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Occupational Profile

Medical Transcriptionist

Medical transcriptionists are medical language specialists who translate audio dictation while editing medical reports that detail patient care during and after an illness or injury, or for continuing care purposes. 

  • Avg. Salary $48,426.00
  • Avg. Wage $27.48
  • Minimum Education 1 year post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
Also Known As

Administrative Support Personnel, Office Personnel, Transcriptionist

NOC & Interest Codes
The Medical Transcriptionist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Medical Transcriptionists
NOC code: 1244.2
METHODICAL

Interest in copying to transcribe machine dictation or rough notes from medical reports, correspondence, medical records and patient information

OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating office equipment to record and transcribe surgical proceedings, medical records and other reports

innovative

Interest to research the accuracy of transcribed information

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 14, 2016

In acute care hospitals, medical transcriptionists edit documents such as:

  • discharge summaries
  • history and physical examination reports
  • operative and procedure reports
  • consultation reports
  • pathology reports
  • diagnostic imaging reports
  • obstetrical reports
  • referral letters.

Transcribed medical reports become permanent records of medical, scientific and legal value. Medical transcriptionists authenticate health-care documents produced through audio recordings and voice-recognition technology. Timely and accurate completion is required to ensure quality patient care.

In medical clinics and offices, medical transcriptionists often have additional office responsibilities, such as:

  • receiving patients
  • scheduling appointments
  • answering the telephone
  • handling incoming and outgoing mail
  • completing and submitting billing claims to Alberta Health Services
  • maintaining electronic medical records.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Medical transcriptionists work in office environments and spend most of their time listening, editing and typing on a computer keyboard. They may be required to sit for an extended period of time. Medical transcriptionists typically work regular office hours, but some evening or weekend work may be required.

Some experienced medical transcriptionists work from their homes, providing medical transcription services to health regions, private physicians or private medical transcription agencies.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Medical transcriptionists need the following characteristics:

  • excellent written communication skills
  • a good command of the English language 
  • an aptitude for languages
  • analytical and translation skills
  • the ability to work quickly and accurately
  • the ability to maintain confidentiality
  • the ability to work with little direction and supervision from others
  • a willingness to keep up to date with new medical terminology related to medical and surgical specialties.

Transcriptionists employed in clinics also need good interpersonal skills. Those employed in other types of environments should enjoy working in a quiet environment without a lot of patient contact.  

All medical transcriptionists should enjoy work that requires attention to detail.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Medical transcriptionists need the following skills and knowledge:

  • excellent knowledge of medical terminology
  • knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, diagnostic and treatment modalities and drug names 
  • knowledge of medical transcription guidelines and rules of style
  • strong word processing skills
  • experience using transcription equipment, software and resource tools
  • proficiency in English grammar and punctuation
  • advanced editing and proofreading skills.

Most people entering this field have completed a 1-year education program that includes a medical terminology course at a recognized post-secondary school.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Most medical transcriptionists are employed in settings where large numbers of physician-dictated patient reports are transcribed:

  • hospitals
  • medical research facilities
  • medical laboratories
  • diagnostic imaging centres.

Others are employed in:

  • medical clinics
  • physicians' offices
  • coroner or medical examiner offices
  • university medical schools
  • medical insurance companies
  • government agencies (for example, Workers' Compensation Board)
  • medical transcription companies.

Some self-employed medical transcriptionists provide transcription services on a contract basis.

Experienced transcriptionists may advance to supervisory positions in hospitals and other health-care facilities where a number of transcriptionists are employed.

Medical transcriptionists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 1251: Court reporters, medical transcriptionists and related occupations. In Alberta, 75% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Salaries vary according to responsibilities and experience, and according to salary scales established through union contracts. Depending on the work site, medical transcriptionists may be represented by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) or the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA). For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors visit their websites.

Medical transcriptionists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 1251: Court reporters, medical transcriptionists and related occupations.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Court reporters, medical transcriptionists and related occupations occupational group earned on average from $24.41 to $30.45 an hour. The overall average wage was $27.48 an hour. For more information, see the Court reporters, medical transcriptionists and related occupations wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Science
    • Biology
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Information Processing
    • Management and Marketing
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Clerical and Administrative Support
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) website: www.aupe.org

Canadian Union of Public Employee (CUPE) website: www.cupe.ca

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: www.hsaa.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 17, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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