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How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist

Looking to make a career change? Pursuing employment as a medical transcriptionist may be the right career choice for you.


Medical transcriptionists transcribe recordings from medical practitioners into concise, organized documentation and reports. Transcriptionists evaluate audio files, create text documents, conduct editing, and proofread the finished transcription to streamline workflows for doctor’s offices and hospitals. If you have a talent for written communication and are looking to pursue opportunities in this field, there are certain steps you’ll need to take to become a successful medical transcriptionist.

Benefits of a Career as a Medical Transcriptionist

One of the key benefits to pursuing a career as a medical transcriptionist is the flexibility it offers. In many cases, this position can be worked remotely, which means you may be able to conduct your business from home. Labor statistics show that medical transcriptionists receive an average pay of $16.95 per hour and annual wages totaling $32,350. Given the high demand for these professionals within the medical industry due to the limitations of speech recognition software, this career offers some upward mobility.

Skills and Qualifications

A Medical Transcriptionist needs to have strong written communication and editing skills in order to be successful. The ability to type quickly is also critical, as most transcriptionists are required to type at least 50 words per minute. Certain companies will have clients with unique project requirements you’ll be expected to meet and could require typing speeds ranging from 75-100 words per minute.

Education Requirements

In order to pursue employment as a medical transcriptionist, it is recommended that you complete some education in the field to generate job opportunities. Obtaining an associate degree in medical transcription would make you a more attractive candidate to recruiters and hiring managers due to the broad knowledge of medical terminology that the role requires. Alternatively, you could look to complete a training program. These typically span six-months to two-years.

Credentials and Certifications for Medical Transcription

Once you’ve received some formal training and education in the field, you could look to pursue other credentials and certifications to further your career as a medical transcriptionist. These require candidates to pass an exam from an accredited institution. A Registered Medical Transcriptionist certification is for professionals with less than two years of experience and is extremely useful for finding employment opportunities early in your career. A CMT or Certified Medical Transcriptionist credential is more extensive, as it requires two years of experience within the field and must be renewed every three years going forward.