Students completing this program can sit for the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) exam administered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).
Healthcare documentation specialists, formerly known as medical transcriptionists, listen to voice recordings (dictation) and convert them into written reports. They may also review and edit medical documents created using speech recognition technology. Healthcare documentation specialists interpret medical terminology and abbreviations in preparing patients’ medical histories, discharge summaries, and other documents. Most healthcare documentation specialists work for hospitals, clinicians’ offices, and third-party transcription service companies that provide transcription services to healthcare establishments.
Characteristics that contribute to the success of a healthcare documentation specialist include:
- English grammar, analytical, computer, and keyboarding skills
- A compelling interest in healthcare
- Keen listening skills
- Strong hand-eye coordination
- The ability to sit for long periods/high level of concentration
- Attention to detail
- Strong desire to work from home
The most recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates 58,500 individuals are working as Healthcare Documentation Specialists today, with projected employment of 57,200 in 2029. The median pay for a Healthcare Documentation Specialist is $33,380 per year or $16.05 per hour.
The course is designed to be completed in 12 months with approximately 20-25 hours of committed time each week. The amount of time to complete the course also depends on the amount of medical, English grammar, and typing experience a student may bring to the course. You will transcribe over 2100 minutes of dictation and over 800 reports in the AHDPG program. You will also have access to over 250 additional reports to enhance your learning experience if you wish to practice additional specialties.
Introduction to Healthcare Documentation
The Introduction semester is designed to help you understand the field of healthcare documentation and the core concepts of performing optimally as a medical transcriptionist/speech recognition editor. The course includes an overview of the medical transcription industry, the tools, materials, and types of documents created by Healthcare Documentation Specialists, and the basic grammar principles that provide a firm foundation for mastering the fundamentals needed to create accurate medical reports.
Medical Knowledge I
This semester covers the following specialties: Laboratory Studies, Medical Imaging, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology, Pulmonology, Cardiology, and Gastroenterology. During this phase of training, the basic concept of pathology and the processes pathologists use to diagnose a given condition will be presented. Dermatology topics will describe the anatomy, common conditions, diseases, and disorders that affect the skin and the treatment options for each. Otorhinolaryngology topics will describe the anatomic structures of the eye, ear, nose, and throat. In Pulmonology, the respiratory system structure will be identified along with the functions of each. Students will come away with an understanding of the common tests and diagnostic procedures involved, and the ability to correctly define, spell, and pronounce the medical terms associated with each specialty.
Medical Knowledge II
This semester covers the following specialties: Urology, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Orthopedics, Neurology, Immunology, Oncology, and Endocrinology. During this phase of training, the students will identify the basic anatomic structures that make up the female reproductive system, discuss the anatomy of the bone and the organization and structure of the skeleton, and understand the structures of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. As the student progresses through this semester, they will also become familiar with the function of the immune system, discuss the concept of cancer and cell structure, and identify and locate the organs and glands related to the endocrine system. Students will come away with an understanding of the common tests and diagnostic procedures involved, as well as an ability to correctly define, spell, and pronounce the medical terms associated with each specialty.
The first part of this semester will cover the medico-legal aspects of the healthcare record, outlining the purpose of the healthcare record and the content and formats commonly seen in today’s healthcare documentation. This semester of the program will also establish a general knowledge of existing standards and regulations set by various organizations including AHDI, AHIMA, AMA, JCAHO, NCQA, HL7, ASTM, and CMS. In the second part of this semester, the student will accurately transcribe commonly dictated cardiology and surgical reports from various dictators using language skills and medical knowledge to appropriately edit, revise and clarify while transcribing dictation, without altering the meaning of the dictation or changing the author’s style.
During this phase of the training, under the supervision of the student’s instructor and Education Assistants, you will begin transcribing medical documents from “dead voice files” – inactive, past dictation by real clinicians. Students will work with one of the Education Assistants or their instructor throughout the Practicum and receive extensive feedback on report transcriptions. The Practicum includes authentic dictations, giving students experience with multiple specialties, accents, and styles representative of the work they will receive when employed.
The all-inclusive program fee covers everything a student needs to complete the Healthcare Documentation Specialist program, including:
Additional Learning Materials
Professional Transcriptionist Foot Pedal (IN-USB-2)
AHDPG has partnered with The Voice Processing Specialists (TVPS) to offer a professional grade foot pedal to suit our students when in need of a replacement. By clicking on the Purchase Foot Pedal button, you will be directed to the TVPS website to purchase your new pedal. The IN-USB-2 Infinity Professional grade foot pedal is the successor of the IN-USB-1 standard of the industry that all other pedals try to attain. Weighing in at 2.3 lbs. the new sleek design is the solution to a new generation of “hands-free” transcription. The IN-USB-2’s low profile offers a wider flare to accommodate all foot sizes for longer-lasting comfort. Durable, yet sensitive switches provide you with an easy touch and the Plug and Play features allows for a quick connection. The INFINITY IN-USB-2 is 100% compatible with the IN-USB-1. This pedal is compatible with Chartscript, DocQscribe, Express Scribe, and many other platforms.
Price $55.00 – price and shipping subject to change by the vendor.
Professional Transcriptionist Headset
Selection of quality headsets according to your needs and preferences. The initially supplied headset is the Spectra PC headset. Any headset that will work with your particular PC should be fine to use.
This program qualifies for the MyCAA Tuition Assistance Program sponsored by the Department of Defense—a program designed for military spouses.
Online Team Lead / Instructor
Breena’s career in medical transcription began while working for a medical center in New Hampshire. After 6 years there, she joined the facility’s transcription department, where she worked for 3 more years before making the move to work at home, first with a large national medical transcription company. Not finding that company to be the “perfect fit,” Breena found her new “home” in January 2004 and has been with her AHDPG family ever since.
Breena began working with AHDPG (initially TRS/TRS Institute) as an MT and has had the privilege of wearing many hats, including quality assurance and supervisory roles. She joined the education team in 2007. She enjoys working with students hoping to enter this exciting and ever-changing field.
Breena graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio, double majoring in French and Sociology. She moved to North Carolina in 2009 from New Hampshire and lives with her husband, two boys, and their expanding household of pets. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, baking, music, traveling, volunteering at the Humane Society, and Geocaching.
What Our Students Are Saying
“I had several choices for attending a Medical Transcription program, but AHDPG really stood out from the rest. I can’t imagine being at any other program now that I know the quality of the instructors and the adaptability of this course to my life. As a military wife and mother, I can complete my classes and graduate no matter where I am stationed! Try that at your local brick-and-mortar college. I love AHDPG and know that they care about my future as an RMT.”
“I chose AHDPG after spending a lot of time researching the various courses out there. I believe this is one of the most comprehensive programs available, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who asked. I don’t doubt I will be amply prepared for this new career come graduation time!”
“Well, you all deserve the kudos every day. I have always been given the help and support I need from everyone on the staff there, and I appreciate it so much! Times when I have felt discouraged and down there has always been an encouraging word and hope, sent my way. I have had the best experience in education in my life, and now I hope for the best job in my life. I can’t thank you enough.”
Barbara Madsen, RMT
“The best decision I ever made. That is what I think when someone asks me about AHDPG. You get the best training from knowledgeable, experienced instructors who are so encouraging and caring, and I never felt like I was in a class by myself because of the access to discussion forums and webinars with other students. For top-notch training to get you started on your career to being a top-notch medical transcriptionist, AHDPG is the place to get it.”
Barbara Madsen, RMT
Amber Nielson, MLS
“When it came to choosing a school, I knew that finding an accredited school through AHDI was a top priority. I did hours and hours of research, looking at curriculum, flexibility, cost and payment plans as well as opportunities post-graduation, and AHDPG was the best option hands down. From the first phone call, I knew that they wanted me to succeed. Their curriculum is top-notch. The instructors are so very helpful and were there for me every step of the way!”
Amber Nielson, MLS
“AHDPG WILL change your life! Not only are they providing a top-notch, academically challenging medical transcription course, but they are also giving students opportunities to soar both in school and in life. Through this course, I have met some amazing people, who have touched my soul and changed my life. From the AHDPGT VP all the way down to the newest student, AHDPG is a family of very approachable, supportive, encouraging, knowledgeable, and caring people. I can’t imagine embarking on the journey of becoming an MT anyplace else!”
“Not only am I finding the course interesting and challenging, but I have also found a family at AHDPG. The curriculum is very well put together, and with the excellent guidance from the teachers and my fellow students, I am beginning to exceed my own expectations in something I was not sure I could do. I have great confidence that this school is giving me the skills and knowledge to excel in this field.”
Jersey City, NJ
Caryn Abbott, RMT
“I attended AHDPG because I had a desire to supplement my family income while staying at home with my 2 young kids. I did some research and asked around, having at first thought medical transcription from home was a scam, and found out that the safest route to employment was to take an AHDI-approved course like AHDPG. I was able to finance my education with student loans which I am now paying back, having become recently employed part-time by a small company, the owner of which is very satisfied with my training and background, and tells me repeatedly how happy she is with my work. I feel the knowledge and instruction I received from AHDPG was a very solid building block that I am now using to gain experience and confidence, and I hope to, in a couple of years, obtain my CMT (having passed my RMT on the first try at the end of the course) and be simply that much more marketable in this jittery and nerve-wracking economy. The staffers at AHDPG were friendly and knowledgeable, and I owe my job-seeking success to their efforts. Thanks, AHDPG!”
Caryn Abbott, RMT
Ruth Johnson, MLS
“Me? Start a new career at age 50? You’ve got to be kidding! But I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head. Then I became a grandma! And suddenly, I didn’t want to leave my home every morning just in case I would have an opportunity to visit with my children and grandchildren. So I started to research the big world of Medical Transcription. My online research led me to quite a few places but none really seemed to offer wide opportunities in quite the same way as AHDPG. I was mainly drawn by the completeness of their curriculum – they cover every major area of the medical field giving an advantage in your marketability to be able to transcribe a variety of report types. I would learn later that the curriculum would prepare me well to handle a variety of report types and allow me an advantage when looking for work.”
Ruth Johnson, MLS
Nicole S., MLS
“After we started a family, going to school was no longer a priority as our kids became the center of our lives. During that time, I came across some information about medical transcription and thought that would be a great thing to do. Not only was this a job in the medical field, but it would allow me to be home with my kids. Being a military family, we move about every 3 years, and finding a job everywhere you go is not easy. Being a medical transcriptionist would allow me to keep my job every time we move. So, I narrowed my choice down to 2 schools, AHDPG being one of those schools. I decided to go with AHDPG because their curriculum seemed more in-depth than the other school, the fact that they have an externship program, and they have a military spouse program that worked with our CAA here on base.”
Nicole S., MLS