Becoming a Medical Transcriptionist in Alaska
Medical transcriptionists are traditionally responsible for the important work of converting dictated audio recordings from physicians and other healthcare providers into official written medical documents. However, in modern times, advances in technology require an increasing need for editing notes created using voice recognition software. Those wishing to pursue a career as a medical transcriptionist will need to be detail-oriented with good listening and writing skills.
In order to work in the field, a transcriptionist will need a good working knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, medical abbreviations, diagnostic procedures and various disease processes. Transcriptionists will also need to be well trained on how and when to use appropriate reference materials, the different types of reports and their components, and the types of software used to produce and store them. Medical charting also requires strict adherence to legal and confidentiality requirements, and medical transcriptionists will need to stay aware of the most up-to-date regulations.
Regulations in Alaska for Medical Transcriptionists
Most states do not require licensure for medical transcriptionists, and Alaska is no exception. Those wishing to pursue the career will need to acquire the appropriate training after receiving a high school diploma or equivalent. Training programs can be completed in person or online, and generally take anywhere from six weeks to one year from start to finish.
Medical Transcriptionist Educational Programs in Alaska
There is one in-person training program available for medical transcription within the state as well as online choices for those wishing to pursue distance learning. A few available programs include:
- University of Alaska, Anchorage offers training for medical transcription. The course promises to prepare students for certification through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI), with education in medical language, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and disease processes.
- Penn Foster College, recommended by the State of Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, offers an online training program for medical transcriptionists. The program also promises to prepare students for eventual certification through the AHDI.
As mentioned, the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) is a popular choice for those wishing to pursue certification as a medical transcriptionist. While not required to work in the field, obtaining the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) certification through the AHDI is a great way to stand out as a professional in a crowded career field. This designation can be earned by passing an examination consisting of multiple-choice questions and sample transcriptions.
Salary Expectations and Growth Potential in Alaska
When it comes to expectations for this career, Alaska really shines. Listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as the top-earning state in the nation in this field, Alaska medical transcriptionists made a reported mean annual salary of $49,420 in 2018, well above the national reported mean of $36,350 that same year.
In other good news, the career is expected to experience a 20 percent growth in Alaska between the years 2016 and 2026, even as the field is expected to undergo a decline of 3.3 percent nationally, according to data from Projections Central.
Opportunities in Alaska for Medical Transcriptionists
Medical transcriptionists should expect employment in doctors’ and dentists’ offices, hospitals, business support services and diagnostic laboratories. The field has good potential for those looking to work remotely or work as freelancers.
In Alaska, a few potential employers include Favorite Healthcare Staffing, Quest Diagnostics, UnitedHealth Group, Kodiak Area Native Association and Primrose Retirement Communities, LLC.