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Career profile Medical Transcriptionist

Also known as Clinical Medical Transcriptionist, Documentation Specialist, Medical Language Specialist, Medical Transcriber, Medical Transcription, Medical Transcriptionist, Radiology Transcriptionist, Transcriptionist

Medical Transcriptionist

Also known as Clinical Medical Transcriptionist, Documentation Specialist, Medical Language Specialist

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Realistic
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$21,790 - $55,220 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Writing
Knowledge Areas
  • Administrative
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Medicine and Dentistry
Core tasks
  • Return dictated reports in printed or electronic form for physician's review, signature, and corrections and for inclusion in patients' medical records.
  • Produce medical reports, correspondence, records, patient-care information, statistics, medical research, and administrative material.
  • Identify mistakes in reports and check with doctors to obtain the correct information.
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What does a Medical Transcriptionist do?

Medical Transcriptionists transcribe medical reports recorded by physicians and other healthcare practitioners using various electronic devices, covering office visits, emergency room visits, diagnostic imaging studies, operations, chart reviews, and final summaries.

In addition, Medical Transcriptionists

  • transcribe dictated reports and translate abbreviations into fully understandable form,
  • edit as necessary and return reports in either printed or electronic form for review and signature, or correction.

What kind of tasks does a Medical Transcriptionist perform regularly?

Medical Transcriptionists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Return dictated reports in printed or electronic form for physician's review, signature, and corrections and for inclusion in patients' medical records.
  • Produce medical reports, correspondence, records, patient-care information, statistics, medical research, and administrative material.
  • Identify mistakes in reports and check with doctors to obtain the correct information.
  • Review and edit transcribed reports or dictated material for spelling, grammar, clarity, consistency, and proper medical terminology.
  • Transcribe dictation for a variety of medical reports, such as patient histories, physical examinations, emergency room visits, operations, chart reviews, consultation, or discharge summaries.
  • Distinguish between homonyms and recognize inconsistencies and mistakes in medical terms, referring to dictionaries, drug references, and other sources on anatomy, physiology, and medicine.
  • Set up and maintain medical files and databases, including records such as x-ray, lab, and procedure reports, medical histories, diagnostic workups, admission and discharge summaries, and clinical resumes.
  • Translate medical jargon and abbreviations into their expanded forms to ensure the accuracy of patient and health care facility records.
  • Perform data entry and data retrieval services, providing data for inclusion in medical records and for transmission to physicians.
  • Take dictation using shorthand, a stenotype machine, or headsets and transcribing machines.
  • Decide which information should be included or excluded in reports.
  • Perform a variety of clerical and office tasks, such as handling incoming and outgoing mail, completing and submitting insurance claims, typing, filing, or operating office machines.
  • Receive and screen telephone calls and visitors.

The above responsibilities are specific to Medical Transcriptionists. More generally, Medical Transcriptionists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

What is a Medical Transcriptionist salary?

The median salary for a Medical Transcriptionist is $35,270, and the average salary is $37,310. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Medical Transcriptionist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Medical Transcriptionists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Medical Transcriptionists earn less than $21,790 per year, 25% earn less than $27,070, 75% earn less than $45,260, and 90% earn less than $55,220.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Medical Transcriptionists is expected to change by -7.4%, and there should be roughly 6,600 open positions for Medical Transcriptionists every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$21,790 - $55,220
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Medical Transcriptionists?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Medical Transcriptionist are usually higher in their Conventional and Realistic interests.

Medical Transcriptionists typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Medical Transcriptionists typically have moderate Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Medical Transcriptionist tend to value Support, Relationships, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Medical Transcriptionists moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Medical Transcriptionists moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Medical Transcriptionists somewhat value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Medical Transcriptionists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, attention to detail, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Medical Transcriptionists, ranked by importance:

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Medical Transcriptionists need?

Medical Transcriptionists often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Medical Transcriptionists usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Medical Transcriptionists

  • 1.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 16.4% completed high school or secondary school
  • 32.3% completed some college coursework
  • 17.1% earned a Associate's degree
  • 24.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 5.2% earned a Master's degree
  • 3.5% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Medical Transcriptionists

Medical Transcriptionists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as administrative, computers and electronics, or medicine and dentistry knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Medical Transcriptionists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Medicine and Dentistry
Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.

Important Abilities needed by Medical Transcriptionists

Medical Transcriptionists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Medical Transcriptionists need abilities such as oral comprehension, written comprehension, and speech recognition in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Medical Transcriptionists, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Critical Skills needed by Medical Transcriptionists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Medical Transcriptionists frequently use skills like active listening, reading comprehension, and writing to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Medical Transcriptionists, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.