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Best Medical Transcriptionist Schools + Career Information – 2020

A career as a medical transcriptionist offers perks such as the ability to potentially work from home that are not offered by many other positions within the health care field. On top of quality transcriptionists being in high demand by physicians, you can also look forward to enjoying a comfortable salary as soon as you complete your short education. As you begin to explore your options to gain entry into this field, check out these 5 best medical transcription programs that are known for turning out qualified graduates.

What is the Goal of a Medical Transcription Program?


Medical transcription programs teach you the skills that you need to convert recorded speech from doctors and other health care workers into written reports. You can expect your courses to cover topics that are related to medical transcriptionist duties such as common terminology for health conditions and procedures and how to create essential medical documents. You will also learn how to review drafts created by speech recognition software and edit them to ensure accuracy on medical reports. By the time that you complete your program, you should also be capable of completing quality assurance audits that help ensure that patients receive proper care.

Program Cost


Medical transcription schools have a wide range of costs that depend upon the type of training that you receive as well as the length. On average, you can expect to spend a maximum amount of $32,198 for an associate degree in this field.

Type Cost
Certificate / Diploma$2,560 - $27,510
Associate Degree$6,848 - $32,198


Program Length


You can find many programs that allow you to complete your training within as few as six months. However, longer programs provide you with an opportunity to learn even more skills that make you more competitive when you apply for positions after graduation.

Type Length
Certificate / Diploma6 – 18 Months
Associate Degree 2 Years


Can I Pursue This Program Online?


It is possible to take this program online since medical transcription training requires virtually no hands-on experiences in a clinical setting. Many programs allow you to take the full course load online, but you may need to visit your school’s campus for events such as proctored exams. If you are a student who requires more one-on-one instruction or learns best in a group, then you can also find programs that allow you to attend class on-campus. Hybrid programs are another option that let you come to campus for specific classes such as anatomy and physiology where practical experiences are involved while also allowing you to finish your bookwork and office technology courses online.

Admission Requirements


The majority of medical transcription programs have requirements in place for admission to ensure that you are a going to be successful in the school. These include the following.

• have a GED or high school diploma
• pass a placement exam if you have been out of school for several years
• be 18 years of age or older (some programs)

Curriculum


The curriculum in your program covers essential topics such as which type of format to use for specific documents and how to translate a physician’s verbally communicated jargon into written words. Through your coursework, you will learn about the terminology that health care workers use to describe a patient’s symptoms, medical diagnosis and prognosis. You will also learn how to carefully transcribe a physician’s recordings of their encounters with patients. You will also learn about how to use health technology to complete your work such as dictation software or special programs designed to create medical forms and assist with record keeping. Due to the constant changes in health care, you should expect for your program to offer up-to-date courses that show you how to use the most recent types of technology.

What are the 10 Best Medical Transcriptionist Programs in the Nation for 2020


1) California State University - Bakersfield, CA


2) University of Central Florida - Orlando, FL


3) The University of Utah - Salt Lake City, UT


4) Wytheville Community College - Wytheville, VA


5) Normandale Community College - South Bloomington, MN


6) Jefferson State Community College - Birmingham, AL


7) El Paso Community College - El Paso, TX


8) Richland Community College - Decatur, IL


9) Eastern Gateway Community College - Steubenville, OH


10) Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College - Perkinston, MS



Certification and Licensure Requirements to Work as a Medical Transcriptionist


While certification is not usually required by most states, you will find that choosing to get certified gives you a leading edge as a medical transcriptionist. The process of getting certified depends upon how long you have been working as a medical transcriptionist as well as your ability to demonstrate competency when you take the exam. Currently, the Association for Healthcare Integrity (AHDI) is the agency that offers the two main types of certification that you can seek as a medical transcriptionist.

The first type of certification that you can apply for is called the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS). This is offered to recent graduates from a medical transcription program who have only been working for two years of fewer in their field. This certification is also designed for people who work within a single-specialty environment such as a physician’s private practice.

The second type of certification that you can seek through AHDI is the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) credential. To be eligible to apply for this certification, you must already have a RHDS and have been working in the field for more than two years. With both types of certifications, you will need to study for and pass the written exam that assess skills such as your ability to transcribe an audible recording pertaining to a medical procedure. Both certifications are valid for three years, and recertification involves you taking a continuity education course offered by the agency.

Where Do Medical Transcriptionists Work?


Hospitals; State, Local, And Private:

You will transcribe essential documents that vary depending upon which part of the hospital that you work within such as notes for a surgical procedure.

Administrative and Support Services:

You may assess patient records and verify accuracy before submitting them for permanent recordkeeping.

Offices of Physicians:

You may transcribe a physician’s notes at the end of the day to add to patient charts.

Self-Employed Workers:

You can choose to work from home and transcribe for physicians and other health care workers that work in other locations.

Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories:

You will draft and edit reports that provide information on laboratory findings and double check patient records for errors.

Industry Employment
Number Percent
Hospitals; State, Local, and Private15,64628%
Administrative and Support Services15,64628%
Offices of Physicians13,41124%
Self-Employed Workers2,7945%
Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories1,6763%
(Source: BLS)


Work Environment & Conditions


Medical transcriptionists tend to work in administrative and office environments. However, these environments may sometimes be in medical facilities that expose transcriptionists to the same risks and stressors as health care workers such as being around people who may have communicable diseases. Some transcriptionists work from home, and they use health and computer technology to receive recordings from physician’s and submit documents electronically. The majority of transcriptionists work full-time, but there are also part-time positions available within many work environments in the field. The risks involved with medical transcription are minimal, although back and wrist strain are possible with repetitive tasks that are required for the job such as typing on the computer. The need to have everything correct can also be stressful for medical transcriptionists at times, but they also find that working within an indoor office environment is comfortable.

What Starting Salary Can I Expect as a Medical Transcriptionist?


An average medical transcriptionist salary begins at around $11.69 an hour. When you work this out to a year, you can expect to make around $24,320. Keep in mind that getting certified helps to increase your expected starting salary. Transcriptionists who are self-employed can also have more control over how much they charge hourly.

Type Salary
Hourly$11.69
Monthly$2,030
Annual$24,320
(Source: In-House Research)


How Much Will My Salary Grow with Experience?


With experience, your salary nearly doubles at the twenty-year mark. Medical transcriptionists that make it to this milestone are typically making around $51,410 a year. As you look forward to hitting each level of experience, keep in mind that continuing education helps to increase your expected growth in salary.

Level of Experience Hourly Monthly Annual
1-4 years$12.96 $2,250 $26,960
5-9 years$16.95 $2,940 $35,250
10-19 years$20.97 $3,630 $43,610
20 years or more$24.72 $4,280 $51,410
(Source: BLS)


How Many Job Openings are there for Medical Transcription Graduates?


New Replacement Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
06,4006,400
(Source: careeronestop)


10 Year Employment Outlook


Right now, there is a slight decrease in growth for people in the medical transcription field. While this may look daunting, the truth is that there are still plenty of jobs to be found because the aging population is currently increasing the need for people to record medical information related to their health care. The slight decrease in growth right now is mostly attributed to increased access to technology such as voice dictation software that allows fewer transcriptionists to prepare these records. Staying up-to-date on advances in the field and pursuing an educational program that focuses on teaching you how to use technology is the best way to stay ahead in a competitive job market.

Employment Employment Growth, 2016-26
2016 2026 Number Percent
57,40055,500-1,900-3.31%
(Source: careeronestop)


State Wise Employment, Job Openings & Salary Breakdown


State Employment Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement) Annual Average Salary
Alabama 480 70 $35,090
Alaska 110 10 $45,400
Arizona 1,000 150 $29,990
Arkansas 470 60 $32,190
California 4,990 430 $41,340
Colorado 690 120 $38,390
Connecticut 630 70 $35,850
Delaware 140 20 $30,630
District of Columbia 50 N/A $34,140
Florida 6,620 780 $35,530
Georgia 1,710 180 $33,370
Hawaii 230 20 $27,470
Idaho 530 50 $31,030
Illinois 2,110 160 $32,310
Indiana 1,060 110 $34,530
Iowa 600 220 $34,750
Kansas 870 80 $29,680
Kentucky 930 N/A $33,720
Louisiana 780 130 $30,620
Maine 160 40 $34,750
Maryland 740 90 $41,380
Massachusetts 700 70 $41,830
Michigan 1,950 220 $32,460
Minnesota 1,050 170 $43,010
Mississippi 250 N/A $28,210
Missouri 1,660 130 $34,390
Montana 200 50 $31,540
Nebraska 410 60 $35,100
Nevada 420 50 $35,450
New Hampshire 270 30 $39,230
New Jersey 1,030 120 $43,610
New Mexico N/A 30 $36,440
New York 1,750 290 $39,940
North Carolina 990 150 $34,630
North Dakota 240 30 $37,460
Ohio 2,250 230 $37,280
Oklahoma 350 40 $34,200
Oregon 1,220 130 $39,080
Pennsylvania 2,100 240 $41,430
Rhode Island 130 N/A $43,500
South Carolina 640 90 $34,580
South Dakota 520 60 $33,570
Tennessee 1,250 200 $33,850
Texas 5,150 600 $36,350
Utah 420 40 $33,060
Vermont 120 20 $39,920
Virginia 2,200 260 $34,220
Washington 1,280 140 $40,030
West Virginia 410 40 $33,530
Wisconsin 1,620 230 $38,770
Wyoming 70 10 $38,190
Puerto Rico 160 20 $24,890
(Source: BLS & careeronestop)


Important Organizations & Associations


Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity


Students and professionals can become members of this organization. In addition to offering the exam to obtain certification, you can also search for jobs, connect with other transcriptionists and take online courses as a member.

American Health Information Management Association


This organization aims to advance the health information services field by providing educational opportunities for members. They offer webinars, conferences and a student center that helps you through each step of planning your career.

American Transcription Association


As a member of this organization, you can participate in helping to uphold standards the protect the privacy of patients who rely upon transcriptionists. The association also aims to help transcriptionists find success through special discounts offered to people who work within the field.