A medical transcription certificate program is a 9-month to 1-year program designed to build on knowledge gained with an existing degree. Medical transcription certificate programs combine lecture-based medical transcription courses with hands-on transcription practice to teach the skills needed to perform the job duties of medical transcription.
Medical Transcription Certificate Program Curriculum
Medical transcription certificate programs cover some foundational subjects in healthcare, introductory computer courses, and introductory medical transcription practices. Courses may be hands on or lecture based, and may or may not include an externship prior to graduation.
For example, the medical transcription certificate program at Penn Foster Career School includes:
- Introduction to Allied Health
- Medical Law and Ethics
- Confidentiality of Health Information
- Medical Terminology
- Using Word and Excel
- Medical Transcription Practices
For students who cannot attend classroom-based courses due to family, work or military commitments, many medical transcription students pursue their certificates through online or correspondence-based medical transcription programs. These programs cover generally the same course material as campus-based programs, but make use of online communication methods such as slide shows, online video, chat and email to support discussion and learning.
Medical Transcriptionist Certificate Programs vs Degree Programs
Medical transcription certificate programs are the most popular credential for medical transcriptionists. However, degree programs also exist for medical transcription students seeking a more in-depth education.
The primary differences between medical transcription certificate programs and degree programs are in time commitment, and in subject depth and breadth. Whereas most medical transcription certificates can be earned in one year or less, most degree programs require two to four years, depending on the degree sought. The most common type of medical transcription degree is the associate’s degree in medical transcription, a two-year program at most schools.
The other major difference is the broader subject matter taught during degree programs. For example, while the online medical transcription certificate program at Ashworth College includes an introductory course to medical fundamentals, the associate’s degree program at Kaplan University breaks its medical foundation courses down into anatomy and physiology, human diseases and other subjects.
How to Choose a Medical Transcriptionist Certificate Program
Choosing the right medical transcription certificate program is important, since students with different career goals and learning styles will benefit more with some programs than with others. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a medical transcription certificate program:
- Accreditation — Accreditation for medical transcription schools is performed by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI). This accreditation is acknowledgement that a school’s program is up to current industry standards. It is also required for most medical transcription certifications.
- Online Learning – Depending on your learning situation and time commitments, it may be beneficial to find a certificate program from an online medical transcription school. These programs utilize online communication channels such as email, chat, portal systems and message boards to allow students to learn from home, saving the time and expense of commuting to a classroom.
- Career Services – Depending on how much help you need finding a job after you graduate, it may be beneficial to enroll in a certificate program that offers career assistance such as resume help, interview coaching, or recruiter connections. Ask school reps whether or not this is part of the package.
No matter which medical transcription certificate program you enroll in, you can expect to be challenged and inspired – an experience which should help you on your way to building a great career.
Other Medical Transcription Certificate Programs
These programs may or may not be currently enrolling.
University of California Riverside Extension
Medical Transcription Editor
Medical Technology Education Center
JumpStart Clinical Documentation Editing
Certificate, Associate’s Degree
Advanced Medical Transcription
Blackstone Career Institute
Medical Transcription Fundamentals