Louisiana has many cities spread across the state, holding some of the highest city populations in the US. The high city populations across much of Louisiana are associated with a concomitant high demand for healthcare services. This makes Louisiana one of the most promising areas for those seeking a career in healthcare information management. Practicing as a medical transcriptionist in Louisiana is both an exciting and rewarding professional experience. To prepare for practice, you need to undergo formal training and seek certification, as outlined below.
Medical Transcription Training and Education in Louisiana
Many training institutions and community colleges in Louisiana offer training for the field of healthcare information management. Medical transcriptionist programs are offered at both the certificate and associate’s degree levels. Many training institutions offer certificate programs, which prepare students for entry-level positions in medical transcribing. Certificate programs take a short duration to complete, usually six to eight months, while some programs are designed to be completed in one year. Community colleges offer both certificate and associate’s degree programs. If you’re seeking a more intensive training experience, or wish to shore up basic knowledge in medical transcribing, you may want to explore an associate’s degree program. Training comprises a two-year learning experience that allows students to build a comprehensive knowledge base in medical transcribing. Upon completion of the program, students are awarded an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in medical transcription. The curriculum covers areas such as anatomy, clinical studies, computer skills, legal issues in healthcare, medical transcription technology, and pharmacology for medical transcriptionists. Most AAS programs require students to complete a practicum so as to build vital practical skills for the field. Some schools offer online learning, but do require students to attend certain courses on site due to the practical aspects of the program.
Medical Transcription Certification Requirements in Louisiana?
Certification for the medical transcription profession is a voluntary decision in Louisiana. However, medical transcriptionists who hold recognized certifications easily distinguish themselves in the industry. You may want to check with the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) for industry certifications such as the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) and the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS). The RHDS is a basic certification for medical transcriptionists preparing to join the job market. If you have been working for at least two years, CHDS is a more appropriate certification to seek. Medical transcriptionists seeking AHDI certifications are assessed in theoretical knowledge and practical skills.
Medical Transcriptionist Licensing Requirements in Louisiana
Like many US states, Louisiana does not have licensing requirements for medical transcriptionists. Nonetheless, it is best to verify licensing requirements, if any, with the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, or the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
Staying Current and Continuing Education
Continuing education is a requirement for holders of the RHDS and CHDS credentials. Both credentials are issued for a three-year period. Thereafter, you must re-certify in order to keep your certification current. For RHDS-certified medical transcriptionists, recertification involves taking a re-credential course, as well as a recertification exam. CHDS holders are required to complete at least 30 continuing education credits during the three-year certification period.
Medical Transcriptionist Job Prospects and Potential Pay
Medical transcriptionists in Louisiana’s large cities draw amongst the highest salaries across the nation. High populations are typically associated with a higher demand for healthcare services, which is clearly reflected by large cities in Louisiana. In New Orleans, which has a population of about 344,000, the annual salary range for the profession lies between $38,200 and $47,800. In Baton Rouge, which holds a population of about 230,000, medical transcriptionist draw an annual salary in the range of $33,000 and $41,200. With a population of about 200,000, Shreveport is yet another excellent location for practicing as a medical transcriptionist. The annual salary here falls between $34,900 and $43,600, while in Metairie, medical transcriptionists draw an annual salary of between $38,200 and $47,800. In Lafayette, the annual salary ranges between $31,700 and $39,600. Even in smaller cities that hold a population of about 61,000, such as Bossier City, the annual salary of between $34,900 and $43,600 is well above the national range of $27,600 and $40,800. In Kenner, with a population of about 67,000, most medical transcriptionists earn between $38,200 and $47,800 each year.