UPDATE: Be sure to read the comments after this post.
Lately this website has been visited by a number of people looking for work at home jobs in medical transcription (MT) who seem to be concerned that Career Step may not be legit. We looked at the issue a while back and wrote that we though they were reputable, but we decided to dig a little deeper because of all the recent interest.
Short answer: Career Step is not a scam, far from it; they’re one of the good guys.
Long answer: Scams abound on the web, especially in the work-from-home category. Desperate people, in a weak economy, are willing to take desperate steps to find a way to make money at home. They overlook the obvious signs that the pitch is too good to be true, and fall for scams. We know because we wrote a whole book about it titled Undress For Success The Naked Truth About Making Money From Home.
Medical Transcription is a field that scammers particularly like to abuse because, on the face of it, transcription sounds like an easy job—listen to a recording and type what you hear. Easy, right? Not.
An MT is a knowledge worker and, in a very real sense, a linguist and interpreter—a medical language specialist. Medical transcriptionists need to know Greek and Latin suffixes, prefixes, and roots. They also need practical knowledge of anatomy, physiology, disease processes, pharmacology, laboratory medicine, and medical report standards so they can accurately translate and type what they hear. And if you can’t type 55 words a minute accurately, you won’t even be able to keep up with your training. If you can’t type 100 words per minute virtually error-free, you’ll have a hard time making money.
Top medical transcriptionists (MTs) are even able to transcribe and edit at the same time; a skill they cultivate called prior line editing. Like a pianist in a bar who can chat with customers and play at the same time, experienced transcriptions can let recorded dictation go in their ears and out their fingers, while their eyes and brain double-check the line they just typed.
Scammers are quick to proclaim that there are jobs waiting for qualified MTs, and that’s true. But they lead you to believe that no matter what your background or skills if you buy their $400 course, complete with books and software, in a few weeks you’ll be making $100,000 a year. Wrong.
Here’s one version of a slightly different MT scam:
• You post your resume on one of the general job boards and mention
something about typing skills or the medical profession.
• They send you a professional-looking e-mail saying how impressed
they are with your background and ask if you’d be willing to take a
free medical transcription test. If you pass, they say, they’ll pay for
your training and guarantee you a work-at-home job. All you have to
do is buy their transcription software.
• They send you a tape, which you transcribe and send back to them.
You ace the test (of course). They rave about your potential.
• So you fork over $400 for what turns out to be awful software and
start to work on their so-called free course. When you complain
about the program they up-sell you on their ‘‘professional’’ software
and a foot pedal to make you more productive.
• But that stuff’s junk, too, so you ask for a refund.
• ‘‘Read the fine print,’’ they say. ‘‘We don’t do refunds. Have a nice
So what’s the deal with Career Step? As an Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) approved school there’d no question you’ll get your money’s worth. Career Step had to go through a rigorous Approval Committee for Certificate Programs (ACCP) approval process conducted by a joint committee of AHDI and American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) professionals who oversee the approval of both medical transcription programs and medical coding programs. Career Step is a certified school and you’ll find a lot of companies will even waive the typical two-year experience requirement if you’re a Career Step grad.
So what’s the problem? There are a few loud mouths out there that love to spread hate and discontent in online forums because it makes them feel important. They tend to be two types of people: 1) Those that are unable to find work, despite the demand for good MTs. They whine about how no one is willing to hire them and bad mouth their school—kinda like a cabinetmaker blaming his tools because drawers don’t fit. And 2) Those who (out of intermural competitiveness) are advocates for other schools such as M-TEC and the Andrews School. Both schools—and others—offer fine training, but not necessarily better than Career Step.
Insiders suggest that part of the jealousy in the second instance stems from the fact that Career Step developed an out-of-the-box program, took a fresh approach, and developed all their own materials. Other schools use widely known books, workbooks and dictation training materials people are familiar with, so a lot of the “noise” about Career Step is because some people question the quality of such an approach despite the fact that ACCP found them perfectly competent. And as a competitive strategy the loud mouths claim the loyal opposition isn’t as good or even a scam. We won’t go so far as to say that some companies—the bottom feeders in MT training—would encourage shills to bad mouth Career Step, but that wouldn’t surprise us in the highly competitive MT training arena.
In the end, you have to do your homework. Medical transcription is a technical field requiring a lot of smarts, not something you dive into because you can’t find anything else to do. In fact, if you can’t do the kind of research required to find a good school you probably won’t succeed as an MT anyway. But if you’re willing to work hard and have the skills required, we think Career Step will give you the training you need to land a job and start working from home. If you think we’re wrong we want to hear about it. Leave a comment here with some facts, not just your opinion, and we’ll research what you have to say.
For more on a career as a medical transcriptionist and other telecommuting, freelance, and home-based business jobs pick up a copy of Undress For Success at:
I wonder how many errors in this post the pros found? Typing it I kinda felt like a guy talking to a psychiatrist, worrying about Freudian slips or worse.