The primary role of a medical transcriptionist is to translate medical reports dictated by professionals into a text format for the documentation of every patient that needs treatment or a general checkup.
A medical transcription program takes between four and 18 months in an in-person or online format.
The timing range differs based on the amount of knowledge you want to gain from the program.
The longer you’re in school, the more you will learn and more marketable you will become, but the financial and timing cost will also be higher.
Keep reading to learn more about the costs involved in becoming a medical transcriptionist!
Medical transcriptionists must possess specific skills to be successful.
These include high proficiency in computer skills, a keen ear for listening, attention to detail, and critical thinking.
These all ensure the proper terminology is identified and captured in written documents.
Additional skills include the ability to work independently without direction and candidates must be self-starters.
Medical transcriptionist classes can be taken in person at a community college or trade school and typically cost between $2,500 and $12,000 depending on the school, location, and program length.
If it’s a community college, out-of-state residents will usually pay higher tuition fees than in-state students.
Trade schools often do not have a residency requirement.
To avoid non-residency costs and have better time flexibility, medical transcriptionist classes can be taken online.
Also, online program costs tend to be less expensive and range from $2,000 to $5,000.
A medical transcription program covers anatomy, medical terminology, the process of written medical transcription, physiology, and transcription technology as the base classes.
The training also includes using tools like a dictation machine, word-processing software, and medical-related software.
The best schools include the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity membership, which is the largest medical transcriptionist organization in the U.S. In addition to being a highlighting point on your resume, it is also an excellent resource for finding jobs, asking questions, and being updated on the latest news and events.
In addition to training costs, other expenses exist when becoming a medical transcriptionist.
First, those who are serious about the profession should purchase a transcription foot pedal, which offers foot-activated stop-and-go features to improve efficiency.
The foot pedals range from $50 – $150 and are available with USB cords or are wireless.
Second, while not required, it’s beneficial to be certified and registered through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity, which is linked to experience level.
To become registered, candidates must pass a test, which costs between $150 and $280, depending on the testing certificate, plus a $10 eligibility processing fee.
Once the test is passed, membership costs between $150 and $230.
Candidates can peruse two programs; a certificate, and an associate degree, which vary in time commitment and cost.
The differences include the following:
Certificate programs take under one year to complete and the curriculum includes pharmacology, medical terminology, and transcription.
After earning the certificate, graduates qualify for entry-level positions, but can also pursue a diploma.
Associate Degree Programs
Many community colleges offer an associate degree in medical transcription, whereby students take classes including general transcription education, transcription technology, physiology, and medical terminology.
These programs usually include an internship, so students can gain hands-on experience.
An associate degree program usually requires two years of full-time attendance to complete and prepare students for more advanced roles within the field.
How to Find Different School Types
While medical transcription curriculums are similar, there are various methods of finding the best schooling to meet your needs based on location and program.
These include the following:
- The Association of HealthCare Documentation Integrity has a school comparison guide of medical transcription programs across the U.S. This information lists in-person and online training, depending on your needs.
- The American Health Information Management offers links to candidates searching for an accredited program and is an excellent resource for employment opportunities post-graduation. While enrolling in an accredited program is not required to find a job, it helps make you a more marketable candidate.
- Various personal online resources, like HomeWithTheKids.com, are a great place to find additional information.
- Health Information Careers is a great resource for additional tips to find a program that fits your lifestyle.
One of the best options is to search your area and look at community college and trade school websites to see if medical transcription training is offered.
Since online learning may not be the best option for all candidates, as some need the structure of in-person learning, local locations may be the best option.
As the population grows and continues to age, medical transcription is required to ensure the proper documentation of critical patient information.
Therefore, countless training programs exist across the U.S., so you aren’t likely far from finding one that suits your needs and lifestyle.
It’s always advisable to find an accredited institution to boost your candidate status compared to another potential employee who did not attend an accredited school.
Also, being involved in various organizations and events will help you network and find a position faster.