How To Become A Medical Transcriptionist & Work From Home

Danilo Coviello

If you have been looking at work from home careers, you may have come across the job of legal transcriptionist and wanted to learn more about it.

Becoming a legal transcriptionist has many benefits, and it’s also quite an enjoyable career with decent pay.

Throughout this article, we’re going to talk you through the legal transcriptionist career, and how you can become one.

Medical Transcription vs Regular Transcription

The main difference between medical transcriptionists and other transcriptionists is that it’s a specialist industry. This means that the transcriptions needed by professional customers require specialist knowledge. For medical transcriptionists, this would include medical terminology.

Because of this, the transcriptionists need additional training to ensure that they can provide accurate medical transcription promptly.

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Additionally, because in the medical industry medical transcription is used for patent and other medical records, it’s essential that you can guarantee high accuracy. Sometimes, the medical professionals will also need a certified transcription to ensure high accuracy.

In the industry, it’s quite common to offer a 99% accuracy guarantee for any type of transcription.

What Type Of People Can Become Medical Transcriptionists?

With enough training, anyone can become a medical transcriptionist.

But, as there is a lot of specialist knowledge required, it would make sense for people who used to work in the medical industry such as former nurses to become medical transcriptionists.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to have worked in the medical industry to become a full time or part time medical transcriptionist.

If you don’t have any experience though, it would probably make sense to go for a regular transcription job first to improve your typing and general transcription skills.

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After you have gained experience as a general transcriptionist, you then only need to practice the medical terminology, and knowledge before you can start.

Do Medical Transcriptionists Need Training First?

Although, there isn’t an official requirement for transcription jobs, for medical transcription it’s a little stricter as medical transcriptionists should have some type of diploma, certificate, or associate’s degree.

Plus, to be considered for most entry-level jobs you will need to have completed some type of certification and training.

Even as a freelancer, your clients will want to see that you have some type of experience first. And to gain experience you will need training as well as a basic certification.

What Equipment Do You Need?

Compared to the equipment needed for most jobs, the needs of a medical transcriptionist are rather simple.

Usually, you will need some type of software to help you with the transcriptionists. While there is some general software out there, for a medical transcription it will usually depend on the preferred format of the doctor you are transcribing for.

Other than that, medical transcriptionists will also need the following:

  • Software to manage the audio file easily
  • Word (or another word processing software)
  • Footpedal
  • Good headset
  • Medical Dictionary

Of course, the equipment that you need will vary from job to job. However, this is a general guideline and if you are a freelancer, this is usually what you will need.

How Much Are Medical Transcriptionists Paid?

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, the medical transcriptionist pay is pretty decent.

The US Bureau of Labor Statisticshas found that the average medical typist earns around $30,000 per year.

How much a medical transcriptionist earns is also heavily dependant on how much they work, as well as how fast.

This is because usually they are paid per line, per word, or audio minute. For medical transcription per line (65 characters) is the most common pricing type.

So, once you become more familiar with the medical terminology, you can start to complete the work faster.

From there, your hourly rate and ultimately your income will increase.

How To Become a Medical Transcriptionist (Step-By-Step)

While the path to a medical transcription job varies based on the positions you’re applying for, we wanted to give you a general guideline.

1. Start researching

The first step is to start researching and find out what positions are available online for medical transcriptionists. Some sites you can look at include FlexJobs, TranscribeMe, and general job websites like Indeed.

If you do a quick Google search for transcription jobs, it will show up available job openings. Now, you’ll want to take a look at the certifications or training they require from applicants.

There are many medical transcription certifications out there, and some of the industry-standard certifications require a little more experience.

But, note down what you need to be considered for entry-level jobs.

2. Take a training course

Next, you want to take a medical transcription training.

While you can also practice in your free time, you should take a training course that is accredited enough to give you the certifications you need to land entry-level jobs.

Again, you can find these online.

3. Start applying to jobs/become a freelancer

Once you have earned your certification, and taken the required training, you can start applying for entry-level jobs.

You can also become a freelancer, but you must be honest with the client about what training you have taken.

Once you have gained some experience, you can also go ahead and get further certifications that allow you to go for jobs that require more experience.

Medical Transcription Freelancer vs Job: What’s The difference?

The main difference between a medical transcription job, and being a freelancer is that when working in a job, you’ll usually be paid per hour, and will only work in one company.

However, as a freelancer, you are also often paid per line, audio minute, or word and you will also usually work with several clients which could be doctors or companies.

They both have their advantages and disadvantages, but if you are just starting, it would probably make sense to go for either just to gain some experience.

Become a Medical Transcriptionist at Espresso Translations

Here at Espresso Translations, we work with several clients around the world, in all types of industries.

We are also often in need of new talent in transcription positions including medical and other specialist industries like legal or business.

All of our job openings are posted to our social media channels, so if you are interested in them make sure to follow us using the links below.




You’ll be the first to hear about all of our job openings, which will give you the highest chances of becoming one.

Also, if you did enjoy this article, make sure to check out some of our related posts below.

How To Become a Legal Transcriptionist

Best Online Transcription Tools

How To Transcribe Faster

Medical Transcriptionist: Frequently Asked Questions

Lastly, we just wanted to answer some frequently asked questions about becoming a medical transcriptionist.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Medical Transcriptionist?

The time varies based on the educational path that you choose to follow. In most cases, you can start a medical transcription career in under a year as the courses are around 4-6 months, and then you can start gaining experience.

From there, you can start applying for different types of jobs and start gaining experience until you can go for more experienced positions.

Why Do Healthcare Professionals Need Transcriptions?

Healthcare professionals need transcriptions as they are used as a means to communicate with other doctors, nurses, etc.

While some healthcare professionals choose to transcribe their audio recordings themselves, it doesn’t make sense for most.

This is why they decide to outsource it. However, they also must ensure that the transcription agency they work with is HIPAA compliant, and trustworthy.

Can I Become a Medical Transcriptionist Without Training?

If you want to become a medical transcriptionist, you should definitely first acquire the skills needed.

Of course, you can also acquire the skills by practicing, but the problem is that then many companies will not trust you.

So, it would make sense to go for the training first.

But, you may be able to work privately with a company without having any training or certifications. However, this is unlikely.

How Can I Transcribe Audio Step-By-Step?

If you would like to transcribe audio, you can check out our tutorial on our blog. It will talk you through transcribing an audio file step by step.

How To Transcribe Audio To Text