Medical transcriptionists have the responsibility of turning a doctor’s recorded voice notes into a paper or computer record using transcribing equipment. This job can be done in a doctor’s office, at a transcription office or from home. Many medical transcriptionists work from home as telecommuting employees or independent contractors.
Medical transcriptionists that are employees of a doctor or medical service almost always receive hourly pay. Independent contractors or employees of transcription services usually are paid on a production level, such as a per-word, per-line or per-record basis.
Starting Wages and Income Boosters
Career Step, an online medical transcription training program, lists average starting salary for a 50 WPM typist working 40 hours a week, whether in office or at home, at $24,960. The site notes this varies greatly depending upon location, typing speed, accuracy, hours worked, etc. It suggests at-home transcriptionists should try to find their own clients and work independently to make maximum levels of income.
National Income Estimates
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a medical transcription employee in the United States in 2008 earned an average hourly wage of $15.84 or a yearly income of $32,960. This number includes both work-at-home employees and in-office employees, but it does not include self-employed transcriptionists.
The medical industry with the highest average income for medical transcriptionists is medical and diagnostic laboratories, at over $18 an hour. The lowest medical industry for transcriptionists is business support services, such as billing, with an average $14.99 per hour.
Massachusetts has the highest-paid medical transcriptionists, with an average hourly wage over $20 an hour. The highest-paying metropolitan area for medical transcriptionists is the Bethesda, Gaithersburg and Frederick, Maryland area, at over $23 per hour.
Benefits are dependent upon the classification of the medical transcriptionist. If the transcriptionist is an employee, she may have true employee benefits, such as health insurance, sick pay, vacation pay, etc. A part-time employee is less likely to have these benefits. An independent contractor will usually not receive these. A portion of the health insurance purchased by an independent contractor can be considered a business expense for tax purposes.
Depending upon whether the medical transcriptionist is an employee or an independent contractor, her expenses may vary and the way expenses are handled is different. A work-at-home employee will often have her expenses, other than home utilities, paid for by her employer.
An independent contractor generally has to pay all or most of her expenses. Since she is considered to be self-employed, these items will be deducted from business profit on her tax return. This deduction reduces the taxable earned income of a self-employed medical transcriptionist.