How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist in Washington, D.C.

Becoming a medical transcriptionist is a great way to be an important member of the healthcare profession, while maintaining the ability to work from home if preferred. Transcriptionists are responsible for listening to audio recordings made by physicians and other healthcare providers and typing them into official medical reports. Advances in voice recognition technology mean that transcriptionists are also often required to edit documentation generated using the program on a regular basis.

Medical transcriptionists need to have a good eye for detail, along with above-average typewriting and listening skills. Training for the profession should include an overview of medical reference material, medical abbreviations, anatomy and physiology, diagnostic and surgical procedures, word processing software, health information technology and medical terminology. It will always also be important to stay up to date with all legal and confidentiality requirements for medical charting and ensure proper compliance.

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Regulations for Medical Transcriptionists in the District of Columbia

Washington, D.C. does not have a specific oversight board for regulation of the medical transcription profession, nor is licensure a requirement to practice in the District. Those wanting to work in the field will need to seek an appropriate training course after acquiring a high school diploma or equivalent. Medical transcription programs can be completed either in person or online, with online courses being more numerous. Training can take weeks or months depending on the program selected.

Medical Transcription Courses for Washington, D.C.

Online courses are easier to find throughout the nation and have the potential to be taken from anywhere. A few classes those in the District of Columbia can access include:

  • Penn Foster offers an online training course for medical transcriptionists. The program uses online simulations to provide students with the training needed to enter the field. Once enrolled, online access will be available 24 hours per day, with the option to participate in a student community, learn from peers and access career services.
  • Ashworth College offers a training program for medical transcription. The program fee includes training for and entrance to the certification examination offered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI). Students will learn the basics of transcription, technology, medical terminology and an overview of the various systems in the body.

Certifications for Career Advancement

Seeking additional certifications is a great way to stand out in a crowded career field. Acquiring the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) credential through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) will show employers a higher level of expertise and professionalism in medical transcription, allowing for an increased potential for career advancement. The examination consists of multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blank listening exercises and a sample transcription.

Growth Projections and Earning Potential in the District of Columbia

Unfortunately, medical transcription as a career is in the midst of a nationwide decline, according to data from Projections Central. Specifically, a decline of 3.3 percent is expected between the years 2016 and 2026.

Earnings for medical transcriptionists in the District are somewhat lower than the national average, with the Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) reporting an average annual salary of $31,270 in 2018. Nationally, the mean annual salary was reported as $36,350 for the same year.

Opportunities in Washington, D.C. for Medical Transcriptionists

The BLS reports that most medical transcriptionists are employed by business support services, physician offices, medical and surgical hospitals, offices of other healthcare practitioners and employment services. Top-paying industries for this field, on the other hand, include local governments, accounting firms, laboratories, dental offices and hospitals.

A few possible employers of medical transcriptionists in the District of Columbia include Med Trans, Inc., Quest Diagnostics and George Washington Medical Faculty Associates.