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Medical Transcription: A Viable Work At Home CareerMedical Transcription: A Viable Work At Home Career
© Copyright 2003, Sharon Davis

Are there really viable work at home jobs out there? This is a question that I'm asked almost daily. The fact is, there are most definitely careers that can be done from your home and there are people who are actually successful in those jobs. One of the fastest growing industries happens to be one that can be done from home: Medical Transcription.

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A Growing Industry

Medical Transcription/Billing is an industry that is exploding. It's prestigious and in demand. According the the U.S. Department of Labor, "Employment of medical transcriptionists is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2010. Demand for medical transcription services will be spurred by a growing and aging population."

Transcription is one of those jobs that many people know can be done from home, and so the interest level is very high. Unfortunately, there are many companies out there trying to capitalize on that interest. The results are over-priced and sub-standard courses.

All too often, I receive emails like this one from one of our readers. She wrote:

Hello Sharon,

I am emailing you to inform you of a work at home job listing that I contacted in our local paper. It was concerning Medical Billing at home. The name of the company is *****, Inc. They sell software for Medical Billing purposes. Before I sent them any money I decided to check out their website www.******.com and then the local Better Business Bureau from the area that they are located which is near Los Angeles, Ca. The report came back today and it is not favorable. I thought you might want to know about this supposed home based business so you could inform your other members and visitors.



This is what inspired me to research the field and determine what the options are for those who are looking to enter it.

What Do Transcriptionists Do?

Transcriptionists listen to dictated recordings made by physicians and other healthcare professionals and transcribe them into documents such as operating room notes, autopsy reports, discharge summaries and other documents which then become part of a patient's medical record. In order to be able to transcribe information accurately, medical transcriptionists must understand medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, diagnostic procedures, and treatment.

What Kind of Training Must MT's Have?

In the course of my research, the first thing I learned was that you can't just jump into a career as an MT without training. This is a detailed, professional (and fascinating) career which requires technical knowledge. The American Association for Medical Transcription defines the requirements this way:

"Medical understanding is critical for the professional medical transcriptionist. The complex terms used in medicine are unlike the language of any other profession.

Medical transcription requires a practical knowledge of medical language, anatomy, physiology, disease processes, pharmacology, laboratory medicine, and the internal organization of medical reports. A medical transcriptionist is truly a medical language specialist who must be aware of standards and requirements that apply to the health record, as well as the legal significance of medical transcripts.

Reports of patient care take many forms, including histories and physical examinations, progress reports, emergency room notes, consultations, operative reports, discharge summaries, clinic notes, referral letters, radiology reports, pathology reports, and an array of documentation spanning more than 60 medical specialties and subspecialties! Thus, the medical transcriptionist, or medical language specialist, must be well versed in the language of medicine. ".

Medical transcription is a medical language specialty, so you can see that it requires not only the proper training, but also an investment in reference materials and a commitment to ongoing learning as technology and terminology changes. Equally important to the long-term success of a Transcriptionist is having the right personality for the job. Some qualities that successful MT's share are:

  • Independent by nature
  • Word Specialist
  • Perfectionist
  • Detail oriented

It's also important to note that most companies require candidates for telecommute MT positions to have on-site experience- as is the case with most all telecommute jobs. In many cases, 2 years of experience working in a hospital or doctor's office is required. If this is a field that you are truly interested in, getting those 2 years under your belt and then being qualified to telecommute is a pretty good deal.

Training Options

It didn't take me long to discover that there sure are a lot of courses out there. They ranged in price from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand! I was overwhelmed! It was then that I realized that I would need some help. I found a great place where working MT's hang out and support each other. If you are seriously interested in this field, you'll want to visit this site. It's called MTStars.

Whichever course you choose, just be sure to do your homework by checking with the Better Business Bureau and asking for references.

The bottom line is, for the right people, Medical Transcription is the real deal when it comes to viable work at home careers.


American Association for Medical Transcription

Sharon Davis, Work At Home expert, writer and consultant,
helps people to achieve their goal of working at home,
telecommuting or starting a home business.
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