Side Hustle of the Week: Make Extra Cash with Medical Transcription
Want to significantly improve the quality of life for you and your child(ren)? The single best way to change your quality of life is to increase your earning power—and that means getting new skills.
As a single mother, college is not always an option. Before I was pregnant with my son, I received an A.A. degree in Criminal Justice; however, after my son was born, I decided that the criminal justice field was not for me. But because I was a single mother of a new baby with medical problems, I didn’t have the time, money or support system to attend a traditional college.
What was I to do?
First, I did some research to find a single-mother friendly career and training program that I would enjoy and, more importantly, one that fit my tight financial situation. Because I had worked in a doctor’s office, I decided on medical transcription. I then enrolled in medical transcription training through a distance learning program, which, at the time, turned out to be the best educational decision I could have made.
What does a medical transcriptionist do, anyway? A medical transcriptionist listens to a physician-dictated recording of a patient’s medical visit or surgery and translates it into a written medical document for the patient’s record. Listen to an ESL doctor dictate.
Why? Well, many distance learning programs are more affordable than traditional vocational programs. And, because they are so affordable, no student loans are necessary. For example, at the time, my medical transcription training program was less than $20 bucks a month–that was a long time ago, however:-) Additionally, my medical transcription distance learning program fit my single-mother lifestyle perfectly–no need to pay a baby sitter, since I could study from the comfort of my own home. Plus, I could study when time allowed–mostly when my son was asleep. That way, I could spend time with my son without compromising my studies.
After completing the program, I successfully worked 13 years as a Medical Transcriptionist in both work-at-home and in-office settings. But the work-at-home benefits are many: I earned a great living (including benefits)—all from the comfort of my home, and I didn’t have to worry about baby sitters or transportation issues.
The bad about medical transcription?
Well, when I started out in medical transcription, there was no Internet. Yeah, imagine that! Now, however, with the proliferation of the Internet, there is much more competition than the neighborhood transcriptionist. Now, your competition is global. With that competition comes competition in pay–some notoriously low. However, it is still realistic to make $14-20/hour working from home, depending on your experience and skills (typing speed being the most significant). I know because I did, with my most recent stint (6 years ago) at an insurance company making $20/hour on temporary contract.
With that said, I don’t want you to go into something blindly. Read some medical transcription forums to get a sense of what the industry is like now. These are two of the most popular: www.mtdaily.com and www.mtdesk.com.
Still interested in medical transcription? Here are some distance learning programs. Look for a program like Career Step, which is affordable and highly respected with medical transcription companies–companies that are your future employers; however, here is a list of approved medical transcription training programs from the Association of Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI). Also check out the AHDI site for more information on medical transcription as a career.
Remember, some programs are less expensive than others—but don’t sacrifice quality, if you can. The quality of the program you choose will impact how well you do in your career.
Here are some additional medical transcription resources: