As baby boomers reach the latter stage of their life, the need for qualified medical professionals is increasing every day. One such worker, a medical transcriptionist, is not thought of quite as frequently as a doctor or nurse. In reality, a medical transcriptionist is just as important because it is this skilled worker that ensures medical files contain every note a doctor or health care professional makes. Medical transcriptionists listen to doctor’s verbal recordings and then enter the notes onto the correct form, letter, or other piece of important information.
Some states, including Florida, are considering requiring that medical transcriptionists write notes verbatim. This is proving difficult to some, but in reality it is important to make sure that a doctor’s notes or other critical information is not incorrectly transcribed.
Medical transcriptionists are required to know medical terminology, medical abbreviations, anatomy, medication names, diagnostic procedures, and other aspects of the medical word. Training generally lasts a year and is extremely vigorous. If you are considering a career in medical transcription, you must have a knack for memorization, typing skills, computer skills, and an interest in working long hours behind a computer.
In Florida, medical transcriptionists’ salaries vary slightly from area to area. Medical transcriptionists who hold certification or membership into national organizations often receive higher paying job offerings because they prove their dedication to privacy and agree to additional training throughout the year. This proves a medical transcriptionist is willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure complete satisfaction in the job they perform.
- Boca Raton – $27,000 to $49,000
- Miami – $28,000 to $41,000
- Orlando – $28,000 to $40,000
- Pensacola – $27,000 to $38,000
- St. Petersburg – $26,000 to $38,000
- Tampa – $27,000 to $39,000
There are two levels of medical transcription (MT), a level one medical transcriptionist is highly specialized in one area of medicine such as family practice, ER, radiology, surgery, etc. A level two medical transcriptionist has expertise in all areas of medicine. Level two medical transcriptionists earn a higher salary than level one transcriptionists, so it can be worthwhile to make sure you have level two training.
In Florida, a typical medical transcription program costs approximately $750 plus an additional $200 in textbooks. You should expect to pay around $1,000 in order to get your medical transcription certification. Before you can enroll in any Florida Medical Transcription program, you must be aware that a typing speed of at least 45 words per minute is generally required, you must have a thorough knowledge of English, excellent hearing, and experience with a word processing program (Word, OpenOffice, Microsoft Works, or Word Perfect.) Courses you are expected to pass include:
- Critical Thinking
- Medical Abbreviations
- Medical Law
- Medical Report Formats
- Medical Software
- Medical Specialties
- Medical Terminology
- Problem Solving
- Transcription Practice
Nationally, medical transcriptionists are welcome to join AAMT (American Association of Medical Transcriptionists.) An individual membership costs $135 per year. By joining, you open yourself up to a number of discounts on office supplies. You are also placed into a national database so that customers can easily find you. You can also apply for special credit card offers, bank loans, and discounted insurance policies. All of these benefits can help you save money while you build a solid client base. This is especially helpful to those working from home.
The Florida Association for Medical Transcription (FAMT) is equally important. With the Florida Association for Medical Transcription, you have the option to attend statewide lectures and other advanced learning opportunities. Joining a statewide association also gives you the opportunity to join local MT networks. Your area’s MT associations often meet monthly allowing you to chat with others about the struggles you encounter and the rates that people are generally charging so that you are not losing money that you could be earning. Local association membership rates are usually around $15 to $25, so the cost is certainly worth it. Look for local chapters in:
By joining a national and local chapter, you are guaranteed to stay up to date with MT changes in regards to the law. One such change is the requirement that all MT’s transcribe a doctor’s notes verbatim. If a doctor has mistakenly used a word that is similar to what he or she meant, the transcriptionist would be required to use the incorrect word, even if the MT knows it is wrong. The medical transcriptionist is then required to flag potential errors and return the papers to the doctor. This is going to mean longer hours as a transcriptionist then has to find and fix all errors a second time, instead of calling when the mistake is found and fixing it immediately. In the long run, verbatim transcription will lead to a heavier word load, less communication between a medical professional and his or her MT, and the chance for misunderstanding down the road.
View a list of schools in Florida offering medical training programs.