a medical transcriptionist types on a keyboard

Training and Certification for Medical Transcriptionists

Starting a career as a medical transcriptionist is a popular choice because of the flexibility it presents. A person that is trained and certified can earn a median income of $16 an hour and work 40 hours per week at doctor’s office. Some may choose self-employment and hours that are not regular such as the weekend or evening work hours.

Job Description

Medical transciptionists listen to recordings that are dictated from medical professionals and doctors; then they transcribe or write them out into reports, other materials, and correspondence. A headset is used to listen to the recordings and a computer is used to type in what is heard. Medical transcriptionists are responsible for correcting grammatical errors. They may also have other duties such as answering the phone, checking patients in, and scheduling appointments if employed at a doctor’s office.


Medical transcriptionists do not have to have a college education, but most companies prefer that they do. Potential students can select from accredited online schools, community colleges and vocational schools to obtain training as a medical transcriptionist.

Transcriptionists must be able to recognize medical terms in order to understand and accurately transcribe the recorded information. Students that are enrolled in a program for medical transcriptionists are usually required to take classes in English, healthcare documentation related legal issues, medical terminology, physiology and anatomy. It is also important for the students to have computer proficiency, advanced typing speed, normal hearing ability, strong writing and grammar skills and good listening skills.

Credentials and Certifications

Credentials for medical transcriptionist can be earned by obtaining a passing score on a written exam. The candidates must also have continuing education or periodic retesting. These credentials that are offered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity include a Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) and a Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS). The CHDS is designated for anyone that has at least two years of practice in an acute care environment utilizing different report types, dictation and format in diverse specialties. The RHDS is designated for anyone that has matriculated from a medical transcriptionist program and possesses less than two years of practice in the area of acute care.

The need for medical transcriptionists is anticipated to have slow growth at a rate of around 6%. The demand for those in the profession will continue to increase as the populace ages. However, advances in technology have increased the transcriptionists’ proficiency and that will place limits on general growth in the profession.

Last Updated: April 22, 2015