The first step toward a career as a medical transcriptionist is to complete a one-year certificate or two-year associate degree program at a community college or trade school. The coursework involved is typically a mix of science classes, medical terminology classes and legal classes.
Someone with previous work experience in nursing or another healthcare field may have a faster track to a medical transcription career. Because people in healthcare learn much of the terminology necessary to the role, a refresher training course is often the only requirement.
After completing education, another common step is to get certified by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity. While this isn't mandatory for a job, it does give a candidate an advantage in a competitive arena. The two certificate options are the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist and the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist.
Even with the necessary education, work experience and certifications, an aspiring medical transcriptionist must demonstrate a variety of skills to earn employment. Listening, writing and computer skills are all vital. A transcriptionist must listen well to a doctor's audio notes, type clearly and accurately and use computer programs to complete and file documents. Critical-thinking is necessary to make decisions and review accuracy of notes in medical documents.