How To Find Work-From-Home Medical Transcriptionist Jobs

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 10, 2020

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As the world goes more and more digital, there’s plenty of opportunities to find work you can do right from your house. As working from home gets more popular, remote jobs are being posted everyday.

Some jobs, like medical transcriptionist, have been remote since before the pandemic hit. Doctors offices and medical professionals are always looking for more transcriptionists to help them take notes and care for their patients.

More specifically, medical transcriptionists listen to audio recordings of meetings between doctors (or other healthcare workers) and their patients. They then transcribe the conversation and take notes for the healthcare workers so doctors can save time on recording the appointments they have.

Medical transcriptionists can be employed by a few different groups, including hospitals, doctor’s offices, transcription service centers, and some are even self-employed. The wide range of opportunities and flexibility is a big draw to the profession for most people.

Working as a medical transcriptionist can have many benefits, like the flexibility of working from home or only working the hours that you set. In this article we’ll break down what a medical transcriptionist does and how you can become one.

What skills do you need to work as a medical transcriptionist?

The best part about becoming a medical transcriptionist is that you probably already have most of the skills and qualifications you need to succeed in medical transcription. Here’s some of the top skills medical centers look for when hiring a transcriptionist.

  1. Auditory skills. Medical transcriptionists are highly qualified note takers, so they need to have excellent listening skills. If you’re good at remembering small details from conversations, this might be a great job for you.

  2. Written communication. Again, as a professional note taker you’ll need to have excellent writing skills so the people who read your notes understand what you’re trying to communicate. This includes a good grasp on basic composition and grammar, two writing skills that will help you write clearly and communicate effectively.

  3. Basic software knowledge. Since medical transcription is a job that can be done remotely, it involves the use of different software programs. If you’re good with computers, know how to use word processing tools (like Word and Google Docs), and can navigate health information management systems, you should be able to handle a medical transcription job.

  4. Basic medical knowledge. Working in medical transcription requires a basic understanding of medical practices and medical terminology. You’ll have to record conversations about medical procedures, treatments, or prescriptions, so knowing what the doctors are talking about is key. Many medical transcriptionists take courses on the medical concepts and there’s even opportunities to specialize in transcribing for specific fields of medicine.

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  5. Work independently. As a remote worker, you need to be a self-starter and be able to motivate yourself to get your work done. You also need to be reliable and communicative so your employer knows that you’re an employee they can count on. If you’ve ever had a remote job before, you’re well on your way to acing the work-from-home skills you need to be a great medical transcriptionist.

  6. Time management. Time management is important in any job, but it’s especially important when you’re working independently out of your home. Keep your to-do list clear and know when you need to do your personal vs professional work.

  7. Resourcefulness. When you work alone from your home, you won’t always be able to contact a colleague for help or get an immediate response from them. Being resourceful and using the tools you have will help you get your work done without constantly relying on colleagues.

  8. Stick to deadlines. Being aware of deadlines and projects coming up is key to being a medical transcriptionist. You most likely won’t be working on one transcription or project at a time, so keeping track of all of your tasks is extremely important. Having short turnaround times for transcriptions is also a great skill to have that will make you a desirable candidate.

There’s also a few educational and skill requirements that employers look for in a medical transcriptionist besides the skill qualifications. Here’s some of the most important ones.

  • GED or high school diploma. You’ll need to have either a GED or high school diploma to be eligible for a medical transcriptionist position

  • Diploma, certificate, or Associate’s Degree. On top of having a high school diploma, most companies require that applicants have taken a specialized course in medical transcription. These courses serve to teach students how to write clearly and communicate effectively, as well as gives students a chance to learn all of the medical terminology they’ll need to be a good medical transcriber. These programs are often highly specialized so you’ll be learning things like medical practices and note taking that you won’t find anywhere else. Typically these programs range from a 6-month program to a 2-year Associate’s Degree.

  • Medical transcriptionist certification (optional). Finally, employers look for candidates who have a medical transcriptionist certification, but it’s not a requirement for most jobs. The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (or AHDI) offers a certification exam so medical transcriptionists can prove their knowledge and skills before even having a job in the field. People who pass the exam are acknowledged as Certified Medical Transcriptionists and must retake the test every three years for the title to be valid.

Where to look for a job as a medical transcriptionist?

Medical transcriptionist jobs are posted like any other job. There’s always listings on the usual job boards, like ours.

Usually you’ll find miscellaneous postings from different clinics or doctor’s offices where they’re looking to bring on a transcriptionist for the practice. This means you could work with just one office and be a contractor or employee for them.

Other places to look for medical transcriptionist jobs are with larger companies that hire medical transcriptionists to work for any medical office in their network. Think of this as a middle-man process. These large companies have medical offices in their network that send work whenever they need something done and the large company will assign a transcriptionist on retainer to complete the work.

Here’s a few of the top companies that hire medical transcriptionists.

  • Ascend Healthcare Systems. While Ascend typically has the most opportunities, they also have a more rigorous background check and previous experience requirement.

  • Nuance Transcription Services. This company offers both full-time and part-time transcription work.

  • FastChart. If you apply here, be prepared to take a quick exam to test your medical and transcription knowledge.

  • M*Modal. Get your certification papers ready since this company asks for proof of a certification or your recent work experience when you apply.

  • iMedX. This company offers the most flexible positions with full-time and part-time work available for various days of the week and shifts throughout the day.

What equipment do you need to do the job?

There isn’t much that you need to be a medical transcriptionist, but check this list before you apply to make sure you have the basics. Remember that equipment requirements change with each job, so double check the job posting for any extra requirements.

  • Computer. The most basic thing you’ll need to be a medical transcriptionist is a computer. Sometimes companies have specific hardware and software requirements (like a Windows computer with a certain version of an operating system), so look closely for those. Otherwise, almost any computer will get you started as a medical transcriptionist.

  • Software programs. Often companies will ask you to have specific programs installed on your computer to help you work. Usually they ask for programs like Microsoft Word or the Google Chrome browser, but sometimes you’ll need a specific program. Companies can give you the software or cover a license most times, but double check with them on how you should get the more obscure medical field software on your device.

  • Reliable internet. Like any other remote job, a reliable internet is a must. If you’re able to browse the web, stream videos, and send emails on the daily, your connection should be strong enough to work remotely.

  • Comfortable desk setup. Working from home is great for convenience, but sometimes it’s hard to create a comfortable working space. Make sure you have a good set up with a desk and chair so you’re able to listen and type comfortably.

  • Good headphones. While it’s not a requirement, having a good set of headphones is especially helpful for transcriptionists since so much of the job requires listening intently. Headphones can help concentrate the sound into your ear as well as block out any sounds that come with working out of your home.

  • Time-tracking software. Whether you want to be a freelance (also known as self-employed) medical transcriptionist or an employee of a medical company, you need access to a reliable time-tracking software to track the hours you work. Medical transcriptionists can be paid hourly or by word written, so knowing the amount of time you spend on a particular project will help you determine how much you’re getting paid. This is an essential tool for any freelancer, so it’s helpful to have one no matter what jobs you’re looking at.

How much can you make working as a medical transcriptionist?

With the great flexibility and fairly easy path to getting certified, medical transcriptionist jobs are in high demand. Add the great salary to that, and you can see why lots of people are interested in the field.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics determined that the median pay for medical transcriptionists in 2019 was 33,380 per year and $16.05 per hour. They also wrote that there were almost 60,000 jobs for medical transcriptionists in 2019, so there’s plenty of chances to jump into the industry.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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