Cowley College

Health & Human Services

Allied Health

Medical Transcription

NOT Accepting New Students for Enrollment.

A Medical Transcriptionist is the person who renders a doctor’s dictated reports and notes into an electronic or paper format, to create files representing the treatment history of the patient. A health professional dictates (records) procedures, office visits, and other notes about their patients, and it is the transcriptionist’s job to listen to these recordings and type them into the computer for permanent record. If you have average typing skills and a desire to learn, we can teach you how to be a Medical Transcriptionist. Your typing speed and accuracy will improve as you learn.

Career Opportunities

A well-qualified and conscientious Medical Transcriptionist (MT), according to the latest information, has a secure future. There is a huge demand for MTs in all areas of the country. One only needs to visit the larger MT-based websites to see that national companies are hiring every day. With national services hiring, location is not as crucial as it once was. A transcriptionist living in Kansas, 100 miles from the nearest city, can work for a client in Chicago, Seattle, New York or Miami. This is happening more and more, as technology opens the doors for new opportunities. MTs may work for medical facilities as employees in-house, or they may work for transcription services in-house or at home, as an independent contractor or statutory employee.

Degree Options

  • AAS Degree
  • Vocational Certificate B

Each of these situations offers different benefits, and it is open to the MT to choose which option works best for them. Potential clients include doctor’s offices, medical clinics, hospitals (of all shapes and sizes), rehabilitation centers, ambulance services, company medical centers, and transcription services large and small. There is also the option for the MT to acquire his or her own clients, in which case the MT is a self-employed entrepreneur! (The IRS makes the rules in this department. You should seek advice from your tax preparer or financial advisor when considering employment in any of these categories.)

Potential Earnings

The chart below will give you an idea what the average MT can earn. This chart is figured at the STARTING RATE working for someone else in the lowest paid parts of the country, on average $0.05 to $0.06 cents per line. The dollar figure is the Gross Annual Income.

Hours Worked per Week Typing Speed Gross Annual Income (LOWEST PAYING MARKETS)

50 WPM

60 WPM

70 WPM

80 WPM





















If you get your own client, DOUBLE THAT. If you type faster, you’ll make more. If you work more, you’ll make more. If you get your computer doing some of the work for you, you’ll make more. If you make more than $0.06 cents per line, you’ll make more. You get the idea. If you are fortunate enough to live in places with higher standards of living, such as California or New York, you will make substantially more. Depending on the situation, some transcriptionists have been known to average between $40 and $50 per hour. The instructor personally has a client that pays her $90 an hour! Most average transcriptionists will make more than $20 an hour.

Any way you look at it, medical transcription is an excellent way to make a living from the comforts of your own home, on your schedule.


Today, much of medical transcription is outsourced, that is, done by services or individuals outside of the facility where the patient is seen and treated. Today’s technology makes that opportunity bigger than ever before. Traditionally, transcription has been taken from dictation on cassette tapes, standard, micro or mini. These tapes are placed in a transcriber with a headset and a foot pedal, and the MT types what is dictated. Much transcription is still done this way, but less and less as time goes on.

A step above the cassette tapes is the C-phone, still widely used by many transcription services. It looks like a phone without a receiver, although it does utilize a head set and foot pedal. The MT uses this machine to access dictation at a central system, usually belonging to the service or the medical facility, and transcribes it. It is then sent by modem to the client or employer, where it is printed or stored in the computer.

The latest technology allows the transcriptionist to receive dictation via digital audio files over the internet, using a foot pedal and headphones connected directly to the transcriptionist’s computer, which are then transcribed and sent over the internet to the employer or medical facility. Obviously, the more comfortable a potential MT is with technology, the better. Medical transcription is about deadlines, and most reports must be returned within 24-48 hours (or less) from the time of dictation.

To effectively work for most companies you will need a computer. It does not have to be anything fancy, but a more recent operating system and more recent word processing program are usually required. You will also need a transcriber, C-phone (as described above) or dictation software for your computer. You will not know exactly what you need until you get your first job. Some employers will provide everything you need, including a computer, so do not invest in too much too soon. You will definitely need a medical dictionary, such as Dorland’s, as you will want to be able to find definitions as well as find words that the doctors may be saying.

Why choose Cowley?

Our course offers the convenience and flexibility of learning to be a Medical Transcriptionist at home. The students can study as their schedule permits. This course is competency-based, which means that a student will have acquired the necessary skills to enter the job market upon completion of the course. Also, the student is using the electronic medium which will be used during employment.

At Cowley, you have the flexibility to gain a transcription certificate or AAS degree – the choice is yours to make. We recommend that all our transcription students complete either of these two options. Scholarships are also available on a limited basis.

Upon completion of the certificate or degree, the student is ready to seek work as a Medical Transcriptionist. Because a person’s employment potential is based upon their performance, we cannot guarantee employment. However, we do whatever we can to provide students with the resources to get started. This course provides actual transcription experience, and the majority of our students throughout the country find employment upon completion of the course work.

Students may also want to consider obtaining specialized national certification. Information for national certification can be found on the AHDI website:

Our course is taught by an experienced transcriptionist who has worked in the field for more than a decade and brings with her a vast amount of industry experience, and is available to the student even after completion of the course to assist with employment opportunities.

Course Scheduling

The transcription course is offered in the fall, spring and summer semesters. Courses with low enrollment may occasionally be cancelled.

Open Enrollment - Application Required

This program has open enrollment, though students seeking a Medical Transcription degree or certificate from Cowley College must apply for program admission. This will make it possible for us to better follow your education and help with advising. Click here to complete/submit this brief application. The next step is to contact Admissions or your advisor to enroll in program classes.

Students who take a medical terminology or transcription class for personal enrichment, but are not seeking the medical transcription degree or certificate, are not required to apply to the program.

Get a Bachelor’s Degree Too

After completion of the AAS degree from Cowley, we suggest that you continue your education at Southwestern College ( to obtain your bachelor’s degree. All your college credit from Cowley will be accepted at Southwestern and their online degree can be completed in approximately 18 months. Go the next step – obtain your next degree from Southwestern College.

National Certification

AHDI is the only governing body that provides nationally recognized certification. The official website for obtaining national certification is found at AHDI.

For more information, contact: