Even when the economy is in shambles, there are a few careers that continue to flourish. Healthcare careers are amongst those evergreen professions that are fairly resilient to economic ups and downs. And among healthcare careers, there are some that require professionals to work closely with patients and others that have got little to do with direct patient care.
If you are looking for a healthcare profession that is as far removed from bedside patient care as is possible, then you should probably give a serious thought to medical transcription.
Medical transcription is an allied health profession that involves listening to taped doctor dictations and keyboarding them into ready to use patient records. But don’t let the above description mislead you into believing that anyone can do this job. Medical transcription is a lot of things, but simple it is not.
For those among you who would like to explore this field, here’s a complete lowdown on how to become a registered medical transcriptionist.
Start Preparing Early:
If you didn’t pay attention to grammar and English language classes in school until now, it’s time you started. Being an excellent linguist and grammarian are the hallmarks of a good medical transcriptionist.
Nobody likes a poorly worded report. Even if you thought that the language skills of doctors have a lot to be desired, don’t be under the impression they will be all too happy to sign on a report that’s full of blatant grammatical errors. Producing an error-free medical report is the core job of a registered medical transcriptionist and they have got to do it well.
In addition to working on your grammar and English language skills, taking courses in health and life sciences in high school will also help you prepare for what’s coming next in terms of academia.
Choose an Educational Path:
According to the Department of Labor, employers prefer to hire registered medical transcriptionists who have completed post-secondary training in the field. Medical transcription training is available at career schools, junior colleges and through online courses.
It’s important that you choose a program keeping your end goals in sight. The amount of time and money you are willing to spend on getting trained are important parameters for picking a medical transcription program.
It’s also possible to get into the field without formal training if you have prior clinical experience. The key thing to remember is that certification is available to medical transcriptionists who are either experienced or have graduated from an approved educational program.
Although not mandatory, certification is known to increase the employability of medical transcriptionists and that’s the minimum you can do to give yourself an edge in the competitive jungle that’s today’s job market.
Two voluntary credentials are awarded by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI):
- Registered Medical Transcriptionist: Awarded to candidates who have graduated from a medical transcription program or have less than two years of experience in acute care. They also have to pass an RMT exam before they can be conferred the certification. Recertification requires RMTs to complete 30 continuing education credits in three years.
- Certified Medical Transcriptionist: Available to candidates who are recent graduates of a medical transcription educational program and have at least two years of experience in acute care. The CMT credential is awarded to them after they successfully pass the certifying exam. For recertification, CMTs have to complete an online course and pass a final exam before their three-year cycle expires.
Once you are certified, it’s time to start enjoying the fruits of your labor. You can choose from working on site in a hospital, doctor’s office, outpatient care center, medical transcription service provider firm, etc. or you can start your very own medical transcription business from home.