Associate of Medical Transcription: Degree Overview

An associate's degree program in medical transcription primes students to assist medical professionals in quickly copying, reproducing and documenting information for health care forms.

Essential Information

An associate's degree program in medical transcription prepares students to transliterate documents for hospitals, physicians' offices and insurance companies, or to work as telecommuters working from home. These 2-year programs are usually offered by vocational schools and community colleges.

Admission requires as high school diploma or equivalent, and applicants might also need to pass a keyboarding test. Additionally, before beginning core material, students must often complete classes in fundamental English, basic computer skills and general office procedures.

Associate of Medical Transcription

Coursework covers keyboarding, grammar, listening skills and medical terminology, preparing students to generate physical examination reports, patient histories and other health care forms. Students will also be taught various dictation methods and how to use transcription technology, like digital recording devices or voice-recognition software. In addition, students in a medical transcription associate's program may also take courses in medical ethics and accounting. Other common topics include:

  • Medical office procedures
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Dictation
  • Pharmacology
  • Health care law
  • Surgical transcription

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment of medical transcriptionists will decrease by 3% from 2014-2024. Changes in technology are responsible for the decreased need for transcriptionists, though an overall increase in health care services should help maintain some demand. The median annual salary for a medical transcriptionist was $34,890 as of May 2015.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) offers credentialing to transcriptionists at two levels. The Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) designation is for transcriptionists with two or fewer years of experience or those who work in a single specialty, such as radiology or private practice. The Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) designation is for more experienced transcriptionists or those whose work is more diverse. These credentials are valid for three years. A CMT must complete at least 30 hours of continuing education courses to renew the credential, while an RMT must pass the exam again or take a recertification course.

Students enrolled in associate's degree programs in medical transcription learn the necessary technological skills and medical terminology needed to start a career in this field and eventually earn certification.

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