High school teachers have a big job. While high school students are learning to take on responsibility, it’s understood they are likely to sometimes fail to take note of deadlines, and so teachers take roll, keep track of absences and tardies, mark each student’s progress, and send notifications and reminders about late and/or missing assignments. They make themselves available after hours and during teacher conferences; they often deal with discipline in the classroom, and they sometimes are the first to spot personal and family problems, and so are the first to suggest appropriate help. They also chaperone dances, lead student clubs and organizations, organize and direct performances, go on field trips, and mediate teenage drama.
College professors also have a big job, but it’s different. They also deal with young adults, but the expectation is that the student can conduct their personal life responsibly and make adult decisions. Beyond annoyed glances, college professors do not keep track of tardies or even class attendance. The lessons and lectures and assignments roll on out, but there are no reminders to make sure they’re turned in on time, or at all. Office hours are posted and strictly observed. There is no chaperoning or babysitting, and definitely no drama mediation. The understanding is the money spent on tuition, along with the students’ personal goals, are a strong enough motivator to drive class attendance and to keep track of one’s own progress.
As an adult student in an online program, you must recognize your motivation and take charge of your outcome. If you really want to be successful with a job in the medical field that also allows you to work in the comfort of your home, and you stick to a study schedule with a reasonable deadline and put in the hours required to accomplish your goals, you’ll probably make good progress and do very well. On the other hand, if you sort of want something easy to do in your spare time between the soaps and housework while you lounge in your pajamas, or meeting friends for lunch and hanging out at the gym, you probably won’t make much progress. Instead, you’re likely to become distracted, not finish on time, lose your enthusiasm, and become discouraged.
You won’t make much money if you only work in your spare time, either. Please realize that finishing the course will take a lot of work and time and dedication, and then the job will also take a lot of work and time and dedication. Please don’t make the mistake of confusing “work from home” with “easy slacker job.” Yes, most medical transcription positions assume you will be working from home, but the emphasis is on the working part. The online MTE program is a good training ground for you in terms of specific training for the job; it’s also a good training ground for arranging your schedule and circumstances to prepare for the realities of working at home.
A good approach is to treat the course as if it was your job. Try out different schedules and see what works best with the demands of your family. Train your kids and spouse and inlaws and friends to understand that when you’re at the computer and under the headphones, you’re working and cannot be disturbed unless profuse bleeding is involved. Getting these boundaries established while you’re a student will help so very much when you begin working; if you allow yourself to be on call every moment, the expectation will remain after you graduate and make productive work very difficult.
College freshmen often struggle with the transition from high school. Those who realize their outcome is in their own hands are successful; those who depend on reminders to turn in assignments never get them, and as a result, often wash out of college within a couple of semesters. By the same token, Career Step students who realize the training is a realistic preparation for the demands of the job—and treat it as such—will be much more successful in both arenas.