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Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College

Healthcare Documentation Specialist - Certificate

Career Area: Health Sciences
Program: Medical Support Careers
Campus(es): Winona/Online

Working with the public and behind the scenes, medical support professionals provide essential services to both patients and health care providers

As the demand for health care continues to grow, the need for expert support staff in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and medical offices will always be increasing. A degree, diploma, or certificate in Medical Support Careers provides a pathway to an exciting, challenging place in the field of health care.

There are many non-clinical medical career opportunities in this area. Whether working behind the scenes or in a public position, these roles provide essential services to both patients and health care providers.

Healthcare Documentation Specialists work behind the scenes to prepare accurate medical records, often transcribing reports dictated by doctors and other health care professionals. Their work is critical because this information serves as the foundation for ongoing decision-making and medical care.

The 30-credit Healthcare Documentation Specialist certificate provides a foundation in skills specific to this career and can be completed in just one year. You will progress from general office skills to in-depth skills specific to medicine. As you gain competence in your work, you will advance to a higher level of critical thinking and problem solving.

Successful graduates possess invaluable skills such as ability to key accurate, detailed, personal information relating to each patient's medical, surgical, psychiatric, social, and family history. They understand medical terminology and the legal and ethical aspects of health information. They respect patient privacy, confidentiality, and security.

Many courses present tasks as if the students were actually employed in a medical center, so when you graduate, you'll be ready to start work right away in this in-demand field.

On campus or online

Students may begin fall or spring semester and may attend full time or part time. All of the Medical Support Careers programs are offered on the Winona, Minnesota campus or 100% online. Students can combine on-campus and on-line courses to complete their programs.

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Career Field: Health Science Technology
Cluster: Health Science
Pathway: Health Informatics & Support Services
Recommended high school classes and basic job/program skills

Download the Program Plan


1) 1000 level (minimum) General Education courses required unless specified

English/Communications requirement
Choose one 2 credit (or greater) English or Communications course.
2 cr
2 crs
Word Processing I
This course covers utilization of word processing software to perform basic word processing applications. (Prerequisite: ADMS2410 Keyboarding I or concurrent enrollment) (2 Credits: 2 lecture/0 lab)

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2 cr
Online Communications
This course provides an introduction to communicating online using various social media tools/applications and email. Students will create, communicate, collaborate and network with each other using Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, and Outlook. Database concepts will also be introduced using online search techniques to provide solutions for today¿s relevant applications. (Prerequisite: none) (1 credit: 1 lecture/0 lab)

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1 cr
Anatomy & Physiology Disease Conditions
This course covers the introduction to human anatomy and systems with an emphasis on medical terminology, abbreviations, diagnostic tests and diseases for the human body. Study of disease by anatomical systems. (Prerequisite: None) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Medical Terminology
This course covers word analysis by the study of word roots, prefixes, suffixes, and abbreviations common to the medical profession. Comprehension is expected concerning combining word parts, recognizing the meaning of the new term, understanding and writing anatomical, diagnostic, radiologic, surgical, and therapeutic terms. (Prerequisite: None) (4 credits: 4 lecture/0 lab)

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4 cr
Medical Office Procedures
This course covers the integration of medical office tasks. It will cover rules and procedures of filing to include inspecting, indexing, coding, sorting, storing, and retrieving documents in alphabetic, numeric, and subject systems. Applications include manual storage and retrieval. This medical office simulation presents tasks as if the students were actually employed. Jobs include maintaining patient files, transcribing medical dictation consisting of a variety of medical reports, using diagnostic and procedural codes, preparing health insurance claim forms, preparing monthly bills, and processing phone messages. (Prerequisite: MEDS1210 or concurrent, MEDS1214 or MEDS1215 or MEDS1216 or concurrent.) (4 credits: 4 lecture/0 lab)

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4 cr
Healthcare Documentation I & II
This course covers the transcription of dictated medical material into a variety of medical documents. Students will be able to describe the content and purpose of the various medical documents transcribed. Students will key challenging dictated medical reports while being introduced to all body systems and specialized procedures. (Prerequisites: MEDS1210 or concurrent, ADMS1417 or concurrent) (4 credits: 4 lecture/0 lab)

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4 cr
Interpersonal Career Concepts
This course is designed specifically for students in allied health occupations including Health Unit Coordinator, Medical Receptionist, Medical Secretary, Medical Transcriptionist, and Medical Coding Specialist. Students will learn effective communication skills within a medical setting. The course will cover effective tools needed to establish healthy interpersonal relationships within a students personal life, family life, community, and workplace. Decision making, problem solving, critical thinking, and creative thinking will be introduced. Conflict resolution skills, harassing behavior, resume writing and professional interview techniques will be identified. (Prerequisites: None) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Essentials of Healthcare Documentation
This course presents tasks as if the students were actually employed in a medical center. Students will rotate through various medical units. The text is organized so that the student progresses from a simple to a higher order of planning. Students will edit numerous dictated documents utilizing proper grammar and critical thinking skills. (Prerequisite: MEDS1214, MEDS1215, or MEDS1216) (3 credits: 2 lecture/1 lab)

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3 cr
Legal & Ethical Aspects of Health Information
This course introduces students to legal and ethical issues facing professionals in health occupations. Course content will include, but not be limited to, topics such as access to medical care, informed consent, confidentiality of health care information and exceptions to confidentiality, mandatory reporting obligations such as child and elder abuse, privileged communications between health care providers, advance directives, abortion, physician-assisted suicide. This course is intended to expose students to situations with ethical implications. (Prerequisite: None) (2 credits: 2 lecture/0 lab)

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2 cr
This course is designed specifically for students in allied health occupations including Health Unit Coordinator, Medical Receptionist, Medical Secretary, Medical Transcriptionist, Medical Coding Specialist. Students will learn to identify drugs by classification, characteristics of typical drugs, indications, most common side effects, precautions, contraindications, route of administration, generic and trade names. Students will gain knowledge of drug abbreviations and symbols which is required for accurate interpretation of physicians' orders. Medical terminology is essential to understand the pharmacology terminology introduced. (Prerequisite: MEDS1210 or concurrent) (2 credits: 2 lecture/0 lab)

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2 cr
28 crs

Total Credit Requirement - 30

Estimated Costs for this Major

Approximate Tuition/Fees:$5,837
Minimum Tool Cost:N/A
Estimated Total:$7,087


Career Opportunities

  • Medical Centers
  • Outpatient Clinics
  • Insurance Companies
  • Sports Medicine Facilities
  • Extended Care Facilities
  • Home Health Agencies
  • Government Agencies

Career Information


Program graduates will be able to:
  1. Produce medical documents using correct English and proofreading skills.
  2. Understand the impact that prejudice and bias have on personal attitudes, behaviors, and physical and mental health.
  3. Use systematic, critical, and creative processes to identify problems and make decisions.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to correctly spell, define, and pronounce medical terminology.
  5. Demonstrate critical thinking skills and ethical behavior maintaining appropriate confidentiality according to organization policies in a medical setting.
  6. Exhibit proficiency in transcribing medical documents that meet professional medical office standards.


  • Instructors have professional experience in the program fields
  • Students work with actual clinic/hospital documents
  • Established affiliation agreements have been developed with area clinics/hospitals
  • All programs are offered online as well as on campus


  • Patty Watson received her AAS Degree as a Medical Administrative Secretary from Western Wisconsin Technical College in La Crosse, WI and her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Organizational Management and Communications from Concordia University in St. Paul, MN. Patty has taught at MSC Southeast since 1990. Contact Patty at

  • Becky Korder received her AA Degree in the Medical Secretarial Program from Winona State University and her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Organizational Management and Communications from Concordia University in St. Paul, MN. Becky has taught at MSC Southeast since 2003. Contact Becky at


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Transfer Credits

Expand your opportunities. Learn how your credits can transfer to other colleges and universities.

College Articulated Transfer Agreements: Specific agreements between MSC Southeast and other institutions to accept transfer credits.

Minnesota Transfer: Transfer information provided by Minnesota State colleges and universities, Minnesota private colleges, and the University of Minnesota.

Transferology: A nationwide network to assist students in determining which courses will transfer.



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RED WING CAMPUS | 308 Pioneer Road | Red Wing, MN 55066 | 651-385-6300
WINONA CAMPUS | 1250 Homer Road | Winona, MN 55987 | 507-453-2700

Minnesota State College Southeast is an affirmative action/equal opportunity educator and employer. ADA accessible. MSC Southeast is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment and education opportunity. No person shall be discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment, personnel practices, or access to and participation in, programs, services, and activities with regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or sexual orientation. In addition, discrimination in employment base on membership or activity in a local commission as defined by law is prohibited.


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