A career in medical transcription offers great flexibility to those that are interested in playing an important role in the medical field. Medical transcriptionists are responsible for typing up medical information and reports from voice files recorded by doctors and other medical staff. With the Internet and other technology that is available today, medical transcriptionists can do this work from home. Having a good understanding of medical terms, procedures and transcription software are just some of the main skills that a medical transcriptionist must have in order to be successful.

Evaluate your skills and work experience. A successful medical transcriptionist has a unique set of skills and qualifications. Medical transcription work involves proofreading documents, using grammar skills to edit reports and being able to apply knowledge of medical procedures and terminology. It is important to compare your skills and work experience to the required skills, so that you can get an idea of what type of courses you will need to take to learn medical transcription at home. Review the information about the required skills for medical transcriptionists listed in the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Outlook Handbook, located in the resource section of this article. Compare your skills to the information found in the handbook and make notes on what courses you will need to take in order to complete medical transcription projects successfully

Request information from different medical transcription schools and ask questions about their programs. There are several medical transcription schools to choose from and each one has different course packages. Refer to the list of medical transcription schools approved by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) in the resource section of this article. These are just some of the schools that offer medical transcription courses. As you review different schools, check to see if the school is accredited and a member of the Better Business Bureau. Keep in mind that some medical transcription schools offer self-paced programs where students are allowed to learn at their own pace. Online interactive courses that are taught by an instructor and require you to meet coursework deadlines are also available. Each school has different tuition payment plans and some include the cost of course materials including a foot pedal and reference books. As you review the information from each school, consider how much time you have to study and your budget. Ask if job placement assistance and support are available.

Seek advice from other medical transcriptionists. An experienced medical transcriptionist will have a better idea of which schools offer the best training. There are several transcription forums you can visit online to seek advice and recommendations. It is also a good idea to get involved in the online community of medical transcriptionist as you will be learning and most likely working from home. Visit forums like Transcription Essentials or the AHDI public forum, introduce yourself and ask for more information. You can also read the information and feedback posted by other medical transcription students and professionals.

Understand the voluntary certifications available. Medical transcriptionists have an opportunity to obtain the certified (CMT) or registered (RMT) medical transcription certifications offered by AHDI. A certified medical transcriptionist is required to pass an exam and it is recommended that they have at least two years of experience in order to successfully complete the exam. A registered medical transcriptionist needs to complete a level one exam and at least be a recent graduate of a medical transcription school to obtain this certification. While obtaining these certifications is voluntary, they do enhance your qualifications and allow you to look more professional for potential employers. In choosing a medical transcription school, you should make sure that the courses you take will give you the skills you need to successfully complete these exams.

Enroll in the school of your choice and make sure that you have the equipment you need to successfully complete your courses. A medical transcriptionist uses a foot pedal, transcription and word processing software, a headset and reference books, including a medical dictionary, to complete projects. As you learn how to do medical transcription at home, you will need to become familiar with using these materials. Make sure to ask your school about the equipment that is included with your course materials and any additional equipment you will need to purchase on your own. Consider purchasing used transcription equipment from other medical transcriptionists or online.