Finding the Right Medical Transcription School For You

Characteristics of a Quality Medical Transcription School

First and foremost, a good medical transcription school will have a comprehensive curriculum designed specifically for medical transcription training. This does not mean some off-the-shelf program that mixes and matches curriculum and study material from a hodge-podge of medical and non-medical sources. You are looking for a solid A to Z curriculum that was designed by Medical Transcriptionists specifically for medical transcriptionists. There is a big difference. You don’t want a version of anatomy that is adapted from a veterinarian course. Yes, this sounds crazy, but you would be surprised at what you will find out there!

You are looking for a medical transcription school that teaches you the medical terminology, human anatomy, physiology and disease processes, abbreviations and plurals, and a host of other foundational material — all from a medical transcriptionist’s perspective.

Second, and of no less importance, the medical transcription school that you select must have an extremely strong focus on practical application. All the text-book training in the world is insufficient without a strong practicum to go along with it. Sitting in a classroom without applying what you are studying would be like memorizing vocabulary and learning to conjugate verbs in a foreign language and then assuming you could immediately go to that country and speak fluently with the natives. It just isn’t realistic. It takes a lot of practice before you can start actually doing it well.

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Finding the right medical transcription school may be the most important decision you will make in your career. This may seem like a bold statement - especially since, at first glance all medical transcription schools look pretty much the same. But nothing could be further from the truth. There are really only a few medical transcription schools that are truly competency-based. That is, schools that prepare you to get a job upon graduation.


Oh, don’t worry, there are plenty of “diploma mills” out there. The problem is that in this business, a diploma is not what matters. The only thing that matters is whether you can perform the work. And the only way to learn to do the work is to enroll in a top-flight medical transcription school. Taking shortcuts on a fast track to a diploma is a total waste of time and money. Too many people find this out the hard way — and it is a very costly mistake, indeed.


Unfortunately, most people who make that mistake become completely discouraged and disillusioned and just give up, assuming that there is no real opportunity for a career in medical transcription. When the reality is that there are hundreds of unfilled medical transcription job vacancies every day of the year. Right now the medical transcription industry is literally begging for new talent. But medical transcription companies need people that can produce, not people that require a lot of handholding and mentoring.


One aspect you will want to consider in finding the right MTS for you is convenience. Some vocational and community colleges offer MT programs. The obvious challenge there is travel time and arranging your schedule to fit theirs. One great benefit for going the home-study route is that you can study whenever YOUR schedule allows. For many stay-at-home moms, this is a very, very big advantage.

The best medical transcription schools will not graduate you until you can demonstrate a level of practical competency. And guess what? The way many doctors dictate reports is more reminiscent of a foreign language than anything else. Slurred speech, poor grammar, rapid wording, and run on sentences only serve to exacerbate an already complex and specialized language — the language of medicine!

But in the end, the best way to select the right school is to find out where the national medical transcription employers are recruiting. You can rest assured that they are doing their homework.

Author: Chris Dunn

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