Posted in Career Insights
how to become a medical transcriptionist

To become a medical transcriptionist, you generally need to complete a medical transcriptionist training program.

Some vocational schools offer medical transcriptionist programs, and some community colleges do as well.

A medical transcriptionist’s main job is to transcribe audio notes a doctor makes after seeing a patient.

These notes are input into that patient’s medical records. Medical transcriptionists should have strong attention to detail so that notes are input correctly.

In a medical transcriptionist training program, you can learn the legal requirements that apply to health records for inputting notes.

Medical transcriptionist programs also provide students with a broad knowledge of medical terms, medical reports, and medical tests that are essential to the audio notes given for a patient.

Medical Transcriptionist Requirements

Many places offer medical transcriptionist training.

Medical transcriptionist training can often be completed through a certification program, a vocational school, community college, or a university.

Below, you can see the steps and tips for how to become a medical transcriptionist.

1. Further Your Education

While a degree or certification may not be required everywhere, they can be helpful to have.

Typical programs usually take between six months and two years to complete. Other certification and degree programs generally take longer to complete.

If you are interested in certification,the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity offers two different certifications, the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) and the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS).

The RHDS is for new professionals who are recent graduates of medical transcriptionist programs.

The CHDS is for working professionals who have more than two years of experience as a medical transcriptionist.

Keep in mind that these certifications must be renewed to stay valid. For example, both the RHDS and CHDS credentials are valid for three years only.

In addition, to renew either credential, students are required to complete 20-30 continuing education credits.

This is important to remember if you decide to go the route of certification, since renewing often costs money and additional learning time.

2. Gain Experience in the Field

Getting experience is also an important and helpful tool.

There are different ways to accomplish this, but sometimes employers will allow you to work and train with them as long as you have a high school diploma or GED.

The only caveat is that you may not start out with as high of pay as someone who has a certification or degree.

3. Specialize in a Specific Field

After you have gained some experience as a medical transcriptionist, you may also get the opportunity to specialize in a specific medical field such as pathology, orthopedics, or dermatology. 

In fact, specializing in one particular medical field may earn you a higher salary because of the specialized knowledge needed to be a medical transcriptionist in that field.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that medical transcriptionists who specialize in dental earn the most, with an average hourly wage of $24.19 and an average salary of $50,320.

This is closely followed by those working for government entities or nursing care facilities.

4. Train Your Typing Speed

Whether you are becoming a medical transcriptionist on your own or through a training program, it’s important that you learn to type quickly and accurately.

Since most professionals now transcribe recordings from speech recognition software, a fast typing speed can make you a competitive candidate.

Generally, typing speeds around 50 words per minute or quicker are sought after by those looking to hire a medical transcriptionist. 

If you don’t know your typing speed, there are a few different websites where you can test for free. is probably the most popular option, but most websites can give you a basic idea of how fast you can type.

5. Make Sure Your Computer Is Up to Date

Believe it or not, many medical transcriptionist positions are now remote.

This means that it’s essential that you have a computer capable of running the transcription software your potential employer would use. 

Some common requirements listed on job postings include:

  • Windows 10 or 11,
  • Intel Core i5 processor or better,
  • 16GB RAM or better,
  • Foot pedal,
  • Headset,
  • Medical dictionary,
  • Microsoft Word, and
  • Reliable internet.

While this isn’t always a requirement, it’s something to keep in mind if you want a work from home medical transcription position.

6. Take a Medical Transcription Course to Learn the Basics

When learning how to become a medical transcriptionist, it’s best to figure out what the job entails to ensure this is the field for you.

Medical transcriptionist training, especially at the college level, can be expensive.

Thankfully, there are courses out there, like the one offered by Stratford Career Institute, for those who just want to learn the basics before they decide to do a complete career transition. 

Medical Transcriptionist Pay Structure

Most medical transcriptionists get paid by the hour.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical transcriptionists make an average of $16.45 per hour, with the highest 10% earning just over $23 per hour.

But some medical transcription jobs only pay based on the amount of work produced. For example, some might be paid by the word, usually anywhere between $0.05 and $0.10 per word.

Medical transcriptionists who work in a specialized field or populated areas also typically earn more money and have more job prospects.

Interested in a Career as a Medical Transcriptionist?

Explore more at Stratford Career Institute to see if a career as a medical transcriptionist is right for you. 

This introductory course covers:

  • Medical terminology,
  • Body systems,
  • Diagnostic tests and procedures,
  • Common abbreviations and symbols,
  • Understanding medical transcription,
  • Ethical considerations,
  • The medical record and medical reports, and
  • Proofreading and editing in medical transcription.

Enroll in our medical transcriptionist learning course today!

This educational program is an introductory course designed to help students gain the knowledge necessary for the vocational application of this subject. Completion of this program does not fulfill the legal requirements of particular state licenses or certifications, which may require additional training or apprenticeships.


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Interested in a Medical Transcriptionist Career?

Interested in a Medical Transcriptionist Career?

Stratford Career Institute is proud to offer an introductory distance learning course that can help you find your dream job.