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If you just started MTing, how could have have been an MT for 10 years?

Posted By: confused on 2005-09-15
In Reply to: Hi Everyone! - Michael M.

That's what your post below says.

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30+ years MTing
making base rate of 9.5 cpl, doing all work types.

Though i make a comfy living compared to many, i sure don't feel we are well-compensated/respected by the medical community, even though we have very specialized technical skills.
I too have many, many years of MTing
under my belt. I was recently hired by a great company. They asked me how many lines I was interested in doing, not hours. I work part-time hours but make full-time lines. Maybe if you put the lines you plan on doing instead of hours you might get more of a response. Good luck.
Thanks Joy - been in MTing for 20 years -
I have a computer at home, just wanted something portable for when I am spending long hours at school and needing to take notes, do extra homework assignments, etc.

This little notebook from Walmart I just got only cost $298 and weighs just 1 pound so it will fit in my purse easily. Just don't know how well it performs.
I do MTing, as well as billing. Although I have worked for the same doctors for years, I subcontrac
for $18 an hour.  I'm looking to stop though and stick with transcription. If you think the medical transcription world is not so great these days, then try billing. I'm so sick of dealing with PPO networks, HMOs, Medicare, Medicaid and all the crap, rules and regulations that come with it. It gives me migraines and my job is never done. At least with transcription, you do your reports, upload them and it's over. With billing, I am constantly fighting with insurance companies who want to rip you off at every turn.  When I finally get sick of all MT-ing, then my next money is a travel agent. Something fun!!!!
When they first started 8 years ago they were bad.
They have improved with time, experience and consistent feedback.

It bothers me too, but I faced the fact some time ago that the situation is not going to change.

Some of our clients don't know it either. Others specifically request it(lower pricing). Sad, but true.
37 years. started when i was 15. nmx
That's how I started out 30 years ago, too. - sm
Biggest career mistake of my life. My friend went to court-reporting school - tried to talk me into it but I wanted faster results. Back then MT pay was almost comparable to CR pay, too. I figured, why go to school 3-6 years, when I can go for 20 weeks and have a job? So I chose MT and look what happened. It didnt matter after all these years whether I was good at it or not... the field is drying up in terms of being able to support yourself at it. My friend? Steady work, good money, owns a nice house, put her kids through college, etc.
That's what I started at 9 years ago SM

as an IC at the local hospital and at first, didn't make much money, but as I got more familiar with the dictators, I could do 150 minutes in 6 1/2 hours. That was a good deal. I left because:

1. I got bored.

2. I worked 7 days a week plus all the holidays.

3. I thought the grass was greener elsewhere. I needed bennies and the hospital, even though my work was good, wouldn't hire me as an employee because then they would lose #2.

When I first started out 10 years ago,
my very first job paid $.055 per 55 character line. My next job three months later paid $.07/65 characters. Then I had a hospital job paying $10 per hour plus incentive. Moved up to opening offers of $.08-.09 cpl with nationals. Got tired of nationals. Made very decent money for the next 2-3 years paid $.12/gross line until those two contracts got outsourced or went to VR. Got a part-time job outside the home in a different field for six months until that company laid everyone off. Now I'm trying to find another $.07/65 cpl job. Ten years later and I'm in the same place in life again.
9 years this month...started in

Well she started out as a reporter 26 years ago.
She's not poor by any means!
I started getting symptoms after about 3-5 years. Nobody could believe it. sm
Fellow MTs told me it was too early, but nope. I had the tests, and had/have bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. Think it's anatomical for some. I have very tiny wrists, and I've read that sometimes that can be related.

Some 15-20 years later, I had endoscopic surgery on the right side. I wouldn't recommend endoscopic. If you get surgery, go open. I learned later that it's usually more effective. I still have symptoms in both wrists, can tell no improvement in the right hand.

Best things: Physical therapy was the very best, but Worker's Comp obviously wouldn't pay for that forever. Cat's Paw (exerciser) is cheap and mimics a lot of the stuff I was doing in PT.

SmartGlove when I work. Helps a lot.

Trackball - huge difference.

Shorthand - I have made it my hobby to learn to work smarter instead of harder. I studied the productivity sites and am constantly working on building my ShortHand file. It's rare that something isn't in it. I have gotten to where it shows a savings of about 50% keystrokes, which is something to think about. It's like working half a day and getting paid for a full day.

Rest. Get up at least once an hour, go to your dining room table, put your palm flat on the table and press down. You should feel a really good stretch. And then I take at least 5-10 minutes to break. Maybe not the best thing for productivity, but the best for longevity.
I started 35 years ago this month. sm

I started in a small hospital in the Midwest and spent 6 years there, then moved to the West Coast.  When I started, we had two reference books, Dorland's and the Surgeon's Syllabus (a red much used book).  We were on Royal typewriters, four carbon copies, all colored with different color white-out for each copy.  Our dictation came in on wax records with the stats at the switchboard station.  They would call us when one came in and we would walk down and get it.  They were on lilac wax and the others were on a salmon color.  We had little record players at our desk and we would transcribe the wax records, then put them in a press to take out the grooves and use them over and over.  I loved working there.   We then graduated to the Norelco reel-to-reel, and then to the Dictaphone plastic belts, then the magnetic belts, and then the MT/ST, then the Mag-Card, and finally to the computer, then to the Lanier pop-up tape system, then to the Sony Network, and then to digital voice.  It's been a long joury and I was with one employer for over two decades before being sold to MQ. I had the best boss in the world, generous to a fault, but then MQ came along and offshoring and the MT business went down, down, down. I make half of what I used to and I work twice as hard. Benefits are hard to come by and there is no security.  I long for the old days.

I quit for several years and started again.....
I'm a moron.  I hate it and I hide it from my kids.  It stinks.
This really is pathetic. 5 years ago I started out with .07 and they are still only paying that?

started at about 8K PT 2002, last couple years 12K but
I did not work much in 2005 for about 6 months when my 5-y/o got diagnosed with cancer and going through chemo, etc. So I would have made a bit more. I expect to do about $16K this year. I alternate my hours a lot though, about 60 or so minutes of work during the school year a day, but then only 30 during the summer, plus a side job that fluctuates ($300-500 a month). I am shooting for $20K next year, still not at FT (5-6 hours a day). I'll see how it goes. I think $12K for PT is good, but that is my opinion.
Ive worked Sundays since I started transcribing 18 years ago!
..but i know that they always need to be covered and people keep getting sick and having operations... holidays too.   we are in one of those kind of jobs.  i love having time off during the week to get things done though. 
Yes! My kids (above, age 22 and 24) started out making more than I make after 30 years of MT!
I proof as I go. I didn't when I first started umpteen years ago. nm
I started a neighborhood watch a couple of years ago...sm
we were having similar problems to what you're having and they're gone now. Here's what worked for us. I gave every home in the subdvision a flier asking anyone that was interested in forming a neighborhood watch to come to an organization meeting and made the meeting a week later and on a week night, and gave my phone # in the event someone was interested but couldn't attend then. Out of 150 homes in my subdivision we had 40 people show up and 20 called expressing interest.

Everyone had the same complaints on the same "problem" homes and as a group we decided that each time the noise level was high enough to hear outside of the vehicle or house that we'd call the police. We all alternated placing those calls so the police department didn't think it was just 1 person complaining. The police department agreed to increase the patrols for our subdivision at all hours of the day and night and just having people see them ride through every few hours helped significantly cut down on the problems.

Over time the people that were causing problems either put their houses up for sale or moved out of the rental home and left when they saw that we neighbors insisted on a peaceful and quiet living area. It worked! When these problem homes left the problems with the trash thrown on the roads left as well.

In addition we were having some problems with some of the youth hanging out walking the streets at all hours and it was making some of the residents nervous, especially when the youth were walking through yards. So, we told the youth to stick to the roads, ask permission before cutting through yards to find out who cared and didn't care if they walked through them, and one of the men placed a basketball goal at the end of one of the cul-dec-sacs for the kids to play basketball after the neighbors in the cul-dec-sac agreed it would be fine. It worked - some of them started playing basketball there and they honored requests of homeowners that didn't want them walking on their yards.

Good luck to you!
I've been in MT for 20 years. Started out in the office at a hospital.

Switched to working for services from home for a while and now I work for the same hospital I started out at, but I work from home now.  So I guess you can say I've come full circle and now I'm back where I started.  I much prefer being an employee of a hospital versus an IC or employee of an MTSO.

It may be that your user profile in EXText is not set up to allow you to add normals.  I've found with services they don't give their MTs a whole lot of freedom with their software.   

all that PLUS, when I started 13 years ago, electric typewriters were still used (smile!) no message
I have 13 years experience and just started a hospital job working from home making $16 an hour

and with a really good incentive plan.  I live in the Kansas City area.  $10 seems like a low starting point even with only two years experience which is the usual benchmark for hospital MT jobs. 

It's been my experience that the low end of the pay scale for hospital employed MTs was around $12 an hour.  Also, it's been my experience that the pay offered is usually based on years of experience and how well you perform on the transcription test.

I would say if their pay is that low, they should at least be making it up with incentive and it doesn't sound like they are.


I quit once for 3 years, but then started again. (Quit cold turkey when I did)

I would think many MT companies cannot believe their good fortune. They have figured out how to pay us the least absolute minimum that they can get away with. They don't have to provide computers (where I work), provide space to work, benefits or give raises. I always wondered why do we have to pay them rent, but they don't have to pay us for our computers. We have to provide our own phone, cable access, etc. We have to provide our own reference material. Can you think of any other job that would allow any of this? Why do I stay? Because I found a company where I can work when I want to. The day that changes, I will give up completely on this "profession?"
Are you relatively new to MTing?
I certainly don't work for slave wages.....unless slaves were VERY well paid.

Maybe it isn't for you. I hope you find your happiness.
Thanks MTing
The desk is a good idea. I think I might try it. If it doesn't work, well then I will know for sure. I will first try it on OT when I'm not committed on a schedule. The area we are planning to go is a weekend home and I know the route well. Straight highway shot, not a lot of scenary, etc.
Not "could" do... WOULD do. Big difference. There are lots of things I can do. I just don't want to do them.

I'm not entirely sure what I want to do should I leave transcribing. I have no intention whatsoever leaving transcription until I have a definite game plan set up and a means to an end on achieving it.

I've been a receptionist before and don't want to do that again and I've done the retail thing while going through college. Retail does not pay well at all - I have to make money, not starve to death. I'm also living in a rural farming community on the prairies and the nearest retail store is a 40 minute drive. Not really into commuting like that for $7 an hour.

I work as an I.C. MT and like being self-employed, I like setting my hours and scheduling. My husband works in the oil fields and is gone for 30-40 days at a stretch and back home for 7 days. Would be nice to do something together and be self-employed.

Actually thought of tree farming, since we have 60 acres of land. Trees are fairly low maintenance and there always seems to be a demand for them, for growing as well as for Christmas. It's fairly seasonal, which would also allow for winter holidays and recharging of one's batteries, so to speak.

Just looking for ideas. I want a complete change of pace. And I definitely don't want to be sitting indoors in front of a computer all day long!
Did you go into MTing so you could
stay at home with the kids?
LPN and MTing...
IMO they do not have the right to do so.
They hired you as an LPN. The fact that they 'discovered' that you can also do MTing, does not give them the right to force you to do it in your office time. Do they compensate you for the extra work?
Who leaked to the office manager that you do MTing at home?
If they continue to put pressure on you, just tell them that you decided to stop it because it is too much for you; don't give up your LPN job if you like it or would you be ready to switch totally to MTing, for your doctor and other clients?
Nobody can tell you what to do in your after-office hours!
Tell us how it develops.
Good luck!

What do you mean? I think MTing is always done
in vertical (portrait) mode.

The other one is horizontal (landscape) mode.

Why don't you get Busy MTing?

Longevity of MTing

How long do you all think (with voice recognition and EMR and jobs going overseas) that MTing will be around.  I have another 20 years of my working career ahead of me, and I have been thinking maybe I should get out and work in something that will be around for the next 20 years. 

Get out of MTing. That's my advice.

something where your medical knowledge may be worth money.  Medical

terminology worth is in the toilet in transcription for a couple of reasons.  (1) MTs are not licensed.  (2) We have no lobby.

As long as we keep "giving" the suits our knowledge at (cough, sputter) 0.17 cents a line and such, they will keep sticking it to us.  And people around the world for some stupid reason keep doing this for those low wages.

So I say let the VR people who eventually do need editors with medical knowledge, have the people who can afford to live on 0.17 cents a line in their hovels.  I did something else before I did transcription and I can do something else now.

After the VR people have gone through their cheap source and found they are more expensive than they are worth because we won't be around to clean up their lack of English, let's take a peek now and then to watch the show - how will they pull English editors out of their rearends.  Not that I care.  But it should be a fun show to watch.

I realize VR works in single practitioner offices and even in small clinics.  Where I will tune in is to watch the Mayo Clinics who have thousands of physicians and the ever-forgettable nurse practitioners (gag, pedal (bicycle pedal) edema) trying to use VR.   Let's see the slave labor, non-english-speaking, over-educated but don't know how to get in out of the rain MTs clean up that and get it back without English speaking editors. 

Right now the medical record is a very very expensive and dangerous instrument in the life of a patient.  I think it should be scrapped myself.  Some other way of combining patient medical hx should be created.  Probably not even utilizing dictation at all.  Instead creating the file through collating the tests, drug formularies from the pharmacy during the stay, specialty  reports like MRIs, etc and exit check off sheet.  I would say the doctor should do that collating - using a wand to click on what he wants in the FINAL CHART REVIEW for the patient's stay for that visit. 

That sort of thing may provide one less gossip step in lab values, radiology reports, drug names and values - that is happening now by the physician's sloppy and usually unintelligible dictation - values of which are mostly of no pertinent value to the reader and which any doctor will tell you anyway - THEY DO NOT DEPEND ON LAB VALUES ON A DICTATION...so we have wasted our time, plus probably typed wrong numbers, and added to the cost of the person's hospital stay through such a redundant and stupid exercise of having to go back and forth trying to make things out.

Canadian MTing?
Are there any Canadian MT's on this site? I am from canada and wondering where I go to find jobs in the US for Canadian's to work! What is a fair wage? Any help would be very much appreciated!
To Busy MTing
Busy - please tell about your experience with going back to school - how old (young) were you when you went back to school? What are your interests for your next occupation? Thanks in advance!
Why do people say that MTing won't be around
It just gets me worried hearing that.
We need a new board for no more MTing
So many posts on these boards, maybe a special board just so those that see no more future in MT can post their doom and gloom end of the work disaster stuff.
The future of MTing. sm
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at the future.  I prefer to think of them as forward thinkers, because that is what they are.  I congratulate you on doing well. However, the industry, as a whole, thanks to offshoring and greedy MTSOs, is not doing so well. There's an excellent article on this board about Dictaphone being bought out and the new company "phasing out manual transcription."  Exactly what do you think that means?  
MTing does not have to be stressful
Just choose to not let it get to you. Let your employer know what you are willing to do, whether or not you wish to do overtime....then just stick to it. Don't let the begging for OT bother you. You are working what you agreed to and when the day is done....leave it.

The only time I work OT is when my company has given me some kind of flexibility. Like over the Summer they let me flex my schedule a bit to drive my daughter to a day camp. So when my account got in a huge backlog I worked extra. Otherwise they know what I have signed on for.

I love MTing. I love working at home. I wouldn't go back to working in an office or hospital for ANYTHING. No thank you. Been there done that.

I hope you find what you are looking for.
The state of MTing
...We can't put the total blame on the AAMT, or whatever it's called now. We are all a little responsible because we did not advocate enough for our profession, we did not look long ago at the advantages of having a union,and we allowed the big corporations to speak on our behalf. Bear in mind the healthcare industry is in crisis in this country with no real solutions. It's a matter of economy when CEO's and CFO's are forced to operate so that the hospital maintains some profit. Of course we all hear of hospitals that have shut down their ERs because they are proving to be a financial loss. In our part of the country, California, many nurses allied healthcare fields have become very savvy, and many are unionized. They remember too well 15 years ago when RNs were laid off left and right, at least in California. Now, they are smarter and trying to think ahead. No easy answers. We're just one industry of many that are cutting salaries, offshoring, and losing benefits.
I have been MTing longer than you and get this
When starting VR was also told I should be using the function keys. My "new"(outsourced) job of years even went so far as to show us where we were using the mouse as opposed to the keys. I have never used the function keys and do over 3000 per day, my lines have increased since VR and have worked NOT using the function keys now for several years and it works ok for me. Did they threaten you with not using the function keys???
jobs after MTing?
how did you find this job?
What are the reasons you want to do MTing?
MTing in the boonies

I am looking for an MT position with only 1 1/6 MT experience.  I am not have much luck.

I have the aircard and little experience.  


Any suggestions ?  What companies hire MTs like me who need mentoring?



How to make money MTing

I'm an occasional lurker and infrequent poster. I see so many posts regarding inability to make money that I thought I would post some ideas in the hope it might help someone. However, I don't expect my post to ever see the light of day as every time I do post, my post disappears faster than a snowball in the desert.

I believe anyone can still make money doing MT provided:

1. You take the time to thoroughly learn your terminology, not just words, but a thorough understanding. You will never make money if your fingers are flipping through books instead of being on the keyboard. Learning takes time and effort. IMHO learning can't be done with small children underfoot any more than you would take your children to a classroom and expect to learn. Once you are a seasoned MT and know your job the way you know the back of your hand, then, yes, you can work with the children (or a tornado) around you.

If you aren't willing to commit to #1 then there is no use reading on.

2. You MUST work for a company that isn't constantly running out of work. No work, no money, doesn't matter how much knowledge you have or how fast you type. If your company consistently runs out of work, do yourself a favor and move on. I would suggest keeping the old job until you try out the new company lest you find you have jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

3. Nevermind "how I've always done it." Right or wrong, your obligation is to the place that signs your paycheck. If you "can't remember" changes, make a macro that will remind you. Same with verbatim. Forget what you "have always done" and condition yourself, right or wrong, to type exactly what is dictated, no more, no less.

Now to increase your pay:

1. Really work at increasing your typing speed. There is something to be said for learning to type on an old standard Underwood typewriter and doing the exercises "the quick brown fox jumped over the hollow log" and "now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country." It really works.

2. Use your word expander to the max. I first use all the accepted medical abbreviations. I then go to what I can easily remember as my abbreviations. For instance I use ASHD2 to spell out when dicitated. I use the first 2 letters of each word in a 2 word phrase i.e. stco (stable condition). Pay attention to anything a given physician dictates consistently and put it in your word expander. Most people can edit faster than they type.

3. Learn to proof as you go. It can be done. My kids used to laugh at me because they said my mouth was constantly moving when I was typing. Still does. That's because I'm also reading as I'm typing. Train yourself to do this and you won't have to waste time going back and proofing.

4. Learn to be an accurate typist. You will be surprised how much time you spend backing up to correct typing errors. That is what spellcheck is for but that also wastes time. Don't waste time backing up to correct typos, wait for spellcheck and remember that the seconds you spend correcting typos, even with spellcheck, makes a big difference at the end of the day.

5. Take your job seriously. If your fingers aren't on the keyboard, you aren't making money. My routine is that I work as hard as I can until I reach 1/2 of my daily goal, which is twice the minimum that is required. Once I have reached that point I allow myself to do other things. Like I will type 2 or 3 reports, do a load of laundry or whatever. I also DO NOT answer the phone until I have reached the 1/2 mark. That includes visiting this or any other board. I've already reached my 1/2 point today and I'm feeling a little bored, it being Friday and all. Even then, I am mindful that time is money and I limit the time I spend on doing other things.

6. Get over the excuse that you are constantly changing accounts. You're paid to do whatever comes across your screen. Teach yourself to "file" account specifics in your brain so they automatically come up with the account...it can be done. Don't be afraid of new accounts or new dictators. Remember it's all the same WORDS just spoken by different voices.

It doesn't matter how much I make because that doesn't help any of you. Let's just say it's up there with the highest producers who post here and I am also an "old dog". I've been MTing probably about as long as most of you have been on this earth and believe it or not, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. :)

Hope this little bit of info will help someone and I hope it stays up long enough to do so.

Why, Busy MTing, you little nevus, you!

any previous nurses MTing now?

Hi there, I have been an MT for 4 1/2 years now, and I enjoy it for the most part, but I've really been thinking of finishing my BSN degree.  I had started college as a nursing major back in 1988, but dropped out after two years of completion of the prerequisite classes.  I have always had an interest in the medical field so MT'ing has been interesting, but I've really been wanting to finish up my nursing degree though, I have always regretted not finishing it.  Especially when I do the operative eports I really would like to be in the operating room working.  So, anyway, I have put my application in for the BSN program again and waiting to see if I get readmitted.  Are there are any former nurses out there who are MT'ing on this board, or perhaps any nurses doing MT'ing too who have any opinions?  Or are there any other fellow MT's going to nursing school on here and have any input about it?  If you are a previous nurse who is now a MT how come, and vice versa, if there are any MT's who are presently in nursing school please let me know how it is going for you. 

I am so tired of MTing I could scream -

I am doing my very best to keep a positive outlook that something else will come along.  Anytime I see something in my local newspaper I apply.  I have also registered with agencies, but it seems like all they want to offer me are more transcription positions. 

I'm tired of looking up information because a dictator only gives you "partial" dictation, such as addresses, etc.  Do these educated human being know that there are more than one William Smith and many different ways to spell Smith.  This takes time AWAY from my fingers typing - and if that happens, I'm not making money.  I'm about ready to send it to QA with a blank and let them figure it out.

I cannot wait to get out of this business!  How do these ESLs make it out of med school?  How in the world can the professors understands them -  Oops, I'm sorry --- the professors are probably from another planet too!  

I am finally loving MTing again.

I was going to leave transcription because I was so dissatisified with the low pay, being treated like a number, constant account switching, sweatshop mentality, etc., etc., etc. After going through several different employers in the past few years, I have finally found a wonderful job and am enthusiastic about the field again. I feel it is not always the MT, or the profession, but some of these companies are just not ethical with their clients or employees.

I am glad I did not give up, but kept looking and finally fund the right fit.

There are some really great companies out there. I am planning on staying in this profession.


Currently #5, but been MTing a long time
and have been #6 in the past.