I think you are asking good questions.
I have only been an MT since last August. My girlfriend and I attended Deborah’s class at Pima Community College in Tucson as she was interested in working from home. To shorten the story, we both decided to take the course. I completed it in eight months, but it was a very diligent effort as there was a lot to learn. However, Deborah’s course is arranged very well, she and her staff offer all the support you will need, and you will learn all you need to know. Additionally, there is much information online. I have a whole list of disease and drug websites bookmarked to check spelling, etc.
I was a CPA until my children were on their own at which time I decided to get out of the corporate rat race and do something else. Finances for me were not an issue and, since I did not have to work, I could concentrate on the MT work (it was definitely intense). I had no medical background (I have a graduate degree in applied economics), but I did not find that a detriment as the course work was pretty complete. However, I do think it is important that you have a good command of English grammar and that you are fundamentally a good speller. For example, knowing when to use “affect” or “effect” means something.
I work from home, but at the moment, only on a part time fill-in basis. When I completed the course, Deborah hired me and I have helped bail out some overloads for other MTs which I have enjoyed and appreciated for the experience. I do not have a permanent doctor.
Your hourly wage depends completely on how fast you can transcribe the dictation as you will be paid by line of typing.
Insofar as choosing Deborah’s course, I think it is the best value, period! I know of other courses that average at least three times the cost of Deborah’s and I do not think I would have come away any smarter.
I hope I have answered your questions. Please let me know if I can be of any more help.