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The Freedom to Work Anywhere: Starting Your Career as a Medical Transcriptionist

SyberScribe AUTHOR: SyberScribe, June 26th, 2017

Remote working is an increasingly popular option for many people who want a more flexible work and life balance. But you don’t have to be a technology professional to make good money working from home. And there are many reasons why medical transcribers are sought after around the world. Here’s your guide to how you can make the transition to transcription work.

Benefits of working from home as a medical transcriptionist

Wondering what’s so good about working from home? Consider the following:

More flexibility

Within reason, working from home lets you set your own hours. You don’t have to “show up” for work. Your clients have deadlines and as long as you meet those requirements they’re happy.

This gives you greater flexibility to work (and play) when you want. Some people prefer to work intensely in bursts and take extended breaks. Others prefer a regular routine, perhaps early in the morning or in the evening. Everyone’s different.

Working for yourself lets you manage your own schedule and make time for the finer things in life, like a quick trip down to the cafe or taking the dog for a walk. In our increasingly busy lives, that freedom is something many people find attractive.

Working from the comfort of home

Working from home has it’s own pros and cons. A huge benefit, you have more choice over your work environment, music, and decor. You have access to your own kitchen, and you can keep regular household chores ticking over while you’re working, like throwing a load in the washer and dryer between transcriptions.

Be your own boss

There’s nothing quite like the freedom of working for yourself. Sure, you have to keep your clients happy, but breaking out of the structure of a more traditional corporate environment to be your own boss is a reward unto itself.

More control over your earnings

When you’re earning a salary it doesn’t really matter how hard you work, you’re not going to make any more than what’s written on the contract. As a contractor working for home, you can hone your craft and increase your earnings while working the same hours in your own personal space.

Setting out your work space

The Freedom to Work Anywhere (2)

While freelancers can generally do their work anywhere provided there’s a laptop and an Internet connection, you’ll want at least one dedicated area to do your work where you won’t be distracted. Here are some tips for making the most of your home office space.

Peaceful and distraction free

Too much noise can distract you. But a space that’s eerily quiet can also work against your focus by making even the smallest sound seem too loud.

As a medical transcriptionist, you’ll need to focus on what you are transcribing to achieve high word counts with accuracy and speed. A peaceful work space like an enclosed study where you won’t be distracted by other people, the sound of the phone ringing or other noise is ideal.


A comfortable, adjustable chair and the right sized desk are important. You’ll be working in this space for several hours a day, so you want to be able to work effectively without getting muscle cramps or a stiff neck.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get ergonomic equipment, but if you don’t invest in decent home office equipment, you may find it difficult to meet your deadlines without cramping up or feeling sore.

Equipment you will need

You don’t need much as a medical transcriber, but there are a few things that you find to be absolutely necessary.

Computer or laptop

Your computer should be reliable. It doesn’t have to be the flashiest or most expensive, as you’re mostly word processing and listening to audio. Still, don’t go for the cheapest either. A Macbook, decent Chromebook or Windows machine should suit just fine.


  • Good keyboard – You’re going to be typing a lot, so make sure you get a keyboard that’s comfortable to type on for extended periods of time and has enough support for your wrists.
  • Clear, high resolution monitor – Staring at screen text for extended periods of time can cause eye strain if you don’t have a good monitor.

Foot pedal

A foot pedal is a device that connects to your computer or laptop and lets you control the audio playback of your transcriptions with your feet while you type with your hands. Invest in a foot pedal to achieve greater accuracy while typing.

Transcription software

There are a number of affordable transcription programs out there that will help you get better at your transcription work. Here’s a list of just a few:


A good set of headphones will block out external noise and make it easier to hear what you’re transcribing. They’re also essential if your space is a bit noisy or if you plan to take your work to the library or cafe.

Skills you will need

The Freedom to Work Anywhere

The most important thing before embarking on a career as a medical transcriptionist is to have the skill to do the job. Even if you don’t have a cutting edge computer, so long as you can type quickly with accuracy and understanding of the medical terminology used, you’ll do well as a transcriber.

Understanding of medical terminology

As a medical transcriptionist, an understanding of the terms used in the field of medicine will help make your transcriptions more accurate. If you don’t have experience in the medical field, you might consider doing a medical transcription course before looking for work.

High word-per-minute typing

You’ll want to aim for around 70 words-per-minute as a medical transcriptionist. Some clients might have higher or lower requirements, but generally you’ll be able to get by with this. Words-per-minute is all about speed and accuracy. Getting really good at typing quickly without error can be difficult, especially when complex medical terminology can be involved. You might consider typing courses to help improve your work count.

Finding work

As with many freelance careers, getting started is often the hardest part. You might have to start at a lower pay per piece while you build your profile, just remember to keep a record of your clients and build a portfolio to show prospective leads.

SyberScribe is a leading provider of transcription services to the medical industry. We offer rapid turnaround times and accurate transcriptions through our state-of-the-art transcription platform. If you’re ready to take the plunge, why not check out the SyberScribe jobs page for more information on starting work as a medical transcriptionist.