The best way to become a medical transcriptionist is to receive an associate's degree or certificate in the field. There are many such medical transcriptionist degree programs in vocational schools and community colleges across the country.
A medical transcriptionist is someone who transcribes a doctor's written or oral notes into formal reports that become part of a patient's permanent medical record. The job is a highly specialized one. Doctors and nurses have an elaborate and jargon-laden note-taking system that a medical transcriptionist has to translate into full words and sentences. The job will often feel like straightforward data-entry. Medical transcriptionists spend a lot of time at the computer plugging in data from medical notes and other documents.
The education necessary to become a medical transcriptionist involves learning many of the concepts that doctors will be conveying in their hastily written paperwork. Coursework will include anatomy, physiognomy, medical terminology, and even legal issues related to the transcription of medical information (a very important topic for transcriptionists.) Though not obligatory to become a medical transcriptionist, certification is the goal of most school programs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American Association for Medical Transcription (AAMT) awards a Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) designation. The CMT certificate is widely seen as sign of competence in the field, though holders of the designation have to update their transcription knowledge every three years in order for the qualification to be renewed. In most cases, this requires a brief return to school.
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