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Why Decide to Train as a Medical Transcriptionist?

May 22, 2008
Out of the many work at home options out there, medical transcription is pretty popular. It's a great option for people who want to be home with their kids. The pay is good, as are the opportunities.

But it's certainly not for everyone. You really do need to be dedicated to it. You need to enjoy learning the terminology, typing for long hours and puzzling out what sometimes incoherent doctors are saying. It's really not an easy job.

A medical transcriptionist must be comfortable on the computer. While you'll only be using a limited number of programs on it as a transcriptionist, you need to use them well. If you have to stop and think all the time about what you're doing with the programs, it's going to slow your typing down. It will also make it harder for you to take advantage of tools such as word expanders.

You also must be comfortable working at home, with all the distractions and lack of supervision that this implies. This is why I always recommend to potential medical transcriptionists that they train with a quality online program. It gets you used to the working conditions. You can learn what it's like before you're holding down the job.

You also have to really, really want to be at home. For many people it's for the kids, but others do it because they just prefer to be at home, prefer to save gas or other personal reasons. But if you hate working alone it won't work out for you.

A general interest in medical topics is also good. You're going to be learning a lot of terminology, and when you're doing transcription you'll be hearing about all kinds of medical issues that people are going through. It's not always pleasant. You may even have to transcribe reports on procedures you disagree with.

It does pay to remember that a career in medical transcription can be a poor choice. If you want to work at home it's not the simplest choice by far. If you aren't dedicated to the details, it really is not for you. The accuracy required in this field means that you need to be interested in the details. Sloppy work impacts real people and their medical care.

And while sure, some people make serious money as medical transcriptionists, it doesn't happen right out of the gate. You're paid on production, which can mean that in your early weeks you can earn even less than minimum wage. If you're good it will pick up from there, but it will be years before you're earning serious money, and you will work HARD for it. But I found it easy to break $10/hour on a regular basis after just a few months, and could sometimes beat $20/hour working for one of the services.

As there is a financial commitment in choosing to train in medical transcription, it really pays to think about whether or not you really want to do it before you invest a thousand or two in your education. It makes a difference.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster runs http://www.medicaltranscriptionbasics.com/ for people who are thinking about starting a medical transcription career. Learn how to choose the right medical transcription training at her site.
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