Medical Transcriptionist Job Description

The role of a Medical Transcriptionist is to transcribe doctors’ notes and reports. Once a doctor has recorded his voice detailing a particular procedure or patient condition, a Medical Transcriptionist will listen to the recording and convert it into a written document. They might also review and edit documents that a doctor has created using speech recognition software. It is generally up to the Medical Transcriptionist to interpret what the doctor has said and to understand medical terminology and abbreviations.

A Medical Transcriptionist can work from home or in a private or group physicians’ office. As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a slight decline of 3 percent in employment opportunities is expected in this field. An increase in the use of speech recognition software is projected to decrease the need for transcription, and the trend of contracting transcription services out to other countries will likely impact opportunities for domestic Medical Transcriptionists.


Medical Transcriptionist Duties and Responsibilities

To create usable documents from dictated notes, a Medical Transcriptionist must complete a few tasks and possess specific knowledge. We have reviewed several job listings and found the following among the core Medical Transcriptionist duties and responsibilities.

Transcribe Recorded Notes and Reports

The main responsibility of a Medical Transcriptionist is to translate a doctor’s recordings into written reports. A Medical Transcriptionist will utilize medical transcription equipment to transcribe diagnostic information, surgical notes, office consultations and other related recordings. To accomplish this, a Medical Transcriptionist will often use medical dictionaries and other reference publications to ensure that medical terms are spelled and used correctly.

Edit Transcribed Documents

In some cases, a doctor might request that a Medical Transcriptionist make editorial changes to a report or patient file. The Medical Transcriptionist will review these documents and make necessary changes as required. This might include reviewing a patient’s history and communicating with the doctor to verify information and clarify any questions.

Filing Documents and Assisting Office Staff

Some offices might require that a Medical Transcriptionist maintain patient files that would include transcribed documents. This responsibility might include retrieving specific files at the doctor’s request. A Medical Transcriptionist might also assist with answering the telephone, scheduling patient visits and calling in patient prescriptions.


Medical Transcriptionist Skills

Effective Medical Transcriptionists have strong typing, literacy and organizational skills. They should be detail-oriented, be able to meet deadlines and have the ability to work with little or no supervision but also work in teams as required. Customer service skills are also important for Medical Transcriptionists. In addition to these general skills, a Medical Transcriptionist could be expected by potential employers to possess the following skills.

Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Medical Transcriptionists with these core skills. If you want to work as a Medical Transcriptionist, focus on the following.

  • Using medical transcription equipment, such as headsets and foot controls
  • Understanding medical terms and meanings
  • Knowing voice recognition software
  • Typing a minimum of 65 words per minute

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Medical Transcription toolbox and broaden your career options.

  • Obtain Medical Transcription certification
  • Familiarity with AAMT Style Guide
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office Word


Medical Transcriptionist Resources

It is beneficial to conduct additional research if you are considering a career as a Medical Transcriptionist. Below, we have provided links to online and print resources about this career.

On the Web

TranscribeMe! – A blog providing news about medical transcription technology and tips for successful practices in this field.

MyMT – This blog is designed to provide helpful tips and discussions about medical transcription. Covers latest news topics, quality management practices, job opportunities, terminology and more.

Industry Groups

Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) – Created in 1978, AHDI provides credentialing, advocacy and educational support for Medical Transcriptionists. Members can attend an annual conference, access live webinars, read online articles and pursue professional development opportunities.

American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) – Over 100,000 professionals are served by AHIMA, which was founded in 1928. Medical Transcriptionists can benefit from the resources offered by AHIMA, such as conferences, continuing education programs, online publications and information about current trends in electronic health records management.


Introduction to Medical Office Transcription 3rd Edition – This book covers basic medical transcriptions topics, from medical terminology to disease symptoms.

Medical Transcription: Techniques, Technologies, and Editing Skills 3rd Edition – An extensive look at how to complete medical transcription for various types of medical specialties. Addresses editing transcribed documents and offers readers the chance to practice dictations.

The Independent Medical Transcriptionist, Fifth Edition: The Comprehensive Guidebook for Career Success in a Medical Transcription Business – Tips for beginning Medical Transcriptionists, from how to run a successful business and build a client base to using the latest technologies available in this field.


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