Well hey there, Chronic readers! Remember me?
I feel like all I ever do anymore is write, “I’ve been away for a while, and…” posts.
Not without good reason though!
This time I’ve been away because I got a job.
Like a legit one where the government takes taxes from my paycheck and I get a matched 401(k) and all that fun grown-up stuff!
Want to hear about it?
I’ve actually kinda-sorta been “hiding” it for a little while. Last year, a friend told me about a program for at-home medical transcription. I figured it might be kind of hoaxy as most ****Work From Home!!!**** enterprises tend to be. However, I researched the program a bunch and talked to the customer service rep forever before I finally just took the plunge and signed up. I didn’t want to go telling people about it until I secured employment, because I only want to tout a product I believe in that actually got me somewhere. That somewhere happens to be a job that requires an I-9 (which I had to get notarized and everything! #Legit), so now I feel comfortable telling you all about it!
What is it?
CareerStep’s Medical Transcription Editor Program is designed for stay-at-home people (such as Chronics or mommies, but also military spouses who have to move a lot). You are taught medical terminology, computer skills, and specialized transcription and editing skills with the intention of becoming certified to create and edit electronic health records for doctors’ offices and hospitals. The fact that you already know how to spell things like “orthostatic,” “tachycardia,” and “gastroparesis,” plus have an honorary degree in WebMd symptom searching will give you a leg up in this technical career.
How long does it take?
The website proclaims that you can complete the program in as little as 4 months (***!!!***). I don’t know who these magical unicorn people are, but I’m not one of them. It took me exactly 1 calendar year to finish. That being said, the whole thing is self-paced, so you can take as long as you want. Just know that after a year, you do have to buy an extension (which can get pricey). It is pretty doable in a year, though. I had times of major brain fog, POTSie convention distractions, and times where I gave it the same sporadic treatment I’ve lately been giving this blog, and I still managed to finish.
What happens when you finish?
You do have to take 2 tests- a midterm at the halfway point, and a final exam. The final exam is scary only because it has the word “final” in it. You get 3 chances to take it, and you might as well take it all 3 times because they take your highest scores from each try to get your final Final score. There are 3 tiers of graduation: Graduate, Honors, and High Honors. I made Honors, which made me super happy because I am an overachiever like that. Once it’s all finished and your grades are official, you get a nifty diploma-like certificate with your name on it, and access to a whole host of career counseling resources, including resume reviews and a giant list of employers who preferentially hire CareerStep graduates.
What kind of job can I get/What can I do with this nifty certificate?
Well, you buy a frame and put your certificate on the wall. That’s step 1. In terms of jobs, you can look for work-from-home positions, which is super nice if you are Chronically inclined, as you can work in your pj’s whilst in your ergonomically-molded-to-your-own-rear computer chair, and get up to pee or get more water whenever you need to. Or, if you happen to be the kind of person who wears clothes with buttons #GoodForYou #ShowOff, you can get a job at a hospital or doctor’s office in the Medical Records department. This education would count as “technical training” by most standards.
So what’s your job, Nic?
I very happily signed on with the company that provides the Editor portion of the CareerStep program. They happen to be entry-level friendly and supply everything you need to get started (computer with pre-loaded software, foot pedal, headphones, etc.). They also preferentially hire people with disabilities (and count medical conditions as such), which was pretty awesome. So far, so good!
Let’s talk turkey. How much does it cost to do the program and what can you expect to make working?
The program cost me $3,024. In addition to the course access for 1 year, I got a laptop (you need a PC for the editing software, so nice to get this as I’m usually on a mac), access to online industry resources, a digital copy of the textbook and the AHDI Book of Style (industry reference book), a student membership to AHDI (Association of Healthcare Documentation Integrity), plus a travel coffee mug, mousepad, and assorted pens and sticky notes with the CareerStep logo on them. I also got $100 back in the form of a Visa prepaid giftcard. They have specials all the time, sometimes offering a hardback copy of the textbook or some sort of discount/cash card back. If you are military, a military spouse, or recent high school graduate, there are scholarships available.
As for your future income, you can expect to make roughly minimum wage or a bit more. Transcription is a production-based field. The more you produce, the more you get paid. The industry standard websites will tell you, you will make $0.04 a line editing. Yep. 4 cents a line. This sounds depressing. Do not get discouraged. I currently make about $10/hour. You will edit a lot of lines, promise.
Break it down for me, Nic.
Pros: Learn a skill that will enable you to work from home while you’re stuck in Chronicville. This career can be super flexible if you want/need it to be. You probably already know most of the medical portion of the program, since your Chronic life has given you so much advance knowledge on these topics (#Thanks! #Sarcasm #SilverLining?).
Cons: If brain fog is your #1 symptom, this job isn’t for you. You have to be able to listen and read (edit) or type (transcribe) at the same time. Also, while it’s nice to have a job whose schedule can be flexible, this means that your income might be flexible too. #ProductionBasedProblems.
Are you sales-pitching me, Nic?
Truth time: Yes, a little. I’m going to be upfront and let you know that if you do decide that this sounds like something you want to do and you use my referral ID #ref42913 when you sign up, I will get paid a little something. However, and HUGE HOWEVER: I waited an entire year to tell you I was doing this. I wanted to make sure that it was a legitimate endeavor that would result in an actual paying job before I went out and spread my referral number all over the Internet (again, that number is #ref42913). I really do care about you, Chronic reader, and I want to let you know about something that could help you out. Our bodies are a little broken, a little fragmented, a little out-of-sorts, yet the majority of Chronics I know or meet are super smart. Our brains are still firing away, even if our bodies slow us down. Finding a career that works around your limitations is hard. If you are like me and never had a chance to make a living/find a career before your illness(es) took over, it’s even harder to find a real way to work from home. CareerStep helped me, I’m reaching out to help you, and if it works out for you, I hope you do the same later on too!
Oh, and if you say #ref42913 sent you, you’ll get free shipping. So there’s something in it for you too (you know, besides an awesome technical education leading to financial independence through legitimate employment…)!
Not to be too infomercial cheesy, but that information ***ONE MORE TIME*** is:
My referral ID is #ref42913 and my personal referral information website can be found here: http://www.referral.careerstep.com/ref42913?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2015%20February%20Referral%20Blog%20Reminder%20(2)&utm_content=&spMailingID=22063362&spUserID=ODM2NzMzNDU0OTQS1&spJobID=500045848&spReportId=NTAwMDQ1ODQ4S0
Also: CareerStep offers a number of programs, not just Medical Transcription. All are listed on their website, and I can still be your referrer if you choose a different program. Just tell your customer service rep #ref42913 sent you! I wish you the best of luck!