If you would like a career in the healthcare field, yet prefer not to work directly with patients, medical transcribing is a good career option. The work of a medical transcriptionist involves transcribing medical recordings from healthcare professionals. Using a headset and foot pedal, a transcriptionist must listen to voice recordings of physicians and other healthcare professionals, and translate these into written form. The job also involves reviewing and editing medical records. As a medical transcriptionist, you will play a vital role in healthcare documentation. Medical transcriptionists enjoy a rewarding career with good job prospects.
Career training to become a medical transcriptionist is offered at the postsecondary level. As an initial step, you need to have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent in order to apply to a training institution. Many community colleges and vocational schools across the country offer training in the field. Some schools also offer online courses. Training programs may be at the certificate level or associate degree programs.
View specific Medical Transcription education and career requirements by state by choosing from the list below.
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- District of Columbia
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- New York
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Certificate programs typically take one year to complete, while associate degree programs are designed to be completed in two years. Students take courses in anatomy, Business English, healthcare documentation, medical terminology, ICT in records keeping, legal issues in healthcare documentation, physiology, and risk management. Students also learn how to use word processing software to perform transcription work. There is great emphasis on grammar and punctuation as competence in these areas promotes efficiency in transcribing. Most medical transcriptionist training programs incorporate an internship program for students. An internship offers students with the opportunity to build vital hands-on transcription experience.
Certification for medical transcriptionists is voluntary. However, as in most fields, certification attests to professional competence. Industry certifications are offered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI), which awards the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) and the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) credentials. The RHDS certification is ideal for those just entering the field, those who hold minimal work experience, and those working in a small environment such as a doctor’s office or a clinic. Medical transcriptionists with more extensive work experience should aim for the CHDS certification. To earn certification, one must pass a written exam and practical test.
Licensing requirements vary by state, hence it is best to check with the professional licensing board in the state where you plan to work. However, licensing requirements may relate to education, testing and professional experience. By meeting the stipulated licensing requirements for your state, you can look forward to a rewarding career in healthcare documentation.
Continuing Education and Staying Current
The medical transcription field is a dynamic arena as medical terminology is always changing. To re-certify, RHDSs must complete a re-credentialing course and pass the accompanying exam before the expiry date of their current certification. To maintain their certification, CHDSs must participate in professionally relevant continuing education activities, every three years.