The Career Step Medical Transcription Course
How I got started with medical transcription and Career Step.
In May 2009, I had resigned with my old job due to the impending birth of our daughter, with no plans of returning to work outside the home. After our daughter was born, I started wanting to contribute to our income again. It was hard for me to being spending money and not be putting anything back in. I needed a job, but I also knew I couldn't leave the house because daycare simply isn't something that we wanted to do. So I started researching my options and decided that I might like to do medical transcription.
I looked into several schools, but with my husband on unemployment and in school, we really couldn't afford the price of some of them. I found Career Step and did even more research on it. Was it a scam? What were the courses like? Were graduates getting jobs? I found the answers to all of my questions and decided to take the plunge. I started taking the medical transcription course with Career Step on December 15, 2009.
The modules that have been the hardest for me would probably be those that involve grammar and punctuation. I thought that I was pretty decent at it, having taken AP English in high school, but apparently there was a lot of material that I was not taught because those modules were really difficult. The modules that I have enjoyed the most would be Medical Terminology and Clinic Notes. I liked Medical Terminology because I was learning the meanings of the word parts, which makes it so much easier to understand those long, long medical words. I like Clinic Notes because it is the first module where you are actually transcribing a report. It's quite challenging, but it's also very rewarding to see yourself become more skilled in all the things that you have learned up to that point.
So without further ado, I would like to share what I've learned with you, so that you can better decide if Career Step is right for you.
Note: You can find a list of helpful links near the bottom of page. The links include forums and general transcription companies.
UPDATE: I will not be finishing the MT course. I've ended up working as a virtual assistant and I'm getting ready to start my own VA business as well. There simply isn't time to do everything!
Last Updated: 3/19/11
What is Career Step?
Located in Provo, Utah, Career Step offers online classes to train you in medical transcription or medical coding and billing. They have been offering classes since 1992, and they are the nation's leading provider in medical transcription training. They also offer online classes for medical coding and billing, prep courses for the RMT and CMT tests, and they have just introduced a course for medical transcription editors.
Career Step was founded by Andrea Anaya, who says: "My goal when I started was this: a medical transcription course that is comprehensive, easy to use, and contains enough practical experience so that anyone who goes through it conscientiously WILL be able to do transcription when they are finished. And, just as important, a course that is affordable."
They are partnered with some of the large medical transcription companies, and these companies often hire CS graduates.
The following are companies that are partnered with CS:
CAT Transcription, "We work directly with Career Step because we feel their program prepares MTs to be ready to work on day one. "
Is Career Step a scam?
No! Career Step is recognized by the ADHI (Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity) as an approved education program, it is accredited by the BBB, and it is registered as an educational institution in Utah under the Utah Postsecondary Proprietary School Act (Title 13, Chapter 34, Utah Code).
Career Step has also been recognized by Inc. 500 as one of the nation's fastest growing companies.
Career Step is not accredited. From their website: "Accreditation is a peer review process extensively used in education. Career Step has not sought to be accredited (1) because of the expense, (2) because its program is competency based, (3) because traditional approaches to training medical transcriptionists are often both accredited and inadequate, (4) because external reviewers are unlikely to offer suggestions for improving our program, and finally, (5) because there is no commonly shared definition of shared content nor a professional organization at present by means of which content codification could be engineered or by means of which students could transfer from one program to another."
Do your own research and decide for yourself. You should always do this for anything that you are thinking of spending money on. Don't just take somebody's word for it.
How much does it cost?
Career Step has two different enrollment options for you to choose from. The recommended option, the Platinum level, will run you $1875, and the Gold level costs $1625.
Both levels have:21 training modules.Unlimited student and technical support.Access to the forums and chat for life.A 15-month subscription to Benchmark KB.A 15-month membership with the AHDI.A transcription foot pedal.A certificate of completion upon graduating.A subscription to Stepping Up, Career Step's newsletter.
The Platinum level includes:Interview, resume, and sales letter advice.Employment and referral directories.Consultation with a placement coordinator. A copy of Start Your Own Successful Medical Transcription Business.Access to the CS help hotline.
I signed up with the Platinum Level because I knew I would need a lot of help with my resume and phone interviews. However, many people sign up with the Gold level and do just fine. There is an option to upgrade to the Platinum after you have enrolled, so you could sign up at the Gold level and upgrade if you needed to.
They offer a few other things that you can buy that might help you with your studies. These are the text companion ($250) and the audio CD library ($50). They charge S&H too. I personally did not purchase the extras and I don't feel that they are necessary to succeed in the course.
If you like the course but don't want to spend that much, you can take the course through FTCC (Fayetteville Technical Community College). UPDATE: The FTCC course is no longer available to out-of-state students. They offer the medical transcription course for a total of $350. They are partnered with Career Step, so the course is the exact same one that CS offers. They do put you on a schedule though. The course is split into 2 parts, and they expect each part to be completed in 16 weeks.
How long does it take?
The course can be completed in as little as 4 months, but most people take 6 to 9 months to finish it. There are even some people that have been working on it for over a year!
The length of time will really depend on you and your schedule.
What is the course material like?
The best word to describe the course is "challenging." The medical transcription course has 21 modules and is split into 2 parts. The first part is the Pre-Practicum. It contains modules on medical terminology, grammar and punctuation, keyboarding, pharmacology, anatomy and disease, and building the medical record (to name a few.) The second part is the Practicum. It is one of the most challenging parts of the course because it has 800 medical reports for you to transcribe. These reports can be very difficult to transcribe because some of the dictating doctors are ESLs (English as a Second Language), speed talkers, and/or mush mouths.
You will get out of the course what you put into it. If you aren't putting much time or effort into it than you will have a hard time completing the course and finding a job afterward. However, if you are really working hard on it, than you will learn what you need to know and be prepared to do an excellent job for your new employer.
The Best Medical Transcription Products
Are graduates getting jobs?
I have read many posts around the web from graduates who were hired shortly after graduation, or even before they were done with the course! Many graduates take a little longer to find a job, but it all seems to depend on timing and testing. There is a slow period from October to February where many companies aren't looking to hire, and many MTs have a harder time finding a job during the slow season. How well you do on an employer's test is probably the most critical thing to getting hired.
Many new MTs see that companies require 2+ years experience to be hired and pass that company by without bothering to test with them. It is important to understand the reason why companies say that is because they don't want people applying who have no training. Yes, they do prefer that you have a couple of years experience, but they will still hire you if you do well on their tests and interview.
The majority of the complaints I have heard are from people who think that a job will be handed to them on a silver platter after they graduate. There is no school in existence that can guarantee you a job. This is true for any profession, not just medical transcription. Career Step will give you the training and support you need to get a job, but it is up to you to pass an employer's testing and interviews.
How can I enroll?
You can enroll by going clicking here.
NOTE: I would highly recommend trying general transcription before you start taking any courses. That way you can decide if transcription is even something you like.
I recommend applying with QuickTate. They don't pay much, but they will hire just about anybody. It's a great way to figure out if transcription is really something you want to do and get some experience under your belt too.
I have provided links to numerous general transcription companies, including QuickTate, farther down the page.
Here are some other helpful transcription-related links
Freelance Job Sites:
ODesk- I was just recently hired through this website for a part-time virtual assistant position. It's completely free to use and your pay is guaranteed for hourly jobs.
General Transcription Companies:
Accutran Global email@example.com
ChaCha- You can do transcription with ChaCha after you've worked as a guide for a few weeks. A guide answers people's question with a summary of information they've found on the internet and a link to the source. When you do transcription with ChaCha, you transcribe short voice mails that people have left into questions to be sent to guides for an answer. Quick and easy!
I hope you find these helpful!
How do you feel about Career Step?
What do you think of Career Step? Is it the best school for MT training or do you think there's a better school? Let us know!
What's the best school to take medical transcription at?
Got something to say? Let me know about it! Anyone can leave a comment, but if you want to give me a thumbs up you'll have to join Squidoo. It's free!