Online Medical Transcription Training Programs Directory

You have reached MedicalTranscriptionTraining.org, a comprehensive resource designed specifically for students considering a career as a medical transcriptionist. We have collected all the most up-to-date information on everything you need to know about degree and certificate programs in medical transcription and how to dive into your career as a medical transcriptionist.

Using the Directory

Research more than 80 programs at over 50 schools with our searchable database, and target the programs that best fit your interests and career goals. Then read our guide to medical transcription training, and find out what you should consider as you select a program and discover how to get ahead in the field.

Studying Medical Transcription

I’m interested in studying medical transcription. What can you tell me?

Medical transcription is a form of record keeping. If you choose to study medical transcription, you will learn to listen carefully to audio recordings that contain notes from doctors. You will use knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy and the English language to produce detailed and accurate reports that become a permanent part of a patient’s personal medical files.

Although medical transcription is an important job, you should know that you will not be working in an emergency room or forming relationships with patients. Medical transcriptionists work entirely behind the scenes at healthcare facilities like hospitals and medical and dental clinics. Alternately, you can work from home as an independent contractor for medical transcription agencies.

Medical transcription attracts many students because jobs in this field are plentiful and they require little higher education. In fact, you can only study medical transcription at the certificate and associates degree levels, and you may be able to find a job without any formal training at all. However, a certificate or degree will improve your job prospects and give you an edge in the job market.

Let’s hear some other perspectives

An Interview with Denise Boonie

Denise Boonie

Graduate, Certificate in Medical Transcription, CAI Medical Transcription, LLC

“As a medical transcriber, you need to be patient, dedicated and self-motivated.”

Read the Full Interview >>

An Interview with Dianna Barnett

Dianna Barnett

Graduate, Medical Transcriptionist Training, CAI Transcription

“Be aware that you will be sitting at a desk most of the day. Medical transcription isn’t the best career for you if you don’t have a passion for the medical field. You will need to invest your pride in your work and know that even though you are sitting at home, what you do makes a huge difference in the lives of every patient whose report comes across your computer screen.”

Read the Full Interview >>

An Interview with Patricia Stettler

Patricia Stettler

Instructor, Medical Transcription, Everett Community College

“The benefits of studying medical transcription are that you are immersed in medicine and constantly learning new things.”

Read the Full Interview >>

Medical Transcriptionist Overview

What exactly is a medical transcriptionist?

Medical transcriptionists create official healthcare records that go into the permanent files of patients. After doctors see their patients, they create audio recordings, or dictations, that discuss their patients’ illnesses, diagnoses and treatment plans. Medical transcriptionists receive these recordings and transcribe, or type, what the doctor says. Sometimes the physicians use abbreviations or obscure medical terms, so medical transcriptionists need a thorough knowledge of healthcare terminology and anatomy in addition to excellent typing skills. Medical transcriptionists are either employed by a single healthcare facility or by a transcription agency.

Let’s hear some other perspectives

An Interview with Janet Kunze

Janet Kunze

Certified Medical Transcriptionist, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

“I became a medical transcriptionist because it is a good way to make a living and because I am interested in medicine but don’t want to hold a clinical position in the field.”

Read the Full Interview >>

Personality Quiz

How do I know if medical transcription would be a good fit for me?

Here is a quick quiz to help you decide if you have the personality it takes to succeed as a medical transcriptionist. Rate, on a scale from 1 to 5, how well each of the following statements describes you.

I am a careful listener.

Medical transcriptionists must write out physicians’ notes from recordings. You must listen attentively to transcribe reports with precision.

I can interpret meanings from incomplete information.

Medical transcriptionists use medical knowledge and sound judgment to determine what doctors mean when their reports contain abbreviations or missing data. You should be able to fill in these gaps by paying attention to context.

I pay careful attention to details.

Medical transcriptionists are expected to produce accurate reports. You will need to recall the details of an event on your first listen and make sure that you transcribe details correctly.

I am not squeamish about bodily functions or medical procedures.

Medical transcriptionists sometimes transcribe graphic information about surgeries, diseases and severe injuries. If you have a weak stomach, you may find it difficult to work in medical transcription.

I am productive when I work independently.

Many transcriptionists work from home and set their own schedule. If you want to work for yourself, make sure that you are self-motivated and able to accomplish your tasks without supervision.

I communicate clearly in writing.

The goal of medical transcription is to translate technical medical reports into plain English. You need excellent language skills to create accessible documents.

I respect the privacy of others and I can keep secrets.

Because of laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), medical transcriptionists cannot reveal anything from their reports to other people. You must be able to keep information to yourself.

I can stay on task and manage my time well.

Medical transcriptionists must produce reports quickly without wasting time. A strong and focused work ethic will help you to maintain a fast typing speed.

I am a methodical worker and I do not mind repetitive tasks.

Medical transcription work does not offer a lot of variation. You need to be comfortable doing the same tasks every day in order to be a medical transcriptionist.

I like to use technology to work efficiently.

Medical transcriptionists use computer equipment and word processing software to produce their reports. You should be comfortable with technology to work in medical transcription.

Get My Score

*Note that this is not a scientific quiz. The result is simply my rough estimate of how well I believe your personality matches that of a successful medical transcriptionist.

By my assessment, a career in medical transcription is probably not a good fit for your personality.

By my assessment, although a career in medical transcription may not be an ideal fit for your personality, if you are willing to adapt in a few areas, you can still find success in the field. Please see the list to the right for information on the areas that you may need to work on.

By my assessment, your personality is a good fit for a career in medical transcription. Scroll through our site to gain valuable insight into what it will take you to earn the necessary credentials.

Making the Right Choice

Is there anything else I should consider in deciding if medical transcription is the right choice for me?

Aside from personality, there are a few other considerations that you should keep in mind if you want to become a medical transcriptionist.

Computer Skills

If you want to become a medical transcriptionist, you must be confident using computers. Specifically, you need to be a skilled typist who is comfortable with word processing software. Many medical transcription positions require a minimum typing speed of 60 to 75 words per minute. You will only achieve that speed through constant practice.

Limited Employment Growth

New technology and outsourcing work will eliminate the need for some medical transcription jobs in the future. Some healthcare facilities have adopted speech recognition technology that automatically translates spoken words into text. However, although speech recognition technology is advancing quickly, it produces only rough transcriptions. That means that transcriptionists are still needed to edit these drafts. In addition, some medical facilities are now outsourcing recordings for transcription overseas. But mistakes often occur in these transcriptions and native English speakers must correct them, so there remains some need for medical transcriptionists in the United States.

Medical Transcription Professions

What medical transcription specializations can I choose from?

The most common medical transcription occupations are:

Education Required:

High school diploma; certificate (1 year) recommended

Average Salary:

$34,000

Work Environment:

Hospitals, medical clinics, dental offices, private practice

Job Description:

Medical transcriptionists listen to audio recordings from doctors and transcribe the recordings into a text document. This document is an official medical record that goes into patients’ permanent files. Medical transcriptionists use their knowledge of anatomy, pharmacology, medical terminology and procedures to translate the recordings into typed reports. Medical transcriptionists can work from home or in a medical office.

Education Required:

High school diploma; certificate (1 year) recommended

Average Salary:

$34,000

Work Environment:

Hospitals, medical clinics, dental offices, private practice

Job Description:

Radiology transcriptionists specialize in transcribing audio recordings from healthcare providers who use medical imaging equipment like x ray technology, sonograms and magnetic resonance. Radiology transcriptionists need to be familiar with the terminology that is associated with imaging devices and procedures. They can work from home or in a medical office, where they may have additional responsibilities like answering phones.

Education Required:

High school diploma; certificate (1 year) recommended

Average Salary:

$34,000

Work Environment:

Hospitals, medical clinics, government agencies, nonprofit organizations

Job Description:

Pathology transcriptionists write reports about the spread of diseases by listening to the recorded notes that pathologists make. Pathology transcriptionists must have a background in the unique laboratory procedures and equipment that pathologists use in order to provide accurate reports. These transcriptionists usually work for government pathology laboratories and public health organizations.

Education Required:

High school diploma; certificate (1 year) recommended

Average Salary:

$32,400

Work Environment:

Hospitals, medical clinics, dental offices

Job Description:

Medical records clerks file healthcare records and medical documents. They use paper and electronic filing systems to keep medical documentation organized and easily accessible so that doctors and other healthcare workers can quickly find the information that they need to treat patients.

Job Outlook

What is the job outlook for medical transcriptionists?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 95,100 medical transcriptionists employed in the United States in 2010. Medical transcriptionists are expected to experience 6% job growth through 2020, which is slower than the projected growth for all occupations. New software is able to use speech recognition programs to prepare rough transcriptions, so employment will be limited in the future. However, medical transcriptionists will still be needed to review these drafts and edit them as needed.
Profession Employment 2010 Projected 2020 Average Growth
Medical Transcriptionist 95100 100700 6%
Medical Assistant 527600 690400 31%
Medical Record Or Health Information Technician 179500 217300 21%
Medical Secretary 508700 718900 41%

Average Salary Growth 2006 - 2011

Profession 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Medical Transcriptionist 30660 32120 32960 33350 33530 34050
Medical Assistant 27190 28270 29060 29450 29760 30170
Medical Record Or Health Information Technician 30140 31450 32960 33880 35010 35920
Medical Secretary 29220 30050 30800 31450 31820 32430

Salary By Percentile

Profession 10th 25th 50th 75th 90th
Medical Transcriptionist $22010 $27240 $33480 $39820 $46680
Medical Assistant $20880 $24670 $29100 $35080 $40810
Medical Record Or Health Information Technician $21680 $26280 $33310 $43410 $55170
Medical Secretary $21410 $25660 $31060 $37660 $45860

Education Requirements

How long would it take me to become a medical transcriptionist?

It can take up to 2 years to become a medical transcriptionist, but much shorter routes are available. In fact, you can become a medical transcriptionist immediately after you finish high school. While pursuing a degree is not required to become a medical transcriptionist, most employers prefer that you complete either a 1-year certificate program or an associates degree, which typically takes 2 years.

Areas of Study

What can I expect to learn while studying medical transcription?

Medical transcription programs will give you knowledge of the medical field in addition to some job-specific skills.

Core Areas of Study

Medical Terminology

Medical terminology is the vocabulary that healthcare providers use to describe medical concerns. Medical terminology consists of a specialized system of terms that physicians use to discuss clinical procedures, human anatomy, diagnostic testing and legal issues in the healthcare field. This subject also investigates the history of medical terminology’s Latin roots.

English Grammar and Editing

The proper use of the English language is essential to creating legible medical transcriptions. This subject teaches the meaning and relationship of grammar rules, sentence structure and the parts of speech. Medical transcription students will apply the rules of grammar when proofreading and editing medical reports.

Computer Literacy

Computer literacy is the knowledge of technology and the ability to use it efficiently. For medical transcriptionists, computer literacy involves using computer programs like word processing applications and speech recognition software. This subject also covers how to use computer accessories like headsets and foot pedals that control the speed of audio recordings.

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy is the study of the body and its components, like organs and muscles. Similarly, physiology explains how bodily systems like the nervous and skeletal systems work together in healthy people. These subjects teach healthcare professionals how the human body works so that they can understand the illnesses and other conditions that interfere with biological processes.

Pharmacology

Pharmacology studies the use and effects of drugs as treatment therapy. It discusses the basic categories of drugs and the best way to calculate appropriate dosages. Pharmacology also explores the similarities and differences between types of drugs and emphasizes the potential effects that they have on different bodily systems.

Skills

Typing

Quick and accurate typing skills are very important for medical transcriptionists. As a student of medical transcription, you will use word processing programs to practice correct keyboarding techniques. You will also learn the correct posture and body mechanics to use so that you can avoid injury like carpal tunnel syndrome when you are typing.

Active Listening

As a medical transcriptionist, you will rely on your listening skills to produce accurate medical reports. You will learn to listen carefully so that you can interpret abbreviations and find inconsistencies in audio recordings. Your medical transcription coursework may include practical audio labs that help you to improve your listening comprehension.

Technical Writing

You must have strong technical writing skills to work in medical transcription. Courses in this subject will train you to write technical medical reports that clearly explain clinical data and procedures. You will also learn to translate medical jargon into simple and direct language that average people can understand.

Administrative Skills

If you work in a medical office instead of at home, you will need administrative abilities in addition to your medical transcription skills. Your medical transcription program will teach you to organize filing systems and use office technology like e-mail, scanners and spreadsheets. You will also learn how to interact with patients and healthcare workers in a professional manner.

Time Management

Your medical transcription training will teach you to use your time effectively. You will be prepared to work quickly and stay focused so that you can produce quality work and meet your deadlines. Your classes will help you to organize your work and prioritize your tasks so that you do not waste time.

Academic Degrees

What academic levels are available in the field of medical transcription?

You can only study medical transcription at the undergraduate level. You can enroll in a medical transcription certificate program or earn an associate degree, although formal education is not always necessary.

Select the degree level you are interested in:

  • Certificate
  • Associate’s

Certificate

A certificate in medical transcription is the shortest educational path available in this field. Certificate programs in medical transcription introduce students to important medical and computer skills to quickly prepare them for the workforce.

What are the different types of certificates that I can earn in medical transcription?

You can earn an undergraduate certificate in medical transcription. You can enroll in undergraduate certificate programs right after high school, which makes this field a good choice if you want to enter the workforce soon.

How long will I have to study to earn my certificate in medical transcription?

Medical transcription certificate programs typically require students to complete about 30 to 35 credit hours. Most students complete certificate programs in 1 year.

What types of courses will I take while studying for my certificate in medical transcription?

In your medical transcription certificate program, you can expect to take courses that improve your knowledge of the medical field and teach you technical skills. For example, you will likely take classes about medical terminology, anatomy and pharmacology, which concerns the uses and effects of drugs. You will also take classes about computer skills, speech recognition software application and technical writing. In addition, some medical transcription programs have an externship, which is a brief internship that can offer you hands-on experience working with medical transcription equipment.

What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a certificate in medical transcription?

A certificate qualifies you to work in general medical transcription or to specialize in a subfield like radiology or pathology. In addition, you may be qualified for entry-level clerical positions in the healthcare industry like medical office administration.

What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my certificate in medical transcription?

If you are looking for a medical transcription school, you may want to consider whether or not it is accredited. The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) accredits some medical transcription certificate programs that meet its standards for medical transcription education. Although you do not need to attend an accredited school to find employment, you can be sure that you are getting a quality education if you do.

What about getting an online certificate in medical transcription?

If you want to earn your medical transcription certificate online, you will find many options available to you. A variety of schools offer online medical transcription programs. And, since this type of work is completed independently over the computer, there is no practical reason not to pursue your medical transcription certificate online. If you decide to earn your certificate through an online medical transcription school, you should compare the courses in your online program to those that are offered in an accredited traditional program to make sure that you are getting a quality education.

Associates Degree

An associates degree is the highest level of study in medical transcription. While an associates degree is not required for most medical transcription positions, the additional computer, language and medical training that you will gain may provide you with more work opportunities.

What are the different types of associates degrees that I can earn in medical transcription?

Associate of Science AS

An AS degree in medical transcription has scientific and mathematics classes that are designed to give you a technical background. The AS is a good choice if you want to work right away or transfer your credits into a bachelors program in another subject.

Associate of Applied Science AAS

An AAS degree in medical transcription emphasizes practical job skills, but it is very similar to the AS degree. The AAS is the best option if you want to start a medical transcription job as soon as you graduate.

How long will I have to study to earn my associates degree in medical transcription?

An associates degree in medical transcription usually requires students to complete 60 to 65 credit hours. That means it will take you about 2 years to finish an associates degree.

What types of courses will I take while studying for my associates degree in medical transcription?

Associates degrees in medical transcription provide you with a more comprehensive knowledge of anatomy, medicine and office skills than certificate programs do. Some of the classes that are usually offered in a medical transcription associates degree include word processing, English composition, medical terminology, anatomy and pharmacology. You may also take classes in medical billing and coding, office skills, accounting and business communication or technical writing. You should also keep in mind that the best programs will offer hands-on internship opportunities in the final semester of study.

What types of jobs can I hope to secure with an associates degree in medical transcription?

An associates degree in medical transcription will qualify you to work as a medical transcriptionist in a clinical office or from home, although you do not need this level of education to do so. The advantage of completing additional coursework is that it gives you a basic business background, so that you can perform other duties in a medical office. Small business skills may also make it easier for you to work from a home office because you will be able to manage your projects.

What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my associates degree in medical transcription?

When you are looking for a medical transcription school, you should look for programs that offer classes in medical terminology, English composition and computer literacy. You may also want to look for programs that have internships, since work experience will prepare you for the profession and enhance your resume. If you do not want to research curriculums on your own, you should choose a program that is accredited by the Association of Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI). You can find a job without attending an accredited school, but if a program has earned accreditation, you know that it will provide you with a solid education that will prepare you for your career.

What about getting an online associates degree in medical transcription?

There are few downsides to earning an online medical transcription associates degree. As a medical transcriptionist, your duties will revolve around a computer, so earning your medical transcription associates degree online is a natural fit. But if you decide to attend an online medical transcription school, you should look for a program that offers an internship. Internships will help you make a smooth transition from your online medical transcription program to the working world.

Licensing Information

What else should I keep in mind when considering studying medical transcription?

Before you choose an educational path to help you become a medical transcriptionist, you should consider professional certifications and alternative routes that you can take to start this career.

Certification

The Association of Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) offers 2 levels of professional certification for medical transcriptionists. These certifications are optional, but some employers recognize certification as proof of your transcription skills, so they could lead to a pay raise. If you want to become certified, you will need to pay a fee and pass the AHDI medical transcription exam.

Beginning transcriptionists can take the RMT exam to become certified as Registered Medical Transcriptionists (RMTs). After RMTs have gained at least 2 years of transcription experience, they are eligible to take the CMT exam, which designates them as Certified Medical Transcriptionists (CMTs). The CMT certification indicates more advanced medical knowledge and experience than the RMT. Both certifications expire after 3 years unless you take a continuing education course to keep your knowledge updated.

Alternative Routes

If you choose not to earn a medical transcription certificate or associates degree, you can also enter the industry with a degree in a related specialty. For example, health information management, medical billing and coding and healthcare studies programs all qualify you for entry-level medical transcription jobs.

Questions & Answers

For additional information on studying medical transcription, select a category to find answers

Resources

What are some other resources that can help me learn more about pursuing a degree or certificate in medical transcription?

Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity

Clinical Documentation Industry Association

Medical Transcription Jobs

Medical Transcription World

MedScribe – Medical Transcription Resources

MT Daily – Medical Transcription Networking Center

MT Desk – Reference and Style Guide

MT Herald – Medical Transcriptionist Blog

Quick Fix MT Medical Database – Medical Transcription Resources

Transcription 411