Becoming a Medical Transcriptionist in Rhode Island
For those who are computer savvy, proficient in keyboarding, interested in the medical field and medical terminology and are highly competent in English language usage, a career as a medical transcriptionist is within easy reach. Whether you complete a nine-month certificate, one-year diploma or two-year associate degree program, you can land a first job.
A medical transcriptionist is a self-motivated professional whose main function is to take audio recordings of patient notes created by healthcare professionals and transform them into typed documents. An understanding of health records and the protection of confidential information are important elements. The main tools of the trade include use of a headset, foot pedal and a computer. Medical transcriptionists work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, nursing homes and in public health agencies. Sometimes healthcare professionals outsource their work, which means that some medical transcriptionists may work from home.
What is Required to Become a Medical Transcriptionist in Rhode Island
There are no specific state requirements to work as a medical transcriptionist in Rhode Island. Each employer will instead determine basic requirements necessary to meet their needs. Most, however, will expect a high school diploma or GED and at least one year of experience. Preference is given to those who have completed a certificate, diploma or associate degree program.
Rhode Island Programs in Medical Transcription
Relevant education and training will increase the likelihood of employment. Focus on programs that provide a broad skill set and the opportunity to complete an internship.
- Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). Located in Warwick, RI, CCRI offers a 32-credit, six-semester program that includes direct hands-on experience in a clinical setting and leads to Certification in Professional Studies with a Concentration in Medical Transcription.
For distance learning options, programs approved by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) include:
- American Healthcare Documentation Professionals Group
- CanScribe Career College
- Everett Community College
- Richland Community College
Certification for Medical Transcriptionists
While certification is not required for medical transcriptionists in Rhode Island, demonstrating competency through the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) could improve job prospects and opportunities for advancement. The AHDI was established to promote the profession, bring attention to the need to ensure competency and accuracy in creating medical records, and to transform the profession’s image from clerical to its current status. To further reflect this change, in 2012, the title “Medical Transcriptionist” was changed to “Healthcare Documentation Specialist.”
Certifications through AHDI include:
- Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) – For recent graduates and those with fewer than two years of specific clinical experience
- Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) – For medical transcriptionists with greater than two years of experience in a diverse medical setting
Online courses that help prepare for these credentialing certificates are available.
The Employment Picture in Rhode Island for Medical Transcriptionists
There are no statistics available for medical transcriptionists in Rhode Island, but there are for neighboring states. While overall the number of job openings in nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut is predicted to decline by roughly 12 percent between 2016 and 2026 (), without city-based statistics for areas such as Boston or New Haven where hospitals are concentrated, it is difficult to generalize across these states. Future employment rates in the greater Providence, RI, area, even with its large medical campus, cannot be determined from available data. Nationally, CareerOneStop figures indicate that for the period 2018 to 2028, employment for medical transcriptionists will decrease by 4 percent.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that as of May 2018, annual earnings for medical transcriptionists nationally averaged $36,350, with an average hourly wage rate of $17.48. In Rhode Island, medical transcriptionists earn on average $37,620 annually, with an hourly rate of $18.09. As with any profession, earnings are based on experience, certification and education.
Working as a Medical Transcriptionist in Rhode Island
Medical transcriptionists in Rhode Island are employed in physicians’ offices, hospitals, and other health care facilities. In a technology-driven environment that includes the introduction of electronic medical records and speech-recognition software, and the outsourcing of transcription work to off-site providers, the job outlook for medical transcriptionists will continue to be impacted.