Congratulations! You’re a Medical Transcriptionist – Now What?

Last Updated on October 25, 2013

Medical Transcriptionist Career OptionsOkay, everybody just keep calm (see what I did there?) and make yourself a sandwich. No seriously, grab a bite to eat, sit down and take notes. First, congratulations! You're a medical transcriptionist! Second, there's no reason to panic. It's all going to be good. If you're anxious and feeling kind of stumped, let me just tell you I know that feeling. But hey, we've all been anxious at the start of our careers and the only thing you need to focus on is taking the next step.

Hunting for a job after college can be made easy if you know where to look and apply in the right places, and this holds true for every career. So if you're an MT (Medical Transcriptionist of course!), there are a number of possibilities for you. Here are a few!

Look for work in…

A Doctor's office: In this setting, an MT typically transcribes the doctor's notes into physical examination reports, patient's medical history reports, and consultation reports. An MT working in a doctor's office may also perform administrative tasks such as answering phone calls, taking appointments, and helping new patients.

Hospitals: MTs here perform duties such as making discharge summaries, pathological reports, obstetrical reports, medical history reports, referral letters, operative and procedural reports, autopsy reports, and maintaining a transcription log. In hospitals and doctor's offices, MTs may be additionally required to complete and submit billing claims.

Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories: MTs working in labs are required to generate pathology reports and diagnostic imaging reports. They are also more likely to use speech recognition software.

Working remotely: Many hospitals and doctor's offices also employ medical transcriptionists who work as independent contractors from home, transcribing doctor's notes into various reports and working flexible hours. In a different scenario, MTs can provide their services for lectures, seminars, conferences, and meetings, by creating transcribed documents of the ongoing presentation. And thirdly, they can work for medical transcription companies that have the option of telecommuting.

Other places where you might find employment are insurance companies, medical libraries, outpatient care centers, etc.

And that's not all…!

As you work and gain experience, you can move up the ladder in your organization and branch out to become any one of the following:

Medical Transcription Supervisor: The MT supervisor is responsible for interviewing and training new employees, assigning them new tasks and giving feedback and recommendations whenever required. He or she evaluates and monitors employees and is expected to maintain quality standards and working in conjunction with the staff toward improving inadequacies.

QA Editor: The QA editor is supposed to prepare and set standards and criteria for employee performance review and review the transcribed reports for errors and inconsistencies, and provide feedback to the staff to help reduce errors and ramp up their skills. The QA editor must possess in-depth knowledge of diseases, conditions, signs/symptoms, and medical terminology and keep himself abreast of any changes in these subjects.

Acute Care Medical Transcriptionist: MTs who have experience working in hospitals can work as acute care medical transcriptionists. They should ideally have a very good knowledge about advanced medical procedures and terminology. They prepare discharge summaries, notes and reports about emergency room visits, operations, and chart reviews.

Other avenues that may be laid open for you after you've gained experience are working as a trainer/mentor to new medical transcriptionists, a medical transcriptionist recruiter, or even start your own medical transcription business, where you can work independently as a contractor and go a step further by hiring new trainees, training them, and supervising them, which also means you'll get to be an MT supervisor and a QA editor all at once! Look up or to get an idea of the kind of opportunities that are out there for new graduates.

Certifications that can help you get a job and earn a higher salary

You may want to look into becoming a RMT (Registered Medical Transcriptionist) and CMT (Certified Medical Transcriptionist), maintained by the AHDI (Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity). Newly graduated medical transcriptionists can take the RMT exam, and RMTs with at least two years of experience working in acute care can take the CMT exam. None of these certifications are necessary. But they, especially RMT, show the employer your dedication towards your chosen field and strengthen your chances of getting a job. Others may qualify you for some higher-paying jobs.

Statistics show that MTs earn an hourly median wage of $21. Not bad at all, depending on the hours you put in everyday. And it doesn't take long to get certified – institutes like CareerStep allow you to pursue the course online and finish in as little as 4 months! Medical transcription is a great career option for those who want to make a career in healthcare, but (like me) feel light-headed at the sight of blood, don't have much of a medical background, nor the patience to put in four years of rigorous hard work in med school!

So really, does it honestly seem difficult to find a job as a medical transcriptionist? I'm going to go ahead and take the liberty of saying no siree!

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