Medical Transcription Basics

Medical transcription training and schooling tips

Category: Medical Transcriptionist at Home

How Do You Become a Medical Transcriptionist and Work From Home?

Once you find out that it’s possible to become a medical transcriptionist and work from home, the idea can be quite appealing. There just aren’t that many work at home jobs that sound so possible to many people, especially with a clear income potential.

Then you start looking at jobs and realizing it’s just not that simple. Everyone wants you to have at least two years of experience, except a couple of questionable companies that are asking you to pay them for the job. Isn’t there some way to become a medical transcriptionist from home and not get scammed?

Of course there is. Many people succeed at this, while others end up working as medical transcriptionists in an office somewhere rather than at home. The only problem is, you’re going to have to pay for your own training.

In many ways, this isn’t any different from any other job that has demanding requirements. It’s like a job requiring a particular certification or a college degree. You get the training you need from the source you choose, then you can start finding the jobs that will take you on as an employee.

What about that two years of experience thing, you ask? Choose the right training, and it won’t be so much of an issue. You can get around it if employers trust the school you trained with.

Online Medical Transcriptionist Training

The great part about medical transcriptionist training is that you can do it online, from home. You must be careful to choose a school that is AHDI Approved, so that you know their training is high quality. You should also confirm that employers are willing to hire their new graduates, so you have a shot at getting past that annoying experience requirement. There are few things more frustrating after spending months on training than being constantly asked how much experience you have, especially when you know you’re ready and able to work now.

Training to become a medical transcriptionist online is a smart way to go if you want to work from home after you graduate. It’s experience in work at home skills. You’ll be learning how to cope with many of the issues you’ll face when working at home for real, such as dealing with distractions, getting family to take you seriously and so forth. It’s also nice not having to drive to school and deal with parking issues, child care issues or schedule changes. Online training works with you for the most part.

What About After Graduation?

After you graduate is when you really know how much you needed a high quality training program. If the school you chose doesn’t have such a great reputation with employers, your job hunt is probably going to be more difficult. There can still be challenges in finding a job after completing even the best of programs – it all depends on the competition for the particular jobs you apply for, and the jobs you find.

The great part about working from home is that you don’t have to limit your job hunt to local companies. You can apply to companies all across the country if they hire home based employees. Most will never need you to come in to the office, so your location relative to them won’t matter. The internet and telephone will take care of all your communication needs.

Not everyone will find a work at home position, no matter how badly they want one, however. It may pay you to take a local, in office transcription job if that’s what you find. The job hunt gets easier with experience.

But if you do get the work at home job, work hard and really show that you’re a great employee. Over time you can effectively increase your pay as you become more productive, as home based medical transcriptionists are often paid on production. As you gain experience you can move on to better opportunities or be promoted within the company you’re working for. You may be surprised where this career takes you.

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

Is Being a Medical Transcriptionist a Good Stay at Home Job?

You’re ready to start working from home and heard about medical transcription. But you aren’t sure. The pay rates sound promising, but how realistic are they? Can you really be a medical transcriptionist for your stay at home job?

With the right training, you most certainly can. However, you need to be aware that not all positions in this industry are home based.

Training is a very important first step into this career. If you don’t get good quality training, you’re going to have a very hard time finding work, especially from home. You have to know what you’re doing. You have to convince potential employers that you will be a productive and accurate transcriptionist. You have to know how you’re going to cope working from home, which isn’t as easy as many people assume it is.

When you’re considering a home based career, I like to suggest that you learn your job skills at home too. There are a few really good medical transcription training programs out there that will let you do your studies entirely at home, usually at your own pace as well. It’s great for learning the job skills as well as how you’ll cope with staying at home to work, which is an entirely new skill for most people that takes a surprising amount of time to figure out. There are a lot of distractions at home that slow many people down, plus the isolation to deal with.

That said, if you enjoy having a stay at home job, medical transcription is a pretty good one. The hours for stay at home medical transcriptionists are usually very flexible. You can decide what your work hours will be, so long as you meet whatever the agreed upon minimum is with your employer. If you work at night better than during the day, or mornings, you can set your schedule to be during those times. If you need time off for a special event, you can usually manage that. If you need to work while the kids are sleeping, that’s usually possible too.

You aren’t going to earn a spectacular living as a stay at home medical transcriptionist. You can earn a fair living, with $15 an hour being fairly possible once you have a bit of experience. $20 an hour is harder to achieve. Don’t be surprised to earn under $10 an hour early on when you get a job, as you learn that the reality is different from medical transcription training, no matter how well trained you were. Being at home means you’ll probably be paid on production, so as your skills improve, so will your effective hourly pay rate. Call it motivation to work hard on improving your skills.

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

What Do You Need to Know to Be a Medical Transcriptionist at Home?

Deciding to be a medical transcriptionist at home is a great career choice. It’s challenging and the pay is pretty decent. You have to know quite a bit before you can become a medical transcriptionist at home, however.

This is not something to do on your own. While you can study up on the skills you’d need on your own, you’re better off going through a good quality online medical transcriptionist training course. That way you won’t be missing out on some of the skills you didn’t realize you’d need.

These are the skills you need and that you need to be certain your medical transcriptionist training course will provide to you.

1. Knowledge of medical terminology.

This one should be obvious. You can’t transcribe medical reports if you don’t know the terminology and know it well.

2. Grammar and style.

You should have excellent grammar if you’re even considering medical transcriptionist training. The time you’re spending on your formal training is no time to be reviewing grammar basics.

You will need to learn about the style of the different types of medical reports and documents. They’re done in a certain way to make it easier for doctors and other medical personnel to find the information they need about a particular patient.

3. Anatomy and physiology.

How much do you know about the human body? You need to learn more.

This is a vital skill. It will help you to understand what the doctor is talking about, especially when you’re dealing with two completely different things that sound very similar. When you know the part of the body being discussed, you usually know which word is being said, even when they have similar roots.

4. Pharmacology.

You’re going to learn a ton about medications that may be prescribed. You’ll especially need to know the difference between the brand name and generic names of drugs, as the difference can be important. This is one of the areas where you need to keep up as well, as new medications come out all the time.

5. Disease processes.

What are the different stages to various diseases. The ability to understand what the doctor is talking about once again comes in very useful.

6. Transcription technology and practice.

Lots and lots of practice. Any course worth the money will require you to complete many hours of real doctor dictation. This is one of the big steps in getting the skills that will make you a productive medical transcriptionist. Without it, there’s no way you’ll earn a living wage, maybe not even minimum wage.

7. Privacy and legal issues.

Patient privacy is a huge deal, and there are laws you need to be aware of as a medical transcriptionist at home.

Beyond these concerns, I like to recommend self paced, online medical transcriptionist courses. These make it easier to continue working at your current position as you train for your new career, or you can go through the work as fast as you can learn it if you aren’t already working or otherwise occupied. It’s nice to not be slowed down by those who aren’t learning as fast as you are, or pushed to hurry up when you need a little more time.

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

Can You Really Make Money Working From Home With Medical Transcription?

Medical transcription is one of those jobs many people first hear about when they research ways to make money working from home. It sounds great. A real job in the medical industry that can be done from home, and the pay is pretty decent too. It’s no wonder working from home in medical transcription is such a popular option.

Is the money really there? Can you make what they say you can?

That depends on a few factors.

1. What do “they” say?

The ability to make the money you’re expecting depends in part on what you’ve been told to expect. If the claims are out of line with reality then no, you aren’t going to make the money you thought you would.

If you’re expecting around $30-40,000 a year, that’s about right, once you bring your skills up. Most won’t do that right out of the gate, but build your skills, work full time and sure, it’s possible and reasonable.

2. How well trained are you?

Not trained at all? Time to choose an online medical transcriptionist course and get trained. You need great training in order to earn good money working from home with medical transcription. It’s tough work.

Go for a good quality program. You don’t want one that promises extreme speed – eight weeks is too fast. Four months is pretty fast, but if you’re capable of finishing a self paced course in that time and really learning the skills a medical transcriptionist needs, it is possible. Don’t be surprised if your personal skills make it take longer.

3. Got experience?

The lack of experience is the bane of anyone trying to start a new career and it can be quite problematic for new medical transcriptionists. It seems as though everyone wants employees with at least two years of experience.

All is not lost if you get good quality training. Some employers partner with the better schools, so you have a better chance at being hired by one of them. No guarantees, as it’s still up to you to prove you gained the skills, but any foot in the door is a help.

Overall, medical transcription is just like any other job you hear about. The income you hear about people earning isn’t usually the one you get when you’re an entry level worker. It’s more common for people who know the job a little better, but it’s not out of reach at all for those committed to the career.

Early on, you probably won’t earn quite what you expect. It takes time to bring your skills up to where you have the speed needed to earn the money you hear about. Most medical transcriptionists are paid on production when they work from home. The more you improve your skills, the more you can earn.

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

Do Work at Home Medical Transcriptionists Need Childcare?

One of the big benefits trumpeted about for working at home as a medical transcriptionist is that you don’t need childcare. You can just be there for your kids. How true is that?

Depends on the hours you want to work and the ages of your kids.

Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Infants, toddlers and preschoolers need quite a bit of care. It only gets more challenging as they become more mobile, active and curious.

Doing medical transcription with children in this age range is difficult, but not impossible. You’ll need to work early mornings or late evenings into the night for the most part if you want to skip the childcare. You may also be able to get some work done during naptime or when your spouse or partner is home.

The simple truth about working with kids in this age range is that they aren’t going to give you much peace for getting work done. They want your attention. They need your attention.

School Age Children

Once your kids are old enough to send to school, your work at home life gets much easier. The kids are at school several hours a day, during which you are free to work, assuming you send them to school rather than homeschool.

School age children do need your attention once they’re home, of course, but you can also work some hours while they’re home. Teach them when it’s okay to interrupt you, and allow them age appropriate independence.

You may be able to set up your home office so that you can watch kids in this age range play in the backyard. Have your desk near a window with a good view of the yard, and you can keep a light eye on them while they enjoy themselves in the fresh air and sunshine. Or keep your office door open as they play in the house.

So… No Childcare Required?

All this doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t need childcare for your kids. It means you may be able to limit your childcare expenses if you do need to use childcare.

These clearly available hours may not be enough for you to work the number of hours you need in order to earn a living, for example. You may need the kids to spend some time in childcare so that you can support your family. This takes a bite out of what you’re earning, but so long as it’s significantly less than you earn while the kids are away, it should be worth it.

If you want to save on that cost, find another at home parent to trade off with. You watch their kids, they watch yours. It’s best if the children are friends and similar in ages, so that their time together is seen more as playtime than as being cared for by another parent. Just sounds more fun to the kids.

While you don’t want to miss out on those milestones that are probably a big part of why you want to get into working at home in medical transcription, you need to think about what you need to earn to get by. There should be a balance you can strike so that you are there for your kids as much as possible while earning a living in this flexible career.

Start your training at home. Contact Career Step for information about their medical transcription training courses.

Does HIPAA Limit Work at Home Medical Transcription?

This article is not legal advice. Consult with a lawyer or your employer as a medical transcriptionist for specific guidelines on complying with HIPAA.

A concern many people have when considering medical transcription as a career is how HIPAA impacts their ability to work at home. That’s a legitimate concern.

HIPAA greatly impacts medical transcriptionists. It requires that patient health information be private, secure and confidential.

Employers, and therefore their employees, are covered by HIPAA as "Business Associates." Employers should have a policy in place to help work at home transcriptionists to comply. There are standards for the electronic transmission of patient information; that is, the transmission of the original dictation and the typed report. As most dictation and reports are now transmitted over the internet, it means that encryption and password protection must be used.

All this does not mean you can’t work at home and do medical transcription. It does mean you need to take the appropriate precautions.

It means you need to be concerned with the security of your work computer. This is a good area to ask employers for advice. They may require you to install particular software to help ensure that your work computer is safe for the medical data you have access to as a transcriptionist. Companies may use 128-bit encryption with the HTTPS protocol, for example, to prevent unauthorized access to the data you need as a transcriptionist. The software you use would allow you to access the data. You may also need to password protect your computer.

Employers may also have an interest in your work setup at home. It’s best if you have a door you can close for your office. HIPAA does mean you don’t want anyone else in your home reading over your shoulder. That’s private information, even if no one would say anything about it.

HIPAA also means that if you happen to receive a report on someone you know, you cannot tell them about it. That is between them and their doctor.

If you receive printed information about reports you have typed, you will need to follow appropriate procedures to return, save for reference or destroy said information. Most work at home medical transcriptionists do not need to keep printed files of the work they have done, but if you do, make sure that the information is stored securely.

If you are required to destroy printed information, find out how you are expected to manage it. Cross cut shredding may be one way to handle it, but be sure to ask so you are handling the issue correctly.

HIPAA compliance may sound overwhelming, but particularly if you work for a service that has proper protocols in place it may not be that bad. Ask questions as needed, and be certain you follow the rules. It certainly does not mean that you cannot work at home in medical transcription.

Overall, this means you have no reason to fear that you are wasting your time learning medical transcription. The work at home medical transcription industry has so far withstood several years of HIPAA and should stick around for many more.

Check out the Career Step training program and decide if this is the right work at home opportunity for you.

Can You Be a Medical Transcriptionist with Small Children in the House?

Many people look into medical transcription as a career because they want to work at home and be there for their kids. That was even the reason I got into it, back when I was pregnant with my daughter.

It’s doable, but it’s not easy.

Infants are both easy and challenging. They’re easy because they sleep for so much of the day. They may be easily entertained in a baby swing. You may even be able to get a bit of work done with baby in a sling on your lap… although that’s a bit awkward sometimes.

But they’re challenging because their routines change every few months as they grow. The child who napped regularly and well may suddenly take only very short naps, and be awake at the times you thought you could work. They start getting into things. Crawling. Walking.

Toddlers present similar challenges. They’re getting into everything and may be asking for your attention often. But they may settle into a really good napping routine, and of course are normally sleeping through the night, so you’re less exhausted than you were during the early days. That helps a lot with productivity.

You may also be able to persuade your toddler to "work" with you. Just set up a miniature version of your own workspace. They make inexpensive toy laptops for kids, and you can add on other things as needed. Old, broken keyboards with the cord removed can work as well.

As children reach the preschool and school ages, things can get easier yet. They gain in independence. They may be out of the house for hours at a time if you’re sending them to school. They can be more understanding of your need for work hours.

If you’re homeschooling, as many at home parents do, you have the challenge of working out that schedule with your work one. It’s a personal choice how you manage that, and you will find what works for your family.

And of course, at all ages you can work a night shift after the kids are in bed. There’s no guarantee that you won’t have anyone wake up on you, and it can take from your relaxation time, but if that’s the best time for you to work it’s something you need to deal with.

That you can schedule around your work needs is one of the great benefits of being an at home medical transcriptionist. Most employers want you to set a schedule, but you can change it with a bit of notice, or call in if there’s an emergency.

If you get your own accounts, so long as you’re producing according to the contract terms, your schedule is your own to set. It’s a pretty nice deal if you don’t overestimate yourself.

That you can do all that is one of the best things about going into medical transcription. It’s why I always had people asking me how to get into it. You’ll probably notice a similar effect yourself.

Start your training. Contact Career Step for information about their medical transcription training courses.

Is Medical Transcription a Good Job for Stay at Home Moms?

Lots of stay at home moms want to work from home. It’s a wonderful way to keep contributing financially while being there for your kids. How do you know if medical transcription is a good choice for you?

The first question is if you’ll be able to afford the training. You can’t just land a job as a medical transcriptionist without it. Companies can’t afford to waste time training you from scratch. There’s too much information you need to know before you get started, such as anatomy, common procedures, terminology, drugs, how to research unfamiliar terminology and of course how to transcribe and format reports.

Training is pricey. You can expect to pay $1800 or more, sometimes significantly more, depending on the program you choose. Don’t choose a program that costs too much less, as not all schools offer the quality training you need in order to work.

You also need to think how you will work transcription into your routine. How easy or difficult that will be depends on the routine you have now and the ages of your kids.

If you’re wanting to work because they’re all going to school and you’d like to earn some income during the day, you already know when you’re going to work. You’re pretty much in good shape.

If you have an infant or toddler who needs a lot of attention, it’s going to be more difficult. You’re either going to need to commit to working hard during naps and after the kids are in bed or you’re going to have to look at some childcare. That childcare may just be your husband, but you’re going to need a good commitment that you won’t always be called upon by a child needing you.

If you’re homeschooling it can also be challenging, but you’re probably used to working with a good routine. It can even be a good example to your kids, although they should not be allowed to watch you work. Private information, after all.

You will also need to honestly assess your skills. Are you ready to work as a transcriptionist? How are your typing skills? How’s your vocabulary? Are you really willing to dedicate the time needed to learn transcription and to work when you get a job?

The beautiful part is that once you’re working, you can probably set your own schedule. You have to plan it out as employers need to know what your plans are, but you aren’t stuck with a schedule that doesn’t work with your routine. If you need to tweak it as time goes by, most employers will let you.

Look at studying at home as practice for working at home. The conditions are much the same. Using your training as practice work time can really help you to figure out the scheduling that will work for you.

Take a look at Career Step’s online training program. It’s highly flexible and a great way to get prepared for your medical transcription career.

Is It Easy to Do Work at Home Medical Transcription?

Medical transcription is incredibly popular as a work at home option. That’s no surprise, considering that medical transcriptionists can earn a good living from home, and the work is fairly consistent. But is it easy?

Yes and no.

I spent three years working at home as a medical transcriptionist. I can say in all honesty that it’s easy in many ways, hard in others.

Your first challenge is in getting an education that is good enough to get you a good job as a medical transcriptionist. Go to the right school, and employers will gladly hire you after graduation if they have any openings. Go to the wrong school, and it’s going to be tough.

Learning medical transcription at home is your best way of preparing to work at home. You’ll enjoy some of the same challenges and benefits. You’ll know before you graduate if working at home is for you.

The best part about learning and working at home for some people is quite simply that it’s done at home. You don’t have to go anywhere. That saves a ton on childcare expenses if you have kids. It saves on gas and wear and tear on your car.

It can also mean feeling isolated. Many people find this one of the hardest parts of working at home. You don’t have the social aspect that is present in most other kinds of work.

Another big plus is the flexibility. You can pretty much set your own hours. There’s less worry about exact punching of a clock, although most medical transcription work at home jobs do want you to maintain a schedule. But it’s mostly your schedule to set. You don’t want to work on the weekend, you don’t have to in many cases. Holidays are pretty easily taken off.

Then again, you have to be self motivated enough to stick to that schedule. Many people find it easy to become distracted by housework, a favorite television show, getting too many snacks, and so forth.

Medical transcription work itself can be challenging. That much is true whether you do it at home or in an office somewhere. Doctors talk fast, they don’t always speak clearly, and the range of accents you will encounter may amaze you.

Then there’s the terminology and the sudden appearance of medications and procedures you never heard of and have to look up. If you’re going to love working as a medical transcriptionist, the research might just be a plus, as you get to satisfy your curiosity and love of a challenge.

I wouldn’t describe working at home as a medical transcriptionist as easy, overall. But I do not mean that in a bad way. Easy means that too many other people can do it, and that your skills won’t be valued. Medical transcription is challenging in a very good way.

Start your medical transcription online training now at Career Step.