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Medical Transcriptionist Program FAQs
Get answers to the most common and important questions about enrolling in a medical transcriptionist program at Career Step. Our FAQs section provides answers to help you make an informed decision about your education.
- What is medical transcription?
Medical transcription offers you the opportunity to have a real at-home career in the growing medical industry. The field currently includes 2 important roles:
- Medical transcriptionists type the audio dictations of doctor-patient interactions, creating the reports that make up patients' medical records.
- Medical transcription editors—specialized medical transcriptionists—correct and edit dictation reports created by speech recognition software, which electronically translates dictations into text.
With Career Step you can train for both of these career paths, work from the comfort of your home, and prepare for the future of the industry.
- What is the job market for a medical transcriptionist?
Medical transcription is part of the rapidly growing healthcare industry, and medical transcription employers regularly ask Career Step for more graduates to fill their entry-level positions. Career Step training is well-known and well-respected within the medical transcription industry, particularly by employers. Most medical transcription companies require job applicants to have several years of experience, but because Career Step's curriculum is so thorough and trusted, many companies are willing to waive the experience requirement for Career Step graduates. Over 700 companies have hired Career Step graduates and the vast majority are hired within a few months of graduation.
- How much can I earn as a medical transcriptionist and editor?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report states that the middle 50% of medical transcription professionals earn between $27,240 and $39,820 a year. However, it is important to remember that the majority of transcriptionists are paid on a production basis, which offers the opportunity to earn more as you become more familiar with the work, when you work more often, and if you increase your speed or efficiency.
- Do I need to be certified?
The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) maintains two industry credentials, the Registered Health Documentation Specialist (RHDS) credential and the Certified Health Documentation Specialist (CHDS) credential. The RHDS exam is designed for entry-level medical transcriptionists, and the CHDS exam is designed for medical transcriptionists who have two years of experience working in acute care within the industry.
Very few industry employers require these credentials as a prerequisite to employment, and while your graduation from a Career Step program will not award you either credential, graduates who have taken the exams have generally done well as Career Step's training programs help students build a solid foundational understanding of the medical transcription profession. An exam voucher to take the RHDS exams is included with the course upon graduation (a $230 value) to help you earn your credential right away.
- What are the advantages of training with Career Step?
Career Step has been a leader in medical transcription education for over 20 years and offers one of the most comprehensive medical transcription editor training programs in the industry. You will study online, on your own schedule and at your own pace. Career Step's training also includes hundreds of authentic dictations from healthcare providers so that students have real-world experience when they graduate. With Career Step you know you're getting the right education; personal, ongoing support; and the resources and guidance you need to turn your education into a job.
- Is Career Step accredited?
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 with EHR and Medical Administrative Assistant programs are 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 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—92% 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.
- Is Career Step AHDI approved?
The Career Step Medical Transcription training program is certified and approved by the Approval Committee for Certificate Programs (ACCP), which is a joint committee established by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
At this time, AHDI does not have an approval process for medical transcription editing specific courses; however, the AHDI-approved Medical Transcription curriculum is the foundation of the Medical Transcription Editor program.
- What is the difference between the Medical Transcription Editor and the Medical Transcription programs?
Career Step’s Medical Transcription Editor program is the school’s premier training option for those interested in preparing for a career in the medical transcription field. This program includes 640 hours of curriculum and teaches you to be both a medical transcriptionist and a medical transcription editor. This dual skill set is becoming more and more important to employers as a greater number of healthcare providers are using speech recognition technology. This technology will never be able to create reports at the high level of accuracy needed without input from well-trained medical transcription editors, so employers are looking for individuals with the skills to quickly and efficiently edit the computer-generated reports into the final medical records. Gaining both of these skills sets makes you more flexible as you look for a job after graduation and prepares you for the future of the industry.
The Medical Transcription program includes 570 hours of curriculum and teaches students everything they need to know to have a successful medical transcription career. Students learn the skills of a high-quality medical transcriptionist but do not have the added advantage of editing-specific training.
- What is the difference between the Medical Transcription Editor and the Medical Transcription Editor supplement programs?
Career Step has developed two Medical Transcription Editor programs to provide speech recognition training that meets the needs of both new students and already-trained medical transcriptionists.
The full Medical Transcription Editor program is a career-focused course designed for students without medical transcription knowledge and skills. This course prepares them for a career as either a medical transcriptionist or a medical transcription editor.
The Medical Transcription Editor supplemental program is designed for those who have a solid foundation of medical transcription knowledge and skills. This program focuses solely on the specialized speech recognition editing skill set. We strongly recommend you take our short Medical Transcription Editor Skills Evaluation exam before deciding if the supplemental program is the best option for you.
- How are the Career Step programs structured?
The Career Step programs are offered entirely online, providing 24/7 access to all material and allowing you to progress through the curriculum on your own schedule and at your own pace. The programs are broken into modules, or course subjects, with the first half devoted to building your knowledge base while the second half is an extensive practicum designed to help you gain the practical experience you need to smoothly transition into the workplace after graduation.
- What type of student support does Career Step offer?
Career Step student support includes 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 timely 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 you work through any technical or computer issues encountered within the training program.
- Graduate Support Advisors who help you transition to the workforce after graduation. Your Graduate Advisors will help prepare the best resume, develop solid interview skills, and teach you valuable job search techniques.
Though the course is entirely online, you'll never be on your own. Career Step's student support team is available to offer personal, ongoing support all the way through the training program.
- How much practice transcription is included in the programs?
There are 41 hours of real-life doctor dictations included in the Medical Transcription program and the medical transcription section of the Medical Transcription Editor program. These dictations cover a wide variety of medical specialties as well as the full spectrum of doctor accents and dictation style. The Medical Transcription Editor program also includes 16 hours of additional dictation in the editing practicum section.
- How long does it take to finish the course?
The Medical Transcription Editor program is estimated at 640 completion hours and the Medical Transcription training program is estimated at 570 completion hours. Since the programs are completely self-paced and the online training format allows you the flexibility to study as much or as little as your schedule allows, the time it takes you to complete the course will vary from other students. Some students are able to complete their 640 hour training program in as little as 4 months (working on the course full-time, 8 hours a day 5 days a week) and others, who are more limited in the time they can devote to the course, take longer (for example, students who can devote about 20 hours a week may finish the 640 hour MTE program in about 8 months).
Every student who enrolls in a Career Step training program receives an initial 4-month period of enrollment. Though the programs are designed to be completed in 4 months of full-time study, you'll have a full year to complete your training. If you need extra time to complete the course after your initial one-year enrollment, we have 4-month extensions available for purchase.
- How do I find work after graduation?
Career Step offers personalized, post-graduation resources for your job search, including:
- Personal consultation with an employment advisor
- Access to employment and referral directories
- Personalized interview tutorials and training
- Individual resume and cover letter review, tips, and advice
- A RHDS certification exam voucher upon graduation (a $230 value)
- Access to Career Step's help hotline for a full year after graduation
These resources offer the personalized help you need after graduation to transition to the workplace. With this individualized help and attention, the vast majority of our graduates are hired within a few months of graduation.
- What materials and computer specifications are required to complete the course?
Your enrollment includes everything you will need to train for a successful career in medical transcription. Your enrollment includes:
- Access to expert-created curriculum
- 10-volume text companion series of textbooks
- One-on-one help from student and technical support
- Transcription foot pedal (device used to control audio playback when transcribing)
- 15-month membership to the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI)
- A RHDS certification exam voucher upon graduation (a $230 value)
- 15-month subscription to Benchmark KB (an online database that includes a dynamic medical dictionary, AHDI Book of Style, and many other medical transcription resources)
- Valuable graduate resources
Since the course is completely online, your computer will play an important role in your learning experience. We recommend the following minimum computer system specifications:
- Active internet connection (High speed/Broadband connection recommended)
- 800 X 600 minimum resolution (1024 X 768 or higher recommended)
- Sound card and speakers (Earphones recommended)
- Available USB port
- Adobe Flash Player (ver. 10 or higher)
- Windows Media Player (ver. 10 or higher) or Quicktime Player (ver. 7 or higher)
- PDF reader
- Internet Explorer 7.x/8.x/9.x
- Firefox 3.x *
- Safari 4.x or greater (Mac only)*
- Microsoft Windows (XP®, Vista®, 7 with latest service pack)
- Mac OS X (10.4.11 or greater)*
*The Medical Transcription Editor program includes a third party software tool that makes the training only compatible with Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer 7.x, 8.x., or 9.x.
Note: Mobile browsing devices are not currently supported. However, Career Step is investigating the implementation of mobile device support, and these specifications will be updated once a decision has been reached.
- What payment options does Career Step offer?
We realize that one of the most important questions tied to education is how it will be paid for. Because this is such a big part of the decision of whether or not to go back to school, Career Step has designed several tuition assistance and payment options. Please visit our Tuition Assistance page for more information.
- How soon will I receive my materials?
It takes 2-3 business days to process the application, depending on method of payment. Once the payment is processed you will be emailed your course login and password and can start training immediately. Additional course materials are shipped UPS Ground after the payment is processed. The average wait is about 7-10 days.
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Are MTs Still Needed?
Get the facts on the medical transcription industry in our infographic! Find out what industry demand looks like, where MTs work, and what you can expect to earn.
Check out this video for a quick and easy medical transcription industry overview. Find out why there’s a shortage of well-trained professionals and how you can start your career.
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Career Step graduate, Dana, describes her experience with the online school as she chose to study with Career Step as a medical transcriptionist. Watch Video »
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