Since offering its first correspondence courses to coal miners in 1890, Penn Foster Career School has been helping students of all ages build the skills they need to achieve career success. Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools for its high school and vocational-technical programs, Penn Foster is committed to providing the highest quality distance education to millions of students worldwide. Penn Foster offers career training in business, education, engineering, legal studies, health services, and much more. Of particular note is the Medical Transcriptionist Program.
Why Study Medical Transcription?
Health care is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States. The aging population has stressed the need for medical care to critical levels. Doctors, nurses and support staff have begun to retire. Staff shortages at all levels are a serious concern for hospitals, clinics, and physicians' offices across the country.
What does this mean for you? Plenty of job openings, that's what. When most people hear "medical staff" they think of doctors and nurses, but health care establishments cannot function without the millions of trained professionals who handle paperwork, appointment scheduling, insurance coding, billing, office administration, bookkeeping, budgeting, and much more.
Medical Transcription is one of these vital jobs. These professionals ensure that physicians' dictated notes are accurately recorded for inclusion into patients' medical records. Medical Transcriptionists must not only have excellent typing skills but a solid understanding of medical terminology, anatomy and medical ethics. It's a popular job; many transcriptionists are able to work flexible schedules, often from home. Employment of Medical Transcriptionists is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job opportunities in this field to increase 14% through 2016.*
Transcriptionists' notes are used for medical care, recordkeeping, insurance reimbursement, and, in some cases, legal proceedings. Accurate medical records can mean the difference between life and death for many patients, so Medical Transcriptionists must be detail-oriented, thorough, and well-trained.
How Do I Get a Job as a Medical Transcriptionist?
Medical Transcription doesn't require a four-year degree, but it does require formal training. Accurate transcription, especially in the complex medical field, calls for foundational skills in anatomy, medical terminology, and computer applications. With nationally and regionally accredited Penn Foster's Medical Transcriptionist Program, you'll take the following courses:
Allied Health. This course introduces students to the health care field, and explains the role that medical coders, medical office assistants, and medical transcriptionists play in the industry.
Office Procedures. Students will learn business letter writing, task management, how to operate general business machines, meeting and travel planning, policy and procedures manuals, and much more.
Interpersonal Communication. Students will learn to develop more effective personal communication skills to improve their professional success: physical appearance, appropriate word choice, listening skills, and more.
Law and Ethics in Medicine. Ethical and legal issues in the delivery of health care are presented. There is a special emphasis on privileged communications, confidentiality, informed consent, the elements of and defenses against malpractice, and much more.
Computer Applications. This course covers digital electronics and file organization, computer and Internet fundamentals, hardware and software, introduction to Windows®, PC applications in word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software.
Business English. Students will learn the basics of document organization, business letters, forms, grammar, punctuation, and how to create effective, precise, and attractive final copies of all necessary documents.
Medical Terminology. Students will develop a basic medical vocabulary by learning to define, pronounce, and spell medical terms. They will also examine and interpret medical reports related to specific body systems.
Anatomy and Physiology. Each major body system is illustrated and studied to demonstrate normal and abnormal function. Topics include basic biochemical elements, bones skin, muscles, the senses and the cardiovascular, nervous, endocrine, lymphatic/immune, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems.
Confidentiality of Health Information. Students will learn the legal and ethical regulations regarding the confidentiality of health information, with special emphasis on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Medical Transcription. This final course introduces students to the legal and technological aspects of medical transcription, as well as career prospects in the industry. The student will practice by transcribing and formatting various kinds of medical records.
Distance Learning: The Penn Foster Experience
Penn Foster Career School is committed to providing affordable, convenient learning options for working professionals, without sacrificing quality. The Medical Transcriptionist Program may be taken online, in print, or by a combination of the two methods. Students appreciate the flexibility of studying at their own pace, and the ease of learning at home.
When you enroll, your learning materials will be shipped directly to you, however, you can login online to begin your studies immediately. Penn Foster programs are designed for independent study, but a toll-free academic support hotline is available when you need assistance. And when one-on-one instructors are unavailable, you have 24-hour access to Penn Foster's huge online library for research. As with your coursework, you can choose to take your exams online or in print; new courses follow as you pass each one.
"Penn Foster differs from other institutions because it provides the student with one-on-one instructional support," says health care instructor Deborah Ann Zenzal, RN. "We ensure our academic quality by regulatory compliance, licensing and accreditation, experienced instructors, and through the quality of our learning materials and student support services. Our programs provide appropriate content to assess student learning and to ensure preparation for the workforce."
Penn Foster's commitment to their students' success doesn't end at graduation. Penn Foster Career School alumni have access to a variety of career services, including resume building, tips on interviewing, cover letter advice, and access to job databases. In addition, current students and graduates are notified of job openings submitted directly to Penn Foster by employers from around the country.
“As a couple who wanted to remain active in our 'golden years,' my husband and I had reached the point of making some choices,” says one alumna. "I just received my career diploma in Medical Transcription. Penn Foster let me work at my own pace. There was tremendous support and encouragement from advisors and staff. Help was always only a telephone call away. Excellent sources of textbooks and reference materials arrived as you started on the next phase of your education. For the first time in my life, learning was fun! Penn Foster can lead you academically and economically to one of many careers. And if you are near retirement, remember that education and learning should never cease!"
*Source:“ Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition,” a publication of the U.S. Department of Labor.