Everything You Need To Know About Medical Transcription Certification

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Medical Transcription CertificationMedical transcriptionists are also known as Health Documentation Specialists, and this new title is reflected in the two types of medical transcription certification: Registered Health Documentation Specialist (RHDS) for new graduates, and Certified Health Documentation Specialists (CHDS) for experienced MTs. Both certification exams are administered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).

After you complete your medical transcription training with us, you’re more than qualified to take the first of these certification exams.  (We even pay for it for you!). Here’s some more information to help you decide if becoming certified in order to be more competitive when looking for employment is something you’re interested in.

Let’s explore both!

First, a Clarification . . .

Sometimes, people get confused about the certification that graduates earn after finishing the program. They might confuse this with the national certification that AHDI offers.  Rest assured both are great, but only the program certification from a qualified school is considered mandatory in the medical transcription industry.   Let’s take a look now at how you can get the other certifications if that’s something you want to do.

Registered Health Documentation Specialist (RHDS)

This credential is for those who have recently graduated from a qualified medical transcription training program or who have less than two years’ work experience.  Comparatively speaking, this credential is held by very few transcriptionists in the industry and is NOT something that you “must have” for this career choice.

Here’s how it works:  According to the AHDI’s website, the exam contains 130 multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank audio-against-transcription questions.  The practical portion tests a candidate’s ability, knowledge, and skill when it comes to practicing medical transcription competently in the work environment, while the transcription performance section focuses on short phrases and sentences that need medical editing and/or transcribing. To earn the credential, you must pass both parts of the exam at the same time.

On the exam, you’ll see questions similar to the following:

  • When it comes to health record privacy, what does the OCR abbreviation stand for?
  • The patient is gravida 2, para 2; which report heading would this information be transcribed under?
  • “Heart regular rate and rhythm.” In what kind of report would you find this statement?
  • According to the Book of Style, when is encrypting PHI necessary?
  • The patient was admitted at twenty-thirty hours. What is the correct way to transcribe?

Once you pass the exam, your credential is valid for three years. Before it expires, you must recertify by successfully completing a re-credentialing course or by retaking the RHDS exam.

Certified Health Documentation Specialist (CHDS)

To be eligible for this certification, medical transcriptionists need to have a minimum of two years’ experience working in acute care medical transcription (like a hospital) or the multi-specialty equivalent. This more difficult exam contains 120 multiple-choice and audio transcription questions, and both parts of the exam must be passed in one sitting.

Sample questions include:

  • Exophthalmos is a symptom of what?
  • What drugs are administered to treat hepatitis C?
  • In what type of clinical setting is the phrase “-1 station” normally used?
  • Which of the following is a cardiac medication?
  • A patient that received a FAB M1 classification has which disease?

Certification is good for three years, and to re-certify, you are required to earn at least thirty hours of continuing education credits during the three-year cycle.

Is Earning Certification Really Worth It?

It depends. Some professionals believe it will make you more competitive when you’re looking for a job. If all else is equal, a recruiter will choose the resume that has the credentials to give an employment test to first.  It’s important to note, however, that being certified will not automatically get you the job.

Some say obtaining a medical transcription certification will show you are willing to take initiative and do more than just the minimum requirements, show you have a solid understanding of the field, set you apart from transcriptionists who do not have a credential and allow you to earn a higher salary than non-credential workers. (This only applies to a few employers).

Other professionals believe that experience is the best indicator of performance. During the job application process, even before the interview, the recruiter will send you an audio file to transcribe. This is what we call the employer tests. Knowing the right formats, correct spellings, and using accurate medical terms on the employer tests is what will get you the job.

Almost all individuals with industry credentials are able to achieve this goal; however, quite a number of other individuals can achieve this goal as well without being credentialed. Because of this, employers will usually send audio testing to everyone who meets their minimum criteria and usually not discriminate against someone due to their credentials or lack of it. By doing this, they let the individual’s training and experience speak for itself.

If you’re considering becoming a medical transcriptionist or simply gathering information, you may be interested in knowing that MT School of Canada will pay for the AHDI Certification Exam fee for its graduates to take the RHDS exam.  Since the MT School of Canada curriculum is considered far more extensive and more in-depth than other schools, it makes it easy to be able to train students to become industry professionals.  This is just one of the many benefits of training with MT School of Canada.

If you want more information on becoming a medical transcriptionist, just request our free ebook, All About Medical Transcribing From Home It won’t cost you a thing, and it’s packed full with lots of good information you won’t find anywhere else.  Or you can give us a call toll free 888-838-9788 and we’ll help answer any questions you have.