Graduate Review: Ellen Tarnapolsky

Medical Transcription8 Comments

I am originally from Philadelphia, but my husband and I recently moved to Los Angeles with our young son for my husband’s business. I come from a very traditional family, where not going to college after high school is simply not an option. If your parents cannot pay for you to go to college – which my parents could not – then you are expected to take out loans, and pay them back after you get a job. Although I graduated with a degree in Political Science, I can’t say I really found my niche in college. After graduating, I took different jobs, from administrative assistant, to fundraiser, to events coordinator, but I never really felt that I was doing with my life what I was meant to be doing. My strongest skills were always grammar, editing, and typing, but I was lost when it came to choosing a career where I could use those skills.

Life in Philly was not moving in the direction I wanted it to, so I found a program in Israel where I could advance my knowledge of my Jewish heritage, so off to Israel I went. After spending a year abroad, I met my husband and we married soon after, spending an additional year in Israel.

It was at this time that I started worrying about all those college loans I took out. How was I going to pay them back without that job I was supposed to have? I had a degree, but I still didn’t have a career.  So I started asking around. This led me to an American woman I was sitting next to at a wedding who was telling me about the course she was taking in medical transcription. Not knowing anything about the field, I inquired about what the course and job entailed, and what kinds of skills were necessary to succeed in this field. When she told me about the course and the medical transcription field, it was as if a light went on.  This is what I had been searching for—a career where I could use the skills that were always my strongest, and at the same time be home with my baby. Eureka!  The woman I was speaking to was enrolled with OzeScribe. She told me about Career Step, the American version of the program. We had plans to make the move to L.A. in a few months, so I made a mental note to contact Career Step and start the course when we returned to the states.

That was one year ago. I signed up for the course as soon as we returned, and I just landed my first job, only 2 weeks after graduating! I know it sounds too good to be true, but if I can do it, anyone can. The year I took to finish the course wasn’t all as easy as it sounds. It was a lot of work, with some definite rough patches. But I was determined and driven to finish the course on time and get a job. I called Career Step often with any questions or worries that I had – whether it was the course material or concerns about future employment. With their guidance and support, I pushed through.  I worked on the course every day while my son napped, and every night after he went to sleep.

I can finally say that all the hard work paid off. I work the hours that are perfect for me and my family, and I could not ask for anything more. Finally, I have a job that I enjoy, feel confident about, and, of course, one that helps me pay back all those loans.

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  1. Andrea March 03, 2013

    Ellen, are you happy with the money you are making?  Do you think you will like it?  I am an LPN and looking to work from home so I have some medical knowlege.  What are deadlines/turnaround times like?  How many hours do you work a week?  I live near Philly too.  I am ready to sign up but I just want to make sure.  Andrea

  2. Ellen Tarnapolsky March 12, 2013

    Andrea - Yes, I am happy with the money I am making. I am only working a few hours a day right now, and I am making enough to pay some bills and have a little spending money. It is by no means a primary source of income. There is more work for those who want it, though. Once I select a file, I have 12 hours to finish it. All the files have a 24-48 hour deadline.

    I hope this information helps you!

  3. Shelby April 20, 2013

    Hello Ellen, I am currently in the MTE program and have been researching companies for after I graduate. I noticed most of them want you to work full time when you start. I am having a little girl in August and would only like to work part time when I start out. Did you have trouble finding part-time work when you graduated? Thanks

  4. Sharyn May 06, 2013

    Hi I am very interested in this course.  Have medical experience. But want to work in office.  Luv computers and people.  Was this worth it.  I think I am going to really find joy in this field.  Thanks

  5. Career Step May 06, 2013

    Hi Sharyn,

    If you’re interested in working in an office, medical coding and billing or medical administrative assisting might actually be a better fit for you than medical transcription. They would both give you the opportunity to work in an office with computers and closely with others. You can find more information about both of these programs on our website at

    Best of luck!

  6. Career Step August 13, 2013

    Hi Shelby!

    We’ve forwarded your question to Ellen, though we’re not sure when or if she will respond. You can also ask other MTE graduates (not just Ellen) on the student graduate forum at: or on our Facebook page ( where many of our graduates actively participate. Let us know if you have any other questions!


  7. Ellen Tarnapolsky August 13, 2013

    Hi Shelby,

    I am a stay-at-home mom and was also very concerned that I would not be able to find part-time work. I could not believe that I found this part-time job just 10 days after graduating. I generally work about 4 hours a day, which is all that I can handle at this point!

  8. Shelby September 26, 2013

    Thank you for the info!



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