Medical Transcription Job Description

Medical transcriptionists usually listen to voice recordings that physicians and other healthcare professionals make and convert them into written reports. The Medical Transcription Job Description requires that you be able to listen and type what you hear into a medical report or doctor’s note.

The physician creates a verbal report which is called dictation. The medical transcriptionist creates written documents from that verbal record. The reports created are medical histories, operative reports, discharge summaries, autopsy reports, and letters. These documents are returned to the physician for review and signature. They usually become part of the patient’s record.

A working knowledge of medical terminology, abbreviations, anatomy & physiology and even pharmacology will be part of the medical transcription job description. Being able to work with word processing software and computers is essential. Speech recognition software is starting to be used to create drafts with the medical transcriptionist then formatting and checking for grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Having good hearing and listening skills are essential to this career.  With the ability to receive the work via internet and send the completed product back by email the potential for telecommuting is high for this occupation.  Due to the ease of telecommunications and internet data transfer this job is frequently outsourced. 

In smaller offices the medical transcription duties may be included with the other medical secretary and appointment scheduler duties.

Working Environment

Working conditions are usually indoors in a comfortable setting. Prolonged sitting and repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel are workplace hazards. Pressures to produce documents rapidly and with a high degree of accuracy may cause stress for these workers.

Education and Training

Most employers prefer some type of formal training for transcription jobs. This training is usually in the form of a 2 year degree from a community college. Distance learning and vocational programs are also available. Programs that include coursework in anatomy, medical terminology, and legal issues relating to health care documentation, and English grammar and punctuation—are highly recommended, but not always required.

Formal accreditation for the programs is voluntary. Graduation from an accredited program in medical transcription may be required for medical transcriptionists seeking to be certified medical transcriptionists.

Licensing and Credentialing

There are no formal licensing requirements. Medical transcriptionists may become certified or registered medical transcriptionists by meeting the experience criteria and passing a national exam for certification. To remain certified the transcriptionist must take continuing education courses and renew the certification every 2-3 years. 

Important Points

  • Job prospects are good
  • Over 40% of all job openings are in hospitals
  • This job has a high potential for telecommuting and working from home
  • This job is frequently outsourced

Career Progression

The potential in larger departments to advance to supervisory roles is good. Self-employment or small business opportunity exists. Cross over to other job professions such as medical coding and medical records are a good potential.

Resources for Medical Transcriptionists Job Description:

Medical Transcriptionists Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

American Transcription Association  

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