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Home > Medical Billing and Coding > Program Details

Medical Transcriptionist Curriculum Details

Penn Foster College’s online Medical Transcriptionist program can help you gain the knowledge and skills relevant for obtaining jobs in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, government agencies, law offices, insurance companies, ambulance dispatch services, and more. Our program can help you prepare to sit for the RHDS (Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist) exam offered by AHDI (Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity).

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To prepare students for an entry-level career in medical transcription.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...
  • Transcribe and interpret dictation into diagnostic test results, operative reports, referral letters, and other documents
  • Review and edit drafts prepared by speech recognition software, ensuring that the transcription is correct, complete, and has a consistent style
  • Translate medical abbreviations and jargon into the appropriate long form
  • Identify inconsistencies, errors, and missing information within a report that could compromise patient care
  • Follow up with the healthcare provider to ensure the accuracy of the reports
  • Submit health records for physicians to approve
  • Follow patient confidentiality guidelines and legal documentation requirements
  • Enter medical reports into electronic health records systems
  • Perform quality improvement audits
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.


  • Understand how to use your Student Portal.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
This course gives an introduction to health care, the health information management industry, and the role that health information technicians play in that industry.


  • Describe reimbursement systems and the role health information management technicians play in reimbursement.
  • Describe how technology is used in health information management.
  • Discuss different professional organizations and certifications for health information management technicians.
  • Explain the different roles, opportunities, and settings for health information management technicians.
In this course, you’ll learn how law affects medical offices, the origin of law that affects medical professionals, the basics of the process of litigation and its alternatives, the common-law basis for the confidentiality of health-care information, and the laws regulating health-care information collected and maintained by government agencies.


  • Describe civil and criminal law, sources of law, and the steps of litigation.
  • Distinguish among liability, negligence, and malpractice and explain how they relate to medical assistants.
  • Explain defenses against medical malpractice and against criminal charges.
  • Identify the various ethical issues that health-care professionals face.
  • Explain the uses and content of medical records.
  • Describe the legal significance of confidentiality obligations.
  • Explain the core concepts of HIPAA’s final Privacy Rule.
  • Summarize the role of peer review in confidentiality issues.
  • Describe confidentiality and security issues related to electronic medical records.
This course introduces the reimbursement process and the various methodologies involved, such as fee for-service and episode-of-care methodologies. The course also covers important information regarding payment systems, fee schedules, charge masters, coding, and the internal audit process. Finally, the course explains the fundamentals and types of health insurance.


  • Describe the history of health care reimbursement
  • Describe fee-for-service reimbursement methodologies
  • Define episode-of-care reimbursement methodologies
  • Outline the Medicare acute care prospective payment system
  • Describe the Medicare skilled-nursing facility prospective payment system
  • Discuss the different outpatient prospective payment systems
  • Describe the electronic data interchange process
  • Name the latest changes in health care reimbursement
  • Explain the management of fee schedules, charge masters, and coding
  • Describe the internal audit process
  • Outline characteristics of a coding compliance program
  • Discuss your role as a health information professional in health care reimbursement
  • Define prepaid health plans
  • Identify characteristics of retrospective and prospective payment systems
  • Describe commercial insurance plans
  • Outline the history of Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans
  • Discuss the different government-sponsored health care programs
  • Explain how managed care works
This course is designed to help you develop professional relationships in the workplace and professionally administer and manage office communications and procedures, and provides a review of basic math operations.


  • Understand and explain the components of communication, both verbal and nonverbal.
  • Develop effective listening and observation skills.
  • Recognize prejudice in interpersonal relations.
  • Describe personal traits essential for successful interpersonal relations.
  • Understand important aspects of good human relations.
  • Professionally answer and place telephone calls within an office.
  • Handle incoming and outgoing mail and email.
  • Analyze where your time is spent and identify common time wasters.
  • Calculate discounts and series discounts.
  • Calculate cash discounts and shipping charges.
  • Change decimals and fractions to percentages and vice versa.
  • Use a calculator to solve or check math problems.
In this course, you’ll become familiar with the medical terms that you'll hear on a daily basis in your new career, examine the organization of body systems, and examine the cardiovascular system, blood, the respiratory system, and the digestive system.


  • Explain how root words (and their combining forms), prefixes, and suffixes function in medical terms.
  • Define many of the most common roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
  • Determine the meaning of a given medical term by analyzing its parts.
  • Identify the anatomical position and directional terms, as well as the three planes, four quadrants, and nine regions of the body.
  • Describe the body sciences of nutrition and homeostasis.
  • List types of pathogens, outline the chain of infection, and suggest methods to break the chain of infection.
  • Analyze the concept of immunity and differentiate between natural and acquired immunity.
  • Describe the organization and formation of the human body from cells to body systems.
  • Explain the anatomy and function of the integumentary system and musculoskeletal system.
  • List diseases of the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems.
  • Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems.
  • Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to cellular anatomy, the integumentary system, and the musculoskeletal system.
  • Explain the anatomy and function of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.
  • List diseases of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.
  • Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.
  • Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.
In this course, you’ll examine the sensory organs, nervous system, endocrine system, excretory system, reproductive system, and immune and lymphatic systems. You’ll also take a closer look at oncology, radiology, surgery, pathology, and genetics.


  • Explain the anatomy and function of the sensory organs, the nervous system, and the endocrine system.
  • List diseases of the sensory organs, the nervous system, and the endocrine system.
  • Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the sensory organs, the nervous system, and the endocrine system.
  • Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to the sensory organs, the nervous system, and the endocrine system.
  • Explain the anatomy and function of the excretory, reproductive, and lymphatic systems.
  • List diseases of the excretory, reproductive, and lymphatic systems.
  • Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the excretory, reproductive, and lymphatic systems.
  • Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to the excretory, reproductive, and lymphatic systems.
  • Differentiate between tumor types and explain how cancer develops.
  • Classify cancers and describe the major methods of cancer treatment.
  • Identify radiographic procedures and outline the types and uses of nuclear medicine tests.
  • Summarize surgical methods and pathological processes.
  • Describe the application of genetics to the study of diseases.
This course is designed to help you understand the reimbursement process and the various methodologies involved. You’ll be introduced to billing cycles and how health information technology is used in medical offices, and learn about basic accounting transaction terminology and apply this information to enter patient charges and payments.


  • Discuss the history of electronic health records
  • Perform administrative health information management functions
  • Build an electronic health record
  • Enter information into an electronic health record
  • Utilize templates to increase productivity
Additional Course Materials

Project: Electronic Medical Records

Textbook: The Electronic Health Record for the Physician's Office with SimChart for the Medical Office

This course describes health-care professionals who are licensed to prescribe medications for the treatment of disease and illness, reference material most often used by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and pharmaceuticals that are designed to alleviate or repair any sort of malfunction in the body.


  • Define the medical specialties presented in this course, the conditions that each treats, and some of the drugs prescribed.
  • Identify health-care providers other than physicians who are licensed to prescribe drugs, the types of drugs that each prescribes, and the condition for which each type of drug is prescribed.
  • Name five prominent health-care professionals who aren’t licensed to write prescriptions.
  • Explain the main types of reference information and their sources.
  • Discuss various delivery methods of drug information available to pharmacists and technicians.
  • List various drug information sources that may be required by law to be present in a pharmacy.
  • Identify various journals and newsletters available to pharmacists and technicians.
  • Describe the most referenced sources of drug information used in pharmacy practice.
  • Discuss pharmacology basics.
  • List the four types of drug names, several major drug references, and the two agencies of drug regulation and enforcement.
  • Describe the routes and forms of drug administration.
  • Define drug action and effect, and explain the effect of drugs according to specific classifications.
  • Calculate basic pharmacology mathematics and dosages.
  • Identify medications related to different body systems.
In this course, you will be introduced to the medical transcription field and learn how to transcribe and edit a variety of reports.


  • Explain the tools that medical transcriptionists use
  • Proofread, make corrections to, and conduct quality assurance for transcribed reports
  • Proofread and edit transcribed documents for correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, usage, and formats
  • Transcribe numbers, figures, and abbreviations
  • Prepare various types of transcribed medical documents and reports, such as outpatient medical chart notes, daily progress notes, history and physical examination reports, discharge summaries, operative reports, consultation reports, pathology reports, radiology and imaging reports, autopsy reports, medicolegal reports, pathology reports, and psychiatric reports
Additional Course Materials

Textbook: Medical Transcription: Techniques and Procedures, 7th Edition

In this course, you will use online simulations to continue practicing how to transcribe and edit a variety of medical and business documents and reports.


  • Compose letters and business documents, such as emails, memos, agendas, minutes, and policies
  • Examine legal and ethical issues associated with medical transcription
  • Use reference books to look up correct medical spelling, the correct spelling of medications and drugs, and the correct dictation of laboratory terms and values
  • Contemplate and plan your future career as a medical transcriptionist

Additional Details

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered in the Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this Program. Click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.
Penn Foster College is not approved or regulated as a school by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

Penn Foster College Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster College has been nationally accredited for over 40 years, and has met the high standards of integrity and performance set by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) in Washington, D.C. Penn Foster College has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations and licensing. We also participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

Surround Sound Support

Surround Sound Support

Whether you prefer chat, text, email, or phone, our faculty is here to help you achieve your goals. Penn Foster students also have access to our expert team of Success Coaches to help with budgeting for your education, career guidance, or simply some extra motivation.

Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools

Our customizable goal-setting tools will help you create a schedule and stick to it. Need some extra time to complete a lesson or take an exam? Not a problem — you can adjust your study plan at any time to set a pace that works for you.
Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools
Penn Foster Student Community

Student Community

Looking to connect with other Penn Foster students? Our Student Community is the perfect place for you to interact with your peers — as well as Penn Foster faculty and staff — to discuss your online learning experience, congratulate fellow students, and share your Penn Foster experience.

Sample Medical Transcriptionist Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a Medical Transcriptionist course would look like.
Penn Foster Medical Transcriptionist Sample Lesson
Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
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