Medical Transcription Pay
What kind of salary do medical transcriptionists make?
Advance for Health Information Management magazine conducted a salary survey for the past year and the results showed that medical transcriptionists earned a median annual salary of around $30-35,000 per year. Certified medical transcriptionists (CMTs) earned an average of $40,000 per year. This information includes only those individuals who responded to the survey so it is difficult to say if these averages are accurate. There are plenty of medical transcriptionists making significantly more than $40,000 per year if they have been in the profession for a long time and are highly skilled. There are also those working part time or who aren’t as skilled making less than $30,000 per year. It is definitely a skilled compensation profession, not one where there is a set starting rate and the salary keeps automatically going up with the length of time in the profession.
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Medical transcriptionists are typically paid by the line but, even in the industry there are differing definitions of what a comprises a line. Some define it as a line of text and others define it as sixty or seventy characters. Other transcriptionists get paid based on dictated minute rather than transcribed output. Yet others are paid by the hour. The most common measurement of pay is based on transcribed line.
What are the hours like?
While there is oftentimes a lot of flexibility in the hours for medical transcriptionists, there are time demands that require certain documents returned within a given length of time. Sometimes transcriptions must be returned in just a few hours or as many as 48 hours. So transcriptionists have to be willing to work a given period of time so they are ready to transcribe any documents that come their way. Oftentimes an employer will pay more money for an employee that is willing to commit to being available to transcribe during a designated window of time. Other employers pay on a per line commitment basis so ask that the transcriptionist transcribe a set number of lines in a 24 hour period. In these situations the employer does not necessarily have a preference as to the specific hours the transcriptionist works so long as they’ve transcribed their number of lines within that day. As for skilled transcriptionists, an employer will typically work with them to make sure they are comfortable with the schedule.
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Is this profession in high demand?
Most transcription employers say they cannot find enough skilled transcriptionists to fill the volume demand. Some even have to go offshore to find these professionals since there are not enough domestically to meet the documentation demands.
However, it can be difficult to obtain a job in this field for someone who is unskilled or who doesn’t have much experience. Transcription is an interpretive skill set that requires schooling and training in medical language to become efficient. Understanding the diagnostic process and having a medical terminology background is very important. Also, with time and experience, medical transcriptionists become more skilled. It oftentimes takes a few years for transcriptionists to acclimate their ear to interpreting and recognizing what is being dictated.