You need training to get a job as a medical transcriptionist. It doesn’t take long to find that out. But then things get confusing. You hear schools talk about the certificate you get upon completing their medical transcription course. Others offer a diploma. Then there are jobs that want a Certified Medical Transcriptionist. What do all these terms mean?
The first thing you need to understand is that completing a medical transcriptionist training course does not make you a Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT), even if it gives you a certificate for completing the course. That’s simply impossible. You have to have at least two years of acute care medical transcription experience or equivalent before you can take the test to become a CMT through AHDI. That’s the only way to gain that certification.
When a school says you get a certificate of completion for your training, that’s all it is. Nothing at all to do with becoming a Certified Medical Transcriptionist.
A medical transcriptionist diploma is another way of saying you’ve completed the course of study. Those employers who are willing to consider freshly trained graduates will want to know that you’ve finished your training, no matter what the school offers you upon completion.
You may also hear of the test to become a Registered Medical Transcriptionist. You can do this with much less experience. It is not required in order to find work, but it is a positive thing to have on your resume.
Don’t worry about not being able to get a CMT designation immediately after graduation. For most job openings in medical transcription, it really doesn’t matter. A CMT gets paid extra in some positions, but it’s not a requirement for employment in the industry. Otherwise, how could you get the two years of experience required to test for that designation in the first place?
It amazes me how often people get confused about these things. I see people complaining on forums that they’re a Certified Medical Transcriptionist, but they can’t find any jobs to get experience. That’s how common it is for people new to this industry to be confused by the terminology used by schools. You cannot become a CMT when you have no experience. You can get a certificate saying you’ve completed your studies, but that comes only from the school you studied with, not from the AHDI, which handles the testing and certification necessary to get the legitimate CMT title.
Don’t worry so much about what your school calls it when you graduate. It’s better to be concerned with how well you’ll be trained so that you can find a job after graduation. Certificate, diploma, whatever, it just needs to mean that you can do the work you spent months training to do.