Medical transcription entails listening to dictated notes recorded by physicians and other healthcare professionals and typing them into clear, concise documentation to be included in medical charts, notes, and correspondence. Some medical transcriptionists may receive audio tapes directly from physicians and return printed notes the following day, while other medical transcriptionists telecommute by using digital recordings and emailing their finished documents. Medical transcription must be done quickly and with great care, as accuracy is essential to patients’ health records. For this reason, medical transcriptionists must be fast keyboardists with strong listening skills and familiarity with advanced medical terminology. Medical transcriptionists must also have a reliable short-term memory, strong grammar skills, and an ability to follow written and verbal instructions with ease.

What Can I Do With an Online Degree in Medical Transcription?

An online degree in medical transcription can prepare you for certification, which is a requirement for employment in many states. When looking for the right online college for medical transcription, it is important to make sure it is approved by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI). The AHDI offers certification as a Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT), which is based on having less than two years of professional transcription experience, as well as Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT), which requires more than two years of experience in transcription. By earning an online certificate in medical transcription, you will gain the necessary skills to pass certification examinations. Recertification is necessary every three years, with continuing education requirements that can be satisfied through most online medical transcription colleges.

Graduates of online medical transcription degree programs can generally find employment in doctor’s offices, laboratories, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and within business support services. Employment for medical transcriptionists can also be found with occupational, physical, and speech therapists, as well as with audiologists. For someone who is already working in the medical field, an online degree in medical transcription can lead to more job opportunities or career advancement. Medical transcribing can be seen as a stepping stone toward a career as a medical records and health information technician, medical biller and coder, or health information administrator.

Job prospects are expected to be good, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with employment for medical transcriptionists expected to grow faster than the national average for all occupations. The increase in employment is attributed to several factors, such as the need for more healthcare workers as the general population lives longer. Other reasons include an increase in demand for electronic documentation between healthcare professionals, and a greater number of tests, treatments, and procedures that will require documentation. The BLS also states that job prospects for medical transcriptionists can increase with certification, more so in physicians’ offices than in hospitals.

The median hourly wage for medical transcriptionists in 2008 was $15.41, according to the BLS. Hourly wages were higher for medical transcriptionists employed at medical and diagnostic laboratories, and only slightly higher for transcriptionists working at general and surgical hospitals, and outpatient centers. Wages vary depending on whether the transcriptionist works by the hour, or by the number of words or lines they transcribe.

What Is It Like To Get An Online Degree in Medical Transcription?

To successfully earn an online certificate in medical transcription, students must meet the technology requirements for online learning, in addition to completing assignments and taking examinations in a timely manner. Students in online medical transcription programs can expect to take courses in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, medical law and bioethics, pathology, and pharmacology. Students must also take basic and advanced courses in keyboarding. Some online colleges offer medical transcription courses in conjunction with online classes in medical billing and coding.