Medical Transcriptionist Education and Career Pathway

By | April 19, 2024
Medical Transcriptionist Education
To become a medical transcriptionist, you will be expected to fulfill certain educational requirements.

This post provides detailed information on the medical transcriptionist educational requirements that you will be expected to fulfill to become a medical transcriptionist, as well as how to be successful in the career.

Why Choose Medical Transcriptionist Career?

Here are a few reasons why you might seek a career as a medical transcriptionist:

  1. The demand for qualified medical transcriptionists has been growing rapidly in recent years due to the increasing number of patients with chronic conditions and the aging population.

2. A medical transcriptionist can earn anywhere between $20-$60 per hour depending on their experience level and location.

3. There are many job opportunities available for medical transcriptionists. Some of them include:

  • Hospitals and other healthcare facilities
  • Private practices
  • Government agencies
  • Legal offices
  • Research centers
  • Universities
  • Other transcription companies.

4. In addition to earning good money, a medical transcriptionist also gets to work in a fast-paced environment where they have the opportunity to learn new skills and develop their knowledge base.

5. With so much career growth potential, it’s no wonder that medical transcriptionists are among the highest paid professions in America.

Medical Transcriptionist Education Requirements

These are the education requirements for a medical transcriptionist:

  1. High school diploma or GED equivalent.

2. One year of college coursework (preferably at least two semesters) related to medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, etc.

3. Two years of experience as a secretary/administrative assistant.

4. Experience working in a hospital setting.

Medical Transcriptionist Continuing Education

A medical transcriptionist is required by law to complete continuing education every 2 years.

It is important that you take advantage of these courses because they help keep your license current.

You should enroll in any of the following classes offered by the National Board of Certification for medical transcriptionists:

  • General Medical Terminology
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Clinical Pharmacology.

Medical Transcriptionist Certification/License 

The National Board of Certification for Health Information Technology offers certification in medical transcriptionist.

To qualify for this certification, candidates must pass both the Written Examination and Practical Assessment Test.

Candidates must be board certified or eligible for certification before applying for the exam.

Eligibility for Certification

To become eligible for certification, candidates must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be licensed as a medical transcriptionist
  • Have completed a minimum of one hundred hours of supervised practice as a medical transcription
  • Aced the National Board of Certification Exam.

All states require that medical transcriptionists hold a valid state license. If you do not live in a state that requires licensure, please check with your local licensing authority about obtaining a license.

Medical Transcriptionist Career Opportunities

There are several different career opportunities that a medical transcriptionist can choose from.

The most common ones include:

  1. Hospital Staffing

This is a great way to get started if you want to make some extra cash while gaining valuable hands on experience.

As a medical transcriptionist, you will be responsible for transcribing dictations and creating reports for patients who need medical care.

This type of job is ideal for someone looking for an entry level position.

2. Clinical Research Associate

If you enjoy working with research subjects and helping them through their healthcare needs, then this may be the perfect fit for you.

A clinical research associate works closely with physicians, nurses, technicians, and other healthcare professionals to ensure that clinical trials go smoothly.

3. Medical Biller

If you have a background in accounting or finance, then becoming a medical biller could be a good option for you.

In this role, you would be responsible for entering charges into patient accounts, ensuring that payments are made correctly, and maintaining billing records.

4. Administrative Assistant

Administrative assistants work directly under the supervision of a manager or supervisor.

They perform administrative duties such as scheduling appointments, answering phones, taking messages, typing letters, and preparing documents.

An administrative assistant usually has a Bachelor’s degree and at least two years of office management experience.

5. Medical Records Clerk

A medical records clerk is responsible for organizing and storing medical records and other important paperwork related to a patient’s health.

These individuals often work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare facilities.

Other career opportunities for medical transcriptionists include:

  • Healthcare IT Specialist
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Radiologic Technologist
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Pharmacy Tech.

How to Advance your Medical Transcriptionist Career

There are many ways to advance your medical transcriptionist career. Some of these include:

  1. Obtain additional education

The more knowledge you have about the field of medicine, the better prepared you will be when it comes time to start applying for jobs.

You should consider pursuing an Associate’s degree in Medical Technology, Nursing, Radiology, or another healthcare-related field.

2. Become certified

Certification is a great way to show employers that you possess the skills necessary to succeed in your career. There are several certifications available including Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT), Certified Coding Specialist (CCS), and Certified Health Information Management Specialist (CHIMS).

3. Take advantage of opportunities

It is always a good idea to keep up with current trends within the industry. If you see a new technology being used by companies, take note!

Many companies are now offering online training courses which can help you learn new skills.

4. Networking is essential

Networking is one of the most effective ways to land a new employment. Start attending local networking events where you can meet people from different backgrounds.

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you are interested in, there is almost certainly a group of people who share your interest.

5. Volunteer

Volunteering is also a great way to get ahead in your career. Not only does it give you valuable experience, it also helps you build relationships with others in your community.

How to find a Good Medical Transcriptionist School

If you want to become a medical transcriptionist, you need to know how to choose a school that offers quality programs.

Use the following tips to find a good school for medical transcriptionist education:

  1. Accreditation

Accreditation is very important because it shows that a school meets certain standards set by recognized organizations.

The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) is an organization that accredits schools that offer degrees in medical transcriptionist.

2. Program length

Many students enroll in a program thinking they will finish quickly. However, this isn’t necessarily true.

A medical transcriptionist program may last anywhere from 2 months to 4 years depending on the specific requirements.

Make sure you understand exactly what you are signing up for before you commit yourself to a long term commitment.

3. Class size

Class sizes tend to vary greatly between schools. A school with smaller classes suggests that more individual attention are given by instructors to medical transcriptionists in training.

Larger class sizes allow for less personal interaction among classmates. This can make it difficult to ask questions if you don’t feel comfortable speaking out loud.

4. Faculty credentials

Faculty members play a vital role in any educational institution. They must have the relevant qualifications to teach their subjects and train new medical transcriptionists.

In addition, faculty members should be able to provide references from former students who were satisfied with the quality of education they received.

5. Tuition cost

Tuition costs can range widely depending on the type of program you choose.

Some schools charge as much as $10,000 per year while other schools have tuition fees as low as $500 per semester.

Be sure to check into these details before making a decision.

How to be Successful in your Medical Transcriptionist Career

Once you have decided on a medical transcriptionist school, you need to focus on becoming successful in the field. There are many tips below to help you succeed:

  1. Get involved

Get involved in student groups or clubs at your school. You never know when you might learn something new that could benefit you later down the road.

2. Learn about technology

Over the last few decades, technology has evolved dramatically. As such, you need to stay current with the latest trends so you can adapt them to your work environment.

3. Learn about the industry

The healthcare industry changes constantly. If you want to keep up with the times, you need to read industry publications regularly.

These publications will tell you everything you need to know about the latest developments within the healthcare industry.

4. Keep learning

In every profession, there is always opportunity to get better. To ensure you remain relevant, you need to continue to learn about new technologies and skills.

5. Network

One of the most critical parts of any business is networking. It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is, networking is key to success.

Don’t forget to network outside of the classroom too.

What Does a Medical Transcriptionist Do?

As a medical transcriptionist, you will transcribe dictations from doctors, nurses, technicians, etc. into written reports.

Your job will depend entirely on the type of facility where you work. Here are some examples of typical jobs for medical transcriptionists:

  • Hospitals: The majority of hospitals hire medical transcriptionists because they require high-quality transcripts.
  • Laboratories: Laboratory facilities often employ medical transcriptionists because they need accurate and timely transcripts.
  • Clinics: Most clinics use medical transcriptionists because they prefer to pay by the page rather than by the hour.
  • Home Health Care: Many home health care agencies use medical transcriptionists because the agency prefers to pay by the page instead of hourly.
  • Insurance Companies: Insurance companies also use medical transcriptionists because it saves money if the insurance company pays for the transcriptions.

Qualities of a Good Medical Transcriptionist

To become a good medical transcriptionist, you must possess certain qualities. They include:

  1. Accuracy

Accuracy is essential in this profession. A bad transcription can cost your employer thousands of dollars. So make sure to proofread all of your work carefully before submitting it.

2. Punctuality

You should arrive early to your workplace and leave late. This will allow you time to prepare for your shift.

3. Patience

Patience is another quality required of a good medical transcriptionist. You may be working long hours, but don’t lose your temper.

4. Knowledge

Knowledge is not only helpful for the job, but it will also increase your chances of getting promoted.

Make sure to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible to expand your knowledge base.

5. Reliability

When recruiting a medical transcriptionist, businesses seek for this trait as well. It is important to show that you are a medical transcriptionist that is reliable and trustworthy.

Medical Transcriptionist Salary

According to Glassdoor, the national average compensation for a medical transcriptionist in the United States is $34,728 per year.

Medical Transcriptionist Job Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical transcriptionists is expected to fall by 7% between 2020 and 2030.

Despite diminishing employment, medical transcriptionists are expected to get an average of 6,600 jobs each year over the next decade.


If you want to pursue a career in medicine, then becoming a medical transcriptionist might be the right thing to do.

However, you must first understand the educational requirements you need to meet to become a medical transcriptionist, which this post provides.