If you’re tired of low-paying work at home jobs, and you’re willing to get a little training for a better job, consider medical transcription. After a 1-2 year training program, you could be working at home and making as much as $16 an hour or more with this skill set. Interested in learning more? Here’s how you do it:
Medical transcriptionists listen to voice recordings from healthcare providers like doctors and then they type them up into written reports. Maybe you’ve been in a hospital and seen doctors talking into a tape recorder or a telephone about a patient’s history and figured they were talking to another doctor. Most likely they were making notes for their medical transcriptionist.
Many medical transcriptionists actually work in a hospital or doctor’s office setting, but there are companies that employ work-at-home medical transcriptionists. You can always start your own medical transcription service too, especially if you have connections in the healthcare field to help get your business started. This is one of those businesses that really benefits from word-of-mouth.
If you’re still with me and want to know how to get started, you won’t necessarily need certification, but it’s never a bad idea to have credentials along with specialized training, especially when getting started. You’ll want to either get a one-year certificate program, or a two year Associates degree in medical transcription.
Once you complete your training, then you need to focus on getting certification so you have credentials to show potential employers or clients. The Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) and the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) can be obtained through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity.
RHDS certification is for those who work in single specialty environment such as a doctor’s office and generally for those with less than two years experience. The CHDS certification is for more versatile transcribers who can dictate in multiple medical specialties. You will have to pass the initial exam plus periodic retesting or continuing education credits.
Besides the credentials you need on paper, there are some key skills you’ll want to have to excel in this specialty. Knowledge of medical terminology is crucial when transcribing long words, and with doctors who have accents. If you have some idea of the terminology, you will have a much easier time understanding what they’re saying. It’s also highly recommended that you get at least a basic knowledge of human anatomy and the terms used by doctors, such as anterior, lateral, thoracic, or renal.
You’ll also need to be able to focus very carefully on what’s being said and have excellent typing skills. You’ll likely want to invest in transcription software that allows you to either use your keyboard or foot pedals to slow down recordings to make typing easier. This will allow you to rewind a few seconds to repeat sections that need closer attention.
Also, note that if you work from home, you need to make sure that you’re compliant with privacy regulations, so you’ll likely have to have some kind of a secured Internet connection for transmitting electronic medical records and completed transcription paperwork.
Job growth for medical transcriptionists is expected to grow at about an average pace with the rest of occupations here in the United States, with an estimated 8% growth between 2012 to 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can also expect a very respectable salary, with the median pay in 2012 running $16.36 per hour. That’s not too shabby for work-at-home mom; or anyone, for that matter.
You can also supplement your income with regular transcription work, but because of the specialized nature of medical transcription, it tends to pay higher and be more in demand, like any other job where having additional skills is an asset.
If you’ve worked in the healthcare field and have a very strong understanding of the terminology, as well as, connections with local clinics and doctors’ offices, you might be able to market your own business doing medical transcription without going through the training process. Your ability to launch your own business without credentials will rely heavily on having enough contacts to hire you to start and grow your business by word-of-mouth.
So with a little investment and a little work, a year from now you could be making a nice income from home as a medical transcriptionist, where you can support your family without ever going into an office.