One of the big reasons people want to get into medical transcription is that they believe they can earn a good living off of it. The pay rates usually mentioned don’t sound too bad compared to many other jobs, and the chance that you might get to do the work from home only adds to the appeal.
The thing you should be asking is whether they’re really all that good. Are medical transcriptionist salaries good enough that you should be trying to get into this industry?
Honestly, that depends on a few factors, such as the cost of living in your area and what normal salaries are like there. Some places your medical transcriptionist salary will be pretty nice. Other places it won’t be nearly enough for the work involved.
First let’s take a look at what medical transcription salaries are really. Remember that many positions pay on production, not a true hourly rate, so what you earn is very much so effected by your skills and the tools you use. But we’ll get into that later.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly pay for medical transcriptionists is $15.82, and the lowest 10% earn $21,960 per year or less, the highest 10% earn over $46,220 per year.. How you see these numbers will depend on what other opportunities are available in your area and just what you need to earn to get by.
Other Factors to Consider
Of course, the pay rate isn’t the only thing you should be considering here. If you manage to get a home based medical transcription position, you have some savings to consider, at least potentially.
Think of the gas you could be saving rather than driving to work. Depending on how far you’re going now if you work outside the home, that could be pretty nice or it could be insignificant.
Consider your wardrobe. Working at home means you don’t need to keep up a professional wardrobe. Depending on the demands of your current job or the other careers you’ve considered, this could be an advantage.
The big change is if you have children and can keep working with them at home. Saving money on childcare could be a huge deal. Childcare can be very expensive in some areas. Just keep in mind that children are a huge distraction, and may limit how much you earn because you’re distracted. You will want to consider if you could work best after they’re in bed or at school.
Savings such as these may effectively increase the pay you get to keep rather than spending it on the expenses associated with working outside the home.
How Can You Increase Your Salary?
If you’re getting paid on production, one of your big focuses has to be on improving your productivity. It’s like getting a raise without having to ask for it. The more lines you type each day while maintaining accuracy, the more you’re going to earn.
Perhaps most important is to simply limit distractions as much as possible. Best is to have an office door you can close so that no one will bother you as you work. You don’t want to have the television on as you work, as it will probably draw your attention at some point. The radio can be a problem too, although others find limited background noise to be pleasant rather than distracting. Make sure you choose a station that will be pleasant to listen to, not one that will pull your attention from your work.
There are some simple tools you can use. Some medical transcriptionists use voice recognition software rather than type the reports. It can be faster to repeat the dictation and then check it than it is to type it out. That depends on your typing speed, of course. It’s also a good break for your hands and wrists if you want to mix things up a little.
Word expanders are great for speeding up your typing speed. There are many words and phrases, sometimes even sections of a report that are used over and over again. You use a word expander to type these with just a few characters typed. They do take a bit of time to learn, and will slow you down at first, but as you get to know the expansions, the increase in productivity will be very much so worth it.
You should also have easy access to all of your research materials for when you have to look something up. That’s books on the desk and/or preferred websites already open in tabs so you can just click over to them. This way you won’t have to wait for the sites to load when you need them.
Some people have a dual monitor set up so their transcription work is on one screen, resource websites on the other. This can be good, just make sure you don’t put any distractions up on the spare monitor.
Also be aware of any incentives your employers may offer. They may offer extra pay when there’s an excessive amount of work to be done, or for particular shifts, or even for being a very productive worker. These are the kinds of things that make the work worthwhile.
Don’t be disappointed when your medical transcription salary is really low at first. It happens to everyone. Focus instead on bringing it up to the level you need.