It is possible to graduate from an accredited medical transcriptionist program and not take the medical transcriptionist certification exam. However, many employers do prefer that their transcriptionists have the medical transcriptionist certification designation and your salary range will typically be higher once you get your certificate. You can complete medical transcription certification training at an accredited school or training center, or take your courses online. You will need to pass a national certification exam in order to obtain the Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) designation.

Obtaining Medical Transcriptionist Certification

When you are ready to get your certificate as a Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT), you will need to get at least two years of experience as a medical transcriptionist at a medical health care facility and also have completed at least a basic certificate or degree program in the field. Accredited training programs are now available in both online and offline formats, and you may need to do some research on different schools in your area to find one that offers the type of program you want and need. The country's best medical transcriptionist training programs provide both hands-on and classroom training in the field. The hands-on training portion will include training in the latest software programs and web-based programs that are used at hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities around the country.

The training program curriculum for medical transcription certification varies slightly from school to school, but most will offer training and coursework in the following areas:

  • Keyboarding
  • Word processing
  • Uploading and downloading reports
  • Medical terminology
  • Creating different types of reports including radiology, consults, examinations, summaries and operations

The practicum exercises are among the most important part of any medical transcriptionist certification program. This portion of the training gives the student a chance to use digital recording systems, advanced software programs, web-based reporting systems and other programs that they would be using in a workplace setting. Students have the opportunity to produce various types of accurate reports and also learn how to avoid making mistakes throughout the transcribing process.

Taking the Medical Transcriptionist Certification Exam

The Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) designation is only awarded to those who have completed a medical transcriptionist certification exam. Becoming a certified medical transcriptionist can open the doors to many career opportunities and may even be a requisite for a job. The medical transcriptionist certification exam is a voluntary certification exam and is administered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI). The AHDI is committed to furthering the practice of medical transcription and recognizes professionals who demonstrate competency in medical transcription through the AHDI certification exam.

Although not required, it is highly suggested that you have at least two years of transcription experience in the medical field before you take the medical transcriptionist certification exam. Becoming a certified medical transcriptionist right after completing your training program will likely be challenging because you have not yet developed the advanced skills needed to complete the battery of tests and assignments in the exam. The exam consists of medical transcription-related knowledge items and transcription performance, which includes transcribing dictation, editing and proofreading. The test is usually administered with computer equipment and includes dictations that require using keyboards and headsets.

Once the results have been processed, you can expect to receive a notification letter and copy of a medical transcriptionist certificate in the mail.