CareerExplorer’s step-by-step guide on how to become a medical transcriptionist.

Step 1

Is becoming a medical transcriptionist right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do medical transcriptionists do?
Career Satisfaction
Are medical transcriptionists happy with their careers?
What are medical transcriptionists like?

Still unsure if becoming a medical transcriptionist is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a medical transcriptionist or another similar career!

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.

Step 2

High School

High school is not too early to begin preparation for a career in medical transcription. Aspiring MTs can really make high school count towards their future career if they...
-take plenty of science courses
-pay attention to developing their writing, grammar, and punctuation skills
-study a foreign language to become familiar with different accents and pronunciation
-build computer skills and increase their typing speed
-volunteer at a hospital or another healthcare facility to begin exposure to medical terminology.

Step 3

Certificate or Associate’s Degree

Many distance learning, vocational, and community colleges offer medical transcription training. The most reputable programs are those that have pursued voluntary accreditation through the Approval Committee for Certificate Programs (ACCP) and the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity.

Step 4


In addition to completing an accredited training program, students should seek out internships while in school. An entry-level position in a hospital setting or physician’s office is often the best preparation for a home-based or independent position in medical transcription. Employers looking to fill senior transcription roles may expect a minimum of two years of experience.

Step 5

Professional Credentials

The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity offers two distinct industry credentials.

The Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) designation is awarded to recently-graduated students who pass the RHDS exam, which is based on model curricula and tests candidates’ core competencies. This certification is valid for three years. To retain the credential, recertification is required prior to expiration.

Applicants with two or more years of field experience are eligible to earn the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) credential. The CHDS exam assesses core competencies at a more advanced level.

Although neither credential offered by the AHDI is mandatory, both are highly recommended and generally improve job prospects in the field.