Online Schools with a Certificate in Transcription: How to Choose

Students interested in completing an online transcription certificate should first establish whether they want to pursue employment in the medical or legal fields, as programs are available in either industry. Programs can be fully or partially online, generally take approximately a year to complete and do not require students to provide their own specialized transcription tools.

How to Select an Online Transcription Certificate School

A number of schools offer online certificate programs for aspiring transcriptionists, most commonly in the fields of medical and legal transcription. Individuals who pass such a program can go on to work in doctors' offices, hospitals, law practices, government agencies or general transcription companies. Online transcription certificate programs are often offered through the continuing education and extension schools of community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities.

Program Specialties

Prospective transcriptionists must first decide whether they are interested in working in the medical or legal field. Specializing allows individuals to learn about their potential work environment and become familiar with industry-specific terminology or codes. Students in both areas should have excellent editing and proofreading skills. They should also have exceptional typing proficiency, although the exact words per minutes needed to enroll or pass varies by program.

Program Types

Students may be able to choose between a fully online or hybrid program. While transcriptionist certificate programs can typically be completed entirely online, hybrid options allow individuals to take some courses in person - or at least connect directly with live instructors throughout their self-guided program. This enables them to get personal feedback or perform supervised typing tests.

Delivery Systems

Students typically do not need to provide their own specialized software or hardware to enroll in an online transcriptionist typing program; however, they may learn to use some industry-specific software and equipment, like a transcription foot pedal, throughout their lessons. To get started, they need up-to-date computers with sufficient memory to download programs and documents, as well as access to the Internet. They may need to be able to play video with sound. Some content is sent by e-mail or physical mail, so prospective students must provide addresses.

Online Transcription Certificate Program Overviews

Online Medical Transcription Certificate

These programs, which typically last one year, teach participants to transcribe dictations concerning patient diagnoses, procedures and assessments. Some programs emphasize editing skills for transcriptionists. These programs may also offer specialized training to prepare transcriptionists to work from home. Online medical transcription programs are generally self-paced programs. Individuals who earn a medical transcriptionist certificate qualify to work in entry-level positions for hospitals, clinics and outpatient centers. Specific courses may include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical and body systems terminology
  • Basic pharmacology
  • Law, ethics and confidentiality

Online Legal Transcription Certificate

To enroll in an online legal transcription program, students must have excellent typing skills regarding both speed and accuracy. Graduates of legal transcription programs are prepared to work in law offices and courtrooms as legal transcriptionists, court reporters and stenographers; they may also transfer into a related associate's degree program, such as one for paralegals. Commonly available through continuing education departments, online legal transcription certificate programs include classes on:

  • Beginner and intermediate keyboarding
  • Word processing software
  • Family and business law
  • Latin terminology
  • Courtroom procedures

Schools with Online Transcription Certificate Programs

At Barton Community College, you can complete an online medical administrative technologist program in both online and hybrid formats. This program gives students a broad education in records management, accounting and customer service within the healthcare industry.

Prince Institute, a stenograph school, offers a legal transcription certificate program that can be studied online over the course of a year. Students will develop their keyboard skills, learn how to use voice-to-text production software and gain transcription and proofreading abilities at a professional level.

An online medical transcription certificate program can also be found at Ashworth College and can take as little as three months. Students will gain all of the practical and organizational skills required to become medical transcriptionists, and will have transcriptionist foot pedals with universal connectors provided for them by the college.

There are many online options for students interested in working in medical or legal transcription, with hybrid programs available as well. These programs prepare students for careers within the medical and legal industries, giving them a thorough education in the relevant transcription techniques and administrative tools.

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