Thursday, June 14, 2007

Would I recommend medical transcription as a career today?

My dear sister gave me a heads-up that my nephew's new bride (Heather) was contemplating going into medical transcription, and might call me for my input. I quickly dashed off a response to her that she could print and hand them (I don't have their email addy at their new home just yet) and then as I thought about it, I decided to post my response here. What started to be a few sentences was much longer and apparently, I'm not very happy with my chosen field.....I'd be interested to hear what anyone else has to say. Comments are moderated, but I only keep out obvious spam, so if anyone lands here for the first time - feel free to leave a comment. I am hoping to get some other MTs' viewpoints which give her things to consider.

Here's the gist of my email response with a few edits:

I would be happy to give Heather my impression of the job/business, but I am afraid its not very positive. It is hard, with long hours, difficulty getting paid well, and we are losing business to off-shore (India) operations daily.

It is my hope that my business and my ability to provide jobs for a few MTs, runs out at about the time all the "old guys" (dictators) retire. The new guys seem to be using voice recognition software, and having someone in their office edit, or they are sending it to India to get the work done for pennies, and also having someone in the office edit it....or even using programs that key in their findings into an electronic medical records system. Where I am able to keep business, is in small accounts, with older doctors mostly, or small surgicenters, etc, and being willing to drop everything and do what they need immediately. (I've lost accounts to India and gotten a few of them back when the work came back looking like "Swiss cheese" with all the holes in the dictation....Smaller clients have proved more loyal, so that is my focus rather than hospitals).

Heather has a degree, more than one, in fact. I turned to this business because I did not. I made a good income because I worked way more than 8 hours a day, and way more than 5 days a week. I would not wish this on anyone. Its my dream to semi-retire and go to work for someone else, part time, and when I leave work every day, I'm done! It won't call me from the kitchen or my sewing studio, it won't get me up at 4 a.m., and my check will always be there on time - no waiting two months and arguing with an account to get paid.

She would have to take a medical terminology course, purchase tons of equipment (if she chose to be an independent contractor) and work for very low pay initially. She would discover that the course taught her only a fraction of what she needs to know. She would likely learn on tapes that were relatively perfect, and then start working for dictators who were not. This would for example include dictators who are tired, mumbling, dictating through cold pizza at 2 a.m., dictating while driving on a cell phone, dictating while waiting at a train crossing with the car windows open, dictating while in bed - whispering so as not to wake up the wife, dictating with screaming two year olds in the background, dictating while peeing (yes! been there, done that!), dictating with psychotic patients yelling at them, etc. Then throw in the fact that a large percentage of the above mentioned dictators are also speaking English as a second language.....barely.

Once you take the course, and find someone to let you start (normally a hospital setting or a national service would give the best "in the trenches" training and extremely low pay) you end up making copious lists of new words the transcription course never taught you. Words that just got invented last year. Names of forceps that are not included in the 14 pages (two columns per page) of forceps in a surgery reference book.

I will say, that I no longer use my reference books. Google is my new best reference source. That saves me approximately $39.00 per book, per specialty (gynecology book, ophthalmology book, orthopedic book, pulmonary book, psychiatry book, plastic surgery book, etc). Those books were being updated and getting bigger every few years. I had about 10 specialties I kept up with. No more!

The courses you see ("become a medical transcriptionist and make 30,000 a year at home!") are often rip-offs. In many cases, you get basic anatomy words, a few somewhat-perfect tapes, a certificate that means nothing to any medical records director in any hospital, and you're out hundreds of dollars. In my humble opinion, a course through a local college can be slightly better if it is taught by someone (seasoned!) with actual transcription experience. I believe there is an online course recommended by the AAMT (American Association of Medical Transcriptionists - which recently changed its name to something I don't remember) which is excellent! One of my transcriptionists took a similar course from a company that was affiliated with AAMT 15 years ago, and was very well prepared to start. It cost her a pretty penny and it took her a year to complete it while her son was small. However, even she found out quickly while working for me, that she was learning many new words daily that her course Just. Didn't. Cover. (She remembers crying frequently over her first accounts!)

I have also found that becoming certified in this field is not necessary. It is touted by the association, but it rarely (in my personal experience) makes any difference with an employer or a national transcription service. I have never been asked if I was certified, and I have never asked anyone I contracted if they were certified. (Every job I ever got, I got after testing on the premises. And that was the procedure, per those companies, whether I was certified or not. Likewise, nearly every job I ever gave anyone, rested entirely on their performance on a test dictation I provided them.)

Certification, I have been told (so this is hearsay only) involves being tested in a room with no reference materials, no spell check, no nothing except you and the word processor and the dictation. I don't feel that is a good measure of a person's ability. Its not so much knowing everything, as knowing how to use the tools we have at our fingertips and our knowlege of how to FIND what you need. I had a certified MT working for me once whose work was the "weakest" of my team. So in my humble opinion, an MT can just save the money and save themself the stress of testing for certification.

That having been said, I will say that for me, MT was the right thing to do, for my family, at the time. I never got to nursing school, and this was at least a way to be in the field that interested me. I was able to stay at home with my kids, working out of my home, and was the mom on the block who handed out cookies and band-aids and carpooled and watched everyone up at the neighborhood pool, while other moms worked in a regular office somewhere in Corporate America (this was while I was living in Chicago and Texas). I typed between mommy duties. I have never missed a day of work, because when my little darlin' was vomiting, I was there with her and when she slept, I typed. I have worked every holiday, in those 27 years (normally very early in the morning so that I'm done when the festivities begin). People still get sick and have emergency surgery on Christmas day. (I GET SICK, and four hours later when I can leave the bathroom, I'm propped up typing again!) I worked before flying to San Fran for Michael's dad's funeral, and worked after I flew home that night. I work from mom and dad's in Wyoming when I'm "on vacation". I worked those extra hours, and my income way surpassed that of what I would have made in an "in-house" job. I did the grunt work for years and years, and then bought my own system and started hiring people when I got to CA.

Now, my little corporation bills a fair amount a year and I gross less than half of that because I pay a large chunk of that to my transcribers who are independent contractors to my corporation.

I type a little less now, because I'm also proofing other people's work. When proofing, I make an extremely good hourly wage (if you look at it from that angle). I have one account for which I rarely type anything but the occasional correction. That is easier income for me, as an editor. Its a nice break in between the accounts I actually transcribe myself. But I'm afraid to take on a lot of accounts like that, because in the event of several transcriptionists being unable to work one day, I simply could not make up the difference. I also am afraid of losing the rapport with the individual clients and my ability to truly give them the attention they want.

But MT (as any career) can be a pain. I argue with accounts to get them to provide patient information for the work that they want to come back to them with that information included (medical record numbers, properly spelled names, etc). I juggle their changes in days dictating with my staff's days available. I argue with accounts over waiting 60 days to pay me. They want their work in 24 hours (or less! my radiology account gets 4 hour turnaround). Well hey, I want my check in 20-30 days. Go figure.

(I've had to learn my way through small claims court when a psychotic doctor didn't want to pay at all. I won!)

I get phone calls from accounts at 7 AM that want to know where a report is, and find out the dear doctor dictated it in a stupor at midnight the night before. (I of course was unconscious at 9 pm asleep at midnight!) And I have daily adventures in coming up with enough staff to get the work done. On any given day, one of my seven "peoples" (whom I love dearly and are all good people) might have an emergency, a vomiting child, an elderly parent in the ER, a teenager issue, an urgent parent-teacher conference, a flooding washer, a wrecked car, a power failure, a computer failure, an equipment failure, an internet failure, or a pet that needs to have medical attention. When this happens, if one of my "peoples" cannot pick up the slack, the ultimate responsibility is mine.

Still, its all I know how to do. And I do a good job of it, with the help of good "peoples." We get business without advertising, by "Word of mouth on the Golf Course" or "Word of mouth in the Operating Room" or "Word at the Networking Breakfasts" from satisfied and enthusiastic clients.

And until I can get Mr. B to decide its "Time" to semi-retire, I will keep doing it. (Even after that "Time" arrives, I foresee continuing to do this in an abbreviated form, from a different location!) It pays the bills. His present job is only part time (about 30 hours weekly) and along with income, provides us with medical benefits, and contributions to our 401K and other retirement accounts. It works for us! I value the benefits very highly, with my diabetes!! He works very hard around here after he gets home every day while I keep typing. I have not seriously grocery shopped or explored the shelves at my "walmarts" more than once a month in a long time. I hand him a list and the stuff appears in the kitchen. He pays the bills and manages our affairs, handles my payroll, handles my gazillion pages corporate income tax return, and typically cooks for himself, does his own laundry and deals with our emergencies.....I keep typing. I cannot tell you how helpful that is!

For the last 27 years, this has been good for me and bad for me. I have not had a holiday come around in 27 years that I was not toooo tired to enjoy celebrating. But my kids have been well fed, clothed, educated, and I have been HERE for them, all day, every day. Sometimes their perception is a little different. I heard a lot of "You're always working!" and still do! But I have reams of pictures upstairs waiting to be scrap booked that point to my ability to get to games, get to school presentations and plays, be a Brownie Cookie Mom (and Dad!), be a Room Mom and throw Christmas parties (back when we could call it that!), manage sleepover parties, create costumes, bake for bake sales for various causes, etc, over the years. Some of that would have been a lot harder if I had worked in the Land of Suits, Pantyhose and Long Commutes. We've paid off a home, achieved an excellent credit rating, and we've saved a small chunk of change for retirement.

It has been a good job for me. And I've met and worked with some absolutely fantastic medical transcriptionists. My current team is amazing! I have a group of real "do-ers" who are WILLING and share my work ethic. They make my job much easier and more pleasant! The comaraderie is certainly helpful and most of my "peoples" truly try to step up to the plate when one of us has one of those pesky emergencies - I have been very blessed!!

But I still wouldn't recommend MT to anyone. At least without giving them an earful of information that they will only hear from those of us who deal with it daily. A good source for her to read would be

All of this being said, if she is still interested, I could get a course name recommended by AAMT that is the good foundation, and obviously, if she did wish to do this and completed the course, I would LOVE to be able to provide her some work. I will be at this job for several more at least if she decided to go this route, she would know she would have some opportunities to start with. Getting started is very very seems like every job opening I see calls for 2-5 years experience ..... But I'd be thrilled to help with that. If she still wants more information, let me know....I can send the course name, and also some idea of the equipment she will need so she can consider price versus earning potential.

She may wish to consider learning to be an MT but then functioning as an Editor. And medical billing is also possibly something she would want to consider.

Well, gotta get back to work!


I think she got more of an answer than she bargained for!! The above opinions are just that: OPINIONS. They are mine; they may not be yours. I would love to hear other MTs' opinions about this career choice. Thoughts, anyone?


Karene said...

As usual, my bestest buddy, echoes the voice of reason. I have been in this business myself for almost 15 years now and I too cannot recommend with good conscious becoming a MT. I did take a "good" course that did do an excellent job at teaching me medical terminology, punctuation and grammar, formatting reports, etc, and even though those dictators were not "perfect" by no means, they were not "real world" either. I quickly found out that there was a lot I needed to learn after my "graduation". I was lucky enough to have met Joy during this process and was more than willing to help me learn. She was always there for me when I needed help with a word. We have worked together for 12 years now and have many ups and downs with this business during the course of that time. We have worked on hospital radiology transcription together that one day just "disappeared" after we busted our butts to give them 2-4 hour turnaround time....this is all in addition to our "own" accounts we had to do. We lost a huge amount of money because they decided to "save" money and outsource the work to India. Within a week, the hospital was calling begging us to take them back and we said...."huh, no way". This is something you will always have to deal with. I also have an account that I've had ever since I started (12+ years or so) asking me to "reduce" my price. Needless to say I have never RAISED my price in all this time, but he is asking me to reduce mine. Has he ever reduced the price to his patients? Has he called the electric company and asked to reduce the cost of his electric bill? I simply told him that I would totally understand if he decided to get someone "cheaper" but that you also get what you pay for !!! He's still with me because he knows the quality of my work and I'm dependable. I have worked with 102-degree temps, vomiting, sitting on the toilet, worked the next day after my ganglion cyst removal surgery, even when I had to be out of town I have never missed a deadline even if I have to get up at 3 a.m. to get the work done before I leave. Also, when I first started, this one jerk ripped me off for over $700 that he owed me. I was brand new in this business and he even threatened me that if I went after the money that he would "ruin me and I'd never work in this business again". So, you have to know all the aspects of what is involved in this business. It has a lot of good points like Joy has said, but it also has a lot of bad ones. The work is always there, day and night, 24/7...I have worked holidays, every weekend, and almost every night. My day begins at 6:00 a.m. and ends at 11:00 p.m. Joy and I are lucky to have maybe 3 hours on Sunday to enjoy sewing...pretty much that is it. I work before I leave for my class and work when I get home. But, I have to say, I love my job...just not so much of it. Good luck with everything and if you decide to go for it I can only hope you get a great of boss, partner, friend that I have in Joy. She's terrific and has never failed to pay me even when she doesn't pay herself !!! Love ya, my friend, Karene

Karene said...

Sorry, I forgot something !!! As a MT you just can't type "what you hear" you have to pay close attention to what is being dictated. As AAMT puts it, you are a "medical language specialist", which is so true. I have a dictator that cannot keep left/right or male/female straight within any given report or even within the same sentence !!! Countless times I have had to go back and change the he's to she's or vice versa. Heaven forbid the patient name is one that I cannot tell the gender on...then I'm doomed. You have to be deligent in your have to proofread EVERY report. I spend hours proofreading my own stuff before I ever print or deliver it. Otherwise, if I just typed "verbatium", someone might get operated on the wrong arm or leg, or even worse I might hear a "sound alike" and type an incorrect medication causing someone to die. Also, we have to make these physicians (who have a much higher education than we do) sound like coherent individuals and make sense. Their brains are traveling a mile a minute when they dictate and a lot of times can't make a complete sentence sound intelligent. So, MT have to really, really, really want to do this type of work !!!


Joy said...

Vicki had a response posted and it got eaten by Blogger.....oops. Here's what she sent me in an email.

Vicki said:
Well, I do think it's a great PART TIME job for women with kids, if ya have the hubby with the full time job and benefits, but no way would I try to do it full time with kids running 'round. And, to have it as your full time occupation, such as I do as an IC, you basically have to keep your butt in the chair to make enough money to cover all your bills plus insurance, et al. To work full time for a company with benefits, then you give up the freedom part of it and may as well be working in an office, in my opinion.

Just FYI........Short & sweet, if you can do anything else, don't do MT..

Anonymous said...

Hi Joy! I too am an MT; or was until my compnay laid me off 10 days before Christmas. I pretty much learned on the job and learned how to transcribe handwritten physician notes into our EMR; which I got to be very good at and not at all easy to read their writing. I also did a little voice dictation as well but not enough to know it. I was thinking about taking an online MT course to improve my skills and have a certificate, but I would really like to know of an AAMT recommended course. Did you ever find out what the name of the school or course was? Please let me know if possible as I am very interested in picking the right school. Thanks!!

Joy said...

Hi Anonymous! The best I can recommend is that you go to this site (AAMT which is now called something else - they got a newer fancier name which says LESS about medical transcription, not long ago). Anyway, they have a whole lot of good info for you. I never did pursue the name of the course for my nephew's wife - I think we might have scared her off. I wish you the best of luck if you decide to continue with your studies! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Anonymous said...

Hi I am a MT student at Gateway CC. I will be finished with school in a couple of months. I have heard similar problems about landing that first job, getting the Dr to pay up, and keeping the he/she and left/right straight. I am so scared to deal with "the real world!" I heard it is tough! I have learned so much since starting but I know there is plenty more to learn.

Anonymous said...

Well, it seems that by the comments before the ladies are not happy with the career they chose. I have been in this profession for over 13 years, and I can happily say that I raised my first child without a husband or child support with no problems. I lived on my own as a single parent and dressed my kid in the finest, brand new clothes. Granted, this business is not a get rich quick scheme, but I have never been any more satisfied with a career choice in my life. One thing you must remember, too, is that finding a good quality MT out there is difficulty and having negative MTs tell someone not to try it is just a pathetic way of letting Indians take our MT jobs. Did you know that because of negative MTs and lack of MTs in the USA, our medical records are being sent to India, Phillipines and around the world. Thanks to those ladies who don't mind their SSNs being shipped off to India, and who are retiring from the business. Thanks for telling people not to try it. You may have had a hard time with the long hours, but that was YEARS ago. It's not as hard as it seems,Joy, and it just has to be something you enjoy. Yes, it can be difficult finding a job right out of school, but there are many companies out there that hire newbies, especially to keep our medical records from being outsourced offshore. In my honest opinion, I absolutely LOVE what I do and would recommend it to anyone! Hope that helps.

Joy said...

I love comments, and hearing other points of view, even when I strongly disagree. I've been at this since well before my first child was born.....she'll be 28 soon. Over the years, there's been a lot of positives and negatives to this career choice I made, and I think I covered both sides of my own experience in my initial letter to my niece, which I posted here.

A few things I disagree with you about. You alluded that it is "because of negative MTs and lack of MTs in the USA" that our work is being offshored. It is my own opinion that it was a simple business decision. The work can be done there for just a few cents a line, and then "edited" for another few cents, and there are facilities that will accept the finished product (full of holes and improper grammar) because bottom line - they don't want to pay for a better product done by a US MT. I don't think it was "thanks to those ladies who don't mind their SSNs being shipped off to India" or could possibly be blamed on those "retiring from the business."

I also would offer that in my experience, and those of the other service owners like myself that I network with - long hours are still an issue.

Yes, I did suggest that Heather consider something else. She has a degree. She can do a lot that I can't. It is, and was, a good choice for me, because I can approach the income level of a far more educated person, by working more hours, by investing in my own dictation system, and by hiring transcriptionists who work for me, and I make a small profit off of their work also (which pays for the dictation machine, the phone lines and the encripted FTP site and there is a bit left as income for me).

My niece could get a job with set hours, benefits, and better pay. Likely she would get paid on time. I have one account (out of about 15) that I have to call every single month and beg for a check. Its a good account and they always pay eventually (for seven years)....but I just got paid for Demember from them (it is March 25 as I post this).....i think it is possible my niece could count with more certainty on a timely paycheck in some type of situation.

You will note that although I told my niece I wouldn't actually recommend it, I also told another commenter about a course I knew of that was really good, and encouraged her.

One small note - not necessarily transcription related - I don't feel work has to be something you enjoy. Work is work. It's a four letter word. I mentioned to a friend the other day, that we do our kids a disservice asking them what they want to be when they grow up and making them think it will absolutely be fun and rewarding. That's not always the case. (In fact I told her work is like "s-h-i-t", that some days it's a smooth move and some days it's explosive diarrhea!) Medical transcription is not fun, but yes, it is rewarding. I enjoy providing a work opportunity for the women who subcontract to me. They are all moms, except one, and I have gotten to know all of them and consider each of them as friends. We work together, covering for each other's illnesses or emergencies, celebrating each other's milestones and sharing the heartaches. THAT is rewarding to me. Trying to decipher the dictation of some "little god" who is in too much of a hurry to be careful and is too callous to carefully insure a useful medical record for the patient's care, or one who slurs, chews, burps or even pees while dictating......that's not so rewarding. It's work. And I am grateful to have it!

Over the years, the field has changed. I know of several facilities out here that are starting their residents with the voice recognition software. They are entering their own private practices already knowing how to use technology that will eventually put me out of work. Again, I hope my early retirement coincides with the time the old farts who didn't want to learn the new technology wind down and retire themselves.

So no, while I am grateful for my work and what it provides for my family, I would not suggest this as a field for anyone to go into.

That being said, I would certainly help, encourage, assist any one who is determined to be an MT, or any newbie, in any way I can! I have hired newbies, and I proof their work closely and take pride in watching them improve their skills.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have read your opinion and I hope it helps any who happen to read this portion of my blog. Thanks so much for stopping by!


Anonymous said...

I have been doing medical transcription for a doctor's office since 1994. Prior to that, I was a pharmacy technician. I have had no formal training but all of the doctors that I have worked for have always been more than satisfied with my work. Unfortunately, the doctor's that I have worked for pay by the hour rather than by the line. I could make triple the money that I make now if I got paid by the line. The argument that I always get seems to be that I do not have the "formal eduation" or I am "not certified". I have seen some of the formally educated and certified transcriptionists come in when I am preparing to go on vacation and my office would need someone temporarily. We would try to get transcriptionists to come in a couple of weeks before my vacation so they could get used to the individual lingo, style, dialect, etc. of our doctors and none of them have lasted past three days of my vacation! The few friends that I have that were transcriptionists would not even consider doing what I do for an hourly wage. They have since gone into other lines of work because they cannot find jobs around here that pay by the line. I am also noticing that the newer doctors and even some of the middle age doctors are going with the voice recognition system and doing away with their transcriptionists. I feel very fortunate to have a job at all, even though I wish that I could get paid by the line! The only thing I think that is saving me is the fact that the doctors that I work for like me and my work and the senior doctor in the group does not like change. I feel powerless when it comes to negotiating getting paid by the line, as I am afraid they will just go to the voice recognition system. I do like what I do but I would not advise anyone young to enter this field, as I am afraid that being a medical transcriptionist is a dying art. I am 55 years old and at this stage of my life, I do not want to start over with my career.

kathryn ( said...

well, i do not agree with any of you, or what i have read so far. i believe medical transcription is an excellent PART TIME JOB. i have done medical transcription part time now for about 13 years. i have often worked another clinical job and now i am going to try another part time job in a grocery store and squeeze in some clinical work, too. i discovered a long time ago that i would not be able to transcribe or edit, etc. full time, so i guess in that respect you are all correct. it is a good skill, in demand, and will remain in demand for a long time even with voice recognition. it is nice, although sometimes lonely, to work at home. i am not by any means independently wealthy or even have the luxury any longer of another income in my home. i do the other job to maintain my sanity, avoid agoraphobia, and be involved in the outside world, and for $, too, i need it!. i still tell everyone who asks, "yes, medical transcription is an excellent job, part time". thanks all folks.

Joy said...

Update on 08-10-09...

My biggest account, five months ago, I think, was reduced by half. Not because of this stinking economy. Please understand, it was because they bought computers for each doc with the Dragon on it, with medical dictionary and templates for routine visits. It was not that these docs could not afford me. They just opened a walk-in urgent care (orthopedic) AND, they are now a ten doctor practice. They are highly successful and profitable.

The account was cut in half because of a well-thought out business decision. The cost of those computers and the Dragon programming, and syncing it with their electronic medical records system will be more than recovered, very quickly. THAT IS THE BIGGEST REASON I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS CAREER TO ANYONE.

We are being technology. In this case, it was a stellar example of the older gentlelmen sticking with me and not wanting to learn the new technology. The younger guys in the practice jumped right on board with the dragon technology. They are more computer/technology savvy and it was no big deal for them.

And good for them, making this business decision. It is BUSINESS! I don't have any hard feelings and I try to give extremely rapid turn-around to the doctors we still have at that office. Again, I hope my retirement coincides with the last of the older doctors' retirements.

This has been good, honest work for me and I've been able to make a living and provide work for some fantastic ladies. But I've laid off four recently, due to the changes in some of my doctors' offices. We've all taken a hit - the work is drying up. For that reason, I will still not recommend anyone to get into this field. This job will be gone one day. I'm glad I had the chance to do it this long. Now some of my best transcriptionists are considering other career choices.

I am going to try to ride this three more years, at least. But it is a close call, as to what will run out first, the job, or my working years.

Thanks to all who have responded. I have really enjoyed reading your posts and welcome more!

-=Mirage=- said...

i really appreciate your inputs with regards to the mt industry. I am a medical transcriptionist with almost 4 years of experience. by the way, i belong to one of the offshore bpo receiving the bulk of work from US and UK. as much as I love learning new medical words and researching about it, the income never seems to compensate the time and effort we exert in each patient's file.

thank you for your inputs, i guess its time for me to call it quits in this industry.

Lee said...

Hi Joy, thanks for posting this. Good to be able to talk about it.

For me the hardest part is, simply put, working much harder now for less money. I've been an MT for twenty years. Before the work (most of it) moved out of doc's offices and hospitals and got contracted out I was making up to sixteen dollars an hour, with benefits. Now, working as a subcontractor, I'm lucky to make twelve or thirteen dollars an hour (no benefits) working as fast and hard as I can. Of course it depends on difficulty of the job, and how much you have to look up, but unless you "hump" you're hourly will be BAD.

The other thing: I do like the sound of the way you run your business, Joy. Sounds like you really care, but the company I work for you never meet them because they could care less if they meet you. You produce work, that's all you're there for. I wonder, how are other peoples' experiences with companies where they work as subcontractors? Also, would anybody be willing to share what they make per line? Or the average rate at your company? I'm trying to figure out if my pay is in the median range.

To address the original, I'd personally say no, don't take on this career. It's hard work for little pay, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. Any MT unions out there?

Joy said...

Hi Lee! Wow, several years later, I'm still getting the occasional comment on this post! I don't mind mentioning my pay range here. I am in SoCal, so the rate is likely a bit higher anyway, but I know I pay better than any service I've come across. I pay a base of $0.09 cents a gross line. Not a 65-character count! A gross line!

I have one independent contractor who is just a transcription dynamo and never has to be proofed. Her work is returned directly to the client and cc'd to me. She gets $0.095 a gross line.

If you compare being paid by gross line with being paid by 65-character count line, the increase is pretty impressive. In return for paying very well, I get extreme loyalty and increased dedication from my "peeps". I love 'em!!

Anyway, I'm still slugging along in this business. I seriously hope to semi-retire in another three years. The economy may have other plans for me, however! Good luck to you!!

p.s. I'm not aware of any unions, but I wish there was a way to keep the work in the USA and also get the wage up! 7-9 cents a 65-character count is not even minimum wage, with a difficult ESL dictator!

Lee said...

Hi Joy,

Thanks for responding. Gosh, I didn't think to check the date! It just seemed like such a timely issue, I guess. I tell you one thing I plan to look for some better folks to work for, somebody who appreciates experience and good, fast, accurate work. Wish me luck!

Thanks for being one of the good guys, and have fun when you retire.



Joy said...

Lee, email me at if you would like me to keep your name/info on file - I may have some increases in volume coming which would translate into needing another independent contractor.


Pat said...

My name is Pat and I reside in British Columbia. I have been a LPN as well as a legal assistant for many years. I too read the ads about all the money one could make from home doing medical transcription. I bought into it because there was so much work and I actually wanted to scale back and work only part time. I took a 10 month course through Career Step and succeeded in finishing, on time, with a High Honors standing. After submitting between 50 and 60 resumes, I realized EVERYONE wants experience. Very few companies are willing to hire newbies and train them. I have been offered 4 jobs in the past 6-7 months and have turned them all down simply because the pay offered was deplorable and the hours you were expected to slog through all of the tapes was totally unbelievable. Costly lesson of $6,000.00 and almost a year of my life! I am chalking it up to a lesson learned. I am 57 years old and wanted to slow things down, work from home and have more free time - not with this profession. I now have a part time legal assistant position again and think I will just leave it at that. My advice to those contemplating entering the field, be aware that one must pay their dues by working long long hours for peanuts while becoming "qualified" to apply for all those jobs that require 2-5 years of experience.