Medical Transcription Basics

Medical transcription training and schooling tips

Author: Stephanie (page 2 of 9)

Are Medical Transcriptionist Salaries Really All They’re Cracked Up to Be?

One of the big reasons people want to get into medical transcription is that they believe they can earn a good living off of it. The pay rates usually mentioned don’t sound too bad compared to many other jobs, and the chance that you might get to do the work from home only adds to the appeal.

The thing you should be asking is whether they’re really all that good. Are medical transcriptionist salaries good enough that you should be trying to get into this industry?

Honestly, that depends on a few factors, such as the cost of living in your area and what normal salaries are like there. Some places your medical transcriptionist salary will be pretty nice. Other places it won’t be nearly enough for the work involved.

First let’s take a look at what medical transcription salaries are really. Remember that many positions pay on production, not a true hourly rate, so what you earn is very much so effected by your skills and the tools you use. But we’ll get into that later.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly pay for medical transcriptionists is $15.82, and the lowest 10% earn $21,960 per year or less, the highest 10% earn over $46,220 per year.. How you see these numbers will depend on what other opportunities are available in your area and just what you need to earn to get by.

Other Factors to Consider

Of course, the pay rate isn’t the only thing you should be considering here. If you manage to get a home based medical transcription position, you have some savings to consider, at least potentially.

Think of the gas you could be saving rather than driving to work. Depending on how far you’re going now if you work outside the home, that could be pretty nice or it could be insignificant.

Consider your wardrobe. Working at home means you don’t need to keep up a professional wardrobe. Depending on the demands of your current job or the other careers you’ve considered, this could be an advantage.

The big change is if you have children and can keep working with them at home. Saving money on childcare could be a huge deal. Childcare can be very expensive in some areas. Just keep in mind that children are a huge distraction, and may limit how much you earn because you’re distracted. You will want to consider if you could work best after they’re in bed or at school.

Savings such as these may effectively increase the pay you get to keep rather than spending it on the expenses associated with working outside the home.

How Can You Increase Your Salary?

If you’re getting paid on production, one of your big focuses has to be on improving your productivity. It’s like getting a raise without having to ask for it. The more lines you type each day while maintaining accuracy, the more you’re going to earn.

Perhaps most important is to simply limit distractions as much as possible. Best is to have an office door you can close so that no one will bother you as you work. You don’t want to have the television on as you work, as it will probably draw your attention at some point. The radio can be a problem too, although others find limited background noise to be pleasant rather than distracting. Make sure you choose a station that will be pleasant to listen to, not one that will pull your attention from your work.

There are some simple tools you can use. Some medical transcriptionists use voice recognition software rather than type the reports. It can be faster to repeat the dictation and then check it than it is to type it out. That depends on your typing speed, of course. It’s also a good break for your hands and wrists if you want to mix things up a little.

Word expanders are great for speeding up your typing speed. There are many words and phrases, sometimes even sections of a report that are used over and over again. You use a word expander to type these with just a few characters typed. They do take a bit of time to learn, and will slow you down at first, but as you get to know the expansions, the increase in productivity will be very much so worth it.

You should also have easy access to all of your research materials for when you have to look something up. That’s books on the desk and/or preferred websites already open in tabs so you can just click over to them. This way you won’t have to wait for the sites to load when you need them.

Some people have a dual monitor set up so their transcription work is on one screen, resource websites on the other. This can be good, just make sure you don’t put any distractions up on the spare monitor.

Also be aware of any incentives your employers may offer. They may offer extra pay when there’s an excessive amount of work to be done, or for particular shifts, or even for being a very productive worker. These are the kinds of things that make the work worthwhile.

Don’t be disappointed when your medical transcription salary is really low at first. It happens to everyone. Focus instead on bringing it up to the level you need.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.

What Kind of Continuing Education Do Medical Transcriptionists Need?

Keeping up with the industry is one of the challenges medical transcriptionists face. New drugs are always coming onto the market, and doctors perform new procedures. Electronic medical records and voice recognition software are also in the process of changing how the work of a medical transcriptionist is done. If you don’t keep up, your career may be in trouble.

While most medical transcription jobs don’t formally require you to take any sort of continuing education classes, it’s a good idea if you do, especially if you’re concerned about losing your work due to electronic medical records and voice recognition. These are having a real impact on the industry, along with the kinds of changes transcriptionists have had to deal with since the early days of the industry.

If you’ve taken the test through AHDI for your CMT, you’re required to get 30 credits of continuing education over 3 years in order to maintain your certification.

Read Medical Transcription Forums

A good medical transcription forum can help you keep up on the kinds of changes you should be aware of in the industry. Other transcriptionists share what’s happening in their area, which can alert you to things you should be aware of. You can also get tips on forums for how to improve your productivity, a vital skill for any transcriptionist paid on production.

This is not, repeat, not, formal continuing education. This is just how you keep up with some of the basic changes and become aware of issues in the industry. It’s important in its own way.

Take an Approved Continuing Education Course

If you want to show your employer that you’re continuing to improve your skills or you need to take some courses to keep up your CMT, you need to sign up for a formal course. AHDI is a great resource for finding appropriate courses.

For general continuing education, the AHDI offers a variety of courses that will help you improve your skills. You can find courses that will help you improve your weak points and that will help you keep your career moving.

Taking a course that will help you to make the transition from transcriptionist to medical transcription editor could be a good move for your career as well. It’s a way to take advantage of the changes that are happening, rather than sitting still and letting them run over you. It’s better to take some extra training for one of the paths your career could take than it is to rely on changes coming slowly.

A medical transcription editor takes the skills of a medical transcriptionist and applies them to editing documents produced through voice recognition software. This is one of the big areas of change in the industry, but as it’s fairly new not all transcriptionists are ready for it.

Whether you need the formal training of a course or just the informal information you can gain by reading professional forums, make sure you keep up on the things you need to know in this career. It’s all too easy to fall behind in this fast paced career.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training and continuing education options for medical transcription editing.

Which Online Medical Transcription Schools Take Less Time to Complete?

You’re eager to start working as a medical transcriptionist, and you’ve seen that some online medical transcription schools promise that you can get a fast start. That only makes you more eager to get things going. Which ones take the least time to complete your training so you can start working as a medical transcriptionist?

You’re asking the wrong question. It doesn’t matter how fast the school lets you complete your training if you don’t learn enough to work as a medical transcriptionist. Consider the quality of training first, then look at how long it’s going to take you.

Want the fastest way to finish your training? Go with one of the high quality online medical transcription schools that allow you to train at your own pace. This way the training will only take as long as you need to absorb all of the information and to get enough actual transcription practice to do the work successfully.

Here are some tricks to speed up your training:

1. Set up a quiet home office.

The fewer distractions you deal with as you study, the faster and better you can learn the material. Ideally this would be a space where you can close the door and work. Second best is a room away from the television and other activities in the home.

Quiet is a huge help when you’re trying to transcribe a report. It’s not just about your focus. It’s that many doctors are very difficult to understand, something you will quickly learn when doing your practice dictation, and have emphasized when you start working as a medical transcriptionist. Quiet means you can figure it out with less background noise jumbling things still more.

2. Treat your studies as a full time job.

If you can study as though it’s a full time job, that’s how you’ll finish more quickly. The number of hours will help tremendously. If you can find a way to study at home full time, do so. It will be tiring, especially if you have another job, but it will get you through your classes more quickly.

If you can only study part time, make sure you take those hours seriously. Schedule them into your day and don’t drop them lightly.

In either case, make your studies a part of your routine. Treat it as you would treat a job. Don’t just take off and say you can do the work later.

3. Ask for help when you need it.

Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers for help when you don’t quite understand something. That’s what they’re there for. Things aren’t always perfectly clear when you see them in your books or online study materials. If you need help, get it rather than waste time trying to puzzle things out on your own.

4. Don’t stress about how long your studies are taking.

Sure, you want to get your career started. That’s perfectly reasonable. Just remember that you need to learn the material well if you want to work in medical transcription. Going so fast that you don’t remember what you “learned” after the test on that section is not going to make you a good transcriptionist. It’s not going to help you find a job either.

Expect a minimum of four months of study, and don’t be surprised at nine months or longer. That’s normal. This is a complex career with a lot of information you need to learn. You need to learn the material thoroughly if you want a job later.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.

Are Medical Transcription Careers as Portable as They Say?

One of the big reasons you may be considering a career in medical transcription is that you’ve heard it’s an extremely portable job. You’ve probably heard that many medical transcriptionists work at home, and so they can move and keep their job. Is that true? Is a career in medical transcription a good choice if you expect to move?

That depends on the job you get. There are many medical transcriptionists who do indeed work from home. There are also many who work in an office.

Most of the work at home medical transcription jobs are indeed quite flexible as to where you live. You’ll probably never have to go in to the office, and when the work comes to you over a secure internet connection, where you are physically doesn’t much matter.

If you do have to move while working at home as a medical transcriptionist, make sure you keep in good contact with your employer. Discuss the time off you will need while moving. Sometimes it will take a few weeks to get an internet connection installed, for example, and your employer will need to know how long you’re going to be gone. It’s a good idea to plan the installation of such things as soon as you possibly can to minimize the loss of work time and income.

Even if you work in an office doing medical transcription, however, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to move your career. It does mean you’ll need to look for new work if you move, unless your employer has a work at home option available.

However, the demand for medical transcriptionists is still pretty good, and if you’re good at the work you should be able to find office based work if that’s what you prefer, even after a move. Remember that it’s not just doctor offices and hospitals that use medical transcriptionists. Veterinarians, chiropractors, any company doing medical studies also have work that will need to be transcribed. If you must move, you should be able to find a new job in the industry, depending on what’s in the area you’re moving to.

Perhaps the most challenging is if you move while running your own medical transcription business, especially if you need more direct contact with your clients. If you aren’t set up to receive dictation online and return reports online, a move can mean the loss of all your clients, as well as the time it takes to register your business properly at your new address.

Realistically, it’s much like other careers. If you have to be there in person, a move is probably going to mean that you have to look for a new job. If you’re doing all of your work from home you can probably keep your job and just take a little time off.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.

4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Start Medical Transcriptionist Training Online

Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of taking medical transcriptionist training online. It’s more comfortable to think of going to school, having your professors right there, having regular assignment due dates, and working with the other students in your class. There’s nothing wrong with that. But there’s a lot to be said for doing your training online.

1. Many programs are self paced.

If you’ve been delaying getting your training because you can’t fit the classes into your schedule, online training may be just what you’ve been waiting for. Many programs are self paced. You start as soon as you get the materials after signing up. You study when you have the time. You turn in assignments as you finish them.

You don’t have to drive to school, fight for a parking space or look for your classroom. Everything is done on your computer.

2. Help is available.

It’s kind of difficult to picture learning some things without a teacher right there to help you. Not everyone understands how you can ask questions when you aren’t in a classroom with your professor and other students, and there are no office hours to go to.

Any worthwhile online training program is going to have teachers available to you in a variety of ways. You can usually contact one by phone, email or chat session. If you’re stuck on something or need a bit of clarification, someone is available to help you.

3. Several reputable programs are only available online.

You may be concerned that online medical transcriptionist training programs are all scams. It’s a fairly reasonable fear, given how many scams are online, but with appropriate research it doesn’t need to be a concern for long. You can find great schools on the internet that will train you better than most local programs could.

Looks for ones that have a good reputation for their medical transcription program with employers. You don’t care what else they can train you for or their reputation in that program. You care that they’ll train you for the job you want, and do it well enough that you can get a job after graduation.

The online courses are some of the most challenging out there. The good ones require many hours of real doctor dictation transcribed by you in order to graduate. These will give you the kind of practice you need to work as a medical transcriptionist successfully.

4. Training at home is good practice for working at home.

Many people choose medical transcription as a career because they want to work at home. With that preference, why would you want to learn your skills any place other than at home?

Being at home to learn or work is very different from doing so outside the home. You have a lot of distractions. It’s harder to keep your focus. You have to get better at keeping yourself on schedule.

When better to learn than during your studies? Better you figure out how to deal with the pitfalls as a part of your education than lose your job because you couldn’t handle it.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.

4 Ways You Can Mess Up Your Medical Transcription Career

Working as a medical transcriptionist can be a pretty good career. The pay is decent and you have a fair chance of being able to work from home. It’s not the easiest of careers in some ways, however, and you can mess things up pretty well. Some things you can fix easily, others are more of a problem.

1. Fail to get a good medical transcriptionist education.

If you want to get a good start to your medical transcription career, you need a good education. That means choosing a good quality school for your training.

There are a number of schools out there, but not all of them will do a good job. I have a preference for some of the good online medical transcription training programs out there, as you can do them at home and at your own pace. Just make sure they’re offering a good value for the money. You want them to have a good reputation with a number of employers. They should also require significant transcription practice with real doctor dictation.

2. Fail to use appropriate reference materials in your work.

Especially as a new transcriptionist, you won’t know everything the doctor expects you to transcribe. You will need to look up medical terminology, research drug names and generally learn what the doctor is talking about so that you can accurately transcribe the report.

Accuracy is demanded of medical transcriptionists. 98% or better is required by most employers. You can’t afford to make a lot of mistakes just because you didn’t quite understand something. It’s better to look things up or leave a blank to be filled in by someone who can get it right.

3. Fail to use productivity tools.

There are some great productivity tools available to medical transcriptionists. One of my favorites is the word expander. Some employers will provide one, and you can usually add in your own expansions to make it even more useful. It’s a huge help to your productivity to be able to get a full sentence for typing just a few characters. It’s especially beneficial if you’re paid by the line.

4. Fail to keep patient confidentiality.

Medical information is extremely private. There are a number of laws requiring you to keep patient confidentiality in your work. You are not to discuss reports you’ve typed with other people, and if by some chance you type a report for someone you know, you are not to share that information with that person, even if they really want to know and haven’t heard from their doctor. All you can do is tell them to call their doctor for it.

This also means you have to take appropriate steps to protect patient information when it is in your possession. If you work at home, this means keeping your computer secure from viruses and spyware, and not allowing others in your household to look at your work. Any printed records you keep must be shredded when it comes time to dispose of them.

This is the one that can get you fired most quickly if you don’t obey it. Patient confidentiality is a huge deal, and if you aren’t careful enough about it, your employer will not want to take the chance of keeping you on payroll.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.

Which Online Schools Offer an Accredited Certificate to Be a Medical Transcriptionist?

If you want to be a medical transcriptionist, an online school sounds like a promising way to get the training you need. Classes on your schedule, not when the school says you have to be there. No parking troubles. No waiting for a new session to start. No need to get childcare if you have kids.

The only problem is figuring out which online schools are worth considering. Do they offer something like an accredited certificate to show that you can be a medical transcriptionist?

No, they don’t. There’s no such thing.

An online school can offer a certificate of completion to show you finished their medical transcription course. That’s easy, it’s something they decide to do, but it doesn’t mean anything other than you finished their course. It doesn’t give you any special qualifications for the work. A Certified Medical Transcriptionist is not someone who has just graduated from their training and been given a certificate of completion. They’re a transcriptionist with at least two years of acute care medical transcription experience who has passed the CMT test given by AHDI. Don’t confuse your school’s certificate with a CMT designation.

An online school can also be accredited. This may or may not mean anything, depending on the accrediting agency. Some are pickier than others about the schools they accredit.

If you want to know that a school has been reviewed specifically in terms of medical transcription training quality, look for AHDI Approval. It is specifically about medical transcription, not the other courses the schools offer. It is not an accreditation as such, but its specific focus makes it a valuable consideration.

The other big thing you should be looking at is what employers want. You don’t need to care about things they aren’t asking for, and that includes a certificate. They want to know you’re well trained, and most have schools they are more likely to hire graduates from when they aren’t requiring two years of experience. Look at the employers to figure out what you should be concerning yourself with as you train for the job. That’s what will matter when you’re hunting for a job.

In choosing an online school to learn medical transcription, pay attention to the things that matter. It’s not the piece of paper they give you. It’s the quality of the education you can get there and the chance to start a new career. Without a good education that will help you get your first job in the industry, your time with that school won’t mean anything much.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.

What Is the Easy and Fast Way to Learn to Be a Medical Transcriptionist?

Why wait to get your career started longer than you need to? It makes sense to get your career going as fast as possible, but it’s not so easy to figure out how to do that when you want to become a medical transcriptionist. Is there any easy and fast way to learn to be a medical transcriptionist?

That depends on how you define easy and fast, not to mention the quality of training you expect. You want a good education, fast isn’t strictly what you’re going for. It may not be as fast if you take longer to get a job because your education wasn’t as good as it should have been.

I consider self paced medical transcription courses to be the best choice for those who want to get their career moving as fast as possible. This way the only thing slowing you down is you. If you need more time for study, you can take it. If you need less time because you already know part of the information, you can go faster. You don’t have to worry about how fast the other students are progressing. How long it takes you to complete your training is up to you.

That doesn’t mean it will be easy. Learning to be a medical transcriptionist isn’t easy for most people. There’s a lot of information to absorb, and it takes time build really good transcribing skills. Many terms sound similar but have very different meanings, and you must learn to tell them apart. You also need to understand the terminology well enough that you can help catch mistakes that could otherwise end up in the patient’s medical records. A good transcriptionist will note where the doctor needs to check the records when something doesn’t sound as though it was dictated correctly.

Getting into the easy and fast mindset is usually a mistake when you’re trying to train for any career. If it’s challenging enough that you have to get training on your own, it’s not going to be so easy that you can get it done in just a few weeks. If it were that simple, employers would be willing to do on the job training from scratch, and that just doesn’t happen in medical transcription. It takes too long to teach everything a medical transcriptionist must know and to learn all the skills you must have.

If speed and simplicity are the main criteria you consider when choosing a course, it’s not likely to do you a lot of good. While there’s good demand for medical transcriptionists, not every person who trains for it gets a job. Your training has to be good enough and you must be able to show that you gained the skills you need. Without that, your job hunt will be neither easy nor fast.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.

Is It a Good Idea to Go to School to Become a Medical Transcriptionist?

A career in medical transcription is interesting to a lot of people, but there are a lot of reasons to be concerned about the career as well. The idea that you might be able to work at home is appealing to a lot of people. Concerns about electronic records and voice recognition software make it less appealing. Is going to school to become a medical transcriptionist a good idea? Is it still worth it?

You absolutely need to consider the future of medical transcription. It’s extremely relevant even when you’re training up for your first job. Good training will allow you to consider what’s happening within this industry.

It must first be noted, however, that there are still a lot of jobs out there for traditional medical transcriptionists. It has not vanished, and won’t for some time. Electronic medical records don’t automatically end the need, and not all doctors use voice recognition software. It takes time to make those changes.

Those won’t entirely do away with the need for medical transcriptionists anyhow, and if you have the right training you might just be able to take advantage of that. Places that don’t need medical transcriptionists because they’ve gone all electronic may still need help with their medical records, with transcriptionists working in an editing capacity. You’d be catching the errors the software makes in the record, and make no mistake, they will be there. Voice recognition is far from perfect.

Paying attention to where the industry is going is how you make your schooling worth it even if you don’t specifically take medical editor training. You may prefer to do the basic medical transcriptionist training to start, then add in medical editor training once you have some experience. A medical editor will still need to know how to do the work of a medical transcriptionist in order to do that work accurately. Such jobs will keep being out there for some time; the U.S. Department of Labor expects medical transcription jobs to grow by 11% by 2018. This could change as it’s only a forecast, but it is a good indication that the jobs aren’t going away too soon.

There is one more thing to consider when you’re wondering if going to school to become a medical transcriptionist is a good plan. That’s your own dedication to your training. It won’t be worthwhile if you aren’t a serious student. Taking classes isn’t a magic pass to a job. You have to gain the skills. You have to do hours and hours of practice transcription from real doctor dictation. You must learn the vocabulary. If all you want is to get through the classes fast, they might not be the best choice. You’re better off if you plan to take the time you need to learn all the skills.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.

How Can You Get Free Training for Medical Transcription?

Lots of people want to get a fast start when they decide to work in medical transcription. The only problem is that it’s not possible without training. When you’re looking for a new way to earn a living, having to pay for training isn’t exactly the most welcome thing. Can you get free training for medical transcription?

I’m sorry to say it doesn’t work like that, especially if you don’t want to fall for a work at home scam.

The way the free training for medical transcription scam usually works is they tell you the training is free once you pay them a few hundred dollars for the software you need. It must be their software. Once you have it, they’ll start training you.

The software may or may not work. Worse, the training they provide will not be good enough to get you work as a medical transcriptionist.

Sometimes they’ll say it’s on the job training, and that once you’re well enough trained you’ll become a paid employee. They’ll keep you working at it as long as you’re willing to stick around, but your work will never be good enough that you’ll get paid.

There are some things in life that are absolutely worth paying for even if you wish you could have them for free. Medical transcriptionist training is one of those things.

It’s really just like many other careers where you need to go to college or a vocational school in order to get that first job. It’s very rare for self trained people to make it on their own. Most people need that formal training and most employers want to see it before they will so much as consider hiring you. They need to know that you will be a capable transcriptionist and not need constant hand holding to do your work, especially if you become a home based medical transcriber.

Good online training in medical transcription is worth it in another way if you get a job that pays on production, as many at home positions do. The better you know how to do the work, the faster you can transcribe accurately, the more you’re going to earn. Knowing the job well is a huge advantage, and it’s not one you’re likely to have if you go for free training or try to train yourself.

Take some time when you’re choosing your medical transcriptionist training so that you get the benefits when you start working. Free isn’t worth it if you can’t find work after your training.

Get free information from Career Step about their online medical transcriptionist training.
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