Medical Transcription in Hot Demand

Become a certified medical transcriptionist! Top earners make $50K a year, many working from home!


Transcription work is a popular way to begin working from home. However, most entry level jobs in the transcription field do not pay well. If you've already performed this type of work and found it enjoyable, consider boosting your earning potential to the next level by becoming an industry-certified medical transcriptionist! Here's how.

What Do Medical Transcriptionists Do?

Medical transcriptionists work in hospitals, doctors' offices, insurance companies, and transcription services, converting spoken words into text format to provide a record of doctors' notes and reports from other providers. Many workers service these clients from home, using their equipment or equipment provided by a company. Although document types vary, you may prepare discharge summaries, patient histories, surgical reports, and other types of documents. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 55,880 transcriptionists working in the United States in 2017, excluding freelancers and independent contractors.

How Much Do Medical Transcriptionists Make?

Medical transcriptionist training can be a good investment in your future. Although the pay scale varies based on employer, experience, and other factors, the median pay in 2017 was $35,250 per year, which is around $16.95 per hour. However, it is possible to make much more or much less. The highest paid 10 percent of transcriptionists made $51,410 or more in 2017; the lowest paid made $21,670 during the same period. Whether you work full-time or part-time also affects how much you earn.

Medical Transcriptionist Training

Taking a training program online allows you to complete the work at your pace from home without traveling to campus and attending classes in person. Topics include terminology, basic human anatomy, human physiology, speech recognition technology techniques, and electronic health records. Specialized topics may include diagnostic imaging reports, pathology, healthcare records, and pharmacological records.

Popular Programs

Many online programs are available, which complicates students' selection process. Keep in mind that any coursework taken should lead to testing for the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) certificate or the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) certificate from the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity. Upon passing either exam, students are required to retest periodically and seek out continuing education opportunities to maintain their credentials.

Some of the most popular online training programs include:

The Ashworth College medical transcriptionist course offers a four-month track to receiving training to take the RHDS or CHDS certification exams. The school provides support to students online or via phone or email. Students receive a career diploma upon successful completion of coursework. This program also includes the textbook you need with downloadable textbook resources and audio files for additional training help. Students receive a foot pedal and a medical dictionary as part of their tuition, including the cost of taking the RHDS exam. The program costs from $649 to $899 depending on your selected payment plan.*

The Penn Foster Career School training course is similar to that offered by Ashworth College but offers a more extensive framework of training. This program is delivered completely online and features online simulations to speed along student progress and provide a "real world" look at medical transcribing. The program includes books and other educational supplements with their tuition. Students completing the course may eventually sit for the Association of Healthcare Documentation Integrity exam to become certified. Tuition ranges from $669 to $754, also depending on payment plan.*

The Everett Community College training course is delivered 100-percent online and requires 43 credits to complete. The program is AHDI-approved, and the school bundles tuition, equipment, and materials in the cost of attendance. Students typically complete the program, which is self-directed, at their pace over the course of two to three semesters. Tuition for this more rigorous program reaches almost $5,100.*

These programs are popular and recognized, but there are many others just a web search away. It's important to read reviews from other students and fully vet the program before paying tuition or buying supplies and textbooks, as not all programs are credible, legitimate, or recognized by potential employers. Once you've found the right school, though, you can train with a real expectation of building a long term base for well-paid work that you can do from the comfort of your home!

*Costs are accurate as of December 2018 but may change without notice.