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Medical transcription is a virtually impossible field to break into without formal training. Luckily, a number of ways exist to obtain medical transcription training--vocational schools, community colleges or at-home online training programs. A program that provides opportunities for on-the-job experience is ideal, even if this type of program costs more than the others.
A medical transcription course can be completed in as little as four months or take up to two years, depending on the chosen school or training program. The location and type of school chosen, as well as the total time taken to finish the course(s), also dictates the total cost of a training program. These programs can cost $1,000 to $8,000 (this and all included prices as of 2010).
The cost of medical transcription training in a community college is often less than the other options, but will more than likely take longer, sometimes entailing a two-year program. A typical community college program requires 22 to 25 units for certification in Medical Transcription. Depending on whether you have had any previous courses, necessary prerequisite courses and whether you attend full- or part-time, the course takes at least two semesters to finish--sometimes up to two years. At the community college level, students are typically required to pay separately for tuition and any necessary books and materials. Costs vary from state to state with the average range falling between $20 to $42 per credit.
Vocational schools typically cost more than community colleges, with expenses often reaching several thousand dollars. There may be more flexibility with class scheduling, but it may take as long as a community college, with some programs requiring as many as seven to eight months to complete. Vocational schools will often include the cost of course materials and textbooks in the tuition price. Tuition at a vocational school varies based on the program of study and a full- or part-time class load. Many schools offer programs ranging from 65 to 139 credit hours.
At-home online medical transcription training courses offer the most flexibility, but students must be self-motivated and able to work largely on their own. Online training does offer the opportunity for students to evaluate their ability to work at home since, many medical transcriptionists do start home-based businesses. The cost of online medical transcription training programs ranges from around $900 to $4,000. The total cost may or may not include everything students will need to successfully complete the course. Some online training programs offer package deals that include course enrollment, equipment, books and job placement assistance.
The cost for textbooks and materials varies with each school and program with a typical range of $220 to $970 per semester. Most medical transcription training programs offer payment plans or financing for tuition and supply costs, with some offering discounts for tuition paid in full with one payment. Students must contact the school of their choice for complete program costs and payment options.
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Based in California, Debbie Donner is a freelance online writer who primarily writes articles related to personal finance. Donner received a Mensa scholarship in 2006 while attending California State University, Fresno. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts and a multiple-subject teaching credential.