How to become a Certified Medical Transcriptionist

By | August 30, 2023
Steps to becoming a medical transcriptionist
The path to becoming a Medical Transcriptionist starts from being passionate working with physicians. Image source:

This post gives details on how to become a certified medical transcriptionist, the required training and certification to meet, as well as the duties and responsibilities of the profession, and career prospect.

Over the years, a change has been experienced in the equipment used by medical transcriptionists; from manual typewriters, to the use of electric typewriters;, and from word processors to the use of computers presently.

Machines, which initially used plastic disks and magnetic belts have quickly moved to cassettes with endless recording loops, then to digital recordings, and eventually to speech recording which are called Continuous Speech Recording (CSR).

Medical transcriptionists, who are often referred to as editors, provide supplementary editorial services and the human touch to speech and language processing, which machines cannot always provide automatically.

Who is a Medical Transcriptionist?

A medical transcriptionist or MT, is a member of the healthcare industry, whose business is predominantly to convert the audio reports of physicians or other medical professionals to text format.

This profession though being in practice over a long period of time, became very important to medical research since the turn of the 20th century when the issue of standardization in medical research became important.

Today, with the invention of audio recording devices, we are experiencing the method of medical transcription that is currently being enjoyed.

Steps to Becoming a Certified Medical Transcriptionist

Here are steps you can take to actualize your dream of becoming a medical transcriptionist with certification:

Education requirements: While it may not be required that you must possess a post-secondary education before you can work as an medical transcriptionist, many employers are beginning to go for MTs with such education.

Any trainee in MT is likely to come across courses in editing and proof reading, keyboarding, transcription lessons, medical terminologies, anatomy, and physiology.
Candidates can be tested in areas bothering on transcription, their knowledge of medical terms, anatomy, and legal issues on health.

Training Institutions: Institutions like the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) provides certificate programs, as well as a couple of other vocational institutions that offer associate degree in Medical Transcription; like Stanford Career Institute and Kryterion.

Trainings are important if you want to eventually make it into a career in medical transcription. You may be required to spend about one year to earn a certificate in MT, or two years to earn an associate degree from a community college or vocational institution. You may also be required to complete an on-the-job training under the supervision of an expert.

How to Obtain Medical Transcriptionist Certification

Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) is the more basic certification offered to candidates and any candidate is eligible for this certification with no fewer than two years’ experience, and not already having a CMT certificate.

The costs of the certification process are as follows: Eligibility fee: $10 (AHDI), exam fees of $100 online and $150 for the on-site exam for members.
Non association members will pay $230, and $180 for offline and online exams respectively.

Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) certification is for candidates with at least two years of experience handling acute medical transcriptions, having already passed the RMT certification.

They must pass a combined test in all aspects of the medical transcription job. This certification costs $10 eligibility fee, and exam fee for AHDI members is at $200 on-site and $180 online. For non members, the fee is $230 for offline exam, and $180 for online exam.

It is important to note that kryterion is a provider of the transcriptionist online certification for AHDI, therefore, you can schedule your online exam with them.

Medical Transcriptionist Duties and Responsibilities

In the past, medical transcriptionists provided information to the physician responsible for the treatment of a patient in form of reports and procedures in shorthand located as logs taped to the bed of the patient.

The information is subsequently stored in file cabinets in the records department of hospitals, from where they were obtained at the request of any physician.

The method of duplicating files was adopted to ease the time it took to move and search for any file whenever the need arises.

As the years went by, electronic methods were introduced in other to create a treatment history of patients by documenting oral presentation of treatment procedures and even editing the works of speech recognition software in manner commonly referred to as a patient’s medical records.

The roles of an MT include formatting texts according to established criteria, transcribing spoken words, editing the recorded information, and eventually storing the information as records. See detail of the medical transcriptionist job description.

It is important to note that such information must comply with the medico-legal requirements and laws within the area to ensure confidentiality.

Medical Transcriptionist Skills

Every medical transcriptionist should possess the following skills to succeed in the career:

  • Knowledge of medical terminologies
  • Above average spelling, grammar, communication and memory skills
  • The use of basic office equipment like word processors and fast writing style
  • Ability to follow written and verbal instructions
  • Sound knowledge of disease processes
  • Coordinating and organizing skills: this will be required to log and consult files and patient’s records.

Career opportunities: medical transcriptionists Work mainly in hospitals or in doctors’ offices.

Expected Salaries: the Bureau for Labor Statistics projects that from 2008 to 2018, career in medical transcription will experience an 11 percent growth, with an annual salary of between $20,000 to $43,000, with hourly rates as much as $16.