Medical transcriptionists are responsible for listening to voice recordings that health care workers make and convert them into written reports. Their duties may include reviewing and editing medical documents, interpreting medical terminology and more.
Due to the flexibility, portability and relatively easy entry into the medical transcription career path, you may find medical transcription a good career choice for your mobile military life. The opportunity to set your own schedule, work independently and take your job with you when you move may sound wonderful, but do your homework and talk to others in the field before making your decision. Working outside the home or as part of a team may be more appealing than the scheduling, time management and isolation of medical transcription.
You can start your medical transcription career with a high school diploma and minimal additional education or training. Some transcriptionists are self-taught or learn on the job; most attend a one-year diploma program offered online or by trade schools or seek a two-year associate degree. Find a program that offers job placement assistance because it may be harder to find a job until you gain experience. Consider volunteering, or if possible, doing an internship. Proactively network to build contacts and experience in this field and join professional organizations.
You can take a test to become a registered medical transcriptionist or certified medical transcriptionist. However, certification is not a requirement but more of a way to prove your capabilities.
To be a successful transcriptionist, it will help you to have the following skills:
- Fast and accurate typing skills
- Good spelling and grammar skills
- Knowledge of medical technology
- Understanding of the human body and how it functions
- Organizational skills and ability to process a large volume of information, often from multiple sources
- Discretion due to sensitive information and the need to protect the patient’s right to privacy
- Dependability in processing records in a timely and accurate manner
Medical transcriptionists work in an office-type environment or home office setting and may be employed directly by health care agencies or by corporations offering transcription services to health care facilities for a fee. Search for employment opportunities on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search with companies and organizations that may include the following:
Some transcriptionists are self-employed, independent contractors who work for one or more organizations. If you plan to work as an independent contractor, review Self-Employed and Independent Contractors and other articles in the Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment section of MySECO. Independent contracting options may be available through MSEP partners, or you may be able to use your skills in other types of transcription, such as legal, court reporting and captioning and transcription.
Be prepared to have start-up costs and required equipment to get started as an independent medical transcriptionist, including the following:
- A computer system
- A high-speed internet connection for downloading digital audio files
- Word processing software for generating hard copy transcription – Microsoft Word, WordPerfect or preferably both if you’re working for multiple customers
- Audio playback software
- A good headset
- Transcription workflow software to help you keep track of your work assignments
Whether you choose to find employment or work as an independent transcriptionist, you will spend a lot of your time seated and working alone with little outside communication. To maintain a healthy attitude and avoid burnout, make sure to take regular breaks and schedule time with friends and family to participate in activities you enjoy outside of work.
If you are considering a career as a medical transcriptionist, review the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. Take the Strong Interest Explorer and Myers-Briggs self-assessments to make sure your skills and interests align with this career path. Investigate whether you are eligible for My Career Advancement Account Scholarship assistance and use the Scholarship Finder on MySECO to see if money is available to help fund any classes or certifications you might need.
Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 and speak with a SECO career coach for assistance with choosing a school, finding scholarship funding, searching for a job or overcoming challenges. You can also use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website for additional guidance.