After you complete your medical transcription training, you may be interested in becoming certified in order to be more competitive when looking for employment.
Medical transcriptionists are also known as Health Documentation Specialists, and this new title is reflected in the two types of medical transcription certifications: Registered Health Documentation Specialist (RHDS) for new graduates, and Certified Health Documentation Specialists (CHDS) for experienced MTs. Both are administered by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).
Let’s explore both!
Registered Health Documentation Specialist (RHDS)
This credential is for those who have recently graduated from a medical transcription training program or who have less than two years work experience. 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 items 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, the OCR abbreviation stands 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?
- Which authentication process does the Joint Commission consider dangerous?
- 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 medical transcription 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.
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 and that you’re certified in HIPAA compliance.
- Set you apart from transcriptionists who do not have a credential.
- Give your employer more confidence in you when it comes time to introduce new technologies.
- Help keep you marketable if you work for an employer who merges with another company or lays off employees.
- Allow you to earn a higher salary (note: this may not apply to all employers).
Other professionals believe that experience is the best indicator of performance. During the job application process, the recruiter will send you an audio file to transcribe. Knowing the right formats, correct spellings, and accurate medical terms with few or no errors will get you the job.
Most 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 for or 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 MTACC endorses certification for its graduates and even will pay the AHDI Certification Exam fee for its graduates to take the RHDS exam. MTACC’s curriculum is extensive and more than enough to be able to train students to become industry professionals. This is just one of the many benefits of training with MTACC.
If you want more information, or would like to learn how to become a medical transcriptionist/health documentation specialist, please our free ebook, All About Medical Transcription!