- The job: Medical transcriptionists listen to dictated recordings made by physicians and other healthcare professionals and transcribe them into medical reports, correspondence, and other administrative material. They generally listen to recordings on a headset, using a foot pedal to pause the recording when necessary, and key the text into a personal computer or word processor, editing as necessary for grammar and clarity. To understand and accurately transcribe dictated reports, medical transcriptionists must understand medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology, diagnostic procedures, pharmacology, and treatment assessments. They also must be able to translate medical jargon and abbreviations into their expanded forms. Many medical transcriptionists telecommute from home-based offices.
- Outlook: Employment of medical transcriptionists is projected to grow 14 percent from 2006 to 2016, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for medical transcription services will be spurred by a growing and aging population. An increasing demand for standardized records should result in rapid employment growth in physicians' offices, especially in large group practices.
- Experience: Completion of a two-year associate degree or one-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.
- The not-so-good: Workers usually sit in the same position for long periods. They can suffer wrist, back, neck, or eye problems due to strain and risk repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. The constant pressure to be accurate and productive can be stressful.
- Pay: Compensation methods for medical transcriptionists vary. Some are paid based on the number of hours they work or on the number of lines they transcribe. Others receive a base pay per hour with incentives for extra production. Wage-and-salary medical transcriptionists had median hourly earnings of $14.40 in May 2006.
Learn more: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos271.htm
This information is from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics .