How Do I Become a Dental Transcriptionist?

Becoming a dental transcriptionist requires coursework in medical transcription. Individuals looking to specialize as dental transcriptionists may have to take additional coursework in dental terminology or complete on-the-job training. Schools offering Medical Transcription degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

A dental transcriptionist is one type of medical transcriptionist, an individual who listens to voice recordings or live vocalizations and converts the spoken word into written text. Some may review written medical documents - hand-written or typed - and reformat the pieces to accommodate new standards. The path to become a medical transcriptionist or dental transcriptionist includes postsecondary education and, oftentimes, certification.

Important Facts About Dental Transcriptionists

Similar Occupations Information clerks, medical assistants, health information technicians
Work Environment Most medical transcriptionists work in hospitals or other medical facilities; some may work from home offices or in satellite office locations
Key Skills Computer skills, critical thinking, communication, writing skills, time management
Salary (May 2018) $34,770 per year (mean annual salary for all medical transcriptionists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 3% decline (for all medical transcriptionists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education and Training

College-level training in medical transcription typically leads to either a certificate or an associate's degree. These programs are often available at community colleges, as well as allied health schools. Most of the coursework covers medical terminology, medical ethics, pharmacology, medical procedures, and transcription techniques. Students learn the definitions of different medical terms and their abbreviations. If a transcriptionist is not familiar with a term, he or she learns to use the proper resource materials to look-up the definition.

These courses also ensure that transcriptionists understand and adhere to the same confidentiality and privacy requirements as other medical workers. Most importantly, a medical transcription program teaches students the proper format for transcribing medical notes. Courses cover appropriate capitalization, abbreviations, symbols, punctuation, and spelling for different medical procedures and terminology.

Specializing in Dentistry

To become a dental transcriptionist, it may be necessary to take an additional course in specific dental terminology. Typically, this material is covered in a general medical transcription program. Many dental offices or dental transcribing services may hire medical transcriptionists and teach them the additional skills needed to work in dental transcription.


Certification is not required to become either a medical or dental transcriptionist. However, many individuals choose to pursue certification in order to better their job opportunities. Two such certifications are offered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity: the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) and the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) designations.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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