As you research your medical transcription training options, you’re going to see a lot of different choices from accelerated courses to online classes to two-year degree programs. It can all get very confusing very quickly.
You may even wonder if online training is what you need to advance yourself forward along with wondering whether or not a self-paced education is more your speed. We’re going to help you understand just how long you should expect medical transcription training to take depending on the route you want to go.
Are the 8-Week Programs Legit?
You’ve probably seen courses that are offered for a total of eight weeks claiming that if you take this course, you’ll be trained as a medical transcriptionist. Honestly, if you’re serious about getting into medical transcription as a field or new career, a course of this length is not going to be long enough to really dive in.
Eight-week programs promising full and complete training in medical transcription are not going to give you the background and experience you’ll need to get a job when you’re done. That’s the goal, right? Do yourself a favor and accept that it is going to take more time than just eight short weeks to learn how to do the work and have some resemblance of knowing what you’re doing.
Sure, you’ll be exposed to a whole bunch of new information, but there’s more to being a medical transcriptionist than just learning some new jargon. To be effective, you should look for programs that are 16 weeks or 4 months at an absolute minimum.
If you do choose an accelerated program that is on the shorter end, be prepared to spend lots of time and energy learning this new field of study. Typically, though, you should aim for programs that are a bit longer to ensure that you get proper training before entering the field.
A nine-month program is entirely reasonable in the amount of time you can expect the course to take. You’ll be given a chance to practice transcription to really get a handle on it, and you’ll have more time to absorb more information.
Choosing a two-year plan isn’t a bad way to go, but there are a few things you’ll need to consider if you go this route. For one, you’ll find a program like this at a community college more often than not. Keep in mind that community colleges often require you to take additional courses that are meant to produce a well-rounded student. The reality is, though, that you don’t really need to take a history course to learn how to do medical transcription.
What you do need is a focused educational path that will teach you new skills to get you started on medical transcription. If you want to further your education beyond a two-year degree, and you intend to pursue more in higher education like a Bachelor’s degree or maybe a Master’s degree someday, then a two-year plan is absolutely the way to go.
If you do choose a two-year degree path, then at the very least, make sure the school you attend is accredited. It would also be wise to see if they have any online courses available because it can improve your personal scheduling flexibility.
Don’t forget, too, that if you choose to go to a community college, they’re probably going to require that at least some of the classes be taken in person. You’ll need to be ready for that and prepare yourself to work around your class schedule if you plan on holding down a job while you’re in school.
Are Self-Paced Medical Transcription Programs Worthwhile?
The short answer to that question is yes, medical transcription training programs that are self-paced can entirely be worthwhile for you. Self-paced programs are especially effective if you need time to complete the program without any looming pressure from other courses that are fast-paced.
Having a self-paced program also means that you will be able to keep your job without interfering with any other obligations and still be able to keep you with your work. You’ll also be able to hold on to your current career while you’re learning and transitioning into your new one.
If nothing else, self-paced online training is also training to learn to work from home. Most people go into the field of medical transcription because they want to be able to work from home. They want that flexibility to create their own schedule.
As you do your online training, you’re also learning how to handle your life at home and figure out how to find the balance between working at home and getting your studies done. From a social perspective, you’ll also have to learn a few things about yourself there, too.
Working from home often means you won’t exactly be interacting with people on a regular basis like you might if you had to go into an office every single day. It’s very different. Instead, you find yourself alone more often than not. You’ll also learn if you think you’re capable of doing the work at home or if other household things like dishes will interfere with your work.
Choosing and Taking the Right Medical Transcription Training Program
Many people go into medical transcription training quickly because they want to finish their education and get to work quickly. While that’s fantastic if you have that kind of time and motivation, you’re going to want to make sure you make the best choice, so you don’t feel like you wasted your time or threw your money away.
Always research the quality of the school you’re considering attending. Don’t just pick one because of how long the program is or how much the program costs. Yes, those are important factors, but don’t let those be the only ones. Verify that the school is respectable and has a reputation for quality so you know you’ll get the information you need.
If you go down the self-study road, then you’re going to need to be ready to set a time for you to get your studies done. Double check deadlines, course criteria, and any skills that are required for you to take the course successfully. Don’t just pay for a course and decide that since it’s self-paced, you can take as long as you want and go party instead of doing your work. All you’ll do is waste time, money, and energy if you’re really serious about turning medical transcription into a career.
When you’re doing reviewing the material, don’t just skim through it. There is more to medical transcription than simply listening to a doctor talk and typing out what is being said. You need to know the policies, procedures, and proper notation to be able to transcribe effectively.
Take every opportunity you can to review your assignments before they’re turned in for evaluation. Aim high so you can take advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as you possibly can in the time you have. Try your best and if you miss something or get something wrong, go back and review what you missed so you can gain a better understanding.
A Few Last Words on Medical Transcription Training
It may be enticing to consider taking a shortened program. You may even fall into the trap that a lot of people fall into. Many tend to entertain the idea that taking a shorter class because they falsely believe that you get started faster and then you can learn on the job. That’s not a really effective way to approach this kind of career change.
Instead, learn as much as you can without cramming it all into your brain as fast as you can. Take a reasonable amount of time to learn everything that comes with medical transcription. If you do, you’ll earn more, and you’ll be more be more productive while you work.
The extra time and effort will pay off in the long run. You’ll be able to find a good paying job once you’ve done the work to get there. Remember, medical transcription can be demanding, and you need to be ready to rise to the challenge.