Postsecondary training in medical transcription is preferred by employers;
writing and computer skills also are important.
Education and training. Employers prefer
to hire transcriptionists who have completed postsecondary training in medical
transcription offered by many vocational schools, community colleges, and
Completion of a 2-year associate's degree or 1-year certificate
program—including coursework in anatomy, medical terminology, legal issues
relating to healthcare documentation, and English grammar and punctuation—is
highly recommended, but not always required. Many of these programs include
supervised on-the-job experience. Some transcriptionists, especially those
already familiar with medical terminology from previous experience as a nurse or
medical secretary, become proficient through refresher courses and training.
Formal accreditation is not required for medical transcription programs.
However, the Approval Committee for Certificate Programs (ACCP)—established by
the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) and the American
Health Information Management Association—offers voluntary accreditation for
medical transcription programs. Although voluntary, the completion of an ACCP-approved
program may be required for transcriptionists seeking certification.
Certification and other qualifications.
The AHDI awards two voluntary designations; Registered Medical Transcriptionist
(RMT) and Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT). Medical transcriptionists
who are recent graduates of medical transcription educational programs or who
have fewer than 2 years� experience in acute care may become a registered RMT.
The credential is awarded upon successfully passing the AHDI level-1 registered
medical transcription exam. The CMT designation requires at least 2 years of
acute care experience using different format, report, and dictation types in
multiple-specialty surgery areas. Candidates also must earn a passing score on a
certification examination. Because medicine is constantly evolving, medical
transcriptionists are encouraged to update their skills regularly. In order to
be recertified, RMTs and CMTs must pay a recertification fee. In addition to the
fee, RMTs must earn a minimum of 30 continuing education credits in required
categories during their 3-year cycle. CMTs must successfully complete an online
course and final exam during the 3-year cycle. As in many other fields,
certification is recognized as a sign of competence.
Graduates of an ACCP-approved program who earn the RMT credential are
eligible to participate in the Registered Apprenticeship Program sponsored by
the Medical Transcription Industry Association through the U.S. Department of
Labor. The program offers structured on-the-job learning and related technical
instruction for qualified medical transcriptionists entering the profession.
In addition to understanding medical terminology, transcriptionists must have
good English grammar and punctuation skills and proficiency with personal
computers and word-processing software. Normal hearing acuity and good listening
skills also are necessary. Employers usually require applicants to take
Advancement. With experience, medical
transcriptionists can advance to supervisory positions, home-based work,
editing, consulting, or teaching. Some become owners of medical transcription
businesses. With additional education or training, some become medical records
and health information technicians, medical coders, or medical records and
health information administrators.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition
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Medical Transcriptionist Employment
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Medical Transcriptionist Job Outlook
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