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The Career Step Medical Transcription Course

Updated on June 2, 2011

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

The path to success.
The path to success.

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:

Spheris

MedQuist

ALL TYPE

Alpha Transcription

Amphion Medical Solutions

Ascend Healthcare Systems

CAT Transcription, "We work directly with Career Step because we feel their program prepares MTs to be ready to work on day one. "

Encompass Medical Transcription

eMTS

eTransPlus

Focus Informatics

Office Business Systems

Presynct Technologies

Sten-Tel

Always do your own research.
Always do your own research.

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.

A quality education doesn't have to cost a lot.
A quality education doesn't have to cost a lot.

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.

It's time to get started in a new career!
It's time to get started in a new career!

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.

Don't forget to study.
Don't forget to study.

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

Ready to work!
Ready to work!

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.

Are you ready to get started?
Are you ready to get started?

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:

Guru

eLance

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.

Forums:

Transcription Essentials

MTDaily

MTStars

General Transcription Companies:

Accutran Global jobs@accutranglobal.com

ANP Transcriptions

Cambridge Transcription

Modern Day Scribe

eWord Solutions

Morningside Partners

Mountain West Processing

Net Transcripts

SpeakWrite

Tigerfish

Ubiqus

Verbal Ink

QuickTate

TASK Transcription

Mass Transcription

Film, TV, and Broadcast

Large list of transcription services

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?

Career Step's the best!

Career Step's the best!

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    • phlebotomists 4 years ago

      Great information i was confused between phlebotomy and medical transcription, then finally i choose phlebotomy as career

    • martycarlton lm 4 years ago

      I took the Career Step Course in 2004 (?) and found it prepared me very well for a job as an MT. The course itself was great and I found a job very quickly after completing the course. BUT. The MT field is shrinking. Voice recognition is taking over and this is a career on the way out. Two of the companies I worked for have since gone bankrupt and I no longer do transcription work after being an MT for 6 years.

    • transcriptionnet 6 years ago

      career step is a great option

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      I am taking this course right now. I am doing the practicium. There is no way that someone can complete this course in 4 months, unless they work at it 24 hours a day. I am a nurse with a master's degree. I have extensive knowledge of medial terminology. However, there are almost 900 reports to transcribe during the practicium. Sometimes, they are so difficult to ear, that you might spend 30 minutes on a 1 minute audio file. Let's say someone does 10 reports per day for 90 days, they would finish the practicium in 3 months. But remember that the pre-practicium part is quite long and there is no way you can do this in one month. I had planned to finish this course in 6 months, but it will be more like 9, if I work at it non-stop. Overall, the course is super, but you need lots of self-discipline and research skills, as you are on your own. I had to contact student services only once and they replied within minutes. I would recommend the course but be warned that it is long and tedious. Have fun !

    • n1674100 6 years ago

      I took the Career Step course too and found it to be excellent. I have been a medical transcriptionist for years and love my job. One of my favorite medical transcription resource sites is www.transcriptionology.com

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      The Career Step course is awesome! There is a TON of dictation but it is excellent practice! They have a great new course demo where you can now see what the course is like before you enroll! http://careerstep.com/demo/?uid=ref11431

    • JodiVee 6 years ago

      By the sound of it, it seems like Career Step is a great option for people who live in the US. What about those of us in Canada? What school would you recommend there?

    • MT_Training 7 years ago

      Not bad! That was a brilliant piece of information. I have bookmarked your page and added on to my favorites. Hope to get similar exciting info from you on a regular basis. I Medical Transcription Training will share this with my friends.

    • HorseHelper 7 years ago

      My choice is obvious, I love Career Step!

    Go somewhere else!

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      • anonymous 4 years ago

        Career Step is the worst possible option for Medical Transcription. They set you up for failure from the very beginning. They design the course so that you have to purchase extensions to complete it. These extension cost anywhere between $250 to $500. Then if you don't pass the final exam the first time, they just stop grading it after you miss so many points. How can they help you determine your weaknesses and how you can study better to retake the final (yes that costs money too) if they aren't even grading your exam all the way? Lastly they do not show you what you missed on your exam or why you missed certain points. You just have to blindly take it again and hope you better your score. Please go somewhere else. They just want your money.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        All these people who are pushing Career Step? They're getting paid for it. I inquired about the course and decided against it. Not ten minutes later, I got an email from Career Step telling me that I can make money by pushing their course. They use affiliates to give them great reviews. How good can they really be if they can't rely on their reputation alone to enroll students? I say steer clear.

      • Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

        I don't know enough about Career Step to recommend it, so I guess I am undecided...

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        I have been taking the Career Step program for this past year, and have reached the final "Acute Care" practicum module, and stopped. I definitely have decided that I do not want to sit and type non-stop, straining to make out the garbled speech of some medical professional. It is exhausting. I love interaction with other people, and am extremely bored with transcription.

        I would simply like to say that I find it very odd that there seems to be such an array of MT programs available these days. Especially when we now have transcription software which allows the doctor to dictate directly to the computer while it makes out the report exactly as dictated. Also, transcription jobs are being outsourced overseas and anywhere cheap labor is available. My friend had this happen to her MT job.

        It seems to me that perhaps, many of these training programs may be becoming obsolete. Look around for other options before investing your hard-earned money in a program like this. Just my two cents on Career Step, and any other medical transcription training program.

      • tssfacts 6 years ago

        Online schooling can be very good. I am not really familiar with this school it's hard to say one way or the other.

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        Course is extremely superficial; it just skims the surface. When I went to prepare for the RMT exam, I saw how poorly prepared I was after graduating from Career Step. STAY AWAY FROM CAREER STEP.

      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!

      Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear from you.

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        • Yourshowman LM profile image

          Yourshowman LM 6 years ago

          Good stuff

          good lens

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          Hello, I have questions and comments. I'm not sure to whom I'm responding, but I assume

          you are the owner of "careerstepstudent." Please clarify. I am a retired English teacher (30 years) with editing experience, science literate, and computer savvy. I'm exploring both MT and CS as part-time work possibilities. I'm at the beginning investigation stage. First, I want to let you know that, sadly, FTCC, is no longer offering CS instruction to non-state residents as of April, 2010. You might want to update. Are you aware of any other means by which I could study at CS for less money? I am, meanwhile, applying to QuikTate, per your advice, to see if I'm interested in transcription. I also need to see MT as it exists in reality as I have only a vague notion. Can you recommend a job site where I can take an on-line MT test? I figure this will be the surest way to find out what MT is and what I would be doing. . . I'm grateful for any help you can provide.

        • HorseHelper profile image
          Author

          HorseHelper 6 years ago

          @anonymous: Hi Kurt!

          I did write this lens, so I believe that makes me the owner. Thank you for the heads up about FTCC, I haven't had the time lately to update or even to check to check on things. At this time I'm not aware of any other ways to take CS that cost less.

          Here's an MT employer with an online test: http://www.qedtrans.com/career-jointheteam.html

          You might also look into tutoring since you have a degree or even writing. There are numerous sites that hire tutors and a Google search will give you a large list of companies. Here are some sites for writers: http://www.constant-content.com/ and http://www.associatedcontent.com/ .

          I hope this helps!

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          Lot of information on Careerstep, you can even list the Pros and Cons to provide more help.

        • profile image

          tssfacts 6 years ago

          Lot of great information here. It a good stepping stone for someone if they wanted to do further research for themselves. I wish you well on starting your new business.

        • HorseHelper profile image
          Author

          HorseHelper 6 years ago

          @tssfacts: Thank you tssfacts!

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          I'm a stay at home and mom and in the middle of the MT program. On your update, you state you did not decide to go into MT. Why? Was it because of your training or lack of jobs? I'm worried I may not get a job and I really can't afford to work outside.

        • HorseHelper profile image
          Author

          HorseHelper 6 years ago

          @anonymous: About halfway through the training I realized I was no longer enjoying doing MT which is the main reason I stopped the training. Life's too short to do something you don't enjoy.

          I have heard that's it's getting harder to find entry-level positions though. Many virtual assistants offer general transcription services, so you may look into doing something like that if you can't find a job. The MT training would give you good experience and would likely help you find clients.

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          Lots of good info here!! Question.... how do you start a Virtual Assistant job/company?

        • HorseHelper profile image
          Author

          HorseHelper 6 years ago

          @anonymous: I would highly recommend checking out the Virtual Assistant Forums: http://www.virtualassistantforums.com/. They're the best resource for starting a VA business.

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          @HorseHelper: Thanks!!

        • HorseHelper profile image
          Author

          HorseHelper 6 years ago

          @anonymous: You're welcome!

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          Hello! I just read your article on the medical transcription program at Career Step. I, too am a stay at home mom. I am also trying to find something I can do at home so I can stay home with my son. I see that you are no longer pursuing your program and started your own business. Is there a reason you no longer pursued the medical transcription? Any advise would be greatly appreciated? Thank you!

        • HorseHelper profile image
          Author

          HorseHelper 6 years ago

          @anonymous: Reece16, I got a little over halfway through the program before I realized I wasn't enjoying it. The program itself is good, I simply wasn't enjoying doing the MT stuff. Life really is too short to do something that doesn't make you happy.

          I do hear that MT is getting harder and harder for people to break into what with the jobs going overseas and the influx of fresh graduates. Many people are now starting up virtual assistant companies that focus on general transcription, which may be a good way to go if you know you want to do transcription work.

          At this point, I don't think going into the MT field is the best thing to do. If you know you want to do something in transcription then graduating from an MT course could give you a big boost. Otherwise look into other things. If you craft then you could setup shop on Artifre.com (completely free for basic accounts) or Etsy.com (costs to list items and there's transaction fees). Or you could walk dogs if you live in the city, babysit other kids, tutor, or start a home party type business (like Scentsy, Stella and Dot, Usborne books, etc.). The home party businesses seem to be doing well these days. Here are two good resources for you: http://www.wahm.com/forum/ and http://www.virtualassistantforums.com/

        • Glenn619 profile image

          Glenn619 6 years ago

          Nice lens your topic of choice is similar to my vocational education lens.

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          CareerStep is not a scam, but they don't tell you the reality of the MT industry. It's a slave labor job - you wil be lucky 1) to find a job and 2) if you find a job, you'll be making below minimum wage, somewhere around $2-3 per hour. If you are considering this course, remember to ask for pay scale details - ALL THE DETAILS - not just what they want you to hear.

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          I completed the Career Step course in four months and graduated with honors in 2006. I landed my first medical transcription job before even graduating, but like another commenter said, I made less than minimum wage. After joining a transcription forum, www.TranscriptionEssentials.com, (which I frequent less often because I am so busy) I found many other job opportunities. I was hired by a general transcription company who required no schooling whatsoever. I have maintained two separate contracts for four years, make an average of $10-$12 per work hour, enjoy the work I do and get to stay home and spend time with my family. Transcription is not the right job for everybody, but if you're interested, check out the forum I mentioned above. There are experienced transcribers there as well as pages upon pages of information for anybody looking to get started. This was a great article, and I appreciate you posting your experiences!

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          @anonymous: Mel, could you let me know what company that is that requires no scfhooling whatso ever? please email me at: luckgood999@gmail.com Thans

        • profile image

          n1674100 6 years ago

          I took the Career Step course too and found it to be excellent. I have been a medical transcriptionist for years and love my job. One of my favorite medical transcription resource sites is www.transcriptionology.com

        • MyCrazyAdventures profile image

          Melissa 6 years ago from Albuquerque, NM

          Timely topic and information. This lens blessed by a squid angel.

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          @anonymous: mel I was also wondering if you could email where you were able to find a job with no schooling I am looking at going to school but would really like to work while I do it. Thanks

          rubybaby9@hotmail.com

        • profile image

          transcriptionnet 6 years ago

          I always consider career step one of the better schools to go to

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          @anonymous: Just read your post from earlier this year about Career Step. I have been doing research on Career Step and find the program to be reasonably priced with a good curriculum. My issue is that I have extensive education in medical terms and some previous transcription experience through a Health Information program. With this education I feel that I would be able to perform transcription without the certification. Please provide me with the name of the company that you mentioned in your post that hired individuals without experience. If you still have that information available and would not mind forwarding it to me I would be appreciative. Thanks.

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          I totally agree with Sonia. Love the course, but there is no way to complete it in 4 months unless you commit to it 24/7. You will either go blink or end up with carpal tunnel. All joking aside. I have completed 60% if the training. I am wrapping up the clinical notes section (300 dictations w/still 500 to go!) This is intensive but feel confident that I will know how to do the job when I finish. Also, from what I see when I search for jobs, there are plenty companies hiring. No shortage there. My advice: Don't rush it, quality over quantity. Build a solid understanding so when you are ready to interview and test for a job, you are not disappointed. I think it's a great work-from-home opportunity!

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          I am curious to know who accredited this school, I would also like a source other then the Career Step website, so I can see it for myself.

        • mihgasper profile image

          Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

          Thank for interesting info, I'll check some more resources... Thumbs up!

        • profile image

          brynimagire 5 years ago

          Fantastic lens, a lot of helpful information

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          Has anyone done their Admin. Assistant program? I would like to give it a try but haven't heard anything on it. Thanks in advance.

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          Did you ever start your VA company? I am very interested in becoming a VA...could you tell me more about it, or where to look for a job as a VA?

          sbdigiacomo@gmail.com

        • HorseHelper profile image
          Author

          HorseHelper 4 years ago

          @anonymous: I worked as a VA for a while, but never made it around to starting a VA company. I ended up starting a retail business which keeps us extremely busy.

          I would recommend going to the Virtual Assistant Forums (www.virtualassistantforums.com) for more information on working as a VA, as well as where to find work.

        • OUTFOXprevention1 profile image

          OUTFOXprevention1 4 years ago

          Seems like a great course. Thanks for the lens.

        • profile image

          MTEx2 21 months ago

          I have completed one course through EvCC who uses Career Steps curriculum (they have partnered with them). Currently I am trying to finish up the final on the CS side of things so I can get the certificate from them. I am on my second round of taking the test. (I plan on taking it 3 times to improve my score as much as possible) It is hard. So if you are not really interested in medical terms and a lot of grammar usage this is NOT the job for you. It is not just sitting and listening to someone talk and typing what is being said. If it were that simple everyone would be doing it. If you do decide on it as a career. Good luck!

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