What are the highest and lowest medical transcription salaries that I could earn?
If you are a medical transcriptionist with a certificate, your initial pay will probably be between $9 and $16 per hour. Since this is the low end of the pay scale, there is definitely room for advancement in the field. Students who go on to earn an associates degrees in medical transcription can expect to make slightly higher wages when they graduate, around $11 to $19 per hour. Certification is also a factor, as Certified Medical Transcriptionists (CMTs) make an average of $7,000 more per year than their uncertified counterparts.
Working as a staffed hospital transcriptionist may offer benefits and consistent salary, and it fits the average pay rate at about $16 to $18 per hour. On the other hand, freelance medical transcriptionists can make from $25 to $50 per hour working as an outside contractor. An important point to remember is that freelance transcription can be the most lucrative career choice, but it also takes time to cultivate a client base.
Students who make the highest salaries often have the most transcription experience. As you become more familiar with the work, you will increase your production and salary rapidly, especially if you are being paid per line. Even if you are not working on a per line basis or are employed by a healthcare facility, you can expect to see a yearly raise as you increase your skill level and years of service.
In addition to my medical transcription salary, will I earn benefits?
Depending on whether you are a contracted or freelance transcriptionist, access to benefits is varied. For example, if you are employed by a hospital or clinic, even part time, you will often be provided full healthcare benefits in addition to your pay. Even telecommuting positions offered by dependable employers will provide medical, dental and long-term disability benefits for employees. On the other hand, working as an independent contractor will virtually guarantee that you receive no benefits, although you may be able to have a more profitable career overall.
If you are working for healthcare companies that provide consistent salaries, you will be surprised at the number of benefits you can obtain. Not only do they usually provide excellent healthcare coverage, many also offer additional training opportunities, CMT class and testing reimbursement and production incentives. Your company may even furnish you with free software and product updates to keep you apprised of technological advances and competitive in the global market.
Another incentive for pursuing a contracted position rather than a freelancing path is vacation and sick leave. As a freelancer, your pay is determined by the number of lines that you complete each day. If your work levels decrease due to vacation or sickness, your pay will be immediately affected. As a healthcare employee, you usually get at least 2 weeks of paid vacation per year as well as sick leave, volunteer days and paid holidays.
Will I always earn a salary in my medical transcription job?
There are a few key reasons why even prestigious hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices don’t usually provide a standard salary for medical transcription. Since transcription work is based on the quick synthesis and reproduction of medical records, it is detrimental to have transcriptionists paid on a salaried basis. These facilities find that they get higher-quality work by paying per line, as it incentivizes the individual transcriptionist to produce excellent records in a shorter amount of time.
While it is likely that your initial job will pay hourly or per line completed, there are some positions that pay a salary. For example, many hospitals provide a base salary of $10 to $15 per hour, with additional bonuses for line completion. It is wise to note that CMTs tend to have the highest base salaries, as they have completed additional certification and experience requirements.
For the most part, you will not receive a salary unless you pursue further education. Students who go on to attain an associates degree may be eligible for a higher salary as a medical transcription coordinator, which starts at $31,000 per year. If you decide to use your associates degree in medical transcription to complete a 4-year degree in health information management or a related field, you may be eligible for a much higher salary as a transcription operations manager. These management positions often start at salaries as high as $45,000 per year.