About Medical Transcription

Medical Transcription as a Career

The professional healthcare team includes physicians, nurses, therapists, technicians, dietitians, and other healthcare support staff. A vital member of this team is the MEDICAL TRANSCRIPTIONIST.Medical transcriptionists transcribe medical reports from doctors’ dictation in order to document a patient’s medical care and condition. These may include office chart notes, history and physical examinations, consultations, letters, memos, admission notes, emergency medicine reports, procedure notes, operative reports, discharge summaries, x-rays, pathology reports, and many laboratory tests and diagnostic studies.The job title “Medical Transcriptionist” has changed over the years. Originally called “medical steno” and then “medical transcriber,” the role of today’s medical transcriptionist or medical language specialist continues to evolve with advancements in technology and healthcare documentation. Nevertheless, the goal remains the same: integrity in healthcare documentation.

Because each report becomes a part of a patient’s permanent healthcare record, the medical transcriptionist transcribes it with care, relying on extensive knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy, pharmacology, human diseases, surgical procedures, diagnostic studies, and laboratory tests to produce an accurate and complete medicolegal document. A mastery of English grammar, structure, and style; a knowledge of medical transcription practices; skill in word processing, spelling, and proofreading; and the highest professional standards contribute to the medical transcriptionist’s ability to interpret, translate, and edit medical dictation for content and clarity.

Work Settings

Medical transcriptionists are employed by medical centers, general and specialty hospitals, physician offices, clinics and group practices, radiology and pathology offices, private medical transcription companies, government facilities, insurance companies, and a variety of other institutions. Opportunities abound for full-time, part-time, and flexible work schedules in the medical transcription profession. Many medical transcriptionists work as at-home employees or self-employed individuals for companies nearby or distant, transmitting their work electronically. Some transcriptionists eventually become supervisors, managers, and teachers, while others establish their own transcription companies. A qualified medical transcriptionist is always in great demand.


Do you have what it takes to become a successful medical transcriptionist? Important personal and professional characteristics of the medical transcriptionist are listed below.

  • Interested in medical science.
  • Enjoy learning something new every day.
  • Have excellent skills in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Enjoy reading for fun and information.
  • Self-motivated and work well independently.
  • Care about quality and excellence.
  • Comfortable at a computer workstation.
  • Desire a professional career in healthcare.


Professional Association

The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (formerly AAMT), is a nonprofit professional association for medical transcriptionists that was established in 1976. Membership is voluntary, and two credentials are currently offered for those passing examinations administered by the association. Individuals who have recently completed an MT program or who have limited experience may qualify to take the Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) exam. Experienced MTs may sit for the Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) exam. The SUM Program curriculum and accompanying educational materials prepare students to pass such credentialing exams.

National Medical Transcriptionist Week

The third week each May is National Medical Transcriptionist Week, during which time MTs in English-speaking countries across the globe celebrate their profession. You can read more about this special time at the AHDI Web site (www.ahdionline.org).