Career Info for a Degree in Medical Transcription

Sep 29, 2019

Medical transcription is generally offered as a one- to two-year certificate or associate's degree program. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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Although the outlook for the occupation of medical transcriptionists appears a bit bleak, you my enhance your chances for employment by becoming certified. Based upon training and experience, certification is available through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity.

Essential Information

Individuals interested in working in the health services industry but not wishing to spend many years in college may choose a degree or certification in medical transcription. Medical transcriptionists transcribe, edit and file important patient information as stated by the doctor through dictation. Students can get a certificate in medical transcription in one year, or an associate's degree in two years. Both of these programs also usually include on-the-job experience.

Required Education Postsecondary non-degree award
Certification Options Registered Medical Transcriptionist, Certified Medical Transcriptionist
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* - 3% decline for all medical transcriptionists
Median Salary (2018)* $34,770 for all medical transcriptionists

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

Individuals pursuing careers as medical transcriptionists can receive training through certificate, diploma or degree programs offered at community or vocational colleges. Medical transcriptionists are responsible for listening to and transcribing dictated physicians' reports and other important medical information. They use special transcribing equipment that generally includes a tape player and a foot pedal that's used to pause the recording. Medical transcriptionists must have strong English grammar skills and knowledge of medical terminology.

Although the majority of medical transcriptionists work in hospitals, others work in clinics or other medical facilities. Some individuals also work from home part- or full-time. With the use of the Internet, a medical transcriptionist can receive the dictation online, transcribe it and return it to the provider from anywhere.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical transcriptionists is expected to decline three percent between 2014 and 2024. While medical requirements of the aging population will contribute to employment of medical transcriptionists, technological advances like speech-recognition software are expected to reduce the demand for these workers.

Wages for medical transcriptionists vary; some employers pay an hourly or yearly rate, while others pay by volume of work. The BLS states that medical transcriptionists earned a median wage of $34,770 per year in May, 2018.

Educational Requirements for a Career in Medical Transcription

Individuals pursuing careers as medical transcriptionists can receive training through certificate, diploma or degree programs offered at community or vocational colleges. The Approval Committee for Certificate Programs (ACCP) accredits many of the programs.

Certificate and diploma programs generally take a year or less to complete, while associate's degree programs require up to two years of study thanks to the addition of general education requirements. Students study medical terminology, technical writing, disease process, medical transcription, health care coding, medical administrative procedures, word processing and electronic health records. They also complete clinical education and internships to obtain hands-on learning.


Graduates of ACCP-approved medical transcriptionist programs can earn certification through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity based on their level of experience. Those with less than two years' experience in the field can earn the Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) credential by passing a medical transcription examination. The Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) credential is available to those with more than two years' experience in acute care that pass the required exam. To maintain certification, individuals must complete continuing education. The Medical Transcription Industry Association also offers on-the-job training to RMTs through its Registered Apprenticeship Program.

Technological advances such as speech recognition software have contributed to the fact that the job outlook for medical transcriptionists is expected to decline by three percent over the 2018-2028 time period. Completion of formal post-secondary education programs and familiarity with technological advances along with professional certification can do much to enhance your chances of employment.

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