What are the Different Medical Transcriptionist Careers?

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  • Written By: Karyn Maier
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 February 2018
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Medical transcription involves transcribing material from a recording to a written document through the use of a transcription machine or specialized computer software. The task may require transcription of the entire recorded contents verbatim, or a summary of pertinent information and facts into a report format. In either case, accuracy and speed are highly valued in this profession and in great demand by a variety of different types of health professionals. In fact, experienced transcriptionists, particularly those who possess knowledge of general medical terminology, usually find steady and rewarding employment in one of the medical transcriptionist careers.

Virtually all medical transcriptionist careers present exceptional opportunities, since the material in need of transcription varies considerably in nature and subject matter. For instance, it may outline the history of a patient’s office consultation and diagnosis made by a general practitioner as a matter of record, or it may represent a detailed forensic accounting of an autopsy made by a medical examiner that may be used in a court of law. Then again, it may contain specific information relating to a surgical operation or a clinical study that may be of interest to an insurance provider or research-funding source.


Each of the above scenarios represents a different challenge in terms of requiring a certain level of proficiency in the proper medical terminology, procedures, and reporting standards unique to that area of medicine. These skills are especially important to possess in order to succeed in most medical transcriptionist careers since every modality of medicine is replete with distinctive jargon and acronyms that the transcriptionist must be able to interpret and expand into written form. This means that with the right training, certification, and experience, one may choose to specialize in oncology, pathology, internal medicine, forensics, and so on.

Those who launch successful medical transcriptionist careers also enjoy variety in the workplace environment. While many transcriptionists find work in hospitals and clinics, others find employment with government agencies, medical libraries, universities, and research facilities. In addition, there is a growing trend toward contracting or sub-contracting with medical facilities and even individual physicians that makes working from home as an independent contractor feasible. This is largely due to advances in technology, most notably the ease of communication and transfer of media via the Internet.

Often, medical transcriptionist careers initiate opportunities for advancement and even second careers. For instance, transcriptionists with significant experience may eventually step into editorial, fact-checking, or supervisory roles. With additional training and education, they may become medical coders or registered health information administrators.



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