Medical Transcriptionists


Employment Prospects


There are approximately 58,000 medical transcriptionists employed in the United States. About 21 percent work in hospitals and 23 percent work in doctors' offices and clinics. Others work for laboratories, home health care services, medical centers, colleges and universities, medical libraries, insurance companies, transcription companies, temp agencies, and even veterinary facilities. Medical transcriptionists can also find government jobs, with public health or veterans hospitals.

Starting Out

It can be difficult to get started in this field, especially if you do not have any work experience. Some medical transcriptionists start out by working as administrative assistants or receptionists in doctors' offices. They become acquainted with medical terminology and office procedures, and they make important contacts in the medical profession. According to the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI), a smaller doctor's office may be more apt to hire an inexperienced medical transcriptionist than a hospital or transcription service would be.

An informal apprenticeship position may be helpful since on-the-job experience seems to be a prerequisite for most jobs. Or perhaps you can find an internship position with a transcription company. Once you have some experience, you can look for another position through classified ads, job search agencies, or Internet resources. You can also find job leads through word-of-mouth and professional contacts. The AHDI Web site features job postings through its Career Connection section. In fact, AHDI is an invaluable resource for the medical transcriptionist. Local chapters hold periodic meetings, which is a good way to network with other professionals in the field.

Advancement Prospects

Medical transcriptionists who become faster and more accurate will have an easier time securing better-paying positions or lining up new clients. Skilled and experienced medical transcriptionists can become supervisors of transcription departments or managers of transcription companies, or they might even form their own transcription companies. Some also become teachers, consultants, or authors or editors of books on the subject of medical transcription. They may also become medical transcription editors, who review and edit the transcribed document against the actual dictation from the physician; speech-recognition medical transcription editors, who edit speech-recognized drafts; and quality assurance managers, who monitor the overall quality of work done by medical transcriptionists and editors.

Tips for Entry

Read the "Best Practices" section of the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity's Web site ( to learn more about the field.

Join the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) to take advantage of networking opportunities, receive discounts on credentialing exams and conference registrations, and obtain access to its e-mentoring program.

Visit the following Web sites for job listings: and

Look for reputable programs in health care documentation. The AHDI offers a list of approved programs at