Home Based Medical Transcription - Benefits and How to Start

How to start a career as a home based medical transcriptionist. Describes the benefits, what you'll need, and expert tips for making it work.

Do you want more control over your career? Do you want to reduce commute time and money spent on gas, not to mention more time at home with your family?

More people today start, and succeed, with home-based businesses. The medical transcription field is no different.

Medical transcriptionists transcribe voice recordings or dictations from physicians in a variety of health fields into written reports inserted into the patient's medical record.

These days, former on-site transcription services increasingly contract out to home-based professionals.

And more and more medical transcriptionists seek options as independent contractors and home-based employment.

As an independent contractor, you have control over the amount of work you take on. You control your schedule, and your potential earnings.

You also have the option of receiving dictation or medical reports from a variety of clients. You can work for hospitals, outpatient clinics, independent physicians or physicians' groups.

You have choices.

Earning potential

A medical transcriptionist

Entry-level medical transcriptionists earn a median pay of approximately $30,000 to $40,000 a year.

Earnings depend on how many clients you have (and your ability to find new clients), your workload, and whether you decide to work part-time or full-time. The sky's (almost) the limit in regard to your possible earnings, based on a flexible work schedule that you set for yourself.

Many home based medical transcription professionals work full time, but you can choose to work however much or little you like.

Depending on your experience, speed and skill, you can earn up to (or exceed) $26 an hour. Because medical transcriptionists charges by the line, you can increase your potential income by increasing your typing speed and accuracy.

As an independent contractor, you have the potential to earn more than a transcriptionist sharing a percentage of work with a local or national medical transcription service.

To determine potential earnings: multiply your charge (many entry-level transcriptionists start out at 12 to 13 cents per line) per line by the number of lines you type per hour (for example, earn $26 an hour by charging $0.13 a line and typing 200 lines per hour).

Your client base determines how much you make. For example, a home-based hospital medical transcriptionist transcribes a variety of dictated reports that include:

  • Consultations
  • Operative reports
  • Emergency reports
  • History and physicals
  • Emergency reports

As a home based medical transcription professional, you have the potential to earn more by broadening your dictation and transcription skills. Doing so also enhances your medical transcription job opportunities.

See more advice for increasing your medical transcription salary.

Start-up costs

A home-business owner working... from home!

Your start-up costs for creating your own home-based medical transcription business involve minimal investment. At the very least, you'll need:

  • a computer
  • headset
  • foot pedal
  • high-speed internet connection.

If you're reading this, you already have a computer and internet connection. You can purchase the rest for approximately $200. Keep in mind that, depending on your client(s), you might be asked to install a dedicated landline and/or fax line for more secure communication.

Also consider voice recognition software or specific medical transcription platforms and applications that cater to client needs, demand and dictation transfer protocols.

Some clients may prefer FTP-based (file transfer protocol) options. Others may prefer to download onto Windows media player or as an MP3 file. Still others may require dictation software (there are dozens of different brands and models) and equipment that offers medical transcription dictation acquisition and file transfer accessed from desktop installations.

You have the opportunity to optimize your earning potential by reaching out and generating a solid client base. This involves an investment of your time in the beginning, but it will pay off immensely if you do it right.

Don't forget to contact local physicians, outpatient care centers, and hospitals. Doing so offers you the opportunity to engage direct-paying private clients.

While working as a home-based medical transcriptionist offers a wide number of benefits and perks, keep in mind that as a home-based business, you are an independent contractor. It's your responsibility to obtain and pay for your own health insurance.

Getting certified

Medical transcription certification

Certification translates to clients and employers in increased job opportunities and salary.

You can learn medical transcription in a variety of community colleges, vocational schools or online learning programs. Certification isn't mandatory, but it enhances employment opportunities and increases your potential salary.

See a guide to choosing medical transcription schools.

A medical transcriptionist may be certified as a Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) or a Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT).

The RMT certification is typical for those who have less than 2 years of experience. This certification focuses on single specialties or doctor's offices.

CMT certification is generally offered to professionals able to transcribe a variety of medical specialties such as orthopedics, cardiology, oncology, and so forth.

Starting out

You should start out your career as a home-based medical transcriptionist with professional training and education. You have the option of an Associate's degree or a one-year certificate program, offered at many community colleges. Coursework often consists of medical terminology, ethics, anatomy and physiology, and basic English studies, and perhaps even pharmacology.

Keep in mind that in order to become certified, you must take courses from accredited medical transcription schools as determined by state or federal guidelines.

Tips for working at home

As a medical transcriptionist working in a home-based environment, you must be self-driven, self-motivated, and able to "turn around" dictation in a timely manner.

Most dictation reports are required within 24 to 48 hours, sometimes sooner. If you want to make a living as an independent medical transcriptionist, you'll have to get used to working under short deadlines.

You must also focus on accuracy and consistency. It's a great help if you become familiar with a variety of computer and word processing software and dictation formats and hardware.

Always back up your work, using either CD-ROM or flash drives. Check with clients to determine how long work should be saved.

When working as a home-based medical transcriptionist, work in a quiet environment in order to provide the most accurate transcriptions.

The key to making a good living in home based medical transcription is being able to provide consistent quality and accuracy. A good work ethic, good equipment, and knowledge and skills have the potential to earn you a lucrative salary and a secure financial future - working from home!

Find out if medical transcription jobs are in danger because of advances in speech-recognition technology...

See our guide to medical transcription equipment for more help getting started.

If you found this page useful, please click "Like"! Thanks.