Medical Transcription vs Medical Coding vs Medical Billing

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If you’re considering a medical transcription, medical billing, or medical coding career, check out my overview of each of these medical careers to help you decide which will suit you best.

With our aging population in the US jobs in healthcare continue to grow.

Any of these careers are suited for people who want to work in the healthcare industry and like to work with computers. Choose the one that best fits your personality and the kind of work you'll enjoy.

Medical Transcription

how to become a medical transcription editor

Medical transcriptionists listen to recorded dictation from medical professionals.

They type the information they hear on the recording and create written documents from the recordings.

The transcript then becomes part of the medical record.

Transcriptionists use transcription software to open audio and video files, and a foot pedal to speed up, slow down or stop the files.

Today, MTs are often working as medical transcription editors. You will have to prove that you can produce accurate transcripts before a company will let you work as a transcription editor.

Skills needed to become a medical transcriptionist (MT):

MTs need excellent typing, grammar, and listening skills and knowledge of medical terminology.

A medical transcription course will teach you medical terminology, typing skills, transcription skills, listening skills, and how to set up medical record documents.

Click here to find out more about CareerStep’s Online  Medical Transcription Editor Training Program. 

Medical Billing & Medical Coding

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Medical coders look at medical records and assign electronic codes to patients' symptoms, diagnoses, procedures, and medication. 

Medical billers use the codes provided by the medical coder to bill insurance companies and patients, create and present health insurance claims to insurance companies, and collect money for healthcare professionals and facilities. 

In smaller offices, the same person often handles both coding and billing.

Skills needed to become a medical biller or coder: 

In addition to specific billing and coding knowledge, medical billers and coders must have computer skills, be detail-oriented, and possess good people skills to communicate with the medical staff, patients, and insurance companies.

Find out more details about the career of medical billing and coding.

A medical billing & coding course will teach how to use coding software and how to look up codes for a wide variety of procedures. Most coding courses also include billing courses teaching you how to create medical bills based on the codes.

Here are a few more things you should consider
when choosing between a medical billing and medical transcription career:


Skilled medical coders are paid more than medical transcriptionists. The average pay of medical coders is $46,660 per year. See the information from the United States Department of Labor.

average pay of medical billers and coders

The pay for medical transcription is much lower than it used to be because a lot of medical transcription is outsourced to countries where the wages are lower. The salary for a medical transcriptionist varies substantially depending on your experience, whether you’re working from home or in an office, and whom you work for. Work found online is more competitive and typically pays less.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the middle 50% of medical transcriptionists earn between $24k340 and $51,250 a year. However, the majority of transcriptionists are paid on a production basis, which offers the opportunity to earn more as you become more experienced and increase your speed or efficiency.


  • There is a growing need for medical coders and a shortage of medical coders in the US right now! It’s expected that there will be about 50% more positions than medical coding professionals in the next year or so.
  • There is less demand for transcriptionists because of the availability of new software that automates a lot of transcription.

Click here to find out more about CareerStep’s Online  Medical Transcription Editor Training Program. 

Possibilities for advancement:

  • There are many opportunities for advancement in medical billing. You can start out with an entry-level job and have many advancement opportunities as you gain additional experience or education.
  • Employment opportunities for medical transcriptionists are decreasing.

Work from home:

  • Transcriptionists have more possibilities to work from home than medical coders. The majority of experienced medical transcriptionists work from home. A medical transcriptionist will typically have to acquire experience in a medical facility but can work from home after working in an office for a couple of years.
  • Medical billers and coders typically start working in hospitals, doctor's offices, and other healthcare facilities. Some medical coders work from home but only after they acquire some experience and often after they have worked for their employer for a few years.

Training time:

  • You can get a certification in medical billing and coding in as little as three months through online training.
  • Training for medical transcription takes longer.
  • To become a medical transcription, you’ll have to go through a pretty steep training program that includes medical terminology and more. The length of programs varies depending on the level of training you undertake, but on average they take anywhere from 6 months to 9 months to complete.
    The Medical Transcription Editor training program is designed to be completed in 4 months of full-time study. However, the online format allows you to study on your own schedule and at your own pace, so your program includes 12 months of program access to ensure you’ll have the time you need to complete your training.

CareerStep provides quality online training for medical billing and coding, medical transcription, medical transcription editor, and other medical careers such as medical administrative assistant with EHR  and more.

They also offer some job assistance after graduating such as resume help, company directories, and information about job hotlines.

I hope this information helps you make a decision between a medical coding and medical transcription career.


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