How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist
If you are interested about medicine but do not see yourself performing real hospital work, you might want
to listen, read and write about it instead. You can transcribe medical reports, discharge summaries and create
other administrative documents. Welcome to the world of medical transcription.
As a medical transcriptionist, you'll have the option to work in a hospital setting, clinics, health agencies,
medical libraries or even right in the comfort of your very own home. The tools of the trade of a medical
transcriptionist include a headset, a foot pedal and a computer with word processing software.
Before you can become a medical transcriptionist, you have to ask yourself if you have the skills that will make
you succeed on this job. You need to be able to sit and concentrate for long hours typing what you hear on the
headset. To be able to transfer the audio recording as text, you need to have excellent listening skills as well.
You should also be able to understand medical terms and jargon, which brings us to our next discussion.
You should enroll in a medical transcription training program offered by your local technical school or
vocational college. If you have a medical course for a background and have the right network of doctors you
can contact for work, you might be able to still get a job without enrolling in a course. But because the medical
industry puts a premium on credentials and training, it is highly-recommended that you finish a medical
The next step you need to take is to pass the Association for Healthcare Documentation and Integrity
Registered (AHDI) Medical Transcriptionist exam which qualifies you as a Level 1 registered medical
transcriptionist (RMT). This is the entry-level certification for those with less than two years work experience in
medical transcription. If you are fresh from the oven, so to speak, this is a very valuable certification that will
help you get a job in already established transcription companies or enhance your qualifications to potential
clients if you want to work for yourself.
When you are already armed with your RMT designation, you can start looking for work in hospitals,
transcription firms, laboratories, medical libraries and government medical facilities. If you would like to work
from home and not be connected to any firm, you will need to network with doctors and hospitals. It might be
challenging at first to find clients but if you do succeed, the added benefit of being able to control your own
work schedule makes it all worthwhile.
After two years work experience in a variety of specializations as an RMT, you are then eligible to take the
AHDI exam so you can become a certified medical transcriptionist (CMT). Passing the CMT test is a mark of
competence in the field and is valid for three years. This is not the end of it, however. You will need to continue
studying during those three years so you can get recertified. With experience and certification, you could
become a supervisor, consultant or teacher.
If you believe that you have what it takes to be a Medical Transcriptionist, then the first step is the Certified Medical Transcriptionist Exam Study Guide that walks you through the entire Medical Transcriptionist hiring process.
For more information, go to our page for the Certified Medical Transcriptionist Exam Study Guide.