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Online Medical Transcription Training or Offline - Does It Matter?

Jul 10, 2008
I meet a lot of people who want to be medical transcriptionists. The appeal is of course that you can work at home, and as gas prices go up, the urge to save on it increases. And I always recommend the better online training courses to them. Why is that?

1. Numbers.

The most basic reason just comes down to numbers, as in number of students. Online schools can have more students than local schools, and so they are generally better known by employers around the country.

2. Reputation.

Pick a school with a good reputation with employers and you increase your odds of finding a job after graduation. This is huge. If your school is an unknown you may struggle to find an employer willing to hire you. They're not much on taking chances with something as important as people's medical records, which is why so many want either an education from a school they trust or two years experience.

3. Convenience.

Going to a local school probably means you have to physically attend class at set times. If your schedule doesn't work with that, tough. You can't learn what you need.

But if your classes are online you typically have a lot more flexibility. Many programs are at least somewhat self-paced. There may be scheduled times to have online chats with classmates and instructors, but you may also be able to contact your instructor by email or in the school's online forum.

4. Realistic Work Practice.

If you're scheduling yourself at home to get your class work done, you're also learning how to work at home. If this is your long term goal why not start as soon as possible?

You'll also be learning what it is to have to ask people who aren't there for help when you need it. Even when you're an experienced transcriptionist there will be occasional words or phrases you just can't get, and you have to go online to figure it out. When you work at home you can't just turn to the person next to you and ask.

What About Disadvantages?

Yes, there are disadvantages. If you don't do your research its easy to fall for a course that really won't teach you what you need. That's true offline as well as online, of course, but online scams really get people's attention. The three best known, most reputable online schools are the Andrews School, Career Step and M-Tec, and I would be very, very careful about signing up anywhere else. Until there's a solid reputation, you're risking the money you pay them.

A quality course is also expensive. The best schools often offer payment plans so the cost doesn't hit you quite that hard right away. But they are rarely eligible for Pell Grants and similar financial aid, which can be a problem when your budget won't fit in the payments. But you can generally find a way to make it all work out if this is the career path you really want.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster runs http://www.medicaltranscriptionbasics.com/ for people interested in becoming medical transcriptionists. Learn more about choosing the right medical transcription training at her site.
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