Academic Partnerships
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Career Step Academic Partners

Academic Partnerships FAQs

Is Career Step an accredited or registered school?

Career Step is registered under the Utah Post-Secondary Proprietary School Act but is not nationally or regionally accredited. However, our career-focused training programs are approved by a number of industry specific organizations and are designed with employer feedback to ensure students are gaining exactly the skills needed to get a job and succeed in the workforce.

The Career Step training programs prepare students for career fields where employers are looking for skilled applicants. Career Step works closely with employers when developing a training program to ensure students graduate with the skills employers are looking for. We've also developed close ties to industry associations, aligning our programs with their recommendations. Career Step programs boast the following recognitions:

  • Career Step’s Medical Transcription curriculum is approved by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI), the leading medical transcription industry association.
  • The Professional Medical Coding and Billing program is approved by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), one of the largest and most prestigious health information organizations in the country.
  • The Career Step Pharmacy Technician program has been reviewed and approved by the State Boards of Pharmacy in Indiana, Utah, and Virginia. (Many states don't have any regulations on the education of pharmacy technicians, and very few require board approval. For more information on each state's pharmacy technician education regulations, view our State Requirements pdf.) Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy also offer Career Step Pharmacy Technician students the opportunity to participate in a hands-on externship in their stores nationwide.
  • The Medical Administrative Assistant program is approved by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), a leading organization focused on increasing the quality of health career education.

Career Step programs are also designed to prepare you for certifications that greatly improve your employment opportunities. Employers are often more familiar with various credentials than with the quality of education provided by different schools. To help your resume stand out from other applicants, various Career Step programs help prepare students to earn the following third-party credentials:

  • Certified Coding Associate (CCA) and Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
  • Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS)
  • Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT)
  • CompTIA A+ Certification
  • Microsoft Office Specialist – Master (MOS-Master)

This focus on helping you gain the skills needed to succeed in the workforce has made our students successful in the job market—over 84% of Career Step graduates are employed in their field of study, 90% of employed Medical Transcription graduates work from home in their first job, Medical Coding and Billing graduates report a certification exam pass rate that’s a full 15 percentage points higher than the national average, and Pharmacy Technician students can take advantage of externship opportunities with Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy.

How long has Career Step been in business?

Career Step has been providing quality education since 1992. The Medical Transcription training program was released in its online format in 1999. The Medical Coding program was first launched in 2004. Since then, Career Step has added many courses and currently offers:

What is the state of these industries? Are professionals in these fields in high demand?

The Career Step training programs are all focused in growing industries. These fields offer an increasing number of job opportunities as new jobs are created due to overall industry demand for well-trained professionals.

How likely are students to get hired after graduation?

Because the Career Step programs are focused in areas of high growth, there is increasing demand for well-trained professionals in these job markets, making it much easier for students to get hired after graduation. The Career Step curriculum is designed in collaboration with industry employers and experts to make sure students gain the skills they need to succeed in the workplace, and over 900 employers nationwide have hired Career Step graduates. The vast majority of graduates are hired within a few months of graduation.

Career Step's focus on building curriculum that prepares students for the workplace also ensures that students are prepared for the appropriate industry certifications. This includes certifications through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (for medical transcriptionists), the American Health Information Management Association and the American Academy of Professional Coders (for medical coders), the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (for pharmacy technicians), the National Healthcareer Association (for medical administrative assistants with electronic health records), and the Computer Technology Industry Association (for computer technicians). Professionals who earn these certifications are more marketable when looking for work and may also earn higher salaries due to their credentials. Career Step students who take certification exams after graduation have reported higher success rates than the national averages for these exams.

How much can graduates expect to earn?

The Career Step programs prepare students for career that have salaries ranging from $24,000 to $60,000 a year.

Medical transcriptionists are typically paid by production rather than on salary. How work time is calculated depends on the employer. Some transcriptionists are expected to work a specific schedule; others are paid on turnaround time. With turnaround time, transcriptionists must complete their workload within a specific timeframe—such as 24 hours—without specified work hours. The average wage for medical transcriptionists is 7 cents per line of transcription.

What job placement services does Career Step provide after graduation?

Career Step Graduate Services for all students include:

  • Personal consultation with a Graduate Advisor
  • New job opening notifications
  • Personalized interview tutorials and training
  • Individual resume and cover letter review, tips, and advice
  • Access to Career Step's help hotline after graduation

Medical Transcription graduates also have access to Career Step's database of employers. All of these resources offer the personalized help students need after graduation to quickly and easily transition to the workplace. With this individualized help and attention, the majority of our graduates are hired within a few months of graduation.

How are the Career Step programs set up? What kind of material is covered?

The Career Step Medical Transcription and Medical Coding and Billing training programs are broken into 2 distinct sections—the foundational material (text-book style learning) and the practical, experience-building material (called the practicum).

The first third of the program covers the foundational material. This section approaches subjects such as anatomy, medical terminology, and pharmacology, among others, in a traditional text-book style. Students read through lessons, take tests and quizzes, practice new terms with flash cards, etc. in order to gain the foundational knowledge they’ll need in the practical section of the course.

In the practical, real-world training section of the course, students will put to work all the knowledge gained in the first part of the program. They’ll spend about two thirds of the course in this section because this is what is really going to prepare them to get a job upon graduation. In this section, students learn and practice the skills required in the workplace on real files provided to Career Step by employers. In addition to coding or transcribing these files students also have access to interactive tools, puzzles, and third-party software tools.

The Career Step Computer Technician, Pharmacy Technician, Medical Billing, Medical Administrative Assistant with Electronic Health Records, and Executive Assistant programs are structured in a more traditional way. Each program includes a series of modules, each covering a specific topic crucial to the field of study. Students start each module by reviewing a specific learning objective and then move on to various reading assignments. The modules also include short quizzes, interactive games, videos, and images throughout to make the curriculum more interesting and help you quickly learn the material.

How long are the training programs?

The Career Step training programs vary in length and the duration of course access included with enrollment. The chart below provides details for each program.

Program Title Completion Hours Enrollment Duration
Professional Medical Coding and Billing 640 hours 12 months
Medical Transcription Editor 640 hours 12 months
Medical Transcription 570 hours 12 months
Pharmacy Technician 285 hours 6 months
Computer Technician 230 hours 6 months
Medical Administrative Assistant with EHR 285 hours 6 months
Medical Billing 180 hours 6 months
Executive Assistant 165 hours 6 months
What kind of student support does Career Step offer?

Career Step’s student support covers several different areas and is designed to ensure that students are not alone as they work through the online course. Enrollment in a Career Step training program offers unlimited access to:

Student Support Instructors and Advisors who have professional experience in the industry and are uniquely qualified to answer questions about both the curriculum and the industry. They provide prompt answers to questions about the program material and offer a number of personal consultations throughout the training to help students master important concepts.

Technical Support Advisors who are knowledgeable, experienced, and available six days a week to help students work through any technical or computer issues encountered within the training program.

Graduate Support Advisors who help students transition to the workforce after graduation. Graduate Advisors will help students prepare the best resume, develop solid interview skills, and learn valuable job search techniques.

Though the programs are entirely online, students are never on their own. Career Step’s support teams are available to offer personal, on-going support all the way through the training program. The course website contains complete information for contacting the support teams by email, phone, and chat.

Will students be certified upon graduation?

Career Step students are prepared to sit for appropriate industry certification exams upon graduation, but they are not certified when they graduate. Graduates wishing to earn an industry certification must take this exam independently. Information about the industry certifications and where to find schedule information is included in the courses.

Career Step graduates are prepared for the following certifications:

Program of Graduation Certification
Executive Assistant Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Master
Computer Technician CompTIA A+
Medical Administrative Assistant Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
Medical Coding and Billing Certified Professional Coder (CPC), Certified Coding Assistant (CCA)
Pharmacy Technician Pharmacy Technician Certification Board Exam (PTCE)

The Career Step Medical Coding and Billing programs prepare students for a number of certification exams, the most popular ones being the CPC exam, which is offered through the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), and the CCA exam, which is offered through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Career Step graduates have reported high levels of success for both exams. You should check with prospective employers on which entry-level exam to take. Typically, AAPC focuses more on outpatient coding while AHIMA focuses more on inpatient coding. Neither of these organizations is more prestigious than the other; the difference is usually employer preference. Exams generally cost $200 to $400, and discounts are given to registered members of the specific organization.

How will electronic medical records affect the industry?

The healthcare industry is currently experiencing a push to move to electronic documentation, or electronic medical records (EMR), and while this transition to EMR is bringing changes to the medical transcription, medical coding and billing, and medical administrative assistant professions, it is increasing the demand for these services, not decreasing them. Student considering a medical administrative assistant career who want to be prepared for the move to electronic health records should consider the Medical Administrative Assistant with Electronic Health Records program.

What are the benefits to taking an online program?

Online training offers students the flexibility to study on their own schedules. With 24/7 access to the curriculum, students have the freedom to study around their normal daily activities. The Career Step learning platform also offers:

  • Automatic grading – Exercises and tests are graded automatically so students don't have to wait for feedback. Test scores are stored in the gradebook for easy review. Grading is precise, encouraging further development and attention to detail.
  • Pronunciation – Many Career Step programs include extensive terminology training. Thousands of medical terms are pronounced at the click of a button using RealAudio software.
  • Communications Center – The online learning platform also includes its own forum and chat features, providing tools to communicate with other students as well as Career Step Student Advisors.
What is the difference between Career Step's Medical Transcription Editor and Medical Transcription training programs?

The medical transcription industry is evolving. Speech recognition software is playing a larger role, and employers are looking to hire professionals with specialized skill sets to work with this new technology. The reports created by speech recognition software must be edited, formatted, and polished by a medical transcription editor—however, employers are looking for professionals who have a core foundation of medical transcription skills in addition to the specialized medical editor skill set.

The Career Step Medical Transcription Editor training program is designed to prepare students for this dynamic job market. The Medical Transcription Editor program is built on the trusted Career Step Medical Transcription curriculum and is designed to help students develop the knowledge and skills of a quality medical transcriptionist as well as the specialized skill set of a medical transcription editor. With the Medical Transcription Editor program, students will be training for multiple career paths, increasing their flexibility after graduation, and preparing for the future of the industry.

What is the difference between the Medical Billing program and Career Step's Professional Medical Coding and Billing training program?

Medical coders and billers work closely together, and their jobs are interrelated. In the reimbursement process, medical coders take a patient’s medical record and assign standardized codes to diagnoses, tests, treatments, and procedures. After these codes are assigned, medical billers use this data to compile and submit claims for payment. Medical coding requires an understanding of clinical terms and concepts in addition to complex code sets. Medical billers must be more finance oriented.

Career Step has two training programs designed to prepare students for these specific career fields. The Professional Medical Coding and Billing program prepares students to be medical coders. This program includes a lot of education on medical coding and an overview of basic billing concepts. The Medical Billing program prepares students for careers as specialized medical billers. Students learn all of the ins and outs of billing with a brief introduction to coding. Determining the right training program depends on the student's career goals.