How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist in Louisiana

Medical transcriptionists play an essential role in the healthcare field, because they are responsible for transcribing, typing and editing medical reports and records. They listen to voice recordings made by medical professionals such as physicians, surgeons and nurse practitioners and convert these recordings into typewritten documents. To work as a medical transcriptionist, you will need to be familiar with medical terminology, medical abbreviations, pharmacology and medical documentation. You will also need to know how to use word processing and data entry software.

Louisiana Guidelines for Medical Transcriptionists

You don’t need a license or even certification to work as a medical transcriptionist in Louisiana. A high school diploma or the equivalent is required for employment in most places. Knowledge of medical terminology and medical documentation is also necessary, so you may want to consider taking a medical transcription program at a local college if available, or online. Additional certification may be earned but is not mandatory.

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Programs in Louisiana for Medical Transcription

In Louisiana, there is one campus program available for medical transcription. You also have online options.

  • Louisiana State University at Eunice. LSU-Eunice offers the option of earning a technical competency area that focuses on medical billing, coding and transcription. This can then be applied toward a Certificate of Technical Studies in Medical Records and Health Information Technology. The competency area can be completed in 15 credit hours or one semester. Certificate programs can usually be completed in a year.
  • Ashworth College. Ashworth College is an online university that has a medical transcription program. Admission to the AHDI Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist certification exam is included in the cost of tuition. Online medical transcription and editing lessons are also included in the program, which consists of five lesson groups of medical transcription coursework. The pace at which you complete the courses will determine how quickly you complete the program.
  • Penn Foster College. Penn Foster College also offers a medical transcription program entirely online. This is a nationally accredited program that prepares students to take the AHDI certification exam. The tuition is as flexible as the classes and can be paid in payments or one lump sum. Completion time will depend on how quickly or slowly you complete coursework, but most online programs through Penn Foster can be completed in less than a year.

Additional Certifications for Medical Transcriptionists

Certification isn’t required to work as a medical transcriptionist in Louisiana, but such credentials will show that you are a professional and an expert in your field. With certification, you may also be able to find employment more quickly and make more money.

The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) is the principal credentialing agency for medical transcriptionists. The AHDI offers two designations: the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) and the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS). No work experience is needed to earn the RHDS certification, but you must have at least two years of experience to obtain the CHDS certification. You must pass an exam to earn either certification. The exams consist of multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions as well as a section that tests your transcription performance.

Salary and Growth Projections in Louisiana

The number of jobs in the medical transcription field is currently experiencing a decline nationally. In the state of Louisiana, there is only a slight decrease projected for this field over the next few years. The state is expected to see a 2.6 percent decline between the years 2016 and 2026, but new jobs will become available as other transcriptionists retire or change careers. Working from home may also increase your chances of getting hired.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the national average annual salary for medical transcriptionists is $34,770. In Louisiana, medical transcriptionists make an average of $14.92 hourly and $31,040 annually.

Employment Opportunities for Medical Transcriptionists in Louisiana

The main employment settings for medical transcriptionists are business support services, physicians’ offices, hospitals and medical clinics. Many medical transcriptionists work from home. If you need flexibility, or there aren’t many medical transcription jobs in your area, this may be a better option for you. If you are looking for a job with a physician’s office or hospital, you may want to look in some of the more populated cities in the state, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans.