Medical Transcription Basics

Medical transcription training and schooling tips

Tag: choosing a medical transcription program

How to Ensure Your Medical Transcription Schooling Is a Waste of Time and Money

So you’re in a rush to get through your medical transcription schooling and start working. That’s great. Wonderful in fact. That’s one of the best ways to ensure you waste your time and money on training that won’t actually get you work as a medical transcriptionist after graduation. But there’s still more you can do to make yourself as unemployable as possible as a medical transcriptionist.

1. Fail to research school quality.

You might hit it lucky and pick a great medical transcriptionist school, or you might pick one of the worst. Don’t do your research and let Fate take you where it may for your education. This way you can later complain that there’s no way to get into medical transcription and that it’s all really a scam.

2. Skim through your studies.

All a medical transcriptionist really does is type up what the doctor says, right? You don’t need to pick up all that terminology or learn about procedures and stuff. You can make it work by just listening to the dictation. No problem.

3. Only work your self paced course occasionally.

It’s one of the great things about self paced medical transcription education. You can do it on your own time. So if there’s a party or something you’d rather go to, head off. Then find other reasons to skip out on your studies the next night, and the next. Hey, there’s that great TV show you’ve been meaning to watch. School will be there later.

At least until you find out you’ve run out of time on the program you signed up with. Why can’t they give you a reasonable amount of time to finish the course? It’s not your fault you didn’t get it done, is it?

4. Don’t review assignments after you finish them.

The grades don’t really matter, or what you missed on the test. All that matters is that you’re one section closer to done. You can pick it up as you work. Employers don’t care about how well you did in your training, do they?

5. Choose the school with the least time spent on practice transcription.

You want to get moving fast, don’t you? You can build up your transcription skills more when you’re getting paid for it. All you need in your training is enough of it to learn the basics. It won’t matter that you’re earning less than others and really not being productive later because at least you’re getting paid to do the work.

While none of these will guarantee that you’ll never find success as a medical transcriptionist, they can make the path to your career much more challenging, and may well keep you out. Medical transcription is a highly demanding career, and employers expect a lot from their employees. Make sure you make a good choice in your training so that you get off to a good start with your career.

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

Are a Medical Transcription Certificate and a Certified Medical Transcriptionist the Same Thing?

Medical transcription terminology can be confusing, and sometimes it starts as you begin learning about the industry. You research what it takes to become a medical transcriptionist and see terms such as Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) and see schools offering a medical transcription certificate, and it’s easy to think they’re the same thing.

Problem is, they aren’t. Not remotely.

A certificate showing you completed your medical transcription training means nothing more than that you finished your training. Any school can give you that if they choose. It’s a little something to show what you’ve accomplished in your education.

Becoming a Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) is entirely different. No school can give that title to you. You test to get your CMT through AHDI, and they’re the only ones who can legitimately offer that. You must have at least two years of acute care medical transcription experience or equivalent in order to take the test in the first place. A newly graduated student, no matter how well they’ve done in their studies, is not qualified or prepared for it.

That doesn’t mean there’s a problem with giving students a certificate of completion, so long as the school does not refer to it as making you a CMT. You can get a certificate of completion for a lot of things. It’s a not uncommon term. If they do make it sound as though you’d be a CMT after graduation, you know that you’ve found a school you can cross off the list for consideration.

If your school gives you a certificate of completion, it’s important that you don’t list yourself as a CMT on your resume. You aren’t one, and with your lack of experience, the employer you’re applying with will know it. Claiming that title when you not only haven’t taken the test but don’t have any experience would be a major mistake on a resume. Many medical terms can be very confusing if you don’t understand what they both mean, and it’s vital to your success as a medical transcriptionist that you not confuse them. Show an employer that you can’t keep “certificate of completion” apart from “Certified Medical Transcriptionist” and they’ll lose interest in you fast.

These kinds of issues are a part of why it’s so important to attend a high quality medical transcription school. If they’re misleading you about what you can claim on your resume after graduation, how much do you want to trust them to train you right? You’re much better off going with a school that employers trust. There’s not much point in going to school for it if you can’t get a job in the industry.

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

Is Schooling Necessary to Get a Job as a Medical Transcriptionist?

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?

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

Interested in Becoming a Medical Transcriptionist, But Not Sure Which School Is Best?

Choosing the best medical transcription school is pretty challenging. They all try to look appealing. They’d like you as a student, after all. How can you choose the best school when you’re interested in becoming a medical transcriptionist, and be sure you’ve made the right choice?

Research is the key. It’s not terribly difficult, but it is vital. Otherwise you could find out you’ve paid for medical transcriptionist training through a school that really wasn’t worth the time or money. Most of us don’t have either to waste.

The school must provide you with an education good enough that you can work as a competent medical transcriptionist after graduation, assuming you study hard enough. You’re part of the equation too! It may sound difficult to figure out which schools offer good enough training that you’ll get the skills you need, but it’s not as hard as it may sound.

AHDI Approval is one factor to check. If the school is on their list, they’re probably a pretty good school. They’ve had their curriculum reviewed for quality by an association of medical transcriptionists.

Another factor to consider is how employers feel about graduates of that program. One of the biggest complaints newly trained medical transcriptionists have is that all employers seem to want at least two years of medical transcription experience before they’ll even consider hiring. A good school can train you well enough for certain employers to waive that requirement. Not all employers will, but some do. That’s your foot in the door for this career.

Cost matters too. This is why different people will come up with different answers for which is the best school. What’s best for you is not best for everyone.

Cost can be a big part of the decision. No one wants to spend more than they have to on their education, but it does cost some to get good enough training to get the job. That doesn’t mean the most expensive school is the best. You can go to a more midrange priced school and do well so long as they offer high quality training.

You can never forget that even the best program is only good if you make the most of it. You have to gain the skills they’re teaching you. If you aren’t a focused, determined student, you aren’t going to do so well in this career. Even when you find an employer willing to consider you without two years of experience because you attended a good school, you’ll have to prove your skills through a test. If you didn’t really learn the skills during your training, you won’t make it.

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

What Is the Best Online Medical Transcriptionist School?

If you’re going to pay for the training you need to become a medical transcriptionist, you probably want the best training you can get. How will you know when you’ve found the best online medical transcriptionist school?

You just have to know what you’re looking for and what makes a great medical transcriptionist school.

It’s not just the price, of course. A higher price does not guarantee a better education. Good schools will usually cost more than bad schools, but that’s not a guarantee. Schools can set their fees to whatever they think they can get for their training, after all.

AHDI Approval is one good indicator that you’ve found one of the best online medical transcriptionist schools available. They only approve a relatively small number of schools, and only after they meet strict criteria in terms of training, finances and more.

Cost is a factor in terms of what you can afford. If you’re trying to decide between two schools, sometimes it comes down to the one you can better afford to attend. You can’t go cheap, but if all else appears equal, you may not need to go with the most expensive either.

Some things you’ll find to be true of most programs. You’ll often see that online schools allow you to learn medical transcription at your own pace. This is great if you need to work another job while you train or if you have small children or other family members to care for. You can do your training when your other obligations allow. You’ll then also be learning how to manage those obligations once you complete your training and find a job.

Quality programs also have teachers available to you by email, chat or phone. Most students don’t just learn on their own. It’s important to be able to ask for help when you need it. Having a qualified teacher available to you is vital to your long term success.

You also want to know that employers trust the school and will hire their graduates. Otherwise, you’re going to have quite a time getting past the standard requirement of two to three years experience in medical transcription that you see in most job ads. Finding a job with training but no on the job experience is a bear no matter what industry you’re talking about. If the training you’ve gone through is sufficiently trusted by employers, you’ve just minimized the experience issue.

Schools often but not always have job placement assistance. It may be as simple as job boards available to new graduates. You want your school to give you some sort of resources for landing that first job. You can’t always rely on the big employers having a need for new employers. You need to know how to find other employers so that you can apply for as many positions as it takes until you find a job.

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

Are All Online Classes for Medical Transcription Created Equal?

There are a lot of online classes for medical transcription out there. They all say they’ll give you the training you need to become a successful medical transcriptionist if you sign up for them. But should you sign up with just any of them?

Of course not. There are always differences, and you should make sure you’re getting the best deal you can. That includes being certain that the classes are worth signing up for in the first place. I define that as classes that will really prepare you for your first job in medical transcription.

One way to tell if an online class will do that for you is to check with the AHDI. They review courses and give approval to the ones that meet their criteria. These are courses which will teach you much of what it takes to transcribe successfully. Work hard in your studies, and you improve your chances of graduating well enough to land a job after.

You also want to consider if the courses are preparing you for the future. Medical transcription has gone through some changes in recent years, and will continue to do so. Electronic medical records are changing the job significantly. The better prepared you are for dealing with these changes, the better off you will be in the long run.

Don’t sign up for online classes, or classes anywhere, that promise you too much. No excessively quick training. No promises of higher pay than what can really be expected.

You should expect them to offer significant support during your training. There should be ways to contact a teacher quickly. Forums to chat with other students are handy also. Job placement assistance is great as well, for after graduation.

Some will claim you can do it almost entirely on your own. Online classes do mean you’ll be doing a lot of work at your own pace, but most students need some support. Medical transcription is a highly challenging industry, one that demands accuracy. You don’t want to be adequate. You want to be great. Having the right support in your online classes will help you become a great transcriptionist.

Take some time to learn about the online classes you’re considering to learn medical transcription. Make sure they’re a good choice for your budget, schedule and career. Think about the long term to be sure you get a good one. You don’t want to find out after graduation that you wasted time and money on a class that didn’t teach you enough.

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

Which Medical Transcriptionist Online Course Should You Avoid?

If you’ve looked at medical transcriptionist online courses much at all, you know there are a lot of them available. There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s hard to sort through it all to decide what’s worth signing up for and what’s going to waste your money.

There are many hints that you should avoid a particular medical transcriptionist online course. Some are in plain sight while others take a bit more research to figure out.

Sign 1: Extravagant Promises

What are they promising you when you graduate from their program? Do they go on and on about earning up to $50,00 a year as a medical transcriptionist without solid statistics to back that number up? Do they rave about the flexibility you will enjoy as you work from the comfort of your own home?

It’s true enough that some medical transcriptionists earn that much a year. Some. Big emphasis on some. Most by far do not.

That doesn’t mean you don’t earn good money. The pay is still pretty good, with the median hourly rate being about $15.

It’s also true enough that you may end up working a highly flexible position from the comfort of your own home. Many medical transcriptionists do. But you can’t always get a home based position right away, and even if you do, you will be expected by most employers to keep to the schedule you’ve written or to set deadlines.

I have to admit, the scheduling thing isn’t that bad. Just don’t think the life of a medical transcriptionist at home is one of near complete leisure with just a bit of work to do. You’ll probably be paid on production, and the work is not always all that easy. You may even need to pay for childcare if you have kids who are too distracting while you work. Sure nice to avoid the commute, though.

Sign 2: Cost of Your Education

A good education in medical transcription online isn’t going to be just a few hundred dollars. The education may be virtual, but any online course worth taking has experienced medical transcriptionists involved in the learning process. They have other expenses as well.

While costs do vary, expect a good program to run over $1500 at the very least. That’s not a bad cost at all if you think about it, and not too hard to make up once you get a job and really start working.

Never go for a free medical transcription course or with a company that promises on the job training if you’ll just buy their software. It’s not going to work out. These aren’t legitimate offers.

Sign 3: Accreditation

Many schools out there are accredited. That only means so much until you check them out. Not every accreditation is equal.

For medical transcription, the one that matters is AHDI Approval. That one is specific to medical transcriptionist training. It’s not a bad thing for a school to have other accreditation, but it doesn’t mean as much if the medical transcription course hasn’t been specifically reviewed.

A bit of caution goes a long way when you’re looking into becoming a medical transcriptionist. Don’t pay for an medical transcriptionist online course until you’re sure you’re picking a good one.

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

Which Schools for Medical Transcriptionist Training Are Most Likely to Get You a Job After Graduation?

When you’re looking at schools for medical transcriptionist training, it’s about more than getting an education. It’s about building the skills that will allow you to get a job after graduation. Medical transcription isn’t a skill people pick up as a hobby, after all.

Getting a job after graduation is all about your skills. You need training that is good enough to get you past that pesky two years of experience requirement most medical transcriptionist jobs have. That means the schools need to be good enough to gain the trust of potential employers. They need to consistently produce graduates who are ready to work.

Look for schools that can show employers trust them. They should be able to show that many medical transcription companies hire their graduates. There may even be a program in place for graduates from trusted schools to bypass the experience requirement and simply be tested for jobs when they’re available.

You do not want a school that offers you training that takes too little time. Medical transcriptionist training isn’t about getting through quickly, not if you want to work later. It’s about building the skills you will need. If you don’t build the skills and somehow get a job anyhow, you’ll quickly find that your lack of skills effects your income. Most at home medical transcriptionists are paid on production. Your skills really matter to your income.

That’s the big reason you need a good quality school to train you. It’s not just the ability to get the job. It’s the ability to earn a good income. The more skilled you are, the better you know your work, the more productive you can be, and the more you’ll probably earn each day you transcribe.

A school that is AHDI Approved is a good choice also. Schools that without that approval will still say they’re a good program, but how can you tell? AHDI is a good third party that checks the quality of programs to see if they’re giving medical transcriptionist training that should actually produce someone capable of working in this industry.

Never think that the school is solely responsible for the quality of your education. You’re even more responsible. If you aren’t making the effort in your studies, you aren’t going to get the benefit from even the best of schools.

That said, there are plenty of resources you should expect a good school for medical transcriptionists. They should have student forums, so you can talk things over with your fellow students. They should have highly accessible teachers, ideally by both phone and email.

What happens after you graduate a medical transcriptionist training program is up to you as well as the program you attended. Work hard through a good quality program, and you increase your odds that you will get a job after you graduate.

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

Choosing the Right Medical Transcription School

A great education is vital to getting started as a medical transcriptionist. Choose wrong and it become very difficult to land that first job that gives you the experience you need to have a great career.

The basic curriculum a good medical transcription school should include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Grammar and style
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Disease Processes
  • Transcription technology and practice
  • Privacy and legal issues

AHDI Approval is a great way to be certain that the school you choose is providing what you need to know to work as a medical transcriptionist.

I strongly recommend taking an online course such as offered by CareerStep if you are going to work at home in medical transcription. This gives you training conditions more like the working conditions you are seeking, and the company has a good reputation with many employers. It also has financing options for those who have concerns in that area. They are AHDI Approved.

Do not just sign up for a cheap course. There are many cheaper courses out there, but they don’t cover all the information you need and you are unlikely to get a job after graduation. Better to spend a bit more and build the career you want.