Training Programs in Medical Transcription

Most transcriptionists enroll in a certificate program to learn technical aspects of transcription and medical terminology. Because many employers prefer one or more years of experience, some medical transcriptionists also seek an apprenticeship.

Essential Information

Medical transcriptionists should be organized and able to perform repetitive tasks, focusing on creating consistently error-free medical documents. Medical transcriptionists should be able to perform light secretarial duties if they work in a physician's office and able to complete documents with little direct supervision if they work at home.

Training for transcriptionists is usually completed in certificate programs that take one to two semesters. These programs help students improve their familiarity with Word, Excel and other Microsoft Office applications. Enrollment in these programs requires a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Medical Transcription Certificate Programs

A medical transcription certificate program adequately prepares students for careers as medical transcriptionists. Programs teach students how to understand, record and dictate medical terms and documents. Courses allow students to work with transcription equipment, including computers, audio computer programs and foot pedals. Coursework may include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Health care confidentiality and communications
  • Advanced transcription
  • Computer use in medical transcription
  • Medical administration

Job Experience

Employers generally prefer to hire medical transcriptionists with one to three years of experience. Entry-level opportunities are available for transcriptionists with little or no experience. These positions typically include on-the-job training programs. To gain experience, many medical transcriptionists pursue an apprenticeship through the Medical Transcription Industry Association (MTIA). Transcriptionists in this program learn valuable industry skills and knowledge under the supervision of experienced transcriptionists.

Continuing Education

Medical transcriptionists are not required to be licensed or certified. Voluntary certification is available from the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) and displays proficiency to potential employers. The AHDI offers two credentials, including registered medical transcriptionist (RMT) and certified medical transcriptionist (CMT).

Transcriptionists with less than two years of professional experience can obtain RMT credentials; those with more than two years of experience in specialized medical transcription can obtain CMT certification. Both credentials require transcriptionists to pass a medical transcription exam that covers medical terminology, ethical issues and types of medical documents.

Technical and vocational colleges offering medical transcription programs typically sponsor workshops and seminars for medical transcriptionists. Workshops usually last several hours and allow students to learn practical transcription skills outside of the traditional classroom. Employers that offer on-the-job training programs may also hold workshops for newly hired medical transcriptionists learning a new system of recording or transcription.

The MTIA and AHDI both hold annual conferences for medical transcriptionists and other medical documentation specialists. These conferences typically last three to five days and allow transcriptionists to learn more about the industry through seminars, training sessions and networking opportunities.

In addition to annual conferences, the MTIA and AHDI also offer unparalleled professional development opportunities for medical transcriptionists.The MTIA maintains a knowledge bank of best practices and also offers a career center and links to other national transcription and documentation organizations. The AHDI offers similar services, including an expansive job search tool and library of industry articles. Both organizations offer continuing education resources for medical transcriptionists to keep their knowledge of transcription current and accurate.

Many transcriptionists complete medical transcription certificate programs to learn the skills needed to create error free medical documents and familiarize themselves with the software typically used. Yet, with many employers wanting previous work experience, many of these individuals also seek internships and certification.

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