Healthcare Documentation Specialists, formerly known as medical transcriptionists, listen to voice recordings that clinicians and other healthcare professionals make and convert them into written reports. They may also review and edit medical documents created using speech recognition technology. Transcriptionists interpret medical terminology and abbreviations in preparing patients’ medical histories, discharge summaries, and other documents. Most medical transcriptionists work for hospitals, clinicians’ offices, and third-party transcription service companies that provide transcription services to healthcare establishments.
Clinicians and other healthcare professionals must document certain elements of patient care activities. Many providers create a voice recording of that information, which is called dictation. A medical transcriptionist (MT), also known as a healthcare documentation specialist, listens to the dictated recording and transforms the spoken word into electronic medical information used to improve patient care.
The record of a patient’s visit to a healthcare provider is used in communication with other healthcare providers or hospital departments, as well as in the billing process and for historical reference. Accurate and accessible historical data about a person’s previous conditions, medications, and treatments supports efficient and high quality patient care.
Historically medical transcriptionists listen to the providers dictation and transcribe (or type) it for inclusion in the patient’s medical record. One of the most rapidly emerging roles for the medical transcriptionist is in the area of speech recognition editing. Today, transcriptionists are increasingly being redeployed as speech recognition editors. This role requires a unique orientation to listening to the providers dictation, proofreading what is presented to them by the speech recognition engine or platform and editing those parts of the medical record needing alteration.
Performing speech recognition editing successfully requires a somewhat more specialized skill set than that involved in traditional, straight transcription. And as the volume of work processed through speech engines increases, so will our industry’s need for qualified Speech Recognition Editors. For those individuals looking to enter the industry, we recommend the selection of a training program that is an AHDI approved school, which offers you access to and practice with a real speech recognition editing platform – like ours!
There is currently a shortage of certified medical transcriptionists to perform the work available. With the move toward an electronic health record, this need will increase, providing more opportunities for certified medical transcriptionists. Growing numbers of medical transcriptionists will be needed to amend patient records, edit documents from speech recognition systems, and identify discrepancies in medical reports. Additionally, online training and job opportunities provide maximum flexibility and portability.
The most recent report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates medical transcription employment will continue to grow at a rate of 8% (as fast as average) through 2022.
For a certified medical transcriptionist, the median pay was $34,020 or $16.36 per hour in 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To see a copy of the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics report for medical transcription click US Bureau of Labor Statistics report for medical transcription.
Medical Transcriptionists listen to dictated recordings made by clinicians and other allied healthcare professionals while reviewing the computer generated document on their computer, then editing the document for accuracy, grammar, and clarity. They generally listen to recordings with a headset, using a foot pedal to pause the recording when necessary, and edit the text through a personal computer. The documents produced by a medical transcriptionist include discharge summaries, medical history and physical examination reports, operative reports, consultation reports, autopsy reports, diagnostic-imaging studies, progress notes, and referral letters, to name a few. Medical transcriptionist return transcribed documents to the clinicians or other healthcare professionals who dictated the voice files for review and signature or correction. These documents eventually become part of patients’ permanent files. Characteristics that contribute to the success of a medical transcriptionist include:
- Strong English grammar skills.
- A compelling interest in healthcare.
- Superior analytical and resource skills.
- Strong computer and keyboarding skills.
- Keen listening skills.
- Strong hand-eye coordination.
- The ability to sit for long periods of time.
- High level of concentration.
- Attention to detail.
- A commitment to lifelong learning.
- Strong desire to work from home.
- Looking for a career that has an excellent future.
The Introduction semester is designed to help you understand the field of medical transcription/speech recognition editing 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 medical transcriptionists, and the basic grammar principles that provide a firm foundation for mastering the fundamentals needed to create accurate medical reports.
The Medical Knowledge I 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 skin and the treatment options for each. Otorhinolaryngology topics will describe the anatomic structures of the eye, ear, nose and throat. In Pulmonology, the structures of the respiratory system will be identified along with the functions of each. Students will come away with an understanding of the common tests and diagnostic procedures involved, as well as the ability to correctly define, spell, and pronounce the medical terms associated with each specialty.
The Medical Knowledge II semester of the program covers the following specialties: Urology, Obstetrics and 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 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 Advanced Transcription semester of the program covers two elements of education. The first part of this semester will cover the medico-legal aspects of the healthcare record inclusive of outlining the purpose of the healthcare record as well as 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 regulation as set by a variety of 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 a variety of 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.
The Practicum is an integral component of this curriculum. 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 and will be graded on their productivity and quality of work. Students will work with one of the Education Assistants and/or their instructor throughout the Practicum and will 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 Medical Transcription program fee is an all-inclusive fee which covers everything a student needs to successfully complete our program. Our program fee covers:
- Course fees
- As a student enrolled with AHDPG, you will be eligible to join AHDI as a student member for free! Some of the many benefits include:
- Networking with other students and industry professionals
- Access to webinars and continuing education content
- A subscription to Plexus e-magazine
- Discounts on credentialing exams
- Help desk support
Our Medical Transcription Training Program is divided into two tiers. The Advanced Medical Transcription Program is designed for an individual interested in pursuing a work – from – home position transcribing acute care (hospital) work. The Advanced Program includes all 5 semesters of our program, including our highly regarded Practicum and hands-on practice with 3M’s Chartscript.com speech recognition editing platform. Our Premier Training Program is our most comprehensive program. Included in the course fee are all the elements of the Advanced Training Program, a second year subscription to Knowledgebase, access to all of our specialty courses (one course at a time), Learning Management System (LMS) access to attend continuing education sessions, and the RHDS Exam fee. This program is designed for individuals who are interested in working from home transcribing acute care (hospital) work and desire access to continuing education opportunities.
Advanced Medical Transcription Program $3,495
Premier Medical Transcription Program $4,395
Upon program completion, a certificate of completion is earned and support is offered to our graduates to help secure employment.
Option 1 – Pay Upfront Plan – Save 10%!
The pay upfront program offers a 10% discount off the standard cost of our program for those individuals who are willing to pay upfront for their education.
Option 2 – Military Discount – Save 10%
As a Military Friendly School a 10% discount is available to active military personnel and their spouses.
*The Pay Upfront Plan and the Military Discount cannot be combined and is limited to only one discount
Option 3 – Monthly Payment Plan
The monthly payment plan includes a one-time initial payment of $295 due at time of enrollment with the balance billed in monthly installments. A 3% payment processing fee applies, and payments are automatically deducted from your credit card or bank account. Contact Admissions for details.
Option 4 – MyCAA Funding Program
We know that maintaining a career can be difficult with your military lifestyle. That’s why we provide a flexible way to complete your education in careers that are essential nationwide. Learn at home, on your own schedule for a career that will travel with you wherever you go. With MyCAA your education costs may be 100% covered, meaning you can focus on your future and not tuition costs. The MyCAA Funding program is administered by the Department of Defense.
Option 5 – Tough Times Scholarship Program
The Tough Times Scholarship Program allows each student to make a small down payment of $295 and a static tuition payment each month until they graduate.* The Tough Times Scholarship Program is designed to reward students who can accelerate their studies by offering an opportunity to reduce their tuition costs; however students should understand that if they take more than 12 months to complete the program they are required to continue making monthly payments until they graduate. The Tough Times Scholarship program only applies to the Advanced Medical Transcription Program. Withdrawing from the program early or being withdrawn from the program early does not relieve the student of their financial obligation consistent with our Withdrawal – Refund Policy.
The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) offers voluntary credentialing exams to individuals who wish to demonstrate job readiness and level-specific competency to prospective employers, clients, and industry colleagues. In offering credentialing exams for medical transcriptionists/healthcare documentation specialists, AHDI is protecting the public interest by promoting professional standards, improving the practice of medical transcription, and recognizing those professionals who demonstrate competency through the fulfillment of stated requirements. Graduates from the AHDPG Medical Transcription program are eligible and encouraged to sit for the RHDS credentialing exam upon graduation. AHDI offers three voluntary credentials for medical transcription practitioner:
- Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) – Level 1
- Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) – Level 2
- Certified Medical Transcriptionist – Retired (CMT-R)
Q: How much can I earn as a medical transcriptionist/speech recognition editor?
Salaries for medical transcriptionists range widely. To see a copy of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report for medical transcription.
Q: Can I learn and work from home?
Most medical transcriptionists do indeed work from the privacy of their own homes. That fact is one of the reasons why this field of work is so popular. You never have to worry about a parking place or those high gas prices! To see a copy of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report for medical transcription.
Q: What should I look for in choosing the best program for myself?
If you are going to invest money, time and effort in a medical transcription course, do your homework. Make sure the curriculum is approved by the industry’s leading authorities – AHDI and AHIMA. Ensure that the instructors have relevant industry experience and find out how many of them have actually been medical transcriptionists themselves and for how long. And most importantly, understand the difference between training and workforce development. Anyone can “teach” you about medical transcription; a workforce development company gives you the knowledge you need and provides the coaching, mentoring and feedback to turn it into a career. To see a copy of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report for medical transcription.
Q: Why can’t I just enroll in any medical transcription/speech recognition editing program?
Let’s face it: some people are not qualified to teach a course in medical transcription, and some programs do not include the information (like speech recognition editing) a student needs to be successfully employed. In fact, this is why AHDI and AHIMA created their model curriculum and an approval process—to give individuals all the information they need in choosing the right program. Also, you should want a program that can provide you the knowledge and skills required by today’s employers- Let’s face it…you’re not doing this for fun…your ultimate goal is not to GET a job…it’s to be SUCCESSFULLY EMPLOYED! To see a copy of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report for medical transcription.
Q: What are the admission requirements for AHDPG?
You must be able to pass our basic grammar and computer skills screening assessment. To see a copy of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report for medical transcription.
Q: Is the online medical transcription/speech recognition editing training course designed for independent self-study?
Yes, and it includes plenty of interaction with your instructors, educational assistants and fellow students to help support and encourage you. To see a copy of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report for medical transcription.
Q: How long does it take to complete the online course?
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. To see a copy of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report for medical transcription.
Q: Will I have contact with my instructors at AHDPG?
Your instructor will have regular online office hours with e-mail support and telephone availability. You will personally know your instructor. To see a copy of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report for medical transcription.
Q: What does the program fee include?
AHDPG is the most comprehensive and inclusive program in the industry, and the medical transcription editing training program includes tuition, textbooks and materials (foot pedal and headset), Course fees, CHDS Prep Course, and the AHDI BenchMark Knowledge Base. To see a copy of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report for medical transcription.
Q: What are the minimum computer requirements for the course?
The minimum computer requirements in order to successfully complete the course are as follows:
- Computer: Pentium-class PC with 1.7 Ghz processor or better
- CDROM Drive: (internal or external).
- RAM: 1GB min, for 32 bit and 2GB min for 64 bit OS
- Operating System: Windows Vista, 7, 8/8.1, 10. *Note: Not MAC Compatible*
- High Speed Internet.
- Sound Card, (Speakers with headset jack are optional but recommended.)
- Headset: Compatible with system sound card or USB version.
- Foot pedal: These specific foot pedals are compatible with the 3M SRT Platform used in the course:
- Infinity IN-USB-1
- Infinity IN-USB-2 (recommended)
- Infinity IN-765 with Dictaphone USB adapter
- DynamicVOICE game port foot pedal with Rockfire USB adapter
- Microsoft Word 2003 or higher.
- Microsoft .Net Framework version 4.0 Full Version.
- Microsoft Internet Explorer (9 or higher), latest versions of Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
- Adobe Reader or equivalent PDF reader
Q: Can I use my Apple / Macintosh computer to take this course?
At this time Apple/MAC computers are not supported.
Breena Gilland, CHDS
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.
Professional Transcriptionist Foot Pedal (IN-USB-2)
AHDPG has partnered with The Voice Processing Specialists (TVPS.com) to offer a professional grade foot pedal to suit our students when in need of a replacement. By clicking on the ‘Purchase Now’ button, you will be directed to the TVPS.com 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) Purchase Now
Professional Transcriptionist Headsets
Selection of quality headsets according to your needs and preferences. The initial supplied headset is the Spectra PC headset. Any headset that will work with your particular PC should be fine to use.
Benchmark Knowledge Base Annual Subscription
The AHDI Knowledgebase and Informational Portal is a subscription based web service developed by Interfix Ventures and Stedman’s medical reference company to provide documentation reference tools including medical dictionary, nationwide physician database, English dictionary, clinical medicine word books, spelling resource and quality improvement tools. The software application provides medical transcriptionists with immediate access to patient and physician information, and quality message alerts to assist medical transcriptionists eliminate errors at the point of creation, thereby improving overall transcription processes and improves patient safety. There is significant value derived from using the Knowledgebase and Informational Portal as a training tool. Upon purchase completion, an email will be sent to you with the URL address and user credentials for the service.
Annual Subscription Price: $169.00/year
“I have always known that the healthcare industry was where I belonged, particularly in medical transcription, so the decision to pursue this as my career was an easy one that I was so excited about! I am also a mother, which weighed heavy on my decision, as I wanted the flexibility to be home to raise my children while having a career for myself. I definitely found a win-win for my family and myself and could not be happier with my decision!
When it came to choosing a school, I knew that finding an accredited school through AHDI was 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! All of the instructors have worked in the field for many years and are very knowledgeable. They also offer webinars and discussion forums to make you feel like you are part of a “team.” The whole program is focused on preparing you to become a successful MT upon graduation. The practicum gives you the “hands-on” experience working with real clinicians and medical documents.”
– Amber Nielson- MLS, Gransville, Michigan
“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 a RMT.”
– Rennee Baker, Seattle, WA
“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 AHDPG 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!”
– Sharon Hayward, York, PA
“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. The best part is that I enjoy the work and am eagerly looking forward to working as a medical transcriptionist. The people at AHDPG are extremely supportive and friendly. With all the personal support students receive, it is obvious to me that the people at AHDPG want us all to succeed.”
– Barbara Hecker, Jersey City, NJ
“I chose AHDPG after spending a lot of time researching into 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!”
– Nabela Hamm, Murfreesboro, TN
“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 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
“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 the best job in my life. I can’t thank you enough.”
– Sue Davis, Marshallburg, NC
“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
“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. I have always been fascinated by the medical field but never wanted to be a nurse or a doctor. I had settled into another field that was fun, helped pay the bills and was satisfying. 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. None of them live close so when they did come home, I wanted to be able to be around. Kind of a crazy reason to change careers, but I figured that if I found something to do from home, it would certainly get me closer to being able to be around when they did come home – kind of allow me more flexibility. So I started to research the big world of Medical Transcription – or now, Healthcare documentation specialists!
My online research led me to quite a few places but none really seemed to offer wide opportunities in quite the same way as TRSi, now known as AHDPG. I decided one evening, after talking with my husband, to give their online screening assessment a try. It seemed relatively easy – nothing too difficult to manage. I received a contact phone call back from AHDPG in quite short order and they answered a lot of questions that were weighing on me. 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. In no time at all, I had a packet in the mail and had made my decision to begin the on-line training.”
– Ruth Johnson- MLS, Roseburg, Oregon
“My journey to become a medical transcriptionist, although I did not know it at the time, started when I was younger. Growing up, I had always had a fascination with the medical field. A part of me always wanted to work in that field, but I just did not know in which one. I went on to work various other jobs, never completely happy in what I was doing. It was not until years later that, thanks to a family friend, I landed a job as a radiology clerk in a hospital, as well as the hospital’s outside clinics. I really enjoyed my job and my likeness of the medical field grew. I did that for a while but had to leave my job and move away. I decided that I was going to go back to school and become a radiology technician. Unfortunately, that did not work out as I had hoped. Time went by and we started a family. Well, if you have kids, you know how that goes. 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. The more I looked into it, the more I felt it would be perfect for me 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, my research began once again and 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, California
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