avoid Distractions In Home Office...
It is a good idea to plan for childcare if you plan to work full-time. It can be as inexpensive as a babysitter who comes over afterschool and watches the children while you go to type in another room (with the door shut). You really want to plan your day well in order to be able to work enough to make a living." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

"Deciding On A Medical Transcription Career...
You should research every aspect of the medical transcription profession thoroughly before deciding if it is right for you. One of the best ways is to talk to MTs on one of the MT online forums. Ask lots of questions." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

"Today You Need An Education...
If you want to become a medical transcriptionist, you need schooling. It used to be the case that you could enter the industry and have experience only. Now they want degrees/certificates to show that you've been through proper training. Spend the money, find a reputable program, work hard so that you can get good enough grades that you get the program's work placement benefits. It's worth it!" (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

"Hard To Master But Rewards Are Substantial...
It is hard work to learn all of the different skills you have to master to become a quality medical transcriptionist. You must have a fairly fast typing speed, excellent listening abilities, and be quick enough to research topics without wasting time to complete your reports. The wages are great and the work is fun. As an added bonus you get to set your own schedule at most companies!" (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

"Keep Your Eye On The Prize...
keep focused on the goal and you will be successful" (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

"Focus On Learning To Spell Terms...
Learn the spellings early on! My teacher told me to always keep a thesaurus handy as well. It's been crucial for me!" (Medical Transcriptionist; 2013)

"Choose Your Training Program Carefully...
Research where you get your training. Some large companies will train and hire you when you are done. Others like to hire from very specific programs. Check out the program because some are just scams selling to people who are looking to work from home. Be equipped to spend long days at a computer with an ergonomic setup and a really good set of headphones. Don't think that you are going to just jump in and do it. To be successful, you have to learn the terminology and sometimes spend a lot of time trying to figure out a term or medication." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2011)

"Working From Home May Mean Lower Pay...
1. I would suggest taking courses in typing and medical terminology. 2. I got started by working through a temp agency. I had no experience and was able to gain experience that way. 3. A lot of people are interested in medical transcription because they hear you can work from home. I would just advise that in most cases, you will not make nearly the amount of money working from home that you could make working in an office. You might not get the same benefits either." (Medical Transcriptionist; 2011)

"Take A Course...
I would advise one to take a course in medical transcription. I didn't do that, but I did have a background in medicine and I caught on very fast. But for most people, I would recommend a course in medical transcription. Be very thorough. Don't assume that you don't have to proofread your own work. No doctor wants to be reading his notes that you have typed with mistakes in it. Be as flexible as possible with the offices you are trying to work for. If they want you to provide paper for the chart notes, then try to do this without raising your rates. There are quite a few transcriptionists out there trying to compete for the stay-at-home jobs." (Medical Transcriptionist - Self Employed; 2011)