What is a Medical Transcriptionist?

Medical TranscriptionistIf you are interested in finding an entrance into the healthcare industry, you may have heard about the job of medical transcriptionist. A transcriptionist is involved in the important task of medical record-keeping. It’s an important enough job that over 95,000 people are currently working at this job in the United States. Although technology is sometimes changing the job’s focus, the task of transcribing medical records continues to be in demand.

What a Medical Transcriptionist Does

If you have been trained as a medical transcriptionist, your task will generally be to transcribe spoken notes by doctors. These might include notes that doctors have put on voice recorders describing interactions with patients in a clinic, doctor’s office or hospital setting. The notes are given to the transcriptionist, who listens to the audio and types the notes up so that they can be kept as part of the record of care. With changes in technology, some doctors now use special voice recognition software that can actually translate their spoken words to written words. This process is not without error, however, so even where such technology is used, transcriptionists provide valuable services in reviewing and editing documents into a more accurate and readable format.

Skills and Training Required

Medical transcriptionists (MTs) are also sometimes called Medical Language Specialists (MLS). As you might guess, this is because it’s important for a transcriptionist to be well-versed in specific medical terminology. If you study to become an MT, you will take classes to learn that terminology and you will likely also study human anatomy. Beyond that, you will need good skills in typing and editing. MTs must be able to focus well and learn to use the various kinds of playback equipment involved in transcribing notes. They also need to learn about different types of medical records and the formats for such records. Since you will be working with information about patients, your coursework will also likely include classes in medical ethics and healthcare law.

Most medical transcriptionist training takes between nine months and two years. There are several routes you can follow to become an MT, including obtaining an associates degree, a certificate or a diploma, according to Medical Transcriptionist. Certificates and diplomas take less time to complete, generally a year or less, but will likely not provide you with the depth of training you would get with an associates degree. A diploma is often the route chosen by someone who seeks this kind of training right out of high school. Any of these types of programs could potentially be a good way to gain entry into the profession. Even if you begin with one of the shorter training programs, you could still go on for an associates degree after gaining some skills. Whatever educational path you pursue, make sure that you choose an accredited school.

Related Resource: Become a Psychiatrist

With healthcare delivery going through rapid changes, the importance of accurate and well-formatted medical records ensures a good job outlook in this field. There is also some flexibility in how transcriptionists work, as some work in an office or hospital setting and others work from home or as independent contractors. If you’re looking for a relatively quick entrance into the healthcare industry, you might want to look further into becoming a medical transcriptionist.