Where Should You Start?

The Secret to Success

As you work on gathering your basic supplies, do some research online on MT training programs. This will be the most important decision you make as a transcriptionist. Your Medical Transcription Education is the foundation for your entire career. If you are serious about becoming a medical transcriptionist, it is necessary to invest in proper education and training. Click here for information on reputable courses, how to choose a school. and how to avoid Medical Transcription scams.

Your Goal: To Work From Home

Do people really work at home doing medical transcription? The answer is yes! In fact, medical transcription is one of the best, most flexible jobs you can do from home. If you are wondering if transcription is right for you, you can visit visit the Yahoo! Finance  list of Best (and real) Work at Home Jobs, to compare information about Medical Transcription with other at-home job ideas.

How much can you make doing medical transcription from home?

Home MTs are typically hired as an independent contractor, and the fees are production based. The typical measure of earning is per line of typed text, or "cents per line" (cpl).  Lines are calculated as 65 visible characters plus spaces. On average, when you start out working for a transcription company, you can expect anywhere from 6cpl to 9 cpl.  Experienced, full time transcriptionists can produce an average of 1000 to 1500 lines per day, sometimes even more! It takes time and practice to get up to this level. So, when you are first starting out, be prepared for a slow earning period.


If you plan to train at home to become a medical transcriptionist, you will need to obtain a few basic supplies, which you will also use when you begin working. As an independent contractor, you are required to have all required tools to perform your job. Even if you have to incur an out-of-pocket expense for some of these items, see it as an investment in your future success.

In order to get started, you should have the following supplies:

1) A Modern Computer

You will need have good quality computer before you begin your training. If you don't already have a reliable computer at home, I suggest making an investment in a new machine that you will use for your new career.

Many transcriptionists use a Mac, but if you are comfortable using a PC I suggest going that route, as you will find a larger variety of compatible professional software,

This HP Pavilion is a durable and versatile computer, and happens to be listed at a pretty great discount and free shipping on Amazon.com.  I like laptops for the ability to move it around easily. I suggest that you get a laptop with several USB ports and a CD ROM drive.

Another option, if you are going to sign up for Career Step, they often offer a promotion that includes a free laptop. Check it out!

2) A Word Processing Program

Microsoft Word is pretty much the gold standard of word processing programs. your training program or future employer might use proprietary systems that do not require you to have your own word processor, I still see Microsoft Word as a necessary tool for all transcriptionists.

Microsoft Word is pretty much the gold standard of word processing programs. Your training program or future employer might use proprietary systems that do not require you to have your own word processor, but most platforms have adopted similar functionality as MS Word, so it is important to become familiar with it.

Get your copy of Microsoft Office downloaded instantly from Amazon. If you are not familiar with how to use Microsoft Word, I strongly suggest that you consider taking a short course for this purpose before you begin your training.

3) An Internet Connection

This might seem like a no-brainer! Home transcription used to be done using cassette tapes and courier delivery, but today's home transcriptionist depends on the internet to send and receive work. Regular home internet service is preferred; you should be able to get by with a low-level transfer allowance. If you don't have home internet service, consider purchasing a pay-per-usage modem, such as the service offered by Netzero.

4) A Dictation Player

Gone are the days of clunky cassette transcription machines, as we have upgraded to software programs to play our digital dictation files. There are several high-end programs available for dictation playback and transcription, but it is not necessary to make a big purchase when you are just starting out. The most popular, well used, and reliable programs used by medical transcripionists worldwide is Express Scribe. Express Scribe has easy drag-and-drop file loading, and will pair easily with your foot pedal.

5) A Foot Pedal

Playback for your dictation player is controlled by a foot pedal, which has play, rewind, and fast-forward functionality. Is it technically possible to play dictation and transcribe without a foot pedal? Yes. Do I recommend it? Absolutely not.

The foot pedal's purpose is to keep your hands free for typing and mouse maneuvering. If you are trying to control playback with your keyboard or mouse while you are transcribing, you are never going to get any work done, and will get frustrated easily.

The most popular foot pedal is the Infinity INUSB2. This pedal works seamlessly with the Express Scribe software. If you choose to use other playback software, please be sure to check compatibility.

Don't miss out on the latest MT news, deals, tools and resources!


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A good medical transcription school will have a comprehensive curriculum designed specifically for medical transcription training. Learn what to look for when choosing a medical transcription education program.
Volunteering as a Medical Transcriptionist
When seeking medical transcription job opportunities, market yourself to local medical transcription agencies. Set up an appointment or interview, if possible. Expand your network by talking to everyone you can in the medical transcription field and let them know that you are willing to do whatever it takes, including volunteer work, to get your foot in the door. Do not forget to thank those who have helped you along the way.
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Sample Medical Reports
New students and transcriptionists looking for their first job should refine their listening skills by using sample medical reports. Use our trusted sources for sample medical dictation and medical transcription for practice.
Is Home Medical Transcription a Scam?
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