Understanding Medical Transcription




A medical transcriptionist is a specialist in the medical language. His or her function edits and transcribes dictation from practitioners of health care as well as doctors. The dictation is typed in the form of records that document the care and progress of the patient.

Physicians rely on the MT to transcribe patient medical histories, and treatments and diagnoses; therefore, the MT must be highly organized, paying specific attention to the details; possess superior listening skills, and have an excellent foundation in medical terminology with the ability to focus.

Areas of Specialization:

Medical Transcriptionists generally choose to specialize in one certain area of medicine, in example, radiology or pathology. The MT possessing a more advanced skill set is an expert in acute care dictation within all areas or medical specialties.

Work Environments:

MTs have the option to work in several work environments. The MT may work on an independent basis within a physician’s office, or own a business. They may work in public facilities such as hospitals; and for private MT companies.

Some MTs are considered full-time employees while other MTs are independent contractors.

There are a great many MTs who prefer to work at home where he or she downloads encrypted “.wav" files; then transmitting the files back in a transcribed format over the internet to the provider.

Job Outlook:

The job outlook is most promising for the MT with projected growth continuing to the year 2014.

Summary of Length of Training and Requirements:

Training programs are offered in a number of ways: an individual may receive professional MT training through community colleges; technical colleges; on-line schools, and home study courses.Programs may vary in length: from six months to two years. After course completion the new professional MT receives either a certificate or associate’s degree, epending on the course structure.

The curriculum normally includes medical terminology, physiology, anatomy, education regarding diseases and their processes, typing, medical concepts and procedures, and proofreading and editing.

An internship is an essential part of many programs.

Licensure/Certification in Brief:

Originally, MTs with less than two years experience were eligible to take the (RMT) Registered Medical Transcriptionist Examination. This exam was designed for MTs considered Level 1.

MTs possessing two years and above of acute care experience were qualified to take the CMT or Certified Medical Transcriptionist Exam. The more experienced MT was considered a level 2 MT.

Both exams were sponsored by the AAMT.

Be aware that some MT courses will make the claim that they offer preparation for the CMT examination; however, there isn’t really a course on the market that can be true to this claim. The reason being is the AAMT has made the exam much more rigorous and difficult to pass. Even some of the best courses available will not be able to provide you with the training to pass the CMT course.

Your best bet is to gain at minimum of two years experience as a professional MT before attempting to add the CMT to your professional designation.

Currently the AAMT is administering a new test that combines Parts I and II together. The exam will no longer be separate. Although, a new MT could pass Part I, he or she would need at least two years of experience to pass the second portion of the examination.

Salary Expectations:

The salary in 2006 of the professional MT was around $13.89 per hour. Most MTs are paid by the line; therefore, pay varies in accordance with ability to produce.

Per line rates will vary in regard to the circumstance: in example, hospital or physician’s offices or MT Services, etc. Level of difficulty of the transcription must also be taken into consideration when determining salary. A medical transcriptionist’s earnings may also vary considerably in accordance with where he or she resides, his or her level of skill, the place where he or she is employed and the way compensation is administered.

MTs working in large cities or metropolitan areas usually earn more than MTs who work in less populated cities. Transcriptionists who receive compensation based on production will often earn more than MTs who are paid on a per hour basis.

There are some facilities who offer incentive pay plans, offering the MT a bonus for any production over and above the minimum production requirements as well as the base pay offered for the health care facility.

Entry level MTs may expect to earn at least double the minimum wage in larger metropolitan areas, and possibly a bit less in smaller cities.

Naturally, experienced transcriptionists and the MT paid on his or her production will earn significantly more than the figures stated above.

Medical transcriptionists may also be expected to be paid in a number of ways, however, the usual pay arrangements include: hourly compensation; or a combination of hourly base pay and incentives based on production.

How Many MT Positions are Home Based?:

In order to find the most current ratio of Home Based MT jobs over offices refer to the most current Occupational Handbook guides found at your local library.

At this writing, sixty percent MT positions were found to be home-based while forty percent were performed in physician’s offices, and offices of other health care specialists and providers.

If you choose to make your MT position home-based, you reduce your chances of gaining employment by forty percent. Therefore, in the beginning, it is suggested you consider all opportunities of employment. Once you gain experience, you may be more selective as to your mode of employment.

Can I work outside of the United States?

The question arises what do you do if you reside outside of the United States however would like to work for a United States based company. Most U.S. companies only require that you are connected to the Internet in order to work in the capacity of MT for them. The company and the employee will need to review regulations regarding VISA and International employment

In the following chapters, you will be provided with a more in-depth look at all of the above areas plus more and what you may expect and encounter on your way to becoming a professional MT.

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