Transcription Practice

Medical Transcription Training Units

The SUM Program curriculum is comprised of a transcription practice component and an academic course work component.  This page discusses the three dictation units for transcription practice.

The SUM Program includes 46 hours of authentic physician dictation on 3 CDs: beginning, intermediate, and advanced. (Read the System Requirements)

Students who transcribe all 46 hours, transcribing each dictation as many times as necessary until they have mastered the concepts, will be well-qualified to enter the workforce.


Beginning Level Transcription Training

The Beginning Medical Transcription, 2nd ed., course comprises the first segment of The SUM Program. It prepares students for employment in a physician’s office, group practice, or small clinic. It contains 8 hours of authentic physician dictation in the following specialties:

  • Cardiopulmonary
  • Dermatology
  • Ears, Nose, Throat
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Genitourinary
  • Gynecology
  • Hematology
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Obstetrics
  • Oncology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopedics
  • Pediatrics
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Psychiatry

The original medical reports are dictated by real physicians on real patients in actual healthcare settings. They have been carefully sequenced by body system and difficulty level to promote maximum retention of details, and provide the vocabulary density necessary for a uniquely effective transcription learning experience. Dictations consist of chart notes, letters, initial office evaluations, history and physicals, consultations, emergency department reports, preoperative notes, and discharge summaries.

Dictations that encompass the following medical conditions are included in BMT2:

adenomyosis uteri  •  alcoholism  •  angina  •  appendicitis  •  ARDS  •  ataxia  •   atrial fibrillation  •  bladder cancer  •  brain tumor  •  breast cancer  •  bronchogenic carcinoma  bursitis  •  cholecystitis in pregnancy  •  colitis  •  colon cancer  •  congestive heart failure   Crohn disease  •  dementia  •  endometriosis  •  gastroenteritis  •  headache  •  hip fracture   HIV advanced stages  •  intractable vomiting  •  knee pain  •  lymphoma  •  meningomyelocele monilial esophagitis  •  neuralgia  •  otitis media  •  ovarian cyst  •  pancreatic cancer   paralysis  •  pneumonia  •  pregnancy  •  prostate cancer   •  pulmonary edema  •  retinal tear sinusitis  •  stroke  •  subarachnoid bleed  •  trauma (many types)  •  valvular heart disease and much more!

Length of Beginning Course
: It takes students about 400 hours to complete the transcription AND all the recommended course work for BMT2.

Recommended Prerequisites 

  • College entry-level proficiency in English; excellent spelling, grammar, and punctuation skills.
  • Keyboarding speed of 50+ corrected wpm.

Bonus Dictation:
In addition to the 2nd edition of Beginning Medical Transcription, the beginning CD also includes the entire 12 hours of the Classic edition of Beginning Medical Transcription as a value-added feature. This provides an extra 9 hours of physician dictation plus 3 hours of dictation in pharmacology, laboratory procedures, and professional issues.


Intermediate Level Transcription Training

The SUM Program Surgery Transcription Unit contains 8 hours of surgical dictation at an intermediate level. It is the perfect bridge between the beginning and advanced SUM Program units. Intermediate training prepares students for employment in multispecialty clinics, group practices, medical centers, hospitals, and transcription services.

The 8 hours of dictation are from the following specialties:

  • Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
  • Gastrointestinal Surgery
  • Genitourinary Surgery
  • Head and Neck Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Surgery
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Plastic Surgery

Length of Surgery Course:
It takes students about 160 hours to transcribe and master the surgery reports in the Surgery Transcription Unit.

Successful completion of Beginning Medical Transcription, or previous experience transcribing medical dictation for family practice physicians.


Advanced Level Transcription Training

After mastering Beginning Medical Transcription, 2nd ed., and the Surgery Transcription Unit, students are ready to begin advanced training with the Advanced Medical Transcription CD. Operative reports, diagnostic procedures, more complex discharge summaries, radiology, and pathology dictations comprise the advanced transcription units in The SUM Program.

Advanced Medical Transcription, 2nd ed., started shipping in November of 2011.  It includes 21 hours of physician dictation as follows:

  • Cardiology - 4 hours
  • General Surgery & Gastrointestinal - 4.5 hours
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology - 3.75 hours
  • Orthopedics - 4 hours
  • Urology & Nephrology - 2.25 hours
  • Bonus Dictations - 2.5 hours in ENT, General Surgery, Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, and Plastic Surgery.

The reports in the advanced units are more challenging and comprehensive than those in the other SUM Program units. Advanced training prepares students for employment in multispecialty clinics, medical centers, hospitals, and transcription services.

Students who complete Advanced Medical Transcription are more employable than those who do not.


Length of Advanced Course: We estimate it will take a student over 400 hours for the entire CD.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Beginning Medical Transcription, 2nd ed., and Surgery Transcription Unit, or previous experience transcribing medical dictation for multispecialty clinics or small hospitals.


Individual SUM Program CDs vs. the Online Version of The SUM Program

Schools and Training Centers can purchase either individual SUM Program CDs or use the online version of The SUM Program.  The payment to HPI is the same for both; the online version requires a nominal per-student fee to the vendor.

Individual CDs: The software is installed at each computer and requires the CD in the drive to access the dictation.  Most schools require each student to have a CD to facilitate extra transcription practice at home.

Online Version: Computer Systems Design & Programming is the vendor that offers The SUM Program dictations online, along with many advantages to the teacher, school, and students.


SUM Program CD Software Features

  • High-quality digital dictation.
  • WAV player—eliminates the need for an expensive (and archaic) transcribing machine. Just purchase an inexpensive foot pedal to play the dictation on your PC.
  • Easy-to-use interface with built-in word processor. 
  • Random dictation feature to simulate on-the-job experience.
  • Drop-down help menus with word lists, templates, and more.

System Requirements for CDs

Computer: Pentium-class PC with 100+ Mhz processor speed, 100+ MB of hard drive space, 64+ MB RAM.

Operating System: Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista.

CD-ROM Drive: 4X or higher.

Monitor: SVGA with minimum screen resolution of 800 x 600 with 16-bit high color; 1024 x 768 preferred.

Sound: SoundBlaster-compatible, 16-bit or higher, sound card. Speakers with headset jack recommended but optional since headset can be plugged directly into the sound card in most cases.

Headset: Single-prong transcription headset; Walkman© or stereo headphones okay.

Foot pedal: USB foot pedal, available at Must have one USB port available to use for foot pedal.