When it comes to starting a career in the medical transcription field, there are some pretty clear guidelines. Certification is not a requirement, however, according to O-Net, 56% of those surveyed has a post-secondary certificate, 25% had some college without a degree, and 11% had only a high school diploma or equivalent.
What This Means
Most employers prefer candidates that have a post-secondary certificate, which is obtained through either a traditional college, or through online medical transcription career training and passing the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist Exam (RHOS). After obtaining certification and RHOS credentials, once a person has worked enough (2 years) as a medical transcriptionist, they can also sit for the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist Exam (CCHDS). States may also have specific requirements regarding qualifications and registrations.
Like most medical oriented fields, medical transcriptionists need to complete continuing education credits to keep up their certification status. Failure to keep up with these credits may require retesting to maintain valid credentials. Many employers have programs to help employees maintain their continuing education credits, or may be able to offer discount access to continuing education providers. Some however, do not, and leave it up to the individual to keep up with their credentials.
Other Skills Needed
Beyond completing a post-secondary course, there are some basic skills required for the job. These are:
- Computer Proficiency: Transcriptionists today work more with computers and specialized programs than in previous years. They need to be able to type quickly and accurately, as well as operate a computer and special peripherals, such as headsets, keyboards, and foot pedals.
- Critical Thinking: Translating a doctor’s verbal notes into text requires the ability to quickly turn shorthand references involving medical terminology into accurate and complete sentences. This also requires accessing training involving medical procedures to ensure that the notes are accurate. Strong problem solving and memory skills are also elements to this much needed attribute.
- Time Management: There is often a tight deadline for transcription assignments, which means you must be comfortable working under pressure and being able to use your time wisely to complete vitally important notes on short order.
- Listening/Hearing: Since medical transcription involves audio files, good hearing and responsive listening skills are essential to the job.
- Writing/Grammar: Not only must transcriptionists be able to write/type with speed and accuracy, they must also possess a firm grasp on the English language and proper grammar.