Associate's degree programs in medical transcription are most typically offered through technical schools, vocational schools and community colleges. The primary objective of such programs is to teach students how to take physician-dictated notes and materials and transform them into written documents that can go directly into patients' files.
Students enrolled in a medical transcription degree program must learn the basics of medical coding and medical terminology so they'll be able to understand and notate what physicians are saying. The program will expose students to a number of different fields including medical ethics and law, customer relations, keyboarding, word processing, business principles and office administration. General education courses in science, mathematics and humanities, in addition to practical medical transcription courses, are required.
Aspiring medical transcriptionists also need to be able to type quickly and efficiently, so their reports are professional enough to share with insurance companies, medical personnel, government agencies and even courts. Voluntary national certification is offered to professionals by several organizations. To qualify for program admission, students should have a high school diploma or GED and an acceptable GPA.
Degrees in Medical Transcription
A program in medical transcription includes courses that provide practical training in the field. Some courses that might build up the skill sets necessary for the medical transcription profession include:
- Medical terminology
- Medical coding
- Applied transcription technology
- Laboratory procedures
- Surgical procedures
- Human diseases
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
As of May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical transcriptionists earned a median annual wage of $34,890. Medical transcriptionists who worked for insurance carriers earned higher salaries than others. From 2014-2024, the BLS has projected a 3% decline in job opportunities for this profession.
Certification is not a strict requirement in the medical transcription profession. However, certification can boost a professional's value in the eyes of a potential employer. The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) offers its Certified Medical Transcriptionist and Registered Medical Transcriptionist credential to individuals who have at least some years of professional experience. To become certified, it is necessary to pass an examination.
Medical transcription is a vital part of the healthcare industry. For students with an interest in becoming transcriptionists, enrolling in a degree program is likely the best way for them to enter the field.