Medical Scribes


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Almost all applicants entering this career have a minimum of a high school degree or equivalent. High School studies should include English, biology, health, and computer skills.

Postsecondary Education

A college degree is not a formal requirement to become a medical scribe. However, many medical scribes are college graduates or have completed college programs prerequisite to formal training in medically related fields. Postsecondary courses that are beneficial to obtaining a position as a medical scribe should focus on anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, computer skills and data entry, and English.


In recent years many community and public colleges have begun to develop and offer certificate programs for medical scribes. Craven Community College in New Bern, North Carolina, offers a post-diploma certificate program. Tacoma Community College in Tacoma, Washington, offers a course of study leading to a Medical Scribe Professional Certificate. Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, offers an education program that leads to a Medical Scribe Short-Term Technical Certificate. Those seeking certification programs in specific states should research their community or state college programs to determine availability.

Other Education or Training

Some companies in the United States hire, train, and place medical scribes in positions throughout the country. Most of those companies provide training prior to placing medical scribes. Such training includes classroom and on-site clinical experience as well as online courses and self-study, covering relevant subjects including anatomy, physiology, electronic medical records, medical terminology, and medical codes. Most programs provide for medical scribe candidates to shadow other scribes, or work in a clinical setting with supervision before being sent to an assignment or position.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There is currently no national certification or licensing for medical scribes. The American College of Medical Scribe Specialists, the primary non-profit professional organization of medical scribes in the U.S., offers professional certification after candidates pass a Medical Scribe Certification and Aptitude Test and complete specific hours of clinical employment experience, evidencing their experience and expertise in the field. 

Other Requirements

Must speak English, though knowledge of other languages can be helpful.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Medical scribes can start their career after a relatively minimal period of training, usually provided by the employer or agency arranging the placement. However, in order to obtain and maintain a medical scribe position, the individual must have (or learn) computer skills and adapt to complex electronic medical records software. The job requires typing with accuracy and speed. Those who have a great interest in medicine will find the job more interesting, enjoyable, and rewarding.

Many medical scribes see the job as a training ground to gain experience and references for medical school or physician assistant programs. Employers actively seek out such candidates, recognizing the benefit of their commitment to the medical field.

Medical scribes must be willing to work in busy and sometimes stressful environments such as emergency departments, and not be overly reactive to or distressed by illness or injury. They must have competency in medical terminology and spelling, and to learn appropriate codes for proper record keeping. Most important to success in the job is attention to detail, outstanding communication and active listening skills, and proficiency in recording pertinent facts.