Medical Transcription Job Outlook

Medical transcription is a $12 billion industry, and qualified medical transcriptionists (MTs) are in short supply. One reason for the demand is our aging population. Not only do older people require more health care (which creates a greater need for transcription), but most MTs are between the ages of forty and sixty.  But according to a spokesman for the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) “Everyone agrees we’re about to hit a crisis point. Over half of the MTs are approaching retirement.”

Some companies are turning to foreign labor to pick up the slack. The medical transcritpion Industry Association (MTIA) estimates that somewhere between 8% and 10% of all contract transcription is done overseas, or about 4-5% of all transcriptions.

The relatively low percentage of off-shore work is due to a number of factors, but fluency in English is the primary one. One industry insider characterized the off-shore transcription services as a “giant voice recognition device” because the quality/accuracy just isn’t there.

Overseas rates are going up too, particularly in India, because they’ve realized that they can demand higher prices thanks to growing need and scarce availability of experienced MTs. In fact, many of the off-shore transcriptionists are actually medical doctors who find they can make more money in their country transcribing than they could practicing medicine.

The outlook for MT jobs is beginning to be influenced by some MTSOs who are partnering with speech technology companies. The technology may increase costs by 15% to 20%, but it can increase output 100% to 200% according to one MTSO owner. This improvement allows them to squeeze more margin out of the work. In the short term, however, speech recognition as a back-end solution probably will just change the way transcriptionists work by shifting the emphasis from transcription to editing, and won’t eliminate the need for MTs.

Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are predicted to be widespread in 10 years, and transactional patient data will be entered in real or near-real time, but the narrative portion of medical records will still need be handled by transcriptionists—or voice recognition when it becomes a viable front-end solution.

But make no mistake, medical transcription is a knowledge-based profession that requires extensive medical training and on-site experience before you can start to do it from home. Don’t fall for the outrageous scams that offer a few month training, a bogus certificate no one accepts, and a list of customers for a few hundred dollars. Check with AHDI to see if the school your considering has been aapproved.

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9 Responses to Medical Transcription Job Outlook

  1. [...] My wife does work at home medical transcription so I have an interest in what’s happening in that field. So this seemed like very good news for a while… there’s a huge shortage in qualified medical transcriptionists. [...]

  2. Texas Medical says:

    Your post makes one think! Great article. Thanks for allowing me to comment!

  3. sapna mishra says:

    i want to join MT’s. My Qualification is:
    _Influence in English

    Please Give Me Response For MT’s Home Job’


  4. samorville says:

    Hi,Thanks for the great information.Sam Orville – SEO SpecialistManaged Medical Services

  5. Jane Gray says:

    I’ve been looking carefully at an online school out of Texas called Med Line. I’ve watched it’s skill building coursework postings increase in number, and I’ve emailed them and called, at one point, to nail them down in order to decide if their coursework will help me again be employable as an MT (I was trained in my twenties and worked for a local hospital in radiology transcription). More recently, I’ve done some local research to find out where the MT jobs are. I live in the San Francisco bay area and I found only one hospital that currently uses an on-site transcription pool. The balance of the hospitals I contacted (approximately 16 hospitals, including the one I worked for 30 years ago), now outsource their transcription duties to “bureaus”. Needless to say, I’ve had an impossible time obtaining any information regarding pay scales, benefits, etc. from bureaus. I’ve been unable to obtain any data from these businesses.
    So, I went to back Med Line and asked the down-and-dirty questions I needed answered. Med Line, as it turns out, offers qualified students an internship with an affiliated bureau. Apparently, payment is based on per-line production, so typing-editing speed counts.
    The cost of Med Line school is significant. However, they offer payment plans. I will be attending their new student orientation Webinar on October 30, and I’m hoping I’ll come away with enough clarity (via satisfactory answers to subsequent questions) to sign on.
    I thoroughtly enjoyed doing MT work (I was paid hourly). I have the chops…however, at this point in my life, I just don’t want any surprises. I’ll post again after the webinar. Thanks!! JG

  6. Kate Lister says:

    Thanks for sharing Jane. For the record, Med-Line School of Transcription ( is Association of Health Documentation Integrity (AHDI, accredited so that’s a good thing. Anyone considering a medical transcription training program should be sure to check with AHDI to be sure it’s accredited. Let us know how you make out!

  7. medical transcription says:

    there is an Employment opportunities for medical transcriptionists and it will be excellent over the next decade. There is an expected increase in employment of 21% – 35% through the year 2012. The overall growth in the health services industry should be a major contributing factor for the expansion of this job market. Demand for transcription services will be spurred on by the continued need for electronic documentation that can be easily shared among health care providers and government regulators.

  8. Tom Harnish says:

    I gather whoever wrote this isn’t an MT—if they were the punctuation and grammar would be impeccable, and they would have done enough research (a required skill for any MT) to know that the employment statistics are incorrect. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition employment will grow “as fast as average” (defined as increase 7 to 13 percent, and job opportunities will be good (defined as job openings and job seekers may be in rough balance).

  9. stephanie B says:

    I am not sure where this info is coming from, I’ve been a transcriptionist for 15 years and the profession is in a downward spiral. Pay decreases (I went from over $20/hr to 10-12/hr in the last 6 months) from technology or the so called companies that use it claim, outsourcing is at about 50% at least, if you think that your info is not being shipped overseas you are in denial. Most of the work that US transcriptionists do now are difficult dictators because the easier dictators to understand are all being shipped overseas to edit. Technology is nice, but until you see what we are getting on our end to edit you will not know the thruth. Leaving profession, going back to school to get another degree because this will be paying minimum wage, if that is not what some are making now, within the next couple of years. The companies out here treat us like cattle and put almost impossible guidelines on us, we have no benefits, and constantly getting new rules that only decrease our pay. I cant believe I spent 2 decades of my life working towards this career and it is all going down the tubes.

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