Having a firm grasp of medical terminology is integral to many jobs in the medical profession and these positions are available in an array of forms. There are many important roles beyond that of a doctor or nurse as the medical field depends on all kinds of skillsets. An education in medical terminology will prepare individuals for different types of roles while also preparing them to advance their careers and education. Most entry-level healthcare jobs require individuals to somewhat fluent in medical terminology.
This involves the ability to identify a multitude of words used in the medical profession. That includes being able to define these words, in addition to knowing their appropriate abbreviations. Many of these words can be defined by understanding the root words, prefixes and suffixes. Being able to break down those words using those components is a skill that is used every day by many individuals in the medical field.
Medical terminology also applies to the type of language used in a medical setting, such as hospitals and medical offices. Medical terminology also covers all the systems in the human body, such as the cardiovascular, skeletal, nervous and muscle systems. Other terms pertain to anatomy and physiology. Spelling and pronunciation are covered as well as the proper use of medical terms.
Medical terminology is widespread and is also ever-evolving, which means that it is important to stay updated. For that reason, those who use medical terminology in their line of work are expected to stay current. However, the ability to recognize and define medical terms can be the beginning of a rewarding career in the medical profession.
Medical Terminology Careers
There are several jobs that demand the use of medical terminology and not all take years of training to achieve. There are many occupations in the medical profession that require a limited amount of training and they are as follows:
Medical Transcriptionist – A medical transcriptionist is responsible for taking a physician’s oral notes and transcribing them into written form. Even though this requires typing skills, it also involves the ability to recognize medical terminology. That requires the ability to make sense out of recordings of emergency room reports, patient histories, x-ray reports, summary discharges and other types of medical notes.
Medical Biller – A medical biller is entrusted with facilitating the billing process and that involves more than just itemizing the services rendered on a bill. It also requires the frequent use of medical terminology. Accuracy is extremely important in this line of work as the wrong medical information could lead to a claims dispute.
Medical Assistant – To become a medical assistant, one of the most basic skills is to gain a sound understanding of medical terminology. There are several ways to earn a medical assistant certification, although there is not one mandated or universal certification. However, medical assistants need to be fluent in medical terminology.
Health Information Technician – A health information technician works with medical records, which requires accuracy. One way to be very efficient in this role is to be well-versed in medical terminology. One of the main functions of a health information technician is to manage and organize data, which means facilitating medical terminology is a basic job task.
Medical Coder – A medical coder needs to be extremely well-versed in medical terminology while also being knowledgeable in the various coding used during the billing process. This requires a separate type of training, although medical terminology is a primary tool used by coders on a daily basis.
Medical Terminology Education
There are no prerequisite educational requirements needed to start out an educational path in medical terminology. Gaining admission to various medical terminology programs is typically a simple process. That education then requires a good deal of memorization, written work and practice using medical terms. Many post-secondary schools offer medical terminology programs as they are frequently available at community colleges, technical institutes, vocational schools and career centers. Most of those institutions require that applicants be at least 18 years of age.
Many medical education programs teach medical terminology as part of its overall curriculum.
A certification in medical terminology is awarded upon the completion of a training program offered by a post-secondary school. The length of these programs can last a few months while some are as long as six months in duration. During that time, each respective curriculum is taught and while each one of those may differ, they are centered on the same principles. A medical terminology certification can then be used to obtain employment. Some jobs will require additional certifications, although it is up to the hiring company to decide what credentials are acceptable. There is no state licensing for most medical terminology jobs, although more advanced positions require more training and subsequent certifications.
Starting off with a medical terminology certification can also be a stepping stone to other positions in the medical field. Some companies will train employees on job specifics, although there is a need to have a foundation in medical terminology. Earning a certificate could be a pathway to a long-term career that is filled with competitive pay and job stability for years to come. Medical terminology is also a major component within other certification programs, such as medical coding, medical billing and medical transcription.
There are a wide-range of salaries for medical professionals who use medical terminology as an everyday part of their job. According to the U.S. Board of Labor Statistics, a health information technician earns an average salary of $38,040 per year. The job growth is also higher than average as it is anticipated to increase by 15% by the year 2024. That means that those who acquire a medical terminology certificate have access to a lot of entry-level jobs that offer competitive pay. Most health care information technicians work in a physician’s office or health care facility. The non-stop growth of the healthcare industry continues to make it a favorable place to work with longevity, benefits and a steady paycheck that can provide peace of mind.
The AHIMA provides a wealth of resources for those in the health information field.
This association covers the essentials for working in a medical healthcare documentation capacity.
This association offers valuable information for those looking to start out a future in the healthcare sector.