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Medical Transcription Training

A medical transcriptionist listens to dictated recordings made by healthcare professionals (such as physicians) and transcribes or records in text what has been recorded using a computer or word processor. The medical transcriptionist has to ensure that the text is clear, accurate, and is free from grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Documents are returned to the healthcare professional who signs each document off once it has been reviewed for accuracy. The final documents can be included in correspondence, medical reports or a patient’s medical records.

Medical transcription training programs generally last between one and two years, depending on whether you choose a certificate or longer associate degree program. Your program will introduce you to the medical terminology and jargon that you will encounter most frequently in a dictated recording. You will also learn about the medical reference materials that you can consult when you come across unfamiliar terms. Medical transcription schools will also introduce you to the legal and ethical issues surrounding medical documents. You will also probably have chance to brush up on spelling, grammar and your IT skills.

The marketplace for medical transcriptionists is buoyant: the US Bureau of Labor predicts that the demand for medical transcriptionists will grow faster than the average for all occupations through to 2012. With the best job opportunities being available to those individuals who have completed a formal training program, enrolling on a medical transcription program really is a smart move!

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Pursuing a Career in Medical Transcription

The Health Information Privacy and Portability Act. Presidential commitment to all-electronic medical records. Concerns about patient privacy and doctor accountability. These are the issues that should create the uncommon demand for medical transcriptionists in the face of an uncertain economy.

Translating Medicalese: Career Profile
Medical transcriptionists are charged with translating prerecorded notes by physicians and assistants into digital documentation. The career field is tech-savvy and rule-minded. Transcriptionists are vital to keeping accurate patient records for the accurate billing and timely correspondence of patient health. Students are drawn to the field for a number of reasons, such as the opportunity to telecommute and the potential to become self-employed.

With respect to potential salary, 2007 median annual earnings of medical transcriptionists hit $31,250. The top ten percent earned $44,070 and the bottom ten percent earned $22,160. A variety of factors influence salary, including geographic location, professional setting, industry experience, and more.

Beyond Data Entry: Educational Requirements
Candidates interested in a career in medical transcription are encouraged to complete a two-year associate's degree or one-year certificate program at an accredited vocational school, community college, or distance-learning entity. Common coursework includes classes in anatomy and physiology, legal issues, healthcare documentation, and more.

According to the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity, there are two primary certifications that demonstrate medical transcription proficiency. The first, the Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT), requires successful passing of the exam and two years of acute care. The second, the Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT), requires exam completion and less than two years experience.

Totally Tech-driven: Industry Future
Demand for these professional should continue to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of medical transcriptionists is expected to increase by 14 percent over the coming decade--faster than the national average for all occupations through 2016. Those candidates with national certification should have the best opportunities. Other valued skills include a working knowledge of speech recognition technologies and advanced medical vernacular.

Time Saving Tips
If you're goal is to become a self-employed medical transcriptionist, here are some suggestions from the AHDI on shaving some time off of the process:

  • Put in the Time. Garner some work experience or complete at least a 240-hour supervised externship in a hospital or clinic setting
  • Know the Market. Take advantage of seminars and conferences to understand the future of the market you serve
  • Devise a Strategy. Create a business plan with the help of a business advisor or the Small Business Association--work your plan
  • Do Your Homework. Study industry publications to determine the physical resources necessary to strike out on your own

Medical transcriptionists are in-demand--ride the wave of looming federal regulation and privacy concerns into a lucrative new career.