Medical transcription vs Medical coding and what's the best online school?

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Nik in Wedowee, Alabama

85 months ago

I am interested in either taking medical transcription or coding online and Ashworth University is one of the schools I have been researching. I like the price of it, although I was hoping to get a loan or grant as I am "financially challenged" right now. I have also been looking at Career Step (which does offer loan assistance but no grants and the price is twice Ashworths) and Everett Community College (accepts FASFA and has Pell Grant and price is 4X Ashworth) Can you or anyone give me any further info about any of these schools? I am subscribing to several forums and reading everything I can get my hands on about both fields. I did go to technical school back in the 70's and took Clerical. I haven't been in office work for quite some time - divorce put me in the mills to be able to support myself for a while, and after I remarried, I moved to a small town where the only work I could get was in mills or restaurants. I currently have an accurate typing speed of about 50 wpm, so will have to work on getting my speed up as well. As I get older, mill work is getting harder on my physically, and restaurant work is too low paying and frustrating, so I am committed to getting the education I need to improve my lifestyle. I am unable to take all the courses I need at the nearby community college and can't get to the other campuses, so the online route is my only viable option, I just want to make the right choice. I would like to hear from MTs and MCs and what are the pros and cons of both? Thanx for any help!

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grandmasherry in Selmer, Tennessee

84 months ago

I have the same question............I need help to figure it out too

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Debbie in Port Saint Lucie, Florida

79 months ago

I have the same question - can anyone recommend a really good online school?

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Em in Powell, Tennessee

79 months ago

Debbie in Port Saint Lucie, Florida said: I have the same question - can anyone recommend a really good online school?

Penn Foster is good. I'm thinking of doing their Pharmacy Technician course. They're pretty cheap, all their courses are pretty much under $1,000

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Emmy91 in Knoxville, Tennessee

79 months ago

yeah Penn Foster has courses for Medical Transciptionist, Medical Coding and Billing, and a bunch of other stuff

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Patricia Mason in Detroit, Michigan

78 months ago

I, too, am looking for work in the field that I love - Medical Transcription. I have about a year's experience in cardiology/radiolgy. I prefer to work on site and would thoroughly enjoy a hospital or clinical setting. It's a challenge, but eventually, I am sure I will get what I want. In the meantime, keep abreast and be ready at all times.

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Billie in Winnemucca, Nevada

77 months ago

Many at-home employers will not hire graduates of Penn Foster's Medical Transcription course.

Most employers require years of exerience. HOWEVER, many will waive this requirement if you graduate from an AHDI 'approved' school.

AHDI is the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity - www.ahdionline.org (formerly known as the American Association for Medical Transcription). AHDI sets the standards for MT courses. Employers know that graduates of these 'approved' courses have gained the skills necessary to begin their career as an MT.

If your looking into Medical Transcription pay the extra in tuition to attend an 'approved' school. When I was researching school options, I called several MT employers. I spoke to their Human Resources departments and asked about getting started in the field. All of them recommended attending an AHDI approved program. Many people have received training through inadequate programs only to find out that they are unable to find a job.

I attended Career Step (mteducationonline.com) and recieved a job (at-home) less than a week after graduating. I've received several more job offers since, but have stuck with my original employer. It can be a difficult job, but I love it!

I recommend CS because they are partnered with MANY employers, self-paced (you can finish in a few months or take as long as over a year or two), and more affordable than the other top 2 courses. Plus, I have personal experience (and success) with the program.

Attending your local community college will give you a good chance at a job in-house, but if you are wanting to work from home, an online 'approved' course is the way to go.
Good luck!

mteducationonline.com
www.ahdionline.org
www.bls.gov/oco/ocos271.htm

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Stephanie in Birmingham, Alabama

73 months ago

I am in my 13th month of school for medical transcription with MTEC found at www.mtecinc.com which was the first online school to be accredited by AHDI. I looked into CareerStep when searching for a school, and I dont know very much about it but it was my impression that they did not offer courses long enough to learn this skill. Now over a year into this, I see that nothing short of a 12-18 month course could ever completely qualify you to step directly into the workplace. Choose the school that satisfies your needs, but in my humble opinion, you get what you pay for!

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Billie in Winnemucca, Nevada

73 months ago

Stephanie,

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on this. I was able to finish my training in less than 12-18 months, and have had nothing but success in this field. In fact, I was working less than a week after graduating from the CS course.

MTEC is a good program and I wish you much success in your search for employment. However, because Career Step is partnered with multiple employers, on average their graduates are able to find employment sooner than those of other courses.

The course is self-paced and you get out of it what you put into it. I put a lot of work into the course and received multiple job offers. My employers are very impressed with my skills.

Also, the reason Career Step's course is cheaper than the other AHDI approved courses is because the founder, Andrea Anaya, wanted to keep it affordable. She knew that most students were signing up for the course in hopes of finding employment after graduation. Many of them needed a job that would allow them to stay home with their kids and generate an income for the family. Those needing an income, may not have much money in the first place. Therefore, Anaya wanted to keep the course affordable.

As I said, MTEC is also a reputable school, but I am completely satisfied with the training I received through Career Step (and so are my employers).

I wish you much success in this field and in finding employment after graduation.

~Billie

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Trisha1 in Dallas, Texas

73 months ago

Hello everyone. I am an affiliate with Career Step. I currently have a website through them offering the medical coding and transcription courses if anyone knows someone that might be interested in enrolling in the online classes please forward the link to my site at www.homecareerinfo.com/1176. Thanks so much and everyone have a great day.

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Joanne in Florence, South Carolina

73 months ago

Help! I recently completed an online MT course at Penn Foster, obviously before I read on here that I needed to use an accredited program. I have 7 years of experience as a registered nurse so I have more experience with medical terminology than your average new graduate, but I'm not getting any offers for jobs. This is so frustrating! What should I do now?

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Billie in Winnemucca, Nevada

73 months ago

Joanne,

Send me an e-mail at bcharmed 01 @ yahoo . com (remove spaces).

I've helped a few PF grads in their job search. It a bit more difficult, but there are a few options. =)

~Billie

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Shannon in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

72 months ago

I can't decide whether I want to do medical coding or transcription. I do want to work for home but be able to make good money as well. I have a bachelors degree in Liberal Studies/Administrative Leadership and 18 Masters hours from OU. I had to put a hold on my degree because my daughter who is 17 months old today was demanding a lot of my attention. I work full time as does my husband who also attends college 4 nights a week. Can anyone give me some insight on which has a better long term career options and working from home options. With my leadership abilities, I would love to start my own medical transcription/coding business.

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Billie in Winnemucca, Nevada

72 months ago

Hi Shannon!

I don't know too much about Medical Coding, but have been told that the field is more difficult to get into in a work-at-home position. From what I understand, most employers want a couple years of experience first.

As for which would be the better long-term career, I don't know. I would suggest checking into the Bureau of Labor statistics for both fields (expected growth, pay, etc.).

Best of luck!

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MaddieBoo in Saint Louis, Missouri

72 months ago

Debbie in Port Saint Lucie, Florida said: I have the same question - can anyone recommend a really good online school?

Everest University online has a great program in Med coding & Billing.. Thats what i'm going for. Good luck!

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andrea armstead in Detroit, Michigan

70 months ago

I am currently a student with ashworth university.I am a patient care technician wit h a major hospital in michigan. I am very satisfied with this school. I did a lot of research and also had my nursing peers to research it. I think it is what you make of it and of course with anything it takes time. If this is something you really want go for it.I wish you the best of luck.feel free to email me anytime.

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Jeralynn in Lake Worth, Florida

68 months ago

I am also interested in Career Step. Like the first lady who started the conversation string, I am also financially challenged. I can't afford the $375 monthly fee for 5 months. Do they have other options? I did hear it was the most affordable at around $1,875, however, as aforementioned, can't even afford the monthly fee. If it was around $50 per month that would be feasible. I know there are other programs that are more affordable but not AHDI approved, so I want to go through an AHDI-approved course for sure.

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Billie in Reno, Nevada

68 months ago

Jeralynn,

I always recommend calling the school and asking about ALL of your financial options. They do have other options available for you, which would be more in your range.

Best of luck!

~Billie
mteducationonline.com

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Jeralynn in Lake Worth, Florida

68 months ago

Thanks Billie! I am thinking about VLC (Virtual Learning Center). Have you heard anything about that program?

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Billie in Reno, Nevada

68 months ago

Actually, I haven't. I just checked with AHDI and they are NOT on their approved list (which you probably already know).

I browsed through their course content. Nowhere did I see where the student would be transcribing "actual" reports. This is a very important (the MOST important) section in ANY course.

ALSO, I looked around VLC's website. Over on the left-hand side, click on "Companies that Hire Our Grads". I didn't have time to go through all of them, but:
1)MANY of the links are broken and I wonder why some of them don't even have links at all.
2)Many specifically state they will not hire new grads and require 2 years of experience.
3)At least one of the companies didn't even hire MEDICAL transcriptionists, only those with experience in LEGAL.
4)Some of the companies, if you browse through their website, point prospective MTs to the CS course:
www.focusinfomatics.com/careers.htm Choose "If you would like to learn how to become a medical transcriptionist please click here!"
www.transolutions.net/web/guest/careersoverview

Just some things to think about. I would recommend doing a lot more research into this company before signing up.

Best of luck!

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OMP in Skokie, Illinois

68 months ago

I am planning to enroll in an online Medical Coding program which I found through AHIMA's website (AHIMA.org). It is called the Distance Education and Training--Coding Basics in Chicago.

A few people have mentioned on this website that in order for a coding certificate to mean anything to employers it has to be through an AHIMA recommended school. The cost is $2000 total.

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Billie in Reno, Nevada

68 months ago

It's possible.... but VERY difficult to get started in either one of those fields without the proper experience or training. Your going to have to find someone willing to train you, but with all the new graduates also competing for jobs, that's going to be difficult.
Best of luck!!

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ashley in Georgetown, Kentucky

68 months ago

Hi Billie. I am looking into using Career Step as well. Did they help you find your job? I am going to be a stay at home mom and I am wondering if I will be able to do this. I am great with computers, have a good typing speed, and I am confident that I can do the work. I am just unsure of how many jobs there are out there that I can do from home. I will not be able to work in an office and a lot of the jobs that I see require you to have 2 years of MT experience. What advice can you give me? Do you feel that Career step really prepared you? I have looked into the Andrews School and Mtec, but they are very expensive. How do you feel that they compare?

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Billie in Reno, Nevada

68 months ago

Ashley,

CS offers job placement assistance. I've heard amazing things about this program, but have no personal experience with the program. I was working less than a week after graduating and, therefore, had no need to utilize it. Again, though, I've heard amazing things about that program.
A lot of companies will waive the 2 year requirement if you graduate from an AHDI-approved course.
I feel that CS prepared me well. I have personal experience and success with the program, which is why I have recommended them to many of my friends. Andrews and Mtec are also good. If you need a little more structure or motivation to get your work done, one of the last two may be a better choice. They are not self-paced and, therefore have deadlines on assignments, etc. If your hoping to complete the course in your own time and are motivated, CS is a great choice! They are also partnered with MULTIPLE employers who hire their grads right out of school.
Just remember, once you start working... your going to need that self-motivation! =)
Best of luck! I hope that answered your questions.
~Billie
mteducationonline.com

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ashley in Georgetown, Kentucky

68 months ago

Thanks Billie! You were a wonderful help!

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Kelly69 in East Windsor, Connecticut

67 months ago

Hello,

I am trying to decide on what online program to go with. I think I have narrowed it down to Career Step or M-TEC. Does anybody have any input on either? Thanks!

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Billie in Reno, Nevada

67 months ago

Kelly,

Both are great school and each will give you a good shot at employment after graduation. I chose CS because they were self-paced and partnered with several employers. I've had nothing but success with their program.

If your not self-motivated and need deadlines, than M-Tec is the way to go. Just remember that once you start working, you may find that you'll need that self-motivation.

Best of luck!

~Billie
mteducationonline.com

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Kelly69 in East Windsor, Connecticut

67 months ago

Thank you for your response Billie. Did you finish the program along time ago? Did it take you long to find work? Were you able to work from home? :-) Thanks again!

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Billie in Reno, Nevada

67 months ago

It's been a few years since I graduated. The school sent out an e-mail shortly after I graduated, stating that one of their partner companies was looking to hire 40 new MTs for an account they were taking on. The company was one of my top choices, so I sent in my resume. I was contacted earlier that same day with a job offer. Technically, I was working less than a week after graduating.
All of my work has been online, at home. I've never stepped foot into an office. =)
HTH!

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Kelly69 in East Windsor, Connecticut

67 months ago

Is the company you're working for local or in another state?

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Billie in Reno, Nevada

67 months ago

It's clear across the country. ;)

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Billie in Reno, Nevada

67 months ago

I chose to do the Gold program. I had intentions of upgrading to Platinum, but was working before I ever had the chance too. I've heard nothing but amazing things about the graduate support and job placement assistance offered through the Platinum program, though. =)

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Jenn in Los Angeles, California

67 months ago

momma6 in Freeland, Pennsylvania said: Which program did you finish at CS?

I had the platinum course, but I never utilized the career assistance. I had a job before even graduating. Personally, if I had to do it again, I would go with gold and save a lot of money. All I got for my $200 was a list of companies (some of which no longer hire CS grads). The same list of companies could have been found by searching the CS forum. I did receive a couple of emails from CS notifying me of companies that were hiring. Of course, all the platinum grads received the same emails, so the companies received tons of resumes for only a few openings. I did better searching for jobs on my own. I did try to get help with my resume, but CS never responded to my emails. For me, it was a complete waste of money and I wish I instead would have spent the money on an expander or good headphones. I tell most perspective students to get the gold as you can always upgrade to platinum later (I believe even after graduation) if you decide you need the assistance.

Of course, those selling the CS course who make commision from having you sign up under them will tell you the platinum course is a great deal.

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Asri Joda in Lake Forest, California

66 months ago

I am currently taking online medical coding class from allied school. But, before you take any expensive medical classes you will need to find out which medical career is more valuable for you. Good information, check it out here.

www.medicalcodingcourses.com/compare-career.asp

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nspringer05 in Fairview, Oregon

66 months ago

Billie:

How frustrating. I graduated from Penn Foster's medical transcription program in December 2008, and I'm having a heck of a time finding any company that hires new grads. Is it truly a lost cause?

Nicole

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Billie in Reno, Nevada

66 months ago

Hi Nicole,

Send me an e-mail (bcharmed01 at yahoo dot com). I'm having problems with my spam folder, so try again if you don't hear from me within a couple of days.
Give me an idea of what steps you have already taken.

Don't give up. =)

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MariaMartinez1 in Oakland, California

66 months ago

Try allied school offers financial programs also,

www.medtranscriptioncourse.com/

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Musiciantype in Lake Worth, Florida

66 months ago

I am thinking of taking the medical transcription course at Career Step. I have always used an Apple computer and I was wondering if it is possible to use this computer in this career?

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Billie in Reno, Nevada

66 months ago

Musiciantype,
I really don't know. But, the school should be able to answer that question. It wouldn't hurt to give them a call and ask. =)

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CS Grad

66 months ago

I know some have done the CS course using a Mac with no issues. The problem comes when job hunting. Most companies' platforms are not compatible with Mac. You would be limiting your job oportunities if you did not have a PC.

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Amzie in New Durham, New Hampshire

65 months ago

Hello.

I am a student with Allied Schools. I am studying MT. I am a good typist but the problem is figuring out what they are saying! Having a bit of a tough time. I enjoy it but get frustrated because I only get some limited help over the phone. I am wondering if anyone knows whether transcription or coding is easier to learn for someone new to the medical field? Any comments or suggestions would be helpful. Thank you

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getitrightMT in Spring, Texas

65 months ago

Just know that the AHDI is not an accredited body, they only get you certified but do not regulate schools. The website is a paid sponsored link (they pay to get on there) They are NOT accredited by the AHDI so their classes will not transfer and they are not considered a school through the US Department of Education or the Distance Education Training Council (DETC.
Remember to always look for Nationally Accredited and look at the syllabus. Please go to detc.org an enter in the schools name first to see if they are accredited first before you waste the time and money. I dont see Career step on there at all. I chose Allied Schools. I'll let you know how it turns out. So far I'm learning alot and they have alot of ways to help you learn everything as well.

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Billie in Reno, Nevada

65 months ago

getisrightMT,

I wish you much success in this field, but wanted to point out a few things.

Please know that Medical Transcription, in itself, is not a degree. Therefore, accreditation is not necessary. You can go through an accredited program if you plan on putting those credits toward a future degree. However, if you major in something other than the medical field, those credits will most likely be used as extracurricular credits.

First of all, Career Step is partnered with MANY community colleges. They teach the Career Step course in a college setting, allowing the student to receive the CS training while receiving credits through an accredited program. In other words, if accreditation is important to you, Career Step is still an option. A friend of mine is taking this route. She is taking the Career Step course through our local community college. She receives the same training I did, but has the credits should she want/need them in the future.

Your right, AHDI is not an accredited body. Again, though, Medical Transcription is not a degree. AHDI does, however, set the standards for MT courses. Students can be sure that any course on their approval list has proven to provide the requirements necessary to get started in the MT field. Most employers require years of experience OR graduation from an AHDI-approved school. They know that students from these courses produce competent entry-level medical transcriptionists.

Career Step is AHDI-approved and students DO have the option of taking their course through an accredited program. Allied schools is accredited, but not AHDI-approved.

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Amzie in New Durham, New Hampshire

65 months ago

Hi.

As I wrote yesterday, I stated I was taking MT at Allied Schools. I am almost finished and considering taking MCoding. I am wondering if Allied or Career Step has a better program. Please help...Thanks :)

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getitrightMT in Spring, Texas

65 months ago

Billie,

Thanks for the note...but I'll take my chances with going to an accredited school, why waste the time and money on a school that the employer may not even recognize. You say many schools use the CS program? Who? to name a few? I'm sure that employers want the school to be accredited more than they want this AHDI approved program. I'm sure there are other programs as well that help set the "standards" for MT, not just AHDI.

Amzie,
I advise you to do your research before you make your decision. I am currently attending Allied Schools, I just started so I cant get you all the details you need but I feel the books and CD's really helped me learn everything better. Take your time and just look into what program will work best for you.

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Billie in Reno, Nevada

65 months ago

Amzie,

I missed your question. Sorry about that. You ask "if anyone knows whether transcription or coding is easier to learn for someone new to the medical field?" I don't know a lot about coding. I've always worked in the transcription field. I can tell you that, as with everything else, practice makes perfect. It will take time to "train your ear" to the medical terminology. Depending on how the course is setup, after completing several reports go back and do one of the first few. You'll be surprised at how much better you did the second time around, after having more practice.

Best of luck! =)

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Billie in Reno, Nevada

65 months ago

Getitright,

Everett Community College - www.everettcc.edu
"The Medical Coding Online and Medical Transcription Program use a building-block curriculum published for Everett Community College (EvCC) by Career Step."

Great Basin Community College of Northern Nevada - gbcnv.edu
"GBC partners with Career Step of Springville, Utah, to deliver all MTRN (Medical Transcription) courses online."

To name a few. AHDI-Approval and Accreditation. =)

Again, I wish you much success, but please remember that I took the CS course, graduated, and was working less than a week after graduation. I hope you have the same success, but I can guarantee you that employers recognize Career Step.

Proof? Here are links to some of the larger National MT employers:

Medquist: "To be considered for employment, applicants must have one year of recent work experience as a medical transcriptionist or must be a recent graduate of an AAMT certified transcription program." - www.medquist.com/Default.aspx?tabid=189 (As I'm sure you know, AHDI was formerly known as AAMT (American Association of Medical Transcription). Many still refer to AHDI as AAMT. Feel free to look it up)

Sten-Tel: "If you do not have experience in the medical transcription industry, it is strongly recommended that you complete a quality medical transcription program. Click here for more information on medical transcription training." - By clicking on the link you are taken here: sten-tel.com/mt_schools.asp

Focus Infomatics: If I remember correctly, the have a list of approved schools, but you may have to start the application process or call in order to get it. Either way, their website directs you to the Career Step program in the event that you need education: jobs-focusinfomatics.icims.com/jobs/intro

I have more, but am running out of room.

By the way, Allied Schools has a B- Rating with the Better Business Bureau. Career Step has an A+ bbb.org

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Jennifer in Salt Lake City, Utah

65 months ago

Hi Nik,

Anyone who has done transcription can tell you that your arms, wrists and fingers will hurt from all of the typing. You need to be familiar with Medical Terminoloy and spelling and must be fast, responsive and willing to get things right the first time. It's a lonely job as you usually work in your own quiet office, with headset on and foot pedal to control the tape speed. Most companies look for people that can type 60+ words per minute as you get paid by the word or line.

Coding is based on how the doctor treats the patient, understanding the procedure codes, modifiers, diagnosis codes and insurance carrier specific rules to your state, taxonomy code and provider specialty. You don't need to go to school for either of these jobs however; work experience is usually required before you can get through someones door to get hired (unless you are really persuasive in the interview process).

Certified Coders do require schooling however; most doctors won't hire you on just out of school because you learn the "overview" of how to code usually not speicfic to the doctors practice and they usually like to train people themselves. Of course every company is different in what they look for when hiring people :).

If you think that coding is right for you visit www.videotrainingpro.com/ and scroll down to view the free medical billing training videos. Basic Billing Videos, Advanced Billing and Collections would be more of what a coder / biller would handle in job responsibilities.

Hope this helps!

Jennifer
www.videotrainingpro.com/
www.medicalbillingsoftwarepro.com/
www.askamedicalbiller.blogspot.com/

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getitrightMT in Spring, Texas

65 months ago

Billie,

Thanks, for the info on CS. I'm sure decisions will be made appropriately for anyone who is looking for the best school for them to sign up to. Oh, and I did look at the BBB rate for CS and Allied, I am very aware of the B- rating. I also looked at how long they where a member of the BBB too. CS since 2001, Allied has been with the BBB since 1997. I'm sure over that amount of time its hard to maintain even that rating. They must be doing something right. I think we can agree the challenge will be to find someone to hire a newby after they finish the program. So with that said if we choose the correct program for us and then make sure we a taking care of our end of the deal by learning our material to the best of our ability so that transition can possibly go a bit easier. I wish all the best in their careers. I'm glad to hear CS worked out for you as well Allied is working out for me.

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james jonava in san francisco, California

65 months ago

Hi Billie,

You can easily compare the medical transcription and coding just by going here, www.medtranscriptioncourse.com/compare-career.asp. Hope this would help.

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