Certification of Medical Transcriptionists
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Because they do not work directly with patients, medical transcriptionists are not required to be licensed. Certification, though, is an asset. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects should be best for medical transcriptionists who have earned their certification.
The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) credentials medical transcriptionists. The Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) certification is for newly graduated transcriptionists or those with less than two years of experience. This certification is also for transcriptionists whose experience is in radiology or any other single specialty setting. It is a signal to employees that a transcriptionist has met the Level 1 competencies in AHDI’s job descriptions. (These are based on studies by Hay Management Consultants. Three different levels of professionalism were identified. Later they were correlated with compensation.)
Part of the RMT exam is multiple choice; the other part asks candidates to do real transcribing. There are exam preparation resources available on the AHDI site. RMT medical transcriptionists must do 30 units of continuing education every three years to maintain their credential.
The Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) credential is for workers with more than two years of experience in acute care or multispecialty. This exam is similar in structure to the one for RMTs, but represents Level 2 knowledge. This includes a ‘seasoned knowledge’ of, among other things, medical terminology and disease processes. It also indicates an ability to use a wide variety of references and to handle non-routine issues autonomously.
There is a higher level of distinction that a medical transcriptionist can aspire to: AHDI Fellowship Designation. This requires a level of excellence that goes beyond merely fulfilling job duties. Credentialed medical transcriptionists earn the status through a point system. Points are awarded in areas like leadership, mentorship, and publications and presentations. This designation is quite an honor, but does not necessarily correlate with Hay’s Level 3.