Going through medical transcriptionist schooling may seem like an extra, expensive step to getting a job as a medical transcriptionist. Why do you need to spend thousands of dollars and several months learning the skills for this job? Isn’t it just typing up what the doctor says? How can that take special schooling?
It does indeed take special schooling for most people. The skills needed to become a successful medical transcriptionist aren’t as simple as they sound.
You aren’t just typing up what the doctor says, for example. Many doctors don’t dictate all that clearly, which means even just typing up what they say isn’t a particularly easy thing. You also have to understand what they’re saying and make sure it makes sense. Doctors are human, and they misspeak at times. They can name the wrong body part, wrong medication, wrong disorder… or just so mangle the pronunciation that you don’t know right away what they really said. Your schooling helps you to learn how to deal with these situations.
There are a lot of formatting rules for medical transcriptionists to follow as well. That’s not something you can always tell from what the doctor dictates. You have to know what the correct format is for the type of report being dictated.
Taking the time to get your schooling can even impact how much you earn as you work. It’s not just a matter of starting pay rate, it’s that many medical transcriptionists are paid on production. The better you know your work, the faster you can transcribe, and the more you can earn.
There are very few openings for untrained people wanting to get into medical transcription. It’s even challenging to get started when you do have training if you don’t pick a trusted school. Most openings state that you need at least two years of experience. If you want to get past that requirement, you need a solid education to show that you can do the work.
It’s also impractical for employers to train most people to do the work. It takes at least four months to learn this job, and 6-9 months is not at all uncommon. That’s a long time for an employer to let an employee sit in a training room.
There’s also too much risk to letting someone with insufficient medical knowledge do this work. Medical records are very sensitive. They must be transcribed accurately. If you can’t trust an employee to get the work done right, you’re not going to want to hire that employee. Why should an employer consider you if you don’t have some way to show them that you can do the work?