Medical Transcriptionists Salary Guide [2021]

Top Paying Industries for Medical Transcriptionists

Industries with the Highest Wages

There is a common misconception that medical transcription professionals have limited job openings available to them. Actually, this could not be farther from the truth. There is a wide range of industries that need qualified medical transcriptionists, ranging from research facilities to offices to insurance carriers. And as a medical transcription professional, it is important that you give serious consideration to all of these different industries. This is partly because of how it will affect your day-to-day work, but also because the amount of money you make is going to vary depending on the industry you are in.

But which industry pays the most money to medical transcription specialists? The answer might surprise you. Statistics reveal that the answer is Scientific Research and Development Services. Here, the annual mean wage for a medical transcription specialist is $39,080.

If we were to expand into the top five, the second place winner is Office Administration. In this industry, medical transcription specialists make, on average, about $37,630 per year. The third best-paying industry for medical transcription specialists is Computer Systems Design and Related Services, with an annual salary of $37,210. Then come Local Government, with an annual mean wage of $37,070, and, finally, Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services.

Which medical transcription industry do you want to go into? Clearly, there are numerous options, and the choice you make will have  a huge impact on the size of  your paycheck. Think through these different options very carefully as you make your decision.

Industries with the Highest Employment Levels

You might think that, once you decide to go into the field of medical transcription, all jobs are basically going to be the same; after all, you might ask yourself, how different could one medical transcription really be from the next? The answer to this question may surprise you, though, as, actually, there can be a big different from one industry to the next, both in terms of salary and employment opportunities. Before entering the medical transcription field, make sure to do your homework and settle on an industry that’s a good fit for you.

But which industries have the highest number of job opportunities for a medical transcription specialist? Topping the list, as you might imagine, are General Medical and Surgical Hospitals; here, the employment level is estimated to be 31,590, with an annual mean wage of $34,970. Second place honors go to Offices of Physicians, where the employment level is somewhere around 21,100 and the annual yearly salary is $33,320.

Moving further down the list, we find the Business Support Services industry. Here, employment levels for medical transcription specialists are at around 14,100, with an annual mean wage ranking at $29,510. Fourth on the list is the Medical Diagnostic Laboratories industry, with an employment level of 2,290 and an annual mean wage of $36,410. Finally, the Outpatient Care Center industry offers only around 1,830 jobs for medical transcription specialists, though the salary is a respectable $34,870 per year on average. Take these statistics into consideration when deciding on where you might apply for medical transcription work.

Cities with the Highest Wages

Living in a metropolitan area is often expensive, so it makes sense that the jobs within that area would pay a bit higher than those in other parts of the state. With a higher cost of living, the added cost to commute, and, depending upon the area, higher taxes and other fees, large cities often have to pay their workers more so that they can afford to live within them. If they did not, they would cease to be large cities. For medical transcriptionists, and professionals in nearly every other industry, this is highly important.

The top paying metropolitan area for medical transcriptionists is the Bethesda-Frederick-Gaithersburg metropolis of Maryland, which pays its medical transcriptionists an average of $51,230 per year. Following closely behind is Salinas, California, which offers a mean annual wage of $49,060 per year. Next comes the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area of California, paying $49,000 per year, the San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City area of California, paying $48,430 per year, and finally Anchorage, Alaska, which pays approximately $45,470 per year to its medical transcription professionals.

Clearly, California is a lucrative state for individuals in the medical transcription field. With three of the five top paying metropolitan areas, California is a great location for medical transcriptionists who enjoy west coast life in the big city. Though, geographically, its boundaries are somewhat more limited than those of the metropolitan expanses in California, the list indicates that Maryland is also a great place for individuals looking to live the city lifestyle and make top pay for their work as medical transcriptionists.

Medical Transcriptionist Job Description

Medical transcriptionists create medical reports, correspondence, and other administrative documents from dictated recordings provided by healthcare professionals such as physicians. They may work at home or within a doctor office or hospital and use a headset to listen to the recordings. A foot pedal allows them to pause the recording as needed so they can key information into a computer. Transcriptionists also edit the information to improve grammar and clarity and correct inconsistencies or mistakes.

Medical Transcriptionist Salary Statistics

Range in Annual Medical Transcription Wages

As of May 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a mean annual wage of $33,530 for the 78,780 people employed as medical transcriptionists in the U.S. Those within the lowest ten percent of the earnings scale had an average annual wage of $21,960, the middle 50 percent earned an average of $32,900 annually, and the top ten percent of earners had an average annual salary of $46,220.

Alaska was the highest paying state, with an annual mean wage of $44,130. California, District of Columbia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts were other states paying an annual mean wage that exceeded $39,000. States offering the lowest compensation included Arkansas, Alabama, South Dakota, and Oklahoma.

General surgical and medical hospitals had the highest level of medical transcriptionist employment. Physician offices, business support services, diagnostic and medical laboratories, and outpatient care centers were other industries with high employment levels. The scientific research and development services industry was the highest payer, offering an annual mean wage of $39,080. Office administrative services, computer systems design and related services, and local government were other high compensation industries, offering an annual mean wage of over $37,000.

Medical Transcriptionist Job Outlook

2008 – 2018 Projected Employment Changes 11,700 new medical transcription jobs 11% increase in employment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that medical transcriptionist employment will grow about as fast as average between 2008 and 2018, at a rate of eleven percent. Job opportunities will be good, particularly for certified medical transcriptionists. The move to electronic documentation will sustain high levels of demand for individuals in this career. California, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, and Wisconsin had the highest employment levels as of May 2010.

Medical Transcriptionist Education & Training

Medical Transcriptionist Education Chart

O*Net, a national career program, surveyed medical transcriptionists regarding their education level. Some college, but no degree, characterized 64 percent of respondents, 34 percent had a high school diploma or equivalent, and one percent possessed an associate’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers favor transcriptionists who complete medical transcription postsecondary training. This education can be obtained through distance learning or by attending vocational school or community college.

One-year certificate programs and a two-year associate’s degree may also be available in medical transcription. These are highly recommended and often include a period of supervised work experience. Medical transcription education programs need not be formally accredited. However, voluntary accreditation is available from the Approval Committee for Certificate Programs (ACCP). Medical transcriptionists who want to become certified may be required to complete an ACCP-accredited program.

Two voluntary certifications are offered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI). The Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) designation is available to recent medical transcription program graduates with fewer than two years of acute care experience. Individuals must pass the Level-1 registered medical transcription exam offered by the AHDI. The Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) designation is for individuals with two years or more of acute care experience with various types of dictation, formats, and reports within multiple-specialty surgical areas. A passing score on a certification exam is required. Continuing education requirements apply for RMT and CMT recertification in three-year cycles.

Related Occupations

Several other occupations involve recording information, typing, and processing paperwork. Court reporters create transcripts of conversations, meetings, speeches, legal proceedings, and other events. Human resources assistants maintain employee records within an organization, capturing personal, earnings, benefits, and tax information. Secretaries perform various clerical and administrative tasks necessary for efficient operation of an organization.

Workers who provide medical support similar to that performed by medical transcriptionists include medical assistants as well as health information and medical records technicians. Medical assistants are charged with clinical and administrative duties within the office of a health practitioner. Health information and medical records technicians assemble health information regarding patients, including symptoms, medical history, and treatment methods.

Cities with the Highest Employment Levels

Big cities are sustained by their occupants, who are able to live within them because they house a high number of job opportunities. A symbiotic relationship at its finest, big cities provide the jobs people need and people filling those jobs keep these cities going. For many industries, big cities hold professional potential that smaller, more rural locations may fail to provide. As such, they are popular destinations for professionals looking for a new job. The medical industry is one that reaches around the world, and the field of medical transcription is a highly valuable and important part of this industry. Therefore, there are several metropolitan areas that employ a high number of medical transcriptionists.

The Chicago-Naperville-Joliet area in Illinois employs 2,020 medical transcriptionists, paying them an average of $34,120 per year. Next is the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area in Arizona, which employs 1,670 medical transcriptionists at approximately $36,110 per year. Rounding out the list are: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale in California, with 1,660 medical transcriptionists paid $43,770 per year; Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, which spans both Minnesota and Wisconsin and employs 1,530 medical transcriptionists at $36,100 per year; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with 1,430 medical transcriptionists paid $36,620 per year.

These metropolitan areas play a large role in the medical transcriptionist field, as they employ a great deal of professionals who work in this industry. When looking for a new job as a medical transcriptionist, professionals may find luck in these areas, as they provide a bit more opportunity than other parts of the United States.

States with the Highest Wages

Just as salaries vary by industry, so do they differ by state. Due to a diverse list of factors, including population, numbers of professionals already involved in an industry, and the prevalence of that industry within the local economy, states pay professionals working in the same career differing amounts. When looking for a new job, this is something that individuals should definitely keep in mind.

When it comes to medical transcriptionists, Alaska pays the most at an average of $44,130 per year. Following close behind is California, which pays its medical transcriptionists an average of $42,410 per year. Next come the District of Columbia at $41,930 per year, New Jersey at $40,190 per year, and Massachusetts at $39,620 per year.

Medical transcription is a career that presents opportunity across the United States, as it is an integral part of the healthcare industry. Without it, the various healthcare facilities, ranging from doctor’s offices to hospitals, would not run as smoothly. Because medical transcriptionists handle the recording of medical records, correspondence, and other documents, doctors would have a great deal of work added to their day without them. Based upon the previously mentioned factors and countless more, medical transcriptionists in Alaska, California, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts make the most, on average, in the United States.

Medical transcription, then, is clearly a source of adequate income for many professionals. This is one of many sources of income in the medical field, and the medical transcription professionals who live in these five states earn the highest wages, on average, in the country.

States with the Highest Employment Levels

The medical field is a large industry—one that employs a significant amount of workers. From doctors and surgeons to nurses and interns, the healthcare industry bustles with professionals who save lives and keep the practices, hospitals, and clinics of the country running. Medical transcriptionists play a vital role in the practice of medicine, as they record documents that enable doctors and other medical professionals to maintain clear records and correspondence.
Of all of the states in the country, California employs the highest number of medical transcriptionists at 5,620.

Furthermore, of the states with the highest employment level in this occupation, it pays the most at an average of $42,410 per year. Trailing behind California, with a gap of almost $10,000 between them, Pennsylvania ranks second with 4,630 medical transcriptionists paid roughly $33,100 per year. Following are Texas, with 4,280 medical transcriptionists paid $33,220 per year, Florida, with 3,990 medical transcriptionists paid $30,550 per year, and Wisconsin, with 3,600 medical transcriptionists paid $34,290 per year.

Due to several factors, which could include geographic location, population distribution, medical transcription company locations, and the number of medical facilities within their boundaries, these five states rank the highest in terms of the number of medical transcriptionists that they employ. Because they provide the most opportunity in this field, medical transcriptionists seeking employment may benefit from exploring the options offered by these five states.

When looking for a new job it is often prudent to first seek employment in a location that is known for supporting the field in which you work. For medical transcriptionists, California, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, and Wisconsin may be a good starting point when seeking a new opportunity.


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