Medical transcriptionists transcribe dictated recordings made by physicians and other health care professionals, producing different types of medical reports and administrative materials. In the last few years, there have been increasing numbers of opportunities for these workers due to the growing and rapidly changing medical industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed in their most recent report that the employment of medical transcriptionists is expected to grow by 11% through 2018. This figure indicates that the job opportunities for this specialized group of transcriptionists are expected to grow as fast as the average for all occupations. In 2008, about 105,200 medical transcriptionists were employed. Based on reports, about 36% were employed in hospitals and about 23% worked in the offices of physicians in the same year. Medical transcriptionists also have the opportunity to work in other settings, such as in medical and diagnostic laboratories, transcription offices, outpatient care centers and offices of therapists and audiologists.
The increasing need for medical transcriptionists is mainly due to the increasing number of the older population in need of constant medical care and attention. With advancing age, more physician consultations, laboratory and diagnostic tests, surgeries and treatment procedures are needed to be documented. With rapid medical and technological advances, newer procedures are utilized for improved quality and distribution of care, resulting in more information needed for documentation. The increasing demand for medical transcriptionists is also set off by the recent developments in information technology and communication systems. Electronic documentation is now more preferred by health care providers, insurance companies and consumers for easier processing, security and accuracy.
There is a growing concern about the increasing number of overseas workers employed to do medical transcription work. It is true. Outsourcing transcription work overseas has increased in the last few years mainly due to the improved security in the Internet. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics believes that overseas transcription services are only expected to supplement to supply the demand for trained medical transcriptionists. Moreover, most transcribed works require editing by domestic medical transcriptionists to meet the standards set in the U.S.
To start a medical transcriptionist career, it is always best to obtain the appropriate training from schools that offer the program. Aspiring medical transcriptionists are required by employers to complete either a 1-year medical transcriptionist program or a 2-year associate’s degree program in medical transcriptionist schools before entry. In general, these programs include classroom lectures, and a supervised on-the-job experience.
Employers prefer certified or registered medical transcriptionists. Medical transcriptionist certification is given by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity or AHDI. Fresh or recent graduates of medical transcriptionist training programs or those with less than two years experience in acute care may be designated as registered medical transcriptionists or RMTs when the AHDI level-1 certification exam is passed. A recertification is needed during a 3-year cycle. RMTs must earn a minimum of 30 continuing education credits within this time period. Medical transcriptionists with at least two years of acute care transcription experience may be designated as certified medical transcriptionists or CMTs. A recertification is also needed during the 3-year cycle. Recertification is obtained when CMTs complete an online course and a final examination during within the given period.