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Medical Transcription Associate's Degree

A medical transcriptionist listens to dictated recordings and transcribes them into medical reports, correspondences and other administrative materials. Learn about programs in this field and the coursework they contain. Get info about online learning options and careers for graduates.

What Are Some Program Details?

A medical transcription program takes two years to complete and consists of 60-100 credits. Graduation can lead to an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree in medical transcription, health information technology or medical assisting with an emphasis on medical transcription.

Typical courses in a medical transcription program may include diagnostic and surgical transcription techniques, keyboarding and document formatting, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, medical terminology, medical office procedures, coding and voice recognition techniques. Often, you're required to serve a supervised internship at a school-partnered healthcare facility. It should be noted that individual courses in medical transcription, though not emphasized, are often included in health information management programs.

Common Courses Diagnostic and surgical transcription techniques, document formatting, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, coding
Online Availability Hybrid programs available
Career Requirements Completion of a specialized postsecondary transcription program in addition to being detail-oriented and proficient in keyboarding and transcription, with a working knowledge of medical terminology
Certification Voluntary certification available through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity
Career Outlook (2019-2029) 2% decline (for medical transcriptionists)*
Median Annual Salary (2020) $35,270 (for medical transcriptionists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Are There Online Opportunities?

You may be able to find programs that are offered in a hybrid format. In a hybrid format, some of the classes are completed in-person, while others are delivered online. Lectures, practicums or internships must be completed in person.

What Can I Do With a Medical Transcription Associate's Degree?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers like to hire individuals who have completed a formal postsecondary program specializing in a medical transcription (www.bls.gov). This specialized career involves complex situations dealing with people's health and recovery, so you should be detail-oriented and organized. You must be well-versed in keyboarding and transcription techniques, as well as have a solid understanding of medical terminology and written communication skills.

According to the BLS, once you graduate from a medical transcription program, you have the opportunity to become a Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) by sitting for an exam administered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI). Once you've completed two years of work experience, you're eligible to sit for the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) examination. Though voluntary, certification may enhance your chances of employment and advancement.

What Careers Are Available?

The BLS determined that employment opportunities for medical transcriptionists are projected to decline two percent from 2019-2029, potentially due to outsourcing and technological replacement for traditional transcription roles. The BLS determined the median annual wage for medical transcriptionists to be $35,270 in 2020.