A medical transcriptionist is a healthcare professional who types health reports from audio recordings dictated by physicians or nurses in a variety of environments.
The primary role of a medical transcriptionist is to listen to these recordings and type them out so there is written documentation of the notes.
Most medical transcriptionists are freelance workers who are not bound by company contracts.
However, to be a successful medical transcriptionist, you must have basic medical knowledge of physical ailments to better understand the scientific terminology used by doctors and nurses to ensure the information is correctly captured.
If this sounds like an intriguing career path, keep reading to learn more!
Article Table of Contents
- 1 What Courses Are in an Online Medical Transcriptionist Program?
- 2 Can You Earn a Medical Transcriptionist Certification Completely Online?
- 3 How Long Does it Take to Earn a Medical Transcriptionist Certification Online?
- 4 How Much Does an Online Medical Transcriptionist Certification Cost?
- 5 Types of Medical Transcriptionist Certifications
- 6 Benefits of Online Medical Transcriptionist Training Programs
- 7 Drawbacks of Online Medical Transcriptionist Training Programs
- 8 Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Medical Transcriptionist Training Programs – Summary Table
- 9 4 Self-Study Tips for Medical Transcriptionist Online Students
- 10 Schools Offering Online Medical Transcriptionist Training Programs
- 11 Summary
- 12 Sources
- 13 Frequently Asked Questions
What Courses Are in an Online Medical Transcriptionist Program?
Different schools feature different curriculums based on the course structure, but the most common classes include:
- Electronic medical records
- Introduction to allied health
- Law, confidentiality, and ethics in allied health
- Medical billing and health insurance
- Medical office procedures
- Medical terminology and body systems 1
- Medical terminology and body systems 2
- Medical transcription 1
- Medical transcription 2
- Pathology and pharmacology
Can You Earn a Medical Transcriptionist Certification Completely Online?
Yes, medical transcriptionist certifications can be completed online.
While there are many paths a medical transcriptionist can take, many positions are remote, so since the job can be entirely completed online, it is also possible to earn the certification online.
How Long Does it Take to Earn a Medical Transcriptionist Certification Online?
A complete online medical transcriptionist certification program can be completed in six months.
How Much Does an Online Medical Transcriptionist Certification Cost?
There is a vast cost range for online medical transcriptionist certifications based on the program length and content.
The typical cost ranges from $750 to $5,000.
Types of Medical Transcriptionist Certifications
Two medical transcriptionist certification types exist:
Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS)
The RHDS certificate is for entry-level medical transcriptionists, who are recent graduates of a certification or degree program with under two years of experience in a single specialty.
The RHDS certificate requires completion of a multiple-choice exam that covers terminology, systems, ethics, and processes.
The exam also requires testers to listen to an audio clip and transcribe segments of that recording.
Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS)
The CHDS is a certification for medical transcribers who boast two years or more of experience in multi-specialty settings.
Candidates are required to hold an RHDS to take the exam, which includes a multi-choice section covering health information technology and clinical medicine.
The exam also requires testers to transcribe or edit components of audio clips.
Benefits of Online Medical Transcriptionist Training Programs
You may have taken in-person classes your entire life, so the idea of an online medical transcriptionist training program may feel a little daunting and nerve-wracking, even if you are tech-savvy.
Luckily, taking an online training program offers a wealth of perks, including:
Having improved self-discipline on account of increased accountability is a major advantage.
Online studies require better time management and self-motivation skills because there is not a professor or peer keeping you on track with deadlines.
In addition to learning medical transcription, your online course will also teach you how to be more self-motivated and accountable, a skill that makes you more marketable in the workplace and in life.
Better Quality of Learning
Do you know those moments during a classroom lecture when your mind begins to drift then you realize you have missed a bit of critical information?
Would not it be great to hit the rewind button to review the lecture?
This is basically how online training programs work.
Countless students report they have an easier time learning complicated material through online medical transcriptionist programs because they can review materials and rewatch lectures in their own time.
Additionally, most courses include supplemental study guides and reading materials to ensure students remain engaged, thus resulting in an improved learning environment.
Develop Excellent Time Management Skills
One of the lesser-known benefits of an online medical transcriptionist training program is that the coursework forces you to develop excellent time management skills.
When you are not in a classroom, procrastination can easily take over.
The most successful online students force studying and coursework into their schedules throughout the week.
While this is difficult at first, once you get into a routine, you will have developed a lifelong skill.
By taking an online medical transcriptionist training program, you choose when and where to study based on your work, life, and family schedule.
Many students listen to lectures in the car on their way to work or during a break.
Since you do not need to commute to a classroom, that means less time on the train and more study time on your couch.
The missing class due to inclement weather is outdated.
Taking an online medical transcription training program is considerably less expensive than a traditional classroom.
In addition to the tuition being cheaper because of the lower overhead costs required to maintain a classroom setting, you will save on fuel and car maintenance required to get to the classroom.
Drawbacks of Online Medical Transcriptionist Training Programs
While there are many benefits to taking an online medical transcriptionist training program, several drawbacks also exist, including:
If you have never taken an online class, the structure can take some getting used to since it is different from all traditional classes.
Although there is a learning curve when taking your first online medical transcription class, you can come better prepared by reading more about the nuances of online programs and asking the instructor about the expectations before the program begins.
Less In-Person Interaction
The most obvious drawback is a lack of in-person interaction between students and the instructor.
While many students feel more accountable with online programs, the opposite is also true.
Self-motivated students do not have to worry about these interactions because they know they are not alone.
However, those who are less motivated either need to learn how to remain engaged or understand that an online program is not for them.
No Instant Feedback
Since there is less in-person interaction, no instant feedback exists.
In a classroom, instructors call on students, respond to comments and questions, and ask students questions.
Without the professor immediately available, you must email the professor and wait for a response to a question or comment, which can be incredibly frustrating for some students.
It is important to remember that textbooks, dictionaries, the Internet, and instructor office hours are excellent resources that should be utilized.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Medical Transcriptionist Training Programs – Summary Table
|Benefits of Online Medical Transcriptionist Training Programs||Drawbacks of Online Medical Transcriptionist Training Programs|
|Better Quality of Learning||Less In-Person Interaction|
|Develop Excellent Time Management Skills||No Instant Feedback|
4 Self-Study Tips for Medical Transcriptionist Online Students
Many study strategies from in-person learning apply to online learning.
However, distance learning may require additional self-study tips for success, including:
Create a Learning Space
One of the most important self-study tips for any online program is to initially invest time to understand your requirements and preferences as an online learner, and what study environment works best for you.
Some need a silent space to study while others work best with background noise.
During this assessment, determine what equipment is necessary to effectively study.
Although it is useful to find a designated space, try different locations to see which works best.
Wherever you decide to study, always minimize distractions, and work with others to create boundaries and set the expectation that will help you remain focused.
Develop a Plan for Tech Troubles
When you rely on any technology type, it can fail, but this can be mitigated by having a backup or troubleshooting plan to ensure you get the necessary assistance.
It is always beneficial to start assignments early and plan in case you experience challenges.
In addition to having an IT support plan, it is also beneficial to identify a friend or family member who is proficient in technology troubleshooting.
Engage in Course Materials
Like in-person learning, mental energy is critical, so take the time to reflect on if you understand what you just read and recap the information you have learned to assist with memory and retrieval.
Other ways to engage in the materials are to evaluate your understanding by creating exams, mix various skills and concepts into study sessions, actively participate in online discussions, attend virtual office hours, ask questions, and attempt to teach others your learnings.
Procrastination is one of the biggest problems for those taking an online medical transcriptionist program.
The best way to overcome procrastination is by starting small, with a commitment of 10 minutes that will likely lead to longer study sessions.
Also, you should add study times to your existing routine, not create a new routine for studying.
For instance, if have a daily job, add reading for 10 minutes each day while you cool down.
Additionally, enlisting a study buddy who will check in on you at various times throughout the week will ensure you are completing the work.
Finally, use productivity tools like alarms, reminders, and to-do lists to prevent procrastination.
Schools Offering Online Medical Transcriptionist Training Programs
|Medical Transcription School||2001 Lowe Street, Fort Collins, CO 80525|
|Penn Foster||14300 N Northsight Blvd., Suite 125 Scottsdale, AZ|
|Eastern Florida State College||1519 Clearlake Road, Cocoa, FL 32922|
|Ashworth College||5051 Peachtree Corners Circle, Suite 200 Norcross, Georgia 30092|
|Kennesaw - KSU Center||3333 Busbee Drive, #3301 Kennesaw, Georgia 30144|
|Jefferson State Community College||2601 Carson Road Birmingham, Alabama 35215|
|Blackstone Career Institute||1011 Brookside Rd, Suite 300 Allentown, PA 18106|
|Meditec||5000 Plaza on the Lake Suite 305 Austin, TX 78746|
|Normandale Community College||9700 France Avenue South Bloomington , MN 55431|
|Antelope Valley College||3041 West Ave K, Lancaster, CA 93536|
|St. Charles Community College||4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive Cottleville, MO 63376|
|California State University, Bakersfield||9001 Stockdale Highway Bakersfield, California 93311-1022|
|University of Central Missouri||P.O. Box 800 Warrensburg, MO 64093|
Becoming a medical transcriptionist through an online training program requires studying terminology and a large amount of commitment to remain focused on success.
The good news is that medical transcription training programs can be completed in as little as six months, so you can immediately start making money once the certificate is earned.
The best aspect of these training programs is they can be completed online from the comfort of your couch, without the need to commute to a classroom.
If you are interested in getting your foot in the door of the medical industry, then becoming a transcriptionist may be the best career path for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the complete process to become a medical transcriptionist through an online program?
First, you must earn a high school diploma or GED, which is the basic requirement.
Second, it is helpful to determine your typing speed to practice.
40 words per minute is a good starting point but achieving 80 words per minute should be your goal.
Third, earn a medical transcription certificate through online training.
Fourth, acquire the RHDS certification.
Fifth, do some freelance work to gain experience in the field.
Sixth, train, practice, and obtain a Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist CHDS certificate.
Finally, update your resume and apply for a job.
Are medical transcriptionist careers in high demand?
Although healthcare and documentation positions are expected to increase within the next decade, medical transcriptionists are not included in that group.
As a result of outsourcing an improved transcription technology, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the job outlook to drop by 2% from 2019 to 2029.
However, adding medical transcription editing skills to your portfolio adds job security since technology cannot perfectly transcribe audio because of speaker volume and accents.
What equipment is required to become a medical transcriptionist?
You can enter the medical transcription field by simply using a laptop.
However, the best transcriptionists utilize a headset and foot pedal.
The headset helps you better hear and understand audio recordings without outside distractions.
The foot pedal gives you the ability to speed up, slow down, pause, play, rewind, and fast forward audio recordings without moving your hands away from the keyboard.
How can I increase my typing speed?
Most medical transcriptionists are paid by the word, which means the faster you can transcribe an audio recording, the more money you will make.
That means you must constantly practice improving your typing speed.
Countless online typing tests will help you increase your typing speed.
By regularly taking these tests, you can practice typing and increase speed over time to ensure you maximize your earnings.