Become a Medical Transcriptionist in Rhode Island - RI

Rhode Island Medical Transcription Training Programs

Rhode Island does not require working medical transcriptionists to have any special degrees or certifications.  Nonetheless, job and salary prospects in the medical transcription field are much higher for Rhode Islanders who have earned a diploma or professional certificate in medical transcription and who have obtained a certification credential from a professional transcription organization, such as the

Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).  Many transcription agencies and medical employers will require such credentials of new medical transcriptionists, and freelance or home-based medical transcriptionists will find it easier to compete in the healthcare employment market if they obtain some form of educational or professional credentials. 

Whether or not an individual chooses to pursue a medical transcription course, he or she should have strong language skills, including good grammar and spelling ability.  Superior typing and keyboarding skills are a must, as is facility with the office equipment and computer software, including WAV players, which medical transcriptionists use to take dictation.  In addition, medical transcriptionists must have an in-depth knowledge of medical terminology, including the names of drugs, diseases, and symptoms, as well as a familiarity with basic medical concepts.  These skill and knowledge sets can be acquired through a degree or certificate course in medical transcription, or, in some cases, by gaining work experience in a medical setting such as a doctor’s office.  In either case, prospective transcriptionists may find it beneficial to work in a physician’s office, a clinic, or other healthcare facility in order to appreciate the demands of medical transcription and the importance of transcription work to the functioning of a typical medical practice. 

Rhode Island medical transcriptionists who wish to obtain an official certification may do so through the AHDI.  Two types of certification are currently available through the AHDI.  The Registered Medical Transcriptionist credential, or RMT, is intended for new transcriptionists just entering the profession who have recently completed an educational program in medical transcription.  The Certified Medical Transcriptionist, or CMT, is more appropriate for medical transcriptionists with two or more years of medical transcription work experience.  AHDI awards these certifications upon passage of a standardized exam that includes both knowledge and performance-based questions.  The examination for the RMT credential is four hours long, while the examination for the CMT credential is five hours long.  Both exams are computerized and must be taken in a designated testing center.  Examinees are allowed a break of fifteen minutes between the knowledge and performance sections of the exam.

While candidates need not take a course in medical transcription prior to taking either exam, AHDI strongly suggests that all medical transcriptionists seeking certification be graduates of a program for medical transcription training in Rhode Island (degree or certificate).  There is no central accrediting authority for medical transcription programs.  However, AHDI maintains its own list of approved transcription programs, which it evaluates according to a strict set of curricular requirements and criteria.  Graduating from one of these programs, although highly recommended, is not a prerequisite for taking either the RMT exam or the CMT exam.

To initiate the certification process, candidates must fill out and submit an application form, which can be downloaded from AHDI’s website at www.ahdionline.org.  AHDI charges a $10 fee for both RMT applications and CMT applications.  Once AHDI has received and processed the candidate’s application, the candidate will receive an “Authorization to Test” letter.  This letter contains information about how to make an appointment to take the certification exam.  The applicant has 90 days from the date he or she receives the Authorization to Test letter to schedule and complete the appropriate examination.  In order to schedule a testing date, applicants must make arrangements with Prometric, the testing agency that administers the certification exams.  Prometric testing centers in Rhode Island include sites in the cities of Warwick and Bristol.  AHDI members must pay $175 to take the RMT exam or $195 to take the CMT exam.  Non-members pay $200 to take the RMT exam and $275 to take the CMT exam.

The knowledge portion of each exam is in multiple-choice format and covers medical terminology and concepts and English grammar, style, and spelling.  During the performance portion of the exam, examinees are required to transcribe actual samples of medical dictation derived from a range of medical settings and records.  Test takers will be provided with a headset and mouse-operated WAV player during the performance section of the exam.  However, applicants are forbidden from consulting reference materials or notes or using electronic spell-checkers and other aids while taking either section of the test. 

Candidates will learn whether they passed the exam at the testing site on the same day that they take the exam.  Those who pass the exam will automatically earn AHDI-certification.  Both RMT and CMT certifications must be renewed every three years by completing 30 hours of continuing education.

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