A couple days ago, I linked to an article, Career Step is not a Scam, at at Undress4Success, a site focusing on at-home jobs. I give them kudos for trying to provide accurate information on at-home work and potential scams. However, like most sites that cater to the ever-popular WAH topic, I get frustrated with information disseminated by people who aren't experts in the industry. To their credit, they've asked if I'll review the medical transcription section of their WAH guide, which I've indicated I'd love to do.
They get a lot right in this article. To their credit, they clear up the myth that medical transcription is an easy job and they make it clear that it requires knowledge and skills – and education.
The biggest mistake made in this article is suggesting that criticism of Career Step is based on jealousy, intramural competitiveness – or even possibly paid shills.
Career Step has an aggressive marketing campaign, including affiliates who are paid for everyone they get to sign up. Many of these affiliates run their own web sites and blogs, promoting the Career Step program with a great deal of bias. Affiliates and advertising publishers aren't the same as “paid shills” who are “encouraged to bad mouth Career Step,” but there's a thin line between positive shilling and negative shilling. And anyone who knows the principles at Andrews and M-TEC know that they stand on their reputation – they don't need shills. Some of the competitive programs actually use the Career Step curriculum – hopefully with corrections and all with actual live teachers – I doubt they're going to be bashing the Career Step program. If people actually listen to the advice of others in the industry and go to only AHDI-approved schools, they have some fairly decent choices, Career Step among them, and can avoid the really awful programs that aren't worth the tuition, regardless of what it is.
The second biggest mistake is this comment:
Both schools [Andrews and M-TEC] —and others—offer fine training, but not necessarily better than Career Step.
I've said here before: Career Step serves a purpose. In my opinion, it is not, as stated in this article, on par with Andrews or M-TEC. For one thing, both Andrews and M-TEC have entry screening exams. If transcription isn't the best career choice for you, based on your skills and knowledge, you won't pass the test and they won't take your money. That seems pretty honest to me, however unpopular many hopefuls wish it to be otherwise. And anyone who wants to ignore the danger signs can go to Career Step. Unfortunately, what this means is that Career Step takes a lot more people who are doomed from the beginning but don't seem to mind plunking down nearly $2,000 to have the lesson hammered home. The second big difference is that Andrews and M-TEC have actual live instructors. It absolutely boggles my mind that a school wouldn't have instructors, but there you have it – Career Step lets its students and graduates instruct each other in their forum. Therefore, we have the blind and the clueless instructing the blind and the clueless. Taking up the article's comparison to a carpenter blaming the tools – what would an apprentice carpenter hope to learn from another apprentice carpenter? The third big difference is the “placement program.” Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I've been told by Career Step graduates that they pay extra for the “placement program,” which consists of a list of transcription services that may or may not hire new graduates and may or may not have openings for anyone, experienced or otherwise.
What I see a lot in the various MT forums are comments from Career Step about-to-be-grads who state they feel their education is adequate. Well – how do they know? Until they graduate and actually get a job and start work, they aren't really qualified to judge, are they? And there are plenty of Career Step graduates who are critical of the difficulty they had finding a job and the inadequacies in their education that became apparent once they actually did start work. These graduates aren't shills for someone else and the only jealousy they have is for people who picked a program they felt would have served them better in starting a new career.
For the record, I run a variety of web sites related to transcription and I accept advertising at them. If Career Step wants to advertise, I'll let them. But I won't softpedal my opinions about where they stand in the transcription school rankings and why they won't ever be the best unless they make some significant changes – like real instructors.