Medical transcriptionists are vital members of healthcare teams, responsible for converting voice memos from physicians into written records. With the increasing demand for healthcare services due to a growing patient population and aging demographics, the need for transcription services is expected to rise. Additionally, many people choose Medical Transcription for a job because oftentimes they can work from home.
Online Training Programs
How Much Does it Cost?
Generally, most programs will cost between $1,000-$5,000 for four semesters of training. The Penn Foster classes above cost about $1000. These costs include textbooks and special study materials.
The cost of becoming a medical transcriptionist depends on the type of education you pursue. A few schools may even offer a financial aid program in which they will pay for your tuition if you qualify for aid.
How Long is Transcription Training?
Becoming a medical transcriptionist can take anywhere from six months to two years, depending on your background and the program you choose, but most programs can be completed in just a few months.
- Certificate programs take 8-12 months.
- Associate degree programs take two years.
- The Penn Foster online program below can be completed in as little 8 months.
The advantage to online classes is that you can dictate the time it takes. Students can fast track their studies and complete everything in 8 months or opt for a 12 month pace.
What Should You Look for in a Training Program?
At a minimum any legit course should cover most of the following topics to varying degrees:
- Overview – learn about the history and evolution of medical transcription as a profession, as well as the necessary skills and aptitudes for success. Types of work medical transcriptionists produce, potential work settings, and future prospects in the field.
- Allied Health – how does medical transcribing fit into the overall field of healthcare?
- Tools – use the hardware and software commonly used by medical transcriptionists. Practice using software like Express Scribe to listen to real medical dictation audio files, while simultaneously navigating the controls on your keyboard for starting, pausing, and rewinding the audio.
- Medical Records – review the nine most commonly used report types in hospitals and clinics, including medical letters. Learn about handling pathology reports, as well as effectively dealing with numbers and measurements. Then practice these letters and reports
- Listening – how to actively listen effectively.
- Voice Recognition & Interpretation – understand the limitations of voice recognition systems in replacing human transcriptionists due to challenges like homonyms, synonyms, and antonyms. Learn techniques such as phonetics, vowel sounds, and contextual clues to decipher unclear recordings.
What Do You Study?
The courses that you take in your program will vary depending on the curriculum, but here is a list of some common courses:
- Introduction to Medical Terminology
- Medical Coding and Billing Systems
- Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) Principles and Practices
- Ethics and Legal Aspects of Medical Transcription
- Medical terminology
Some employers may also require that you take a course in basic computer science or keyboarding.
Certification can boost your career, but it is not required. However, in today’s competitive job market, certification can help you stand out and earn more money.
How Can You Get Certified?
The courses above will prepare your either of The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity certificates:
- The Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) for transcriptionists with RHDS certification and 2 years of experience.
- The Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) for newbies.
Registered and certified medical transcriptionists must have a minimum level of education and pass an exam to become registered or certified. Continuing education is also required to keep your license.
How Much Money Can You Make?
The answer to this question depends on a few factors: what kind of work you’re doing, how many hours per week or month you want to work, and where in the country you live.
According to The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can make anywhere from $15 to $50 per hour or around $30,100 per year as a medical transcriptionist.
If you decide to freelance as a medical transcriptionist, you could earn more than if you were working for an agency because there are no overhead costs involved with hiring freelancers directly rather than through an agency.