Depending on the institution, prospective medical receptionists and transcriptionists can enroll in two-year AAS programs with titles such as medical office administration or medical information technology. Other relevant programs might specify that they're geared toward those interested in becoming a medical administrative specialist or medical assistant. Once the program is complete, graduates have the option to get certified as a medical transcriptionist through a number of professional organizations. Generally, only a high school diploma is required for admission, but some schools also require applicants to demonstrate proficiency in math and English, as well as basic typing skills.
Associate's Degree Programs in Medical Reception and Transcription
The curricula of these programs often include courses in office technology, office organization, human relations and other areas necessary to provide extensive administrative support in hospitals, clinics or private medical office settings. Students typically learn how to code diagnoses and procedures, complete insurance forms and maintain medical records. Course topics might include:
- Records management
- Document formatting
- Medical terminology and transcription
- Medical office procedures
- Medical ethics
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) concluded that a growing elderly population and the advances of technology in medicine could result in a continuous need for healthcare professionals, including trained medical receptionists and transcriptionists (www.bls.gov). The BLS anticipated that job growth from 2018 to 2028 for medical assistants, in general, was expected to be 23%, which is much faster than average compared to all occupations. According to PayScale.com, the majority of medical receptionists earned a salary between $22,000 and $44,000 as of September 2019.
The BLS predicted a 3% decline in employment for medical transcriptionists between 2018 and 2028 and reported the average salary for these positions was $36,350 in May 2018. Experienced transcriptionists could start their own businesses and work flexible hours by telecommuting from home.
Continuing Education Information
While certification isn't required for medical transcriptionists or receptionists, becoming certified could improve an individual's opportunities with prospective employers. The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) offers the Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) credential that is geared toward those who have recently completed a medical transcription program or have less than two years of experience in the field. The Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) credential is for transcriptionists with two or more years of substantial experience. Both RMTs and CMTs must complete continuing education requirements to recertify every three years.
In addition, the Medical Transcription Industry Association, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor, offers a Registered Apprenticeship Program. In the program, qualified RMTs have the opportunity to improve their practical and technical skills under real work conditions.
There are several AAS programs for medical receptionists and transcriptionists, and after earning one of these degrees, graduates are prepared for work in the field. They may also pursue optional professional certifications to demonstrate their skills.