As MT students enrolled in the Advanced Medical Transcription Online Course for Medical Transcription through Med-Line School, you are brought into this prestigious career with the most up-to-date course materials, but most importantly you are provided an instructor who will be your mentor. As instructors, we wish to emphasize that it is up to the student to use the opportunity to work directly with us, as this will allow us the most knowledge of your individual needs, goals, and talent to bring you to your full potential as a medical transcriptionist. Some portions of the program present different issues for different people, so we want to review the steps that you need to take, and suggest that you take them in a one step at a time manner, and not look ahead. When you have a huge set of objectives with tests and research projects, we have found that the most successful way to bring you to completion with the least amount of frustration or trouble is to tackle it one step at a time.
We strongly recommend students from any program not go surfing the chat rooms and involve themselves in negativity or politics related to medical transcription. Like everything else, there are the normal bandwagons, and although we live in a free country and have freedom of speech, any negativity will only serve to undermine your efforts. That is not to say that you should not be kept abreast on ethics, technology, confidentiality, networking – those are positives. There are postings online that relate to gloom and doom subjects of medical transcription, such as speech recognition, shipping work to overseas, and the worst of them all being the postings that you won’t get a job unless you have 2 years’ experience. These issues are myths and have only served to enhance my transcription experience in a positive way – speech recognition can only do so much, i.e. filling in the ADT/patient information, it helps us. I don’t run across it often and it does not affect me. With regard to shipping work overseas, the confidentiality issues have come to surface and may have slowed that process. However, on the positive side, the MTs available in this country can only handle about 35% of the work. There’s too much work and not enough MTs. It’s all a matter of how you look at things – to me, these negatives are really positives. If you are good at what you do, you are not going to run out of work. If you provide quality documentation and you are a positive attribute to a company, you are going to have more work than you can imagine. It’s been that way for years, and I don’t expect it to change.
Using large services as an example, they have in the past hired students from various school programs. One has recently gone to using a staffing service. Their website says 2 years’ experience. If trained by the right school, use the services of the instructor by making regular contact and working with the instructor to make your individual issues apparent and then address them with a positive attitude, the rules can be amended. It is up to us as a team to weed out the issues and bring you to realize your talent, and the way we can do that is to have you work closely with the instructors. They are interested in you, so allow me to prepare you for that level of expertise in next Monday’s article.
A pet peeve that I cannot shake is the prevalence of six to nine month transcription training courses.
These courses lure unsuspecting students at prices that are very near the quality eighteen to twenty four month courses and promise job readiness. What they end up with is a graduate
who quickly discovers they are unemployable and if they do find a job they quickly realize they are way underprepared.
This really should be prohibited as potential students often do not realize that they are being sold a bill of goods. They see quicker programs and honestly do not realize that it is not the same quality as that offered by a premium program like Med-Line. The question that should come to mind is “Do you want an education that will allow you to become a professional and find the job that is right for you or do you want a certificate to hang on your wall and little else?”
They also do not realize that career training is not something to skimp on. That $500 or $1000 price difference is there for a reason and it is not because they are just being nice. They do this through a skimpy program, non-CMT instructors & program directors, and possibly even no instructors.
By now you may have noticed that I am sounding a little annoyed at these programs and for good reason. I fell prey to this as a new student. The school, which is no longer in business, offered six to nine months of training. I was literally done in two months and thinking “What the heck.” I knew I had been taken for a ride and could never get my foot into the door with the kind of companies that were industry leaders. Even if I had the knowledge from my previous Masters degree and two Bachelors, the program had no industry respect and I would have been unemployable. I lost that money because I was more than 50% through the program (funny how that neat refund policy was useless). I ultimately went to a school that is now ACCP approved, cost just a little more than I paid the first time, and lasted eighteen months. The difference was amazing.
It really is sad to see students lured into the six to nine month (and even the twelve month) courses that at best can be called introductory and never should be called transcription training. We see a lot of these people coming into our Career Advancement course
in order to try to salvage their education. Often their initial training was so poor that they are left having to retrain from scratch in a quality program or sadly, they just leave the profession.
I recently spoke with a prospective student who indicated she had tentatively decided to choose another school because she was able to register for $500 less and would be done in six months. To her it sounded like a great deal. That is….until she did the math. When she did some simple math to see what she was paying per month for her abbreviated course, she discovered she was paying 3.5 as much per month as Med-Line. Fortunately for her she made the right decision.
Med-Line school is scheduled for twenty four months. Medical transcription training is training for a professional career. New careers are not learned in six to nine months. We train our students to be fully qualified to work on any account, including acute care as well as being able to easily transition to speech recognition. Many finish sooner due to their dedicated work ethic. All come out with a real education and not some six to nine month piece of paper that can do nothing but hang on a wall.
So the word of advice I would like to leave is to look carefully at the program you are considering. If you see programs offered that are under eighteen months run away fast and look for a quality program designed to help you succeed.
One of the most common questions I hear from potential transcription students is “What are the chances of me finding a job when I graduate?” The question is very legitimate as many programs simply churn out graduates, hand them a list of employers who at some point said they will consider their graduates, and then send them on their way. It is no wonder many of these individuals have a hard time finding employment.
What makes Med-Line so special? Simple. We train well beyond the ACCP criteria. All our MT instructors and our program director are CMTs. We do not offered weak 6-9 month programs that leave graduates unprepared for jobs. We teach our graduates that the RMT is a necessity and not an option for a professional. We offer an internship to qualified graduates that allow an intensive mentoring to work out those beginning job jitters and development of real-world applications.
What really makes Med-Line extra special? In addition to our medical transcription school, our CEO also owns a transcription service organization. She has over 20 years’ experience in production. In fact, she began Med-Line after observing that many schools did not teach to a level that made students job ready. Over time she and our management staff have made contact with many service owners, managers, and recruiters. We give each graduate personal placement assistance. We use what we have learned about the MT, what work they tell us interests them, and what needs our networking contacts have shared with us. Instead of sending a graduate to bang on the door, we are able to introduce our graduate to the right people. This more than gets their foot in the door…It opens that door wide. That is real job placement assistance.
No program can guarantee a student employment. Not even the elite Ivy League schools graduating physicians can make that promise; however, Med-Line’s individual attention and placement allows a much higher success.
So when a potential student asks us what percent of our graduates gain employment we can honestly say: “All our graduates who want to work are working.” How many others can say that?
Networking can be a make or break for an applicant. Often the new graduate of a qualified program is miles above lesser caliber programs; however, they are just a name to a recruiter. Anything you can do to get your name out there and get yourself known is going to benefit you. This is something you need to start now, not the day or month before you are ready for that job. Networking is a lifelong process.
Here was my experience. I joined AHDI as a student and decided to volunteer for the membership committee because I was interested in working with other students. There I met someone who I became friends with and introduced me to people starting the Student Alliance. After helping to get the Student Alliance up and running, I was introduced to my local chapter and state association by a co-founder of the Student Alliance. I decided to run for the treasurer in my local chapter because it was easy and I would meet more people. During that term I got to know several people, one of which offered me a job when I graduated. I was also asked to run as my state’s delegate. As a delegate I met even more people and due to that networking, a friend let me know about a job that very much interested me at the time. Fortunately I had come to know the person doing the hiring through my delegate work so the ice was definitely broken. My current job also came about in large part due to past association work, experience, and having my name out there.
Essentially every opportunity I had came from some type of networking/volunteer activity. People knew my name by the time I was ready for work. That really elevated the playing field in my favor. So how can you do the same?
Although a lot of the information may be above your head in the beginning, you will quickly learn issues that are relevant to the profession as well as see names of the movers and shakers in the industry.
The NPA is composed of students and recent grads. This is a great way to network with current students, graduates, and some volunteers from the Association.
This is where you will make some strong networking contacts over time. Many of the seasoned MTs will take students under the wing so to speak and give them relevant advice on job hunting and even let them know of companies that are hiring.
Consider running for a local office or volunteering for a committee
Often students are afraid of this because they do not know much about the industry; however, there are many ways that you can help out. Sometimes something as simple as helping stuff welcome bags is greatly appreciated. You can volunteer at a registration booth so that you see people’s names and they see yours.
Whatever you do, do not exist in a vacuum. Talk to people. It is easier than you think. You never know which of your current students will be the one to one day offer you your dream job or put you in touch with a company that will meet your needs.
Photo Credit: smemon87
Chad C. Sines, MS, MBA, AHDI-F
Director of Client Services and Security