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Frequently Asked Questions & Answers (FAQs) Page 1

What is a Medical Transcriptionist?

A Medical Transcriptionist is often also called a "Medical Language Specialist." A Medical Transcriptionist, or "MT" is a person who assists physicians and specialty surgeons usually by transcribing, formatting, and proofreading their dictated medically-oriented reports. Most commonly, MTs transcribe physicians' dictation that outlines a patient's health.

Why would I want to become an at-home medical transcriptionist?

Medical Transcription is a high-paying career in one of the most stable but always growing industries - health care. The U.S. Department of Labor says there will be a 51% increase in MTs (Medical Transcriptionists) needed by the year 2000. This means that demand will exceed the supply. This forecast applies to most First-World countries, including those with Government health systems such as Canada, Great Britain or Australia. They have similar needs and therefore opportunities. The medical industry is virtually recession-proof. If you become proficient at medical transcription, you will probably always have work. Also, making it a home-based business can be very personally rewarding. Depending which country you live in, tax incentives for a home-based business, home-office, or small-business can be quite good.

Can I really make any money by performing medical transcription?

If you are good at it - not great, even just good - yes, you can certainly make a decent living. A good or "average" transcriptionist can type about 200-300 lines per hour, or about U.S.$12-$18 per hour. A dedicated, hardworking, medical transcriptionist can certainly earn upwards of U.S.$30-40,000.00 a year (before any office expenses, of course). Once you have the skill and the equipment, you are only limited by how many clients for whom you perform transcription while still quickly and efficiently transcribing their dictation. For an objective look at wages earned by medical transcriptionists, you can review the results of Medword's survey on earnings. To see the results, go to the View Results page and click the "view" button.

What kind of equipment would I need to have?

The basic equipment you will need: a computer (Dell computers are surprisingly inexpensive these days); a monitor; a printer; a telephone; a tape player (transcribing machine) or players, as there are three different sizes of tapes; possibly a telephone device to receive doctors' dictation; medical reference materials in book form or on disk, possibly needing annual updating; and possibly a fax and/or photocopier, depending on your needs as a home-based business owner.

As mentioned, you will also need a few medical reference books, the minimum being: a book on current drugs on the market; a medical atlas; a book on writing style; possibly a book on being a medical transcriptionist, if you are a new MT; and, if you are also going into business for yourself, a book or two on home-business.

What skills do I need to become a medical transcriptionist?

Some of the general skills you will need are: being able type, or more correctly "keyboard", which means being proficient at using all the keys on a computer keyboard; a good knowledge of general language skills such as your language's grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules, and writing styles; a good knowledge of medical terms, medical phrases, rules for combining medical words using prefixes and suffixes; a good knowledge of human anatomy and physiology; a knowledge of basic business principles if you are planning to work in your own business at home.

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