The most important aspect in finding successful employment in the Medical Transcription industry is one’s skill set though certification, while not essential, can be very helpful in advancing a career in Medical Transcription. Generally, certification in Medical Transcription field refers to certification with the AAMT (American Association of Medical Transcriptionists). The official designation of the AAMT certification is "CMT" - Certified Medical Transcriptionist. Becoming a CMT nevertheless guarantees a successful employment, it is by no means a prerequisite for entry into or advancement within the field of medical transcription. Many of them or rather a large chunk of transcriptionists do not have the designation. But a CMT credential is particularly important for those interested in pursuing a management level or supervisory position in the industry. Getting certified from AAMT requires investment both in time and money.
The AAMT exam is a two-part exam. Each part must be taken separately and each requires the payment of a fee. One is required to pass Part I before appearing for Part II. Detailed information is available on the AAMT website www.aamt.org
Part I Certification Exam
The first part of the exam is a multiple-choice, objective examination. This exam measures overall competence in the foundation knowledge required to be a successful medical transcriptionist. Test sections and weighting are as follows: Medical Terminology (30%), English Language and Usage (25%), Anatomy & Physiology (20%), Disease Processes (15), Healthcare Record (5%), and Professional Development (5%). The exam consists of 120 multiple choice questions in the 6 major content areas listed above. The exam is administered electronically on touch-screen computers. The time allowed for this exam is 3 hours. No reference materials are permitted in the testing center. This exam fee for Part I of the CMT is currently $150. The same fee applies to retakes.
Part II Certification Exam
The second part of the CMT exam is a transcription exam. This is a rigorous, competency based exam that tests an applicant's ability to accurately and proficiently transcribe physician dictation. This exam is administered in a controlled setting and requires several years of experience transcribing a broad array of complex medical records. The exam consists of approximately 15 minutes of dictation representing a broad cross section of report types and specialties. Applicants are allowed 2 hours for this portion of the exam. Reference materials, notes, spellcheckers, and abbreviation expanders are permitted. This exam fee for Part II of the CMT is currently $100 for Members and $150 for Non-Members within the US; $200 for Members and $250 for Non-Members outside of the US. The same fee applies to retakes.
Preparation for Certification
The best preparation for this exam is to gain a number of years of experience in transcribing medical records for a hospital or some transcription service provider.
Besides the experience and the training imparted, AAMT also offers a number of Self-Assessment products that can be purchased in advance of taking the exam. These are essentially simulated tests that allow a prospective candidate to assess whether they are ready to take the actual exam. These practice tests also help prepare a person for the actual exam experience. Self-Assessment simulation exams are available for both Parts I & II, and can be purchased on-line at www.aamt.org. There are a number of referral materials available on the internet, which can be purchased or sought free for preparation of exam. However, the most efficient preparation would be the number of years of experience in transcribing medical records because no theory can be better than actual live job experience.