North Dakota

How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist in North Dakota

Also known as a healthcare documentation specialist, a medical transcriptionist is a skilled worker who transcribes medical recordings made by healthcare professionals and converts them into written documents.

Careers in the healthcare field are continuing to grow, and working as a medical transcriptionist is a way to work in the healthcare industry without having to go to nursing or medical school. You do need some training to work as a medical transcriptionist, but not a degree. Keep reading to learn the steps you need to take to work as a medical transcriptionist in North Dakota.

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Requirements for Becoming a Medical Transcriptionist

To work as a medical transcriptionist in North Dakota, you need to be a high school graduate or have the equivalent of a high school diploma (GED). The state of North Dakota does not specify that medical transcriptionists need a post-secondary degree or certification or licensure. However, since you will need to be familiar with medical terminology and know how to operate transcribing software and word processing software, enrolling in a training program for medical transcription is wise. Most of these programs can be completed either at a local community or technical college or online, and usually can be completed in a few months.

Medical Transcription Educational Programs in North Dakota

In North Dakota, you will have the most luck completing a program that is offered online. Here are a couple of your options:

  • North Dakota State College of Science. NDSCS offers a medical transcription online curriculum through its ed2go program, which many universities offer. This relatively inexpensive program can be taken as an instructor-taught course or as a self-paced course. The coursework prepares students to transcribe medical reports, and all equipment and software are included in tuition fees. The program is made up of 24 course hours. If you take the instructor-taught course, you can complete it in six weeks. If you take the self-paced course, you can complete it in about three months.
  • Penn Foster. Penn Foster College has an online medical transcription program that is designed to be taken at the student’s leisure. Most Penn Foster programs take about nine months or less to complete. This program is nationally accredited and prepares students for the certification exam offered through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).

National Certification for Medical Transcriptionists

Certification is not a requirement for medical transcriptionists, but many employers prefer it. Having certification may also help you to earn more money.

The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) offers national certification for medical transcriptionists on two levels. The first level is the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist, or RHDS. If you have recently graduated and have little to no work experience, this is for you. You must pass an exam to get this certification.

The next level of certification is the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist, or CHDS. You must have your RHDS certification and have been working for more than two years to get this certification. You must also pass an exam.

Job Growth and Salaries Nationwide and in North Dakota

According to data provided by the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), careers in medical transcription are experiencing an overall decline. Between 2016 and 2026, medical transcription jobs in the state of North Dakota are expected to decrease in number by 12.5 percent. This is significantly higher than the national decline of 3 percent. However, it does not mean there won’t be any jobs for medical transcriptionists in the state at all during this time. There will still be openings when people leave the job field for retirement or for other jobs.

Nationwide, medical transcriptionists made an annual salary of $34,770 in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While job openings may be down in the state, salaries are not. The average annual wage for medical transcriptionists in North Dakota in 2018 was $35,930, or $17.28 hourly.

Finding Work as a Medical Transcriptionist in North Dakota

Medical transcriptionists usually work for companies that provide administrative support to hospitals or doctors’ offices. They may also work for hospitals, physician offices or other medical clinics. Many medical transcriptionists work from home and can either work remotely for a company or work as a freelancer and contract out their services. If you want to work in an office or hospital setting, your best bet would be to look for work in Fargo and some of the other larger cities in the state.