How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist in Iowa

For a career in the growing healthcare industry that doesn’t require a college degree, consider becoming a medical transcriptionist. These professionals work in an office or at home. Their responsibilities include:

  • Listening to and transcribing physician dictations
  • Ensuring accuracy in patient reports
  • Editing and reviewing healthcare documents
  • Following legal, ethical and confidentiality guidelines

In Iowa, this is a job that is currently growing and one that you can get into in less than a year if you start training now.

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Steps to Become a Medical Transcriptionist in Iowa

To become a medical transcriptionist, begin by completing high school or earning a GED. Next, you need to complete a post-secondary training program. These are usually offered by community colleges and online colleges. Most take a year or less to complete and confer a certificate or diploma. You can then get certified through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI), a professional organization for medical transcriptionists. This last step is not required by most employers, but it can help you distinguish yourself from other job candidates.

Iowa Programs for Medical Transcription Training

In Iowa, you’ll find a couple of campus programs, but you can also access a number of online medical transcription courses. These include:

  • Western Iowa Tech Community College, Sioux City. This campus program includes 38 credits of courses and a diploma upon graduation. Examples of courses include keyboarding, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, medical transcription, business communication and medical office procedures.
  • Kirkwood Community College, online. Kirkwood is based in Cedar Rapids but offers a program for medical transcription that is completely online. Courses focus on grammar, keyboarding and medical terminology. You will also get plenty of practice doing actual transcription work.

Getting Certified as a Medical Transcriptionist

While certification is not required for this career, the AHDI offers two levels of credentials that show you have the training, knowledge, skills and experience to do the job. The first level, the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist certificate, is for those with less than two years of work experience in one specialty area.

To become a Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist,you must have the first level of certification, more than two years of experience on the job and have worked in multiple medical specialties.

Each level also requires that you pass an exam.

Salaries and Job Growth

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median salaries for medical transcriptionists across all states as $34,770 per year and $16.72 per hour. The averages for Iowa medical transcriptionists are slightly lower at $34,630 per year and $16.65 per hour.

The growth in the industry is sluggish and actually decreasing in many states. In Iowa, though, you can expect strong growth in medical transcription jobs, according to Projections Central. Annual growth in Iowa is at a rate of nearly seven percent, with more than 200 open positions available each year.

Medical Transcription Jobs in Iowa

You have some options for landing a job in Iowa, but most medical transcriptionists either work for a medical facility, such as a physician office, or for a company that provides healthcare support services. Many work full-time, but part-time work is usually available and many transcriptionists are able to work remotely.

In Iowa, some of the recent job listings for qualified transcriptionists have included: medical transcription clerk, Mason City Clinic, Mason City; medical secretary, MercyOne, Sioux City; medical scribe, ScribeAmerica, Davenport; and transcriptionists, Jamison Professional Services, Des Moines. With less than a year of training, you’ll be ready for any of these jobs and many others in the state as well.