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How can I Begin a Career in Medical Transcription?

Medical transcriptionists write down dictated information from doctors. They then write reports based on dictation. Even if one is excellent at shorthand, one usually requires training to work in medical transcription. Some on the job learning can be offered, but physicians tend to employ only those fully trained in medical transcription.

To be successful in medical transcription, one must have excellent typing skills. The most important training in medical transcription is education in medical terms. You will need both quick typing and medical term knowledge to quickly produce reports.

Most physicians will expect completion of a certain number of reports per day. Honing listening skills is important to increase speed. Not all medical transcription uses short hand. Many are required to know shorthand, especially if they take oral reports directly from a physician.

Some junior colleges and local trade schools offer classes in medical transcription. Most often, training is completed through online or correspondence schools. Doctors tend to accept any certification of completion from an accredited school. The proof is in one's skills, however, so researching online or correspondence schools should be done carefully.

Many study medical transcription to work from home. Often those beginning a career in medical transcription have a better chance of employment if they work in a doctor’s office or hospital. Usually after a year or two of work, the medical transcriptionist can then work from home, either with the same employer, or by starting one’s own home business.

A medical transcriptionist working from home may be paid a little more in salary, but may not have access to medical benefits. However, if employment continues with a doctor or hospital, access to benefits may still be available. Small businesses can also apply for insurance through small business co-ops to help to reduce costs.

Those working in medical transcription are now in direct competition with experts in foreign countries. Using freelancers allows doctors to pay much less than minimum wage to foreign employees. Estimates suggest that the median salary for experts in medical transcription has dropped about 10% in the last few years. This may continue to drop as doctors decide to hire medical transcription experts from a foreign country to reduce health care costs.
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