How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist Online

Nov 19, 2019

Medical transcriptionists help convert dictated or recorded patient and healthcare information into text, which can be more readily shared and processed. In this article you will find steps you can take online to become a medical transcriptionist.

Medical Transcriptionist Career Information

A medical transcriptionist's chief responsibility is listening to the dictation of a doctor or other healthcare worker and transcribing that information into a written report. The information may include patient histories, exam notes, discharge notes, and they could also be responsible for organizing and maintaining this information, looking for any potential errors, creating summaries and reports, and expanding medical jargon and abbreviations into the full terminology. The table below includes more about this career:

Required Skills Typing, English, critical thinking, listening
Job Growth -3% for 2018-2028*
Median Salary (2019) $34,770 per year*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps for Becoming a Medical Transcriptionist Online

The following steps offer a concrete path for those wishing to become a medical transcriptionist. Each of these steps can be completed online, the only exception being some optional choices, such as some degree paths and certifications.

Step One: Complete an Education Program

Most employers will seek transcriptionists who have completed a formal postsecondary education program in medical transcription. These types of courses are often offered at community colleges and vocational schools, but can also be completed online through distance learning programs. These programs are typically one-year in length and instruct students on the medical terminology they will have to use on the job, as well as anatomy, risk management, and the legal requirements of working with healthcare documents. Those who have previous experience in the healthcare field and those who have completed other postsecondary program might qualify for a refresher course instead.

Step Two: Refine Skills

One of the most important skills for being a medical transcriptionist is typing skills. The ability to efficiently and accurately transcribe medical information is the primary responsibility for this career, and being able to do so to a high degree can make you a better candidate for certification and employment. Improving your word-per-minute (WPM) average, your accuracy, and your technique are therefore just as important as any other step. There are online tools that you can use to test your WPM typing average, as well as video tutorials which can teach you the proper way to type as well as tips for improvement. Improving your accuracy and efficiency can only improve your chances of becoming not only certified, but a working professional medical transcriptionist.

Step Three: Become Certified

Certification is not required to become a medical transcriptionist, however certification can help individuals prove their skills and qualification when seeking initial employment or promotion opportunities. The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity offers two certification options: Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist and a Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist.

The Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) credential is suited best for those who have fewer than two years of experience (including recent graduates of a medical transcription education program), while the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist is for those who have already earned their RHDS and have more than 2 years of experience. The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity offers online resources for completing the RHDS examination as well as online proctoring.

Next: View Schools

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?