Can I work while studying for my associates degree in medical transcription?
You can certainly have a job while completing your degree. Since a medical transcription associates degree requires more course hours than certificate programs, you will want to make sure that whatever job you choose will allow you the flexibility to work around your classes. Whether you are considering on-campus or online medical transcription programs, any job that provides easy access to your coursework is a good choice.
In addition, finding a job that puts you in close contact with doctors and professionals will give you insight into your future career. Apply for positions in private offices and include dentists, psychologists and therapists in your job search. Regardless of what area of medicine these doctors practice, working for them will give you valuable experience handling medical files, insurance billing, customers and employers.
Another thing to keep in mind is that any job that allows you to work with healthcare professionals, even in unlikely places, will help you in the long run. Believe it or not, an excellent choice is working at a golf course. While this is not specifically a healthcare job, you will be surprised at the number of physicians that you meet on a regular basis. Working in this type of location will allow you to see professionals at their best and may allow you to network with future employers.
What are common assumptions about students who choose to get an associates degree in medical transcription?
The most important assumption that many have about students attaining an associates degree in medical transcription is that the degree can only be useful if you decide to pursue a long-term career in medical transcription. Unfortunately, this is usually correct. A degree in medical transcription alone may make it easier to get specific medical transcription jobs after you graduate, but you will be limited compared to your peers who earn more flexible degrees in healthcare management and related fields.
Many people think that students with associates degrees can easily work from home once they complete their programs. Although it is easier to find work with a degree than with a certificate, online employment is very competitive. Students who find online work quickly have usually attended medical transcription colleges that emphasize internships and work experience during the course of the program. For this reason, highlighting your practical skills is essential when competing with other online applicants.
Another stereotype about students earning medical transcription associates degrees is that they do not expect to go on with their education. However, many students who complete an associates degree use their later work experience in healthcare to pursue higher degrees in areas such as nursing, social work and healthcare administration.
What is the hardest part of the application to an on-campus or online medical transcription associates program?
The hardest part of the process is definitely finding an accredited medical transcription associates degree program. While there are many schools that provide accredited medical transcription certificates, these same colleges rarely offer training beyond this point. Instead, they offer associates degrees in health sciences, health information management or medical office administration with an option to certify as a medical transcriptionist.
Most colleges that do provide medical transcription associates degrees are community colleges and online schools. These schools usually have minimal application requirements, often only requiring tuition to begin classes. Community college programs sometimes require math and English placement exams or typing tests as part of the enrollment process.
A few schools have a more elaborate application process that requires previous transcripts, an entrance essay and letters of recommendation. Allow for at least a month to complete the application completely. Since many schools limit the number of students accepted into medical transcription programs, especially those online, a late or incomplete application can eliminate you from the process. Often, you will be able to waive some courses if you have already worked in a medical setting, so including a resume with medical experience may be helpful.
Are there any brick-and-mortar colleges that offer an online medical transcription associates degree program?
Although there are some traditional schools that offer online medical transcription associates degrees, you will find that this is rare. Most notable colleges offer an associates in health information management, with the option to earn a certificate in transcription if your goal is to become a professional medical transcriptionist.
A good example of this is found at Montana State University, Great Falls College of Technology. While this college does offer an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Transcription, there is not much information available about the program. In addition, while U.S. News & World Report does highly rank the Montana State University system, Great Falls College of Technology is not ranked at all.
University of Cincinnati is a rare exception to the rule. Here, you can get an associates degree in medical transcription from a school ranked in the top 100 public schools in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report. This 2-year online program culminates in an opportunity for a college internship and will prepare you to work as a professional transcriptionist upon graduation.
Gateway Community College (GCC) is another school that offers an accredited associates degree. Students generally complete the certificate program in medical transcription only, but GCC offers the option to continue on to an associates degree. Upon earning an AAS degree after 2 years, students who graduate are eligible to become a certified medical transcriptionist as accredited by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity.