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What Should You Consider Before Studying to Become a Medical Transcriptionist

Feb 29, 2008
Medical transcription can be a very good work at home job. The hours are generally flexible, and you can choose to find your own clients or work for a service.

On the other hand, it can be demanding, with deadlines that need to be met, and a very high standard of accuracy. Add that to changes in technology, and it's important you consider many factors before you spend money on your medical transcription education.

The first things to look at are your own skills. Can you type fast? Your transcription speed is generally slower than your typing speed. The faster you already are, the better.

How's your grammar? Spelling? If you have a lot of trouble in these areas, you're going to have a harder time succeeding as a transcriptionist.

What about your work space? While you don't have to worry about others overhearing the kids arguing in the background while you transcribe, such distractions will have an impact on your productivity, and hence your income.

How self motivated are you? Can you work well without direct supervision?

This is one of the biggest pitfalls of working at home. With no supervisor around to see what you're doing, it's easy to let home life get in the way of working. You can't allow this to happen. Medical transcription is typically paid on production, not hourly. You don't work, you don't get paid.

Also talk to your family about what you want to do. I can tell you from personal experience that not everyone will respect a work at home job as a real one. I was asked for 3 years by my mother-in-law when I was going to get a job when I worked as a medical transcriptionist. That it could be a real job was a hard fact for her to absorb because when she had stayed at home the only work she did was volunteer work.

Do you have or can you get high speed internet? More and more companies are having transcriptionists download the dictation off the internet rather than telephone lines, and this requires a high speed connection.

You should also be aware of potential future developments in technology that will impact the medical transcription industry. While many fear that voice recognition will do away with the need for transcriptionists, so far it is not nearly accurate enough, takes too long to train the software for the taste of many doctors, and will still need to be checked by a human due to the many similar sounding terms used in medicine.

Some companies are already hiring medical transcription editors to review transcripts created by voice recognition software.

And of course, you do have the schools to consider. There's the need for it to have a good reputation with employers. If no one will hire you because they don't like the track record of the school, you've just wasted potentially a couple thousand dollars and months of your time.

Check the schools out. Make sure that they have a solid reputation with employers. Some are partnered with potential employers, which can mean that students who do well enough have a better shot at available jobs.

Cost matters to pretty much everyone, and it's hard to find financial aid for most online medical transcription programs. But many will have payment plans, so you can find something that will work with your budget.

As a work at home career, medical transcription is a pretty good one. It's future is as yet promising, despite the fears new technologies generate, and despite outsourcing. The pay is good, the hours generally flexible. It's not a bad deal.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster is a former medical transcriptionist and runs http://www.medicaltranscriptionbasics.com/ for people considering becoming medical transcriptionists. Get more tips on choosing the right medical transcription school at her site.
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