What are the most affordable brick-and-mortar and online medical transcription schools?
Most medical transcription schools are community colleges or online schools. As most programs are certificates or other post-secondary non-degree awards, 4-year institutions typically do not offer programs specifically for medical transcription students. Though a course of study at a community college does not award a medical transcription degree like at a 4-year college, it does keep the cost fairly low.
The cost of community college is usually about $2,000 per year, though students in programs with extensive lab time or other facility fees may pay more. Some online medical transcription schools may also assess an additional fee for distance learning or hybrid courses, especially at schools where distance learning programs are relatively new. This is much lower than the cost of a 4-year school, so a medical transcription certificate can be more affordable than a degree program.
If you want to take your interest in allied medical professions beyond medical transcription, however, you may have to attend a 4-year institution. The best online medical transcription schools may not provide the background in business and advanced medical practice necessary to start working in health care administration or similar allied health fields, so you may need to return to school to advance your career.
How can I connect with other on-campus or online students who are also studying at my school for medical transcription?
One good way to meet students at your school who are also in medical transcription courses is to look for allied health. Some schools have allied health associations and similar clubs for students undergoing medical transcription training or training in other allied health professions, such as the Allied Health Student Association at Wake Forest University. Though not all students in these clubs will be medical transcription students, some may be.
Students in medical transcription schools online have a harder time meeting fellow students in person, but it may be easier for these students to connect with each other through their online courses. Many medical transcription online programs like Blackboard and Desire2Learn have classroom database functions that allow you to contact fellow students in your classes. You may then be able to organize offline study sessions or meetings to discuss the unique challenges of your program.
You may also be able to meet medical transcription students by attending conferences. Organizations like the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) host these events to allow professionals and students in medical transcription and other medical documentation and data professions to connect with each other. These can also offer opportunities for you to network and find job contacts that you will not encounter at an online school.
What resources should my brick-and-mortar or online school offer me when I am studying medical transcription?
One important resource that an accredited school should offer is assistance with internship and career placement. The career center of a school can often help you find relevant internships, mentoring programs and jobs in the field and may also offer to review applications and resumes. With the medical transcription field growing more slowly than other fields, a school career center can help you better position yourself in the industry.
Another good resource that you should look for in a medical transcription school is financial aid counseling. Though most schools that offer medical transcription certificates are very cheap, you may be able to reduce the cost even further through loans, grants and other available financial aid. Good counseling is particularly relevant at online schools for medical transcription, as searching for financial aid at these schools may be more difficult.
You should also check to see if your program includes an AHDI Registered Medical Transcriptionist certification test as part of the program. Certification can help you secure medical transcription jobs once you finish your program, as it proves you have the skills necessary to begin work in the field. Certification tests cost money, however, so if you study in a program that does not build this cost into tuition, you should be sure to budget for the exam as well.
Are there any nonprofit online medical transcription schools or programs that I could look into?
Everett Community College is a public community college that offers a medical transcription online program. This program is one of the few currently approved by the Approval Committee for Certificate Programs (ACCP) in medical transcription, so you should consider the program to be among the strongest choices for an online medical transcription certificate. The school is also regionally accredited, so credits should transfer if you go on to study at a 4-year university for a more advanced allied health profession degree.
Guilford Technical Community College is another ACCP-approved community college program. This program includes an internship that will help you make connections in medical fields and strengthen later job applications. The school is regionally accredited, so if you choose to continue on for a more advanced degree such as a bachelors in health administration, you will be able to transfer your credits easily.
A third ACCP-approved nonprofit online school is Richland Community College. The school offers both a medical transcription certificate program and a medical transcription degree that requires students to take several more courses. The degree program cannot be completed entirely online, though interested students may take courses both online and on campus. The program is regionally accredited as well.