Side Hustle of the Week: Make Extra Money with Medical Transcription

medical-transcription_side_hustleSide 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: and

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:

Medical Transcription Guide: Do’s and Don’ts

Medical Transcriptionist’s Desk Reference

The AAMT Book of Style and Medical Transcription

Start Your Own Medical Transcription Business

Essentials of Medical Transcription: A Modular Approach

Advance Medical Transcription with CD-Rom: A Modular Approach

The SUM Program

10 thoughts on “Side Hustle of the Week: Make Extra Money with Medical Transcription

  1. It is good career to earn money in simple and easy way, the choice of medical transcription course is better than the other good courses available.

  2. This is GREAT information, thank you! I do have a question though. For those who actually do the training up front, paying out of pocket, how do you find jobs to do from home? The first thing that comes to mind is transcribing for a doctors office, but then you mentioned you did this for an insurance company as well. Do you have to cold call every doctor office listed in the yellow pages to try and find work? Besides a doctors office and insurance companies, who else would use my services if I did this?

  3. Hi Kristie,

    You could advertise your services in anyway–whether that be with a direct marketing mail piece, an e-mail blast, a cold call or an in-person visit–or, a combination of them. There are are many transcription companies that you could subcontract until you gain enough experience to strike out on your own.

    Try one of these sites, as they both have medical transcription job information: and

  4. Recently, there has been a good deal of inquiries by the
    American FTC against blogs and website developers
    for not publishing their advertising profits, or existing
    relationships with advertising agencies.

    What are your personal ideas concerning how this could potentially hurt
    the blog community?

    • Great question!

      That depends. If your blog is about how much profit you’re making and you’re making a profit from your readers based on that statement, then I think they have a moral right to back up what they are professing.

      But–and it’s a big but–blogging is no different than any other medium, like T.V. or radio that sells advertising based on audience size and engagement.

      But, for the majority of bloggers – and myself included – blogging is more about a labor of love! I do this because I’m a single mother, and I know the struggles that single mothers are facing, especially in these economic times. If I told you how much I make from this blog, you would probably tell me to quit (lol) – so, what I’m saying is that not everything is about the money, sometimes, for some people, its just about doing what you love. For me, that’s helping other people out:-)

  5. Great response….and what a terrific labor of love it is…..I wish I could have had support/information/insight like this available to me 15yrs ago but keep up the good work!

    • Thank you, Rhonda!

      Yes, when I started my first “single mothers club” back in 1998 on Blackplanet – it grew so quickly that I knew I was not alone and I knew that I wasn’t the only one wanting or needing this information.

      I wish I had some one to show me how to be a more effective single parent. As single parents, we may not have all the support we need, so it’s great for us to support one another!

      Thanks again!

  6. Good day I am so thrilled I found your webpage, I really found you by accident, while I was browsing on Yahoo for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a fantastic post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the superb work.

  7. Great information. My. Question is I have been in the medical field for over 20 years . I. Work. For a MD office. Doing authorzations and. Referrals. I’m. Looking for a transcriptions job from home to make extra money. I donot have. A certification in transcriptions. And all the companies I am seeing on line want a certification are there do you know of any. That donot need a certifacation. . What can I do .please advise if you. Know.

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