Are Online Medical Transcription Courses a Good Bet?

Everything you should know about online medical transcription courses before you pay for a program.

Online learning venues have become an increasingly popular educational method around the world. Online medical transcription courses are certainly a good bet, but it's also extremely important to follow a few simple steps to make sure that your time and money are well spent.

Traditional vs online learning

There'll always be a demand for traditional brick-and-mortar colleges and universities. But online learning opportunities that bring the classroom to you are also extremely valuable and beneficial.

A mere two decades ago, nontraditional approaches to educational venues gave "distance learning" a bad rap. Call it what you will (distance learning or correspondence schools), a great majority of "academia" considered online, distance or correspondence school type educational approaches less than reputable.

Today, things have changed. Millions of people around the world access online educational opportunities to receive Associates, bachelors and Masters Degrees.

What's the difference between a traditional versus online school venue? Let's discuss a few pros and cons of studying online medical transcription versus the same coursework at a traditional school. A few questions that a potential student might ask include (but aren't limited to):

  • Will online curriculum be as thorough as that offered at a traditional campus?
  • Can I actually benefit from taking an online medical transcription course?
  • Is it more difficult to take an online course rather than attend a campus for classes?

Let's start with the benefits of a traditional campus environment:

  • Students enjoy the benefits of face-to-face instruction with teachers or professors
  • Academic guidance is available through in-person sessions
  • Students enjoy the benefits of interaction among fellow students in class and on-campus

The downside to traditional campus environments include:

  • Working your schedule around class timetables
  • The need to be physically present on campus
  • Trying to take time off work to attend classes
  • Driving long distances to campus, especially in rural areas

There are lots of benefits to learning online. You can:

  • Take your classes when it's convenient for you, as long as you meet deadlines
  • Enjoy the benefits of e-mail or instant messaging, and phone calls with your teacher, professor or advisors
  • Have access to personal telephone counseling regarding class scheduling, grading and course planning

The downside to online learning methods is that they're not suited to everyone.

If you're an independent and focused learner, you should have no trouble with an online approach. Those who are able to self-direct and motivate themselves while taking an online medical transcription course will fare much better than procrastinators or those who find it difficult to master Internet technology.

Really, the only difference between traditional campus learning environments and online learning venues is a lack of personal interaction with students, teachers and counselors.

The most important thing to remember when looking for an online medical transcription course is to ensure industry associations in your country of origin accredit that coursework.

For example, in the United States, the Association for Healthcare Documentation or AHDI (formerly the American Association for Medical Transcription) must accredit a medical transcription school.

Doctors, clinics, and hospitals want to know that your education and medical transcription adheres to guidelines standardized by professional industry associations and organizations.

Getting a standardised education means that future employers know exactly what your skills will be

How to find a good online medical transcription school

The first thing is to determine the accrediting association, organization, or society in your locality. This ensures that your coursework meets state or national guidelines in regard to content development, scope, and standards.

Ask specific questions:

  • Are certified instructors available?
  • Do instructors have experience practicing medical transcription? How long has the school been in business? Does the school offer advanced or extensive computer training?
  • Does the school teach styles, standards and guidelines preferred by medical transcription associations, societies, or organizations in your country of origin?
  • What is the ratio of graduates to actual job placement? (No school should ever offer a guarantee of employment)
  • Does the school have a good reputation?

How much do a Medical transcription courses cost?

The cost depends on where you take the courses. Often, medical transcription schools accredited by medical transcription associations offer payment plans or financial assistance for students.

Tuition costs for a complete course in medical transcription averages between $600 and $2,600, depending on whether you're looking for certification or a degree. Costs may be higher or lower, depending on your geographical location.

How long will it take?

The amount of time it takes to get through an online medical transcription course depends on your dedication and speed. Some online medical transcription schools require a minimum or maximum recommended timeframe per course that may range between three to six weeks or three to six months per class.

A focused student can get through a medical transcription certification course in as few as 12 to 16 weeks. However, students must also be able to pass tests and exams in order to receive their certificate.

Coursework for certification or degrees are typically similar, although degree programs offer more in-depth and thorough study of topics including healthcare related vocabulary, medical terminology ( most courses outline all body systems, including musculoskeletal, endocrine, reproductive, cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive) as well as thorough instruction in different types of medical reports.

Coursework, either traditional or online, requires you to practice dozens, sometimes hundreds of dictated medical reports for grading and assessment by course instructors.

What do you need to get started?

To take a medical transcription course online, you'll need, in most cases, a Windows-based computer running windows XP or later and a high-speed internet connection.

Most medical transcription certification or degree programs provide medical transcription software and hardware required by that school for completion of coursework.

Is an online medical transcription course is a good bet? Yes!

However, it's up to you to focus on your coursework and get the most out of your online learning environment. To succeed with your online medical transcription content, you must be dedicated, proactive, and capable of self-directing yourself. If you can do that, you can certainly succeed with an online medical transcription certification or degree program.

Think online learning might not be for you? Have a look at this guide to traditional colleges, which includes some recommendations of places to study.

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