You often hear that you have to go to college for two years to become a medical transcriptionist. Other schools claim they can train you in as little as eight weeks. How long do you really need to go to college to become a medical transcriptionist?
It depends on a few factors. The first is which medical transcription program you sign up for. There are a lot of options out there. You don’t want to sign up for a program that promises you can graduate in less than four months – that’s too fast. Most people simply cannot acquire the skills needed to be a successful medical transcriptionist in less than four months. As a matter of fact, nine months is a reasonable estimate for many people in self paced training courses.
Community colleges and some other schools may have programs that take two years to finish. You don’t have to take that long. These programs may be offering an Associate’s degree in medical transcription, which is not necessary to find work. They may require you to take unrelated courses as well. That’s not a problem if that’s the way you want to go about training for this career, but it’s not as fast as more focused, self paced programs.
I like the self paced schools that give honest estimates of how long it takes most students to complete their programs. No false promises that you’ll know enough to find a job in just two months or that the average pay rate is higher than it is. You need honest information when you’re trying to start a new career, not hype and vague promises.
With a self paced program, a big part of what determines how long you have to go to college is you. If you work hard on your studies, you may be able to finish faster. But when you come to parts that are more challenging for you, you’re still able to take the time you need to really get the information down, no worries about holding the rest of the class up or needing to catch up with classmates who got it sooner. You can even take extra time if events in your life cause you to need to slow down for a bit.
As you look into various colleges that may train you to become a medical transcriptionist, consider what it is you want from the training. Quality is obviously a major factor, as is cost, but how long it takes to complete the course should be a factor too. Don’t go for promises of a lightning fast education, but also remember that you probably won’t need to study for two years to acquire the skills you need for this career. There’s a good balance that will help you to finish your training in a reasonable amount of time and be ready to work when you find a job.