Medical Transcription Degrees and Training Programs

Learn details about a degree program used for training students for a career in medical transcription. Get information about admission requirements and course topics. Read about certification, employment figures and salaries for medical transcriptionists.

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Essential Information

Medical transcriptionists work in hospitals and doctor's offices, transcribing oral notations and prescriptions into written records for official use. The degree most commonly conferred to students aspiring to the profession is an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Transcription degree. Associate degree programs in medical transcription are most typically offered through technical schools, vocational schools and community colleges. The primary objective of such programs is to teach students how to take physician-dictated notes and materials and transform it into written documents that can go directly into patients' files and records.

Students enrolled in a medical transcription degree program must learn the basics of medical coding and medical terminology so that they'll be able to understand and notate what physicians are saying. Aspiring medical transcriptionists should also gain the training necessary to type quickly and efficiently, so their reports might be suitable to show to insurance companies, medical personnel, government agencies and even legal courts. Voluntary national certification is offered to professionals by several organizations in this field.

Education Prerequisites

Students must have a high school diploma and an acceptable grade point average to gain enrollment in a medical transcription degree and training program. Once accepted into such a program, students must complete general education courses in science, mathematics and humanities, in addition to completing practical medical transcription courses.

Program Coursework

A training program in medical transcription includes courses that provide practical training in the field. Some courses that might build up the skill sets necessary for the medical transcription profession include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Medical coding
  • Applied transcription technology
  • Laboratory procedures
  • Surgical procedures
  • Human diseases
  • Medical ethics and law
  • Customer relations
  • Keyboarding
  • Word processing
  • Business principles
  • Office administration

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Physicians' offices, hospitals and other healthcare facilities across the country employed a total of more than 74,810 medical transcriptionists in May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). Those individuals earned a median annual wage of $34,020 in that year. Medical transcriptionists who worked for home health care services earned higher salaries than others in the profession, reported the BLS.

Certification Information

Certification is not strictly a requirement in the medical transcription profession. However, certification can boost a professional's value in the eyes of a potential employer. The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) offers its Certified Medical Transcriptionist and Registered Medical Transcriptionist credentials to individuals who have at least some years of professional experience. These certifications also require individuals to pass an examination.

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