Medical Transcriptionist Salary Information

If you think your dream job is earning a good salary whilst working from home, then a medical transcriptionist job may be just right for you.

Yes, a medical transcriptionist salary is indeed very attractive and you don’t need to work in a streesful environment, but being a medical transcriptionist entails serious responsibilities.

A Guide To Medical Transcriptionist Salary

A medical transcriptionist, also known as a medical language specialist, is a trained professional who converts recorded dictations, such as medical reports, patient’s history, or health records, into a text document. The end format can either be a hard copy or in electronic form. A medical transcriptionist is equipped with a headset for listening and a foot pedal specifically designed to pause the recording. As he or she listens, the medical transcriptionist enters in the information to a word processor or a computer.

The first generation of medical transcriptionists had to work with manual typewriters and outdated voice-playing devices. Now, thanks to modern communication and digital technology, transcribing has become a lot easier.

Medical transcriptionists are generally hired by hospitals and physicians in private practice. Due to the increasing significance and popularity of the Internet, medical transcriptionists are now often able to work online, regardless of location and time differences.

While there is a visible call for more healthcare workers today, the medical transcriptionist profession experienced a dip recently. In 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there are 105,200 certified medical transcriptionists working in the country. In 2010, the number plunged down to 78,780. This may have been due to an increase in the use of voice-recognition technology, which could be used to replace much of the work of the medical transcriptionist in some cases. However, the Bureau remains positive and predicts that the position will enjoy a slight increase in years to come.

Data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of 2010 show that the average medical transcriptionist salary is $33,530 a year, or around $16.12 per hour. That said, salary rates are dependent on several factors including geographical location, years of experience, acquired skills, and employer type. The medical transcriptionist salary range is reported at between $21,960 and $46,220 per year, dependant largely on these variants.

What Do Medical Transcriptionists Do?

Medical transcriptionists can transcribe directly from a doctor or have digital recordings sent to them.
The medical transcriptionist listens to an audio recording and translates the information into text with minimal to no grammatical errors. Once a document is finished, a medical transcriptionist must proofread his works and edit them to further provide clarity for the readers.

There are several transcribing formats a medical transcriptionist must adhere to when converting audio recordings and files to text form. That said, the choice of format ultimately rests on the physician’s preference.

The process is done through a specially-designed headset that provides the transcriptionist with excellent audio quality and a pausing mechanism activated a by foot pedal. The pause will allow the transcriptionist to gather the information and write everything down in a word processor.

Aside from medical reports and patients’ health and medical histories, medical transcriptionists also produce summaries of discharge, physical examination results, progress notes, research reports, and autopsy examinations. It is vital for a medical transcriptionist to produce a very accurate document. A slight error while typing a doctor’s prescription could potentially put the patient at risk. This responsibility is one of the main reasons why the medical transcriptionist salary rate is higher than comparable medical administrative positions.

While the role of the medical transcriptionist has grown by leaps and bounds, some doctors still prefer to utilize antiquated but effective practices such as handwritten notes. More and more physicians are realizing the benefits of employing a medical transcriptionist.

Working Environment

The majority of certified medical transcriptionists in the United States are found in hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and in offices of physicians. The advent of the internet and mobile communication technology has also allowed for professional transcriptionists to work from their own home.

Generally, a medical transcriptionist’s routine includes sitting in a chair for a long time while looking at the screen and typing the information to the computer. Though the settings are generally comfortable for medical transcriptionists, they are still susceptible to various hazards and injuries that can stem from their work. Long hours of sitting can cause back and neck strain and repetitive typing motion can lead to wrist injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome if left unchecked. There is also the risk of eye pain and severe headache due to the glare of the monitor.

Medical transcriptionists may also have a hard time typing the accurate information because of several factors, such as doctors dictating very fast or speaking in heavy or foreign accent, faulty recording, and malfunctioning equipment. The pressure to perform well can also be quite stressful on the medical transcriptionist and that pressure may affect his or her productivity and effectiveness in their tasks.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics show that there were 31,590 medical transcriptionists working for hospitals as of 2010, making hospitals the biggest employer for this kind of profession. Transcriptionists working in the said sector also receive an average medical transcriptionist salary of $34,970 per year. Physicians who have their own offices also provide the second highest number of opportunities, employing 21,100 medical transcriptionists and paying them medical transcriptionist pay rate of $33,320 per annum, a tad lower than the national average.

Medical transcriptionist professionals looking for a big pay should strive to get into companies that are involved in scientific research and development services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has indicated that employers from the said sector pay as much as $39,080 every year. However, the opportunities are very limited and are available only to those with high levels of experience and skills.


Postsecondary education and training are offered in vocational schools, and community colleges. Distance learning programs are also available for those who cannot physically attend school but are willing to learn and develop their skills for a medical transcription career.

Current medical transcription programs being offered today can either lead to an associate degree or a certification. Subjects entailed in these courses include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, disease process, and proper documentation procedures. It is also recommended that those who consider a career as a medical transcriptionist should take skills enhancement courses in typing, documentation, proper grammar and punctuation, and records maintenance among others.

While there is no formal education requirement for medical transcriptionists, many employers prefer to hire those who have received postsecondary training, generally demonstrating a willingness to pay qualified individuals a higher medical transcriptionist salary as well.

Certification & Advancement

The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) offers two designations for those who have satisfied the organization’s standards; Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) and Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT).

Registered medical transcriptionists are those who have less than two years of experience and have passed the AHDI level-1 registered medical transcription exam. In order to acquire the CMT designation, a medical transcriptionist should have at least two years experience in the job and has been exposed to various different platforms, report, and dictation formats in multiple-specialty surgery fields.

A recertification fee is collected if a medical transcriptionist opts to retain his certification. On top of that, the organization also requires medical transcriptionists to earn at least thirty continuing education credits in requisite courses during their three year cycle.

Like other professions, a certified medical assistant has better chances of landing a job and earning a higher medical transcriptionist salary as opposed to his uncertified counterpart.

There are also opportunities for advancement for a medical transcriptionist. Highly skilled and experienced medical transcriptionists can be assigned to supervisory roles and head their own team of fellow medical transcriptionists. Some can also transfer to other fields of work, such as teaching and consultation services. Others can also start their own medical transcription business.

A medical transcriptionist could also become a medical records technician or administrator, medical coder, or medical biller provided they undergo the required education and training programs for advancement.

Employment Projections

Though the profession experienced a dive from 2008 to 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics believes that the medical transcription job will enjoy a, 11% rise by 2018. The Bureau describes the future projections of the medical transcriptionist occupation as good. Generally speaking, industry growth is known to serve as an indicator of the trend for related pay rates, so it would be fair to expect the medical transcriptionist salary to rise modestly in this timeframe.

The increasing need for more medical transcription experts is spurred by several factors. Primarily, there is a strong call to have medical records, diagnosis reports, and prescriptions converted to electronic format that can be accessed easily by service providers, third-party entities, consumers , regulators, and health information structures. The large elderly population will also contribute to the demand for medical transcriptionists, as increasing numbers will require medical tests and exams.

Although speech and human voice recognition technology may hamper the increase of medical transcriptionists, it is relatively new and its mechanics hard to grasp. Often a human professional is needed to work along with the software, checking and editing its results. As such, the medical transcriptionist job will still be in demand in the near future.

Career Summary

As a medical transcriptionist, one must have good grammatical, listening, and typing skills. More than just that, knowledge in various medical subjects is also required if one is to excel in this particular field. Being a medical transcriptionist can be quite taxing, since it involves long hours of sitting, listening, typing, and staring into the monitor.

It is a position that provides fulfillment to the worker. Accurate input of information saves lives and helps other people become well and healthy. No doubt, the medical transcriptionist job is an essential component in healthcare services. For this, they are paid a generous medical transcriptionist salary of up to $46,000 per annum or more.

Speech technology has now allowed doctors and other healthcare professionals to directly dictate their reports and notes to a computer and have a software automatically convert their voice into electronic text. That said, it is a young innovation which still has flaws, which makes the medical transcriptionist job necessary well into the foreseeable future.