What is a Medical Transcriptionist

Medical transcriptionists are people who listen to the voice recordings of physicians or other medical professionals and transcribe them in to a written report. They will also need to review and edit medical records created using speech recognition technology. Finally, transcriptionists may also need to interpret medical terminology and abbreviations used as they prepare a patient’s medical file.

Work Environment

Most medical transcriptionists work in hospitals, clinics, or private physicians’ offices. Others will work for a third-party transcription service that provides healthcare transcriptions for medical professionals. Some medical transcriptionists are self-employed, working on a freelance basis.

Because of the varying types of milieus in which they work, the work environment is quite changeable. Those working in a hospital, clinic, or private office will generally have a quiet, clean, well-lit workspace. Those working for a dedicated transcription company will have varying workspaces, depending on the company itself. For those self-employed, they will be able to create their own work environment, dependent entirely on their own wants and needs.

Work Schedule

The work schedule for medical transcriptionists is as changeable as the work environment. Most tend to work a forty-hour work week, however there is a great deal of flexibility in the job, letting the individual work as much, or as little, as they desire. However, deadlines are exceptionally important, and once a transcription job is accepted, the transcriptionist must be prepared to finish the transcription in a few days. 

Mean Annual Medical Transcriptionist Salary

The average annual medical transcriptionist salary is $34,650. The average salary is calculated by adding all the wages within the occupation and dividing that value by the total number of workers in this profession. The lowest 10% of  medical transcriptionist salaries are less than $22,400. The top 10% of medical transcriptionist salaries reach more than $47,250.

Medical Transcriptionist Salary: Quick Summary

2012 Mean Salary$34,650 per year
$16.66 per hour
Top 10% Salary$47,250 per year
$22.71 per hour
Bottom 10% Salary$22,400 per year
$10.77 per hour
Number of Jobs, 2012 74,810

Medical Transcriptionist Job Outlook and Prospects

The job outlook for medical transcriptionists is not particularly brilliant, with only an eight percent expected growth between 2012 and 2022; this is about two percent below the average for all careers, though it does translate to around 6,000 jobs. While the increasing demand for health care service is pushing the expected growth, it is stymied by the anticipated increased productivity of current medical transcriptionists caused by technological advances.

What Affects Medical Transcriptionist Salary

The mean annual medical transcriptionist salary is $34,650. This encompasses a range of $22,400 for the lowest-paid 10% to $47,250 among the highest-paid 10%. These wages are affected by numerous factors, including the experience of the medical transcriptionist, the industry in which they work, and their geographic location. Education can also bring some gains for medical transcriptionists.

Education and Specialization 

Generally speaking, a medical transcriptionist needs some post-secondary training. This is best aided by a postsecondary education that includes medical terminology, as well as anatomy and physiology. Those with such education will have a better chance of being hired, and receive a better starting salary. Those who have further education in both grammar and in working with word-processing software, will be further well situated for medical transcriptionist salary gains.

Specialization is not an area of consideration for medical transcriptionists. They have little requirement for understanding the specifics of the medical field; they need only be able to correctly write about it.

Experience and Position 

Experience is a primary consideration for medical transcriptionist salary. Those just starting in the career will find their earnings on the lower end of the pay scale, near the $22,000 range. With five to ten years of experience, however, salaries will rise to closer to the mean annual wage of $34,650. Further experience, as well as a proven skill and reputation, can bring even greater salaries.

Position is of very minor importance for medical transcriptionist salary. While one working in an independent healthcare transcription business may become a manager of a team, there are few other directions for position improvement. 


Many industries offer salaries at, or just below, the average. However, some can bring gains of as much as $5,000. Working for a specialty hospital or for the local government will bring wages of around $38,150. A medical and diagnostic laboratory will bring the second-highest wages, at $38,230. However, working for home health care services has the best salary, with an average of $39,480.


Along with experience, location is one of the main factors influencing medical transcriptionist salary. States with higher costs of living, such as California and Alaska, require higher salaries; the aforementioned offer averages of $44,770 and $44,960, respectively. Massachusetts has the highest salaries, at $45,730.

Metropolitan areas have a similar trend, with high costs of living reflected in higher wages. As such, the best medical transcriptionist salary is in San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA, with an average of $52,950.

Medical Transcriptionist Salary State by State