Medical Transcription Basics

Medical transcription training and schooling tips

Tag: medical transcriptionist online 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.

What Are the Best Medical Transcriptionist Online Classes Available?

It takes solid training to become a medical transcriptionist. It’s not something many people get to just learn on the job. You have to take the initiative and go to classes to learn it on your own. That makes it important to find the best medical transcriptionist online classes you can. Where are they?

First you have to know which criteria you should be considering when looking at online medical transcriptionist classes. You need to be able to sort out which are good versus which are more about getting you to pay for their classes with little regard for how your career goes after.

You should expect a great deal of training in medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, medical report formatting, ethics and more. These are the basic things you will need to know in order to work in medical transcription. Some of it is quite complex, and it takes time to learn it all.

You’ll also do a number of hours of real doctor dictation in any good program. This is one of the most important parts. You can know the terminology, but if you haven’t transcribed it, you don’t realize how different it can all sound depending on how the doctor says it.

It’s not just about accents, although that certainly plays a role. Doctors usually speak quickly when doing their dictation. They want to get it out of their way. They may also eat as they dictate, drive a car, and so forth. The dictation is not always their only focus at the moment. It takes a lot of practice to not only understand what they’re saying, but to transcribe it accurately and quickly.

Just a few hours will not be enough. The amount of practice needed may seem excessive when you first start, but it’s necessary. This is the major skill you bring to the job, and it’s why nurses and other medical professionals often still need to take classes in order to become medical transcriptionists themselves.

How long the course is expected to take overall matters too. It shouldn’t be short. A mere eight weeks really isn’t enough, not by the time you add in the hours needed to really practice transcribing. You can learn a lot in that time, but you won’t have learned enough. Expect a minimum of four months, but accept that a self paced course may well take you nine months or even a year to complete. That’s not at all unusual.

Cost matters to most of us as well. A good course is not cheap. $1800 isn’t unusual, and many courses cost more. This is not something to go too cheap with. Just remember that the quality of training you get will help to pay back the investment you make in your training. Work hard in your classes, find that first job, and you’ll earn it back in a reasonable time period. It’s still less than the cost of many colleges for a year.

Finally, make sure you check the reputation of the school in the medical transcription field. It doesn’t matter if they’re great elsewhere – how well will you be trained for the job you’re after? You want the best you can find in that area.

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

Which Online Colleges for Medical Transcription Are the Best Value for the Money?

No one wants to waste money on their education. You pay for college, you want to get something out of it. When it comes to learning medical transcription, however, not all colleges are worth it. Which online colleges for medical transcription give you the best value?

It takes a bit of research to find out. There are a few factors that will help you discover which colleges have a good reputation as a school and with employers. It’s that good reputation that will help you get your first medical transcriptionist job, combined with how well you do in your studies.

One way to check how employers feel about a college is to see if they regularly hire graduates from that college. Some will list employers that have hired their graduates on their sites, but you can also try contacting employers. Just remember that this does not guarantee that you will ever be offered a position with that employer, no matter how well you do in your studies. It also depends on if they’re hiring at the time and what your competition for the openings looks like.

The big national medical transcription services are some of the easiest employers to check with. They hire a lot more people, and so deal with a lot more graduates from whichever program you’re looking at.

The AHDI is another place to check. They have some colleges on their Approved list, which means the college offers what they consider to be a good training program. The college has gone through a review process with them and passed all the criteria, which go over course content, the inclusion of an experienced medical transcriptionist in the program, and other factors they believe go into making a college worth approving, and worthwhile for students to attend to learn medical transcription.

You should also consider whether the college allows you to go at your own pace, especially if the courses are offered online. Being able to go at your own pace is a huge help, especially if you’re working elsewhere at the same time. You can go faster or slower as your schedule permits. You don’t have to worry about getting to class on time.

You do have to make sure that you’re still getting the work done in a timely manner if you use a self paced training program. Go too slow and you can eventually run out of time. Colleges do not just keep you as a student until you’re done. There’s a time limit that should be plenty generous enough for the serious student, even if you work elsewhere at the same time. Set aside a couple hours several days a week at least, just as you would for a college class you would attend in person. If you aren’t doing any other work, try treating your studies as a full time job.

When you get right down to it, there are a few online colleges that will give you good value for your money. Even the best won’t give you good value unless you work at it. Don’t expect learning medical transcription to be a simple thing. It takes time and a lot of effort. Give yourself the time you need to really learn what they’re teaching you so that you make the most of your time and the money you’ve spent.

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

How to Look Into Online Courses to Become a Medical Transcriptionist

Taking an online course to become a medical transcriptionist is one of the best ways to get started in this industry. The challenge comes in figuring out which online courses are worth taking, and which should be dropped from consideration. All the schools do their best to sound appealing, but not every school is even close to worth it.

If you want to know which ones are worth it, you need to do a bit of investigating. There are a couple of ways you can find and choose a course.

Signing up for a medical transcriptionist course without doing your research is risky. The internet makes it very easy for someone to set up what looks like a good school when it’s really a one or two person operation, poorly developed training materials, and no record of successfully training students into medical transcriptionists that an employer would hire.

At the same time, there are a number of really great online courses available to medical transcription students. Many of the best medical transcription schools are 100% online. Online courses are great for teaching you how to do the work without direct supervision, and the self paced nature of many online courses means you can fit it into your schedule more easily than classes you have to attend in person.

Employers are a pretty good place to start. If potential employers regularly hire graduates from a particular program, you can pretty well assume they’re doing a good job of teaching. Employers are quick to note when a source of employees is more trouble than it’s worth.

You can also check with the AHDI. You don’t want the school to just be a member of AHDI, you want them to be one of the Approved schools that they list on their website. That means the program has been reviewed in terms of the training in medical transcription it gives. They don’t approve schools easily.

You can look through the resources the school itself makes available to potential students. They will of course make themselves look good, but you can tell a lot about the school’s offerings, such as if a student forum is available, if a payment plan is available, and how much help they’ll give you after graduation to find that first job.

Once you’ve done your research and found a really great medical transcription online course, there’s one more very important thing to remember. You absolutely must remember that the best training course online can do nothing without you. If you aren’t a dedicated, hardworking student, you’re never going to learn the skills you need in order to succeed as a medical transcriptionist.

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

How to Look Into Online Courses for Medical Transcriptionist Education

Medical transcription is a great career once you have the training. This means you need to take some time to do some research. What are the best ways to look into online courses for medical transcriptionist education?

It’s not as simple as looking through the sites on your favorite search engine. Some of the schools are really great at teaching medical transcription, others are not, but they will all tell you that they offer great training. They’d like you as a student, after all.

The key is figuring out which ones really are good.

Odds are you’d like to finish your training quickly, so that you can begin working as soon as possible. Too fast is a bad idea, however. If the school says you can finish in as little as eight weeks, odds are it’s not that great a program. There’s too much to learn in that short a time. It’s better that you take a bit more time and really learn the skills a medical transcriptionist needs than it is to be told you’re graduating when you really don’t know as much as the school has let you think you know.

Most online courses for medical transcriptionists tell you to expect to take at least four months, and nine months is not at all uncommon. They’re often self paced, which is great for fitting your training into your current schedule. You can study while keeping your current job and dealing with the rest of your daily life. You won’t have to worry about a change in schedule or particularly busy day keeping you away from an important class. You can do it in your own time and learn at your own pace.

This doesn’t mean you can dawdle your way through. There’s usually a more than generous time limit for completing the entire course. Work hard on your studies, and it should not be too hard to complete them within the time frame allowed by the school.

You want your medical transcriptionist education to be well regarded by potential employers. While it’s no guarantee of future employment, any school that has a good relationship with several employers gives you a good chance at getting a job after graduation, skipping the usual requirement of two years of experience that plagues graduates of programs that aren’t so well regarded.

Cost is a major deciding factor for many potential students. Cheap is not the best way to go, however. Your education has a high value in terms of your future career, and you should value it as such. Go too cheap with too little research, and it may be difficult to impossible to get a job, as the quality of your training may suffer.

This doesn’t mean you need to go to the most expensive schools either. There are some very good schools that are on the high range of prices for medical transcriptionist education. Some are excellent, but others merely have a high price and nothing else going for them. Do your research to be sure your school is worth it.

Some midrange schools are quite acceptable in terms of price and quality. Check into their reputations and you may find one that’s not too hard on your education budget, and has the quality you need to give you a good shot at the job you’re after.

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

How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist via Online Courses

You know you have to study in order to become a medical transcriptionist, and you’ve decided that online courses are the way to go. That’s probably a good decision, as some of the best medical transcriptionist courses are the online programs, and that’s a benefit to your overall career.

You have to find the right online course. They aren’t all created equal, and they certainly aren’t all worth paying for. You’re better off being certain that you aren’t signing up for a program that’s more interested in your money than in training you for your new career.

Even before you choose a course, however, you need to make sure you’re ready to take it. Your basic skills should be up to par in a few areas before you start studying medical transcription. Otherwise you’ll spend too much time building skills you should already have. Worse, some programs won’t accept you if you don’t have these basic skills.

Typing speed is one of those skills. If you aren’t a good typist, you aren’t going to be a good medical transcriptionist. If the position you get pays on production and you don’t type well, you aren’t going to earn much. You should be able to type at least 45 wpm before you even start your medical transcription course.

Your basic grammar and spelling skills should also be excellent. If you struggle with spelling and grammar, or just can’t be bothered to correct the mistakes you make in those areas, medical transcription may not be for you. These are mistakes that are not acceptable in people’s medical records, especially as some mistakes can change the entire meaning of a sentence. Saying a panda eats shoots and leaves is entirely different from saying a panda eats, shoots and leaves.

With your basic skills in good shape, you can consider which online course to sign up for. There are quite a number of them available, but you want to sign up for one that will give you high quality training so you can get a job after graduation. Who cares about being trained as a medical transcriptionist if you never become one?

There are a few good signs to look for in an online course. The first is AHDI Approval, which means their course has been reviewed by the AHDI for quality. The next is how employers feel about the program. If there are a number of employers willing to hire graduates without requiring that they get two years of experience first, that’s a good sign that the training is good. It’s also a sign that if you do well, you will have a chance at a job after graduation.

No matter how good the program is however, if you aren’t a good student, it’s not going to do you a lot of good. You must work hard and really build your skills. Not only does this improve your chances of employment after graduation, it means you’ll be a more productive employee. As many positions are paid on production in medical transcription, this can effect how much you earn for the work you do. This should be excellent motivation to master the skills a medical transcriptionist needs.

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

Why Go With Medical Transcriptionist Online Training Rather Than Your Local School?

When you’re researching your educational options, you may notice a lot of medical transcriptionist online training courses, as well as local schools. Are there any good reasons to take a chance on an online training program rather than attend your local school, which you probably know more about?

There are many good reasons to prefer an online program. Here are just a few.

1. Online training is often self paced.

This is not true for absolutely every medical transcriptionist online training program out there, but it is true for quite a number. You decide what times and days you study, and for how long. It’s great if you have other work or family obligations to deal with. Your education works completely with your schedule.

Local schools need you to keep to their schedule. You have to attend classes when the professor can be there. You have to know what the lab hours are for your transcription practice if it’s not available to take home. You have to drive there. You have to arrange childcare if you have kids. Local just isn’t as convenient in many ways.

2. Online training is practice for working at home.

Not every medical transcriptionist works at home, but it’s a goal for many people who become interested in this career. Do your training online, and you learn how to cope with working from home. You have to set your own schedule, motivate yourself and even deal with the fact that you aren’t interacting with your classmates in person. It’s not for everyone, and the sooner you find out if you like working that way, the better.

You should also have access to your teachers online or by phone, which is rather like having a supervisor available to you online or by phone when you’re working. You can ask your questions as they come up even though you aren’t sitting in a classroom. Emailed questions or questions asked on a forum may take a little time to be answered, but in many cases you will have faster ways to ask for help.

3. Great medical transcriptionist online training programs are available.

Some of the best programs are the online training programs. They’re familiar to more employers. They train a number of medical transcription students from across the country. The best online programs have great reputations.

4. Start when you’re ready.

Some medical transcriptionist online training programs have particular start dates for sessions, but many allow you to start when you’re ready. You decide it’s time for a new career and pick the school, they’re ready for you. No waiting for registration to open up for the next quarter or semester.

5. Student forums and resources to use after graduation.

Online training programs usually have student forums that are useful during your student days as well as after graduation. You can network with your fellow students to increase your chances of finding work later.

There may also be reference materials and job hunting tools that you can use after graduation. These are quite valuable to new transcriptionists. It takes time in a real job to get to where you aren’t having to look things up regularly.

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