A Beginner's Checklist:
In order to get started,
you should have the following supplies:
A modern computer
A word processing
An internet connection
A dictation player
A foot pedal.
As you work on gathering your basic supplies, do some research online on MT courses. This will
be the most important decision you make as a transcriptionist. Getting a proper education will pay off in several ways. First,
you will benefit from the support your school will give you in finding your first job, and secondly, the better educated you are,
the better you will be at your job.
Look for a school with a vast website that is mainly or greatly dedicated to Medical Transcription
training. This training should take roughly 6 months to 2 years, depending on the school and your rate of study. The reputable
courses do have a higher tuition, typically a few thousand dollars and are worth every penny. However, if you can't afford
this, you might look into your local vocational college to see if they have a medical transcription course.
As you begin your studies, you will likely do all your practice dictation and research on the computer.
Right now, Word or Word Perfect are good choices for word processing. You can play your dictation with the free ExpressScribe player.
This is controlled with a foot pedal so your hands are free to type. Spend time using it in order to get used to the controls.
depending on where you find work, an alternative dictation player may be provided for you or required, as weill as different types
How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist
The Online Resource for Medical Transcription Professionals
Some people confuse jobs that can be done at home with jobs that are easy or that anyone can do. Training
to become a transcriptionist is hard work and it cannot be done overnight.
Making the most of the internet:
Make sure you take advantage of all of the information and resources on our website, as well as support
from your peers in our Medical Transcription Forum.
Transcriptionists are typically paid for every line of text (65 characters). The faster you work, the more money
you make. Cutting corners on your training will only cause you to spend more time learning your craft while you are trying to
work. Many employers are willing to give new transcriptionists a grace period where they hone their skills, but you must
bring a strong basis of knowledge or it will be a waste of everyone's time.
Collect Your Tools:
As a working transcriptionist, it will be your responsibility to purchase and maintain your own equipment and software
necessary to do the job. However, be wary of any company that wants to hire you, but requires you to purchase their special software
up front, especially if they do not guarantee you will get work. Any company that has software that is specific to only their
company will provide it for free and should not ask you to pay for it.
CPL, or Cents Per Line:
On average, when you start out working for a transcription company, you can expect anywhere from 6 cents per
line (cpl) to 9 cents per line, and an experienced full time transcriptionist can do an average of 1000 to 1500 lines per day, sometimes
even more! It takes time and practice to get up to this level. So, BE PATIENT, STICK WITH IT! You will do just fine!
Your First Client
It is a lot harder to get an account with a doctor or hospital when you are new, so it is a good idea to start out
with a company who can help you improve your skills. Study your corrections and you will be typing error-free reports in no
The Learning Curve
The first couple months will be hard, and you might wonder what you were thinking by getting involved in this career!
Give yourself a month; after that, it gets much, much easier.
Breaking in to the Transcription World
Deciding to dive into a career in transcription can be an intimidating choice. There
is so much information on the internet, some of which is reliable, and some of which is not. We would like to help you make
an informed decision about whether or not this is a good career for you.
The Medical Transcriptionist's Bible
The AAMT Book of Style is the Law of the Land for Transcriptionists. Clients will always
have exceptions to the rules in this book, but this is the place to find all the quirky rules about transcription style, and the first
reference you should purchase. Other references can come later; this one is a must-have. The electronic version is
preferred by many MTs because it is easy to search.
Medical Transcription Quick Links: