Graduate Spotlight: Traci Martin

traci martinMy road to a career in medical transcription started in 2003. I was pregnant with my daughter and wanted a career where I could stay home with her so I took a course at a local college. I graduated about 6 months into the program and few months later, my daughter was born and I decided to take time off to spend time with her.

After a year, I began applying for jobs and quickly found I was not desirable as an employee because I was not fresh out of college or didn’t have 5 years’ of experience. I threw my diploma to the side and worked toward a degree in Education—another career with my children in mind. After several years of applying for a job in education, I decided I would go back to my roots and try applying for jobs in the transcription field. I confidently went to apply for a job and realized I didn’t understand a word of what was being said to me. At that point, I decided I should consider taking a refresher course so I would be more prepared next time—that is when I found Career Step!

Researching Schools
When I began searching for a school, I looked at student reviews and the recommendations of reputable transcription companies. When signing up for a program like this, you wonder what you are getting yourself into and if it is all a scam.

There were some very mixed reviews with many of the other online programs. Career Step had the best, most consistent reviews, and I wanted to make sure I was going to get a job and not waste my time and money as I had in the past. Career Step has many reputable companies affiliated with them—these companies are willing to waive the typical required experience for Career Step graduates. The final selling point for me was Career Step students had the highest rate of post-graduation employment!

Completing the Training
Fitting study time into my daily schedule wasn’t always easy with my 9-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter home with me. For more than half of my course, I was either working part-time or homeschooling my children. The great thing about the program is that it’s done on your time schedule. I would work here and there when my kids were occupied or in the evening when they had gone to sleep. The course is flexible enough that I always found time to squeeze in some work, but I could put it away when a family movie night was more important at the moment.

As I was studying and working through my course I used student support and followed many forums, the moderated chats were very helpful in learning more about the career, program, and my future as a medical transcriptionist.

I really enjoyed all the aspects of my training! However, I was ready to pull my hair out when I was in the final stretch and working on my last 200 transcription files. We had some storms in November that knocked out our internet for a good part of the month—I felt like I was never going to meet my deadline! I was ready to just be finished, but I knew each one of those voice files was going to help me be even more prepared for my new career—and they did! It was difficult and like the end was never going to come, but the reason there are about 1,000 files to transcribe was to prepare me for a new career!

Landing a Job
I applied for a few positions before I graduated. Since I was still learning, I didn’t get past the testing for the first two companies I applied for. That was ok because it was good practice. Eventually, I got an email from a company that found my name on the AHDI website (thanks to Career Step, I had a membership). They were looking for transcriptionists living in Maine to dictate for Disability Determination Services. I thought it was a long shot, but I figured the more practice with the testing, the better. I took the test, and to my surprise I was actually offered a position with the company 2 weeks before I took my final! In my interview, I was ecstatic to hear how impressed they were with my results! I had passed the test with flying colors and offered a job at the end of my interview!

I felt very prepared to start a career in medical transcription; in fact, I could not have been more prepared unless I was actually in the workforce working as a transcriptionist. You are always going to come across things that you are unsure of; there isn’t a program that can prepare you for everything—but Career Step came close! I work for a wonderful company with helpful supervisors who help me learn those little things you can never be prepared for. I have lots of questions and like to do things the right way, and they are always extremely helpful and understanding. Career Step was the same way, if I had a question I emailed someone and heard back within a matter of minutes. I am very well prepared for this career thanks to Career Step and now my supervisor!

I have recommended Career Step to others and I will continue to do so! I had a great experience with this program and feel prepared me for work better than the community college program I attended. I am able to do what I set out to do 10+ years ago. I can work from home, set my own schedule, and be present in the lives of my children. Thank you Career Step!

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