My very first work at home job was as a medical transcriptionist. There weren’t as many people working at home then, and I considered myself quite lucky. I had so many people asking me how to get into medical transcription that I started this site, so I could more easily share the many work at home options. But times have changed, and the question has become whether medical transcription is still a viable work at home career.
That’s a tough question.
Looking at the Occupational Outlook Handbook, medical transcriptionists will not be in as much demand as other medical professionals, with a 3% decline currently expected from 2016-2026. Compare that with medical records and health information technicians, where the outlook says an employment increase of 13% is expected. That category includes medical coders and cancer registrars.
This doesn’t mean you can’t become a medical transcriptionist. It means you will need to be prepared for transcribing with current technology. This includes voice recognition software and electronic medical records.
Most medical transcription jobs now are editing jobs. You make sure that the transcription created by voice recognition software is accurate. This means that it requires fewer transcriptionists to get the work done.
Medical Transcription Training Is Vital
If you want to do medical transcription, you have to get trained. This isn’t something you can do on your own. That was possible once, but not now.
You need to consider schools accredited by AHDI. There’s a list of approved schools on their website. Graduating from a program approved by AHDI is a huge help in finding work after graduation. Many employers require it.
The school I have long recommended is Career Step, which is on the AHDI list. The company I worked for when I was a medical transcriptionist (then Medquist, now M*Modal), still hires transcriptionists who have a certification from an accredited transcription school, and that includes Career Step.
The training through Career Step is self paced, within reason. There is a maximum time you can take, and if you’re serious about your training, it should be plenty of time. Training at home is great practice for working at home.
You Need A Good Workspace And Equipment
If you’re going to do medical transcription at home, you need a good workspace and the right equipment.
The workspace is important due to patient privacy. You’re working in medical records. Your training will help you to understand HIPAA and what it requires of you as a professional.
Employers may or may not provide equipment. You don’t need a lot beyond what you probably already have. You need a computer, monitor, foot pedal, headphones and high speed internet. Your internet connection may need to be wired, not wireless, for security reasons.
Your employer will often provide the software required. If they don’t give you a text expander, however, I strongly recommend getting one. There are many words and phrases that you will type over and over again as a medical transcriptionist. It’s much faster to type a few letters and have them expand into the word or phrase you need.
Reference books can also be important. When you know where to look online, you can find quite a bit of information on the internet, but sometimes a book is easier to use, as well as more accurate. You will get some books with your training, but you may find others necessary as you work.
Medical transcription work hours may be flexible, but you will need to check with your employer. Some only require a certain number of hours, while others expect to know exactly when you will be working. You may still be able to set your schedule in those cases, but you will need to do so in advance. Other employers may set your schedule for you.
Part time and full time positions are often available.
Overall, I still consider medical transcription a viable work at home career, provided you are aware of the changes in technology and can keep up. The expectations employers have of their transcriptionists have changed over time. You need to keep up to be certain that you are ready for any future changes. Get good training, and it may qualify you for the work at home job you want.