Fully online medical transcription programs are offered by many community colleges and vocational schools; however, most programs culminate in students earning a certificate or an associate's degree, rather than a bachelor's degree. Students seeking a bachelor's-level program in a related field can find fully online programs in health information management.
Educational opportunities in medical transcription are designed to teach students how to transcribe medical records, discharge summaries, correspondence, physical examination notes, and other administrative materials. Programs can typically be completed in two years or less.
Associate's Degree in Medical Transcription
In order to provide correct documentation, transcriptionists must be familiar with patient assessment, diagnoses, therapeutic procedures, and prognoses. Additionally, programs provide instruction on human health, medical procedures, and other healthcare topics.
The following are typical subject areas covered in this degree program:
- Medical terminology
- Word processing
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical legal issues and ethics
About Online Learning
Educational opportunities offered online provide similar instruction to those found in on-campus programs. Students in distance-learning programs attend seminars and complete coursework on the Internet. Assignments typically have due dates, and full-time students might spend up to 40 hours per week completing required readings and class work.
Professionals in the medical transcription field are detail-oriented and have developed excellent written communication, keyboarding, and transcription skills. Medical transcriptionists are often able to telecommute from a home-based office. In addition, students who successfully complete a distance-learning program in medical transcription can find employment in the following settings:
- Physicians' offices
- Diagnostic laboratories
- Business support organizations
- Outpatient care centers
- Other healthcare facilities
According to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), 32% of medical transcriptionists work in hospitals, while 23% work in physicians' offices. Job opportunities in the field are projected to decline by 3% for the decade 2014-2024 because of improved speech recognition software and other advanced technologies. (www.bls.gov).
While online medical transcription programs are not generally available at the bachelor's degree level, prospective medical transcriptionists can enroll in online certificate and associate's degree program. These programs are designed to teach students about transcribing different kinds of documentation used in hospitals and other healthcare offices.