Medical Transcription Schools

Medical transcriptionists are vital members of healthcare teams, responsible for converting voice memos from physicians into written records. With the increasing demand for healthcare services due to a growing patient population and aging demographics, the need for transcription services is expected to rise. 

Additionally, many people choose Medical Transcription for a job because oftentimes they can work from home.

Education & Training

Online Programs

Search Medical Transcription Programs

Get information on Medical Transcription programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Local Trade Schools

How Much Does it Cost?

Generally, most programs will cost between $1,000-$5,000 for four semesters of training.  The Penn Foster classes above cost about $1000. These costs include textbooks and special study materials.

The cost of becoming a medical transcriptionist depends on the type of education you pursue.  A few schools may even offer a financial aid program in which they will pay for your tuition if you qualify for aid.

How Long Does Transcription Training Take?

Becoming a medical transcriptionist can take anywhere from six months to two years, depending on your background and the program you choose, but most programs can be completed in just a few months.

  • Certificate programs take 8-12 months.
  • Associate degree programs take two years.
  • The Penn Foster online program below can be completed in as little 8 months.

The advantage to online classes is that you can dictate the time it takes.  Students can fast track their studies and complete everything in 8 months or opt for a 12 month pace.

Legitimacy

What Should You Look for in a Training Program?
At a minimum any legit course should cover most of the following topics to varying degrees:

  • Overview – learn about the history and evolution of medical transcription as a profession, as well as the necessary skills and aptitudes for success. Types of work medical transcriptionists produce, potential work settings, and future prospects in the field.
  • Allied Health – how does medical transcribing fit into the overall field of healthcare?
  • Tools – use the hardware and software commonly used by medical transcriptionists. Practice using software like Express Scribe to listen to real medical dictation audio files, while simultaneously navigating the controls on your keyboard for starting, pausing, and rewinding the audio.
  • Medical Records – review the nine most commonly used report types in hospitals and clinics, including medical letters. Learn about handling pathology reports, as well as effectively dealing with numbers and measurements. Then practice these letters and reports
  • Listening  – how to actively listen effectively.
  • Voice Recognition & Interpretation – understand the limitations of voice recognition systems in replacing human transcriptionists due to challenges like homonyms, synonyms, and antonyms. Learn techniques such as phonetics, vowel sounds, and contextual clues to decipher unclear recordings.

What Do You Study?

The courses that you take in your program will vary depending on the curriculum, but here is a list of some common courses:

  • Introduction to Medical Terminology
  • Legal Regulation Regarding Healthcare Documentation
  • Medical Coding and Billing Systems
  • Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) Principles and Practices
  • Ethics and Legal Aspects of Medical Transcription
  • Medical Terminology and Abbreviations
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Diagnostic Procedures
  • English Grammar and Punctuation

Some employers may also require that you take a course in basic computer science or keyboarding.

Salary

How Much Money Can You Make?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors: what kind of work you’re doing, how many hours per week or month you want to work, and where in the country you live.

According to The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, median pay is $18 per hour or around $37K per year.

Below are average annual and hourly wages for each state.

StateHourlyYearly
Alabama$19.27$40,090.00
Alaska$20.54$42,730.00
Arizona$17.54$36,480.00
Arkansas$16.16$33,610.00
California$20.97$43,610.00
Colorado$19.51$40,590.00
Connecticut$22.83$47,480.00
Delaware$20.84$43,350.00
District of Columbia$17.66$36,730.00
Florida$18.93$39,370.00
Georgia$15.34$31,910.00
Hawaii$22.82$47,460.00
Idaho$17.54$36,480.00
Illinois$17.25$35,890.00
Indiana$20.04$41,680.00
Iowa$19.74$41,050.00
Kansas$16.21$33,710.00
Kentucky$17.68$36,780.00
Louisiana$17.21$35,790.00
Maine$21.94$45,640.00
Maryland$19.24$40,010.00
Massachusetts$21.34$44,400.00
Michigan$16.72$34,790.00
Minnesota$24.38$50,720.00
Mississippi$17.22$35,820.00
Missouri$16.58$34,490.00
Montana$20.43$42,490.00
Nebraska$17.22$35,810.00
Nevada$19.40$40,350.00
New Hampshire$18.33$38,120.00
New Jersey$21.24$44,180.00
New Mexico$16.11$33,500.00
New York$19.53$40,610.00
North Carolina$15.56$32,360.00
North Dakota$21.16$44,020.00
Ohio$17.89$37,220.00
Oklahoma$15.14$31,490.00
Oregon$20.77$43,200.00
Pennsylvania$18.14$37,720.00
Puerto Rico$13.49$28,070.00
Rhode Island$19.54$40,630.00
South Carolina$17.32$36,030.00
South Dakota$21.14$43,970.00
Tennessee$17.79$36,990.00
Texas$17.44$36,270.00
Utah$18.07$37,590.00
Virginia$18.60$38,690.00
Washington$21.95$45,660.00
West Virginia$16.80$34,940.00
Wisconsin$21.49$44,710.00
Wyoming$23.68$49,260.00

Occupation: Medical Transcriptionists (SOC Code319094); Period:May 2023
source: data.bls.gov

If you decide to freelance as a medical transcriptionist, you could earn more than if you were working for an agency because there are no overhead costs involved with hiring freelancers directly rather than through an agency.

Becoming a Medical Coder

How Old Do You Need to Be to Become a Medical Transcriptionist?

Because these professionals are responsible for following federal HIPPA regulations and analyzing confidential healthcare information, medical transcriptionists must be at least 18 years old.

Certification

Certification can boost your career, but it is not required. However, in today’s competitive job market, certification can help you stand out and earn more money.

AHDI-logo
The courses above will prepare your either of The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity  certificates:

Registered and certified medical transcriptionists must have a minimum level of education and pass an exam to become registered or certified. Continuing education is also required to keep your license.

Local Guides

Career Overview

Who Is a Medical Transcriptionist?

Sometimes referred to as healthcare documentation specialists, these workers convert voice recordings of physicians and other healthcare workers into formal reports using electronic devices. Medical transcriptionists may also edit medical records to ensure they’re accurate as well as return documents for review and final approval.

What Does a Medical Transcriptionist Do?


A medical transcriptionist can have a variety of tasks and responsibilities to complete throughout a given workday. In addition to converting voice recordings and editing medical records, medical transcriptionists may also have to answer phones and greet patients, depending on the specific job requirements. Some typical job requirements for a medical transcriptionist are:

  • Listen to a recorded dictation of a doctor or other healthcare worker
  • Interpret and transcribe the dictation for reports
  • Review and edit drafts prepared by the speech recognition software
  • Translate medical abbreviation and jargon into long-form text
  • Identify errors and missing information from reports
  • Submit reports for final review and approval
  • Follow patient confidentiality guidelines and legal documentation requirements
  • Enter medical reports into the system

What Qualifications Do Medical Transcriptionist Jobs Require?

For those interested in becoming a medical transcriptionist, there are certain educational benchmarks you will need to meet before you’re qualified to work. Individuals will first need to get their high school diploma or GED. After, you will want to enroll in a medical transcriptionist program at a community college, vocational school, or online program.

Once you finish your coursework, you can get one of two certifications:

  • Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS)
  • Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS)

Both certifications have certain eligibility requirements that include the passing of an exam.

Where Do Medical Transcriptionists Work?

Many medical transcriptionists work in hospitals, and physicians’ offices. However, with the increase in technology and the idea of working from home becoming more commonplace, it’s possible to work as a medical transcriptionist from the comfort of your own home.

Do You Need a Degree To Be a Medical Transcriptionist?

To work as a medical transcriptionist, you will need to at least earn a certification. You can find many programs that offer medical transcriptionist certifications at local community colleges, medical transcriptionist schools, or online programs.

Individuals may also decide to pursue a two-year associate’s degree. These degrees combine medical transcriptionist classes with a more generalized program of coursework. Students who wish to advance their education can consider getting a medical transcriptionist degree.

What Types Of Skills Should Medical Transcriptionists Possess?

A successful medical transcriptionist will need a wide range of skills to thrive within the role. These workers will need a combination of technical knowledge and expertise, an understanding of medical terminology, and knowledge of human anatomy. Skills that a medical transcriptionist will want to have are:

  • Basic computer skills
  • Being a strong listener
  • Writing skills
  • Ability to think critically
  • Being a problem solver
  • Time management skills
  • Organization

Are Medical Transcriptionists Still in Demand?

Yes, medical transcriptionists are still in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are expected to be an additional 9,300 medical transcriptionist jobs each year from 2021-2031. This will likely happen due to circumstances such as current workers retiring or leaving the field for another profession.

Is Being a Medical Transcriptionist Hard?

A career as a medical transcriptionist can be a challenging one. The job can sometimes be stressful since the work must be so precise. A medical transcriptionist can sometimes find that audio files aren’t always clear when trying to transcribe them. There is sometimes background noise that a worker will need to sort through, or doctors who sometimes don’t speak clearly are speaking too low to easily understand.

How To Get Work as a Medical Transcriptionist

Those seeking work as a medical transcriptionist can find jobs through traditional mediums, such as online job boards. Individuals can create a resume and cover letter showcasing their experience and relevant skills, then submit their applications through online postings.

Medical transcriptions looking to work from home may be able to find open positions through freelance websites or various transcription service websites.

Can a Medical Transcriptionist Work From Home?

Yes, today’s medical transcriptionists are finding it easier to work from home. Many employers will require a worker to have certain amenities such as high-speed internet and a reliable, up-to-date computer. Medical transcriptions will also be expected to have a certain level of knowledge when it comes to different cloud-based services, transcribing programs, and potentially even workflow systems.

What are Alternate Careers For Medical Transcriptionists?

Medical transcription careers can be a rewarding one, though some individuals may want to find work in other fields. With their knowledge of transcribing and documentation practices as well as technical aptitude, a few potential careers a medical transcriptionist may be qualified for are:

  • Team Lead Transcriptionist
  • Quality Assurance
  • MT/HDS Manager
  • Billing and Coding
  • Instructor
  • Medical Transcription Service Organization Owner
  • Receptionist
  • Legal Secretary
  • Court Reporter
  • Data Entry
Search Medical Transcription Programs

Get information on Medical Transcription programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Summary:

  1. Getting your high school diploma or GED will often be the first step on your journey to becoming a medical transcriptionist.
  2. Complete a certification or associate degree in the field.  Receiving a post-secondary education at a local college or through an online program is often vital to securing a job.
  3. Once a person finishes their schooling, they can take an exam and become certified.
  4. Individuals who meet the necessary requirements may begin applying for open positions through online job boards and freelance postings.