How Do I Earn A Medical Records Technician Degree?

Medical records technicians work with the paperwork and records required to maintain patient medical charts and assist healthcare professionals in compiling patient medical histories. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the primary job duties of a medical records technician include:

  • Organizing and reviewing patient information for accuracy and entering information in databases
  • Performing quality assessment of patient outcomes and collaboration with healthcare professionals to complete medical records
  • Using medical coding to ensure payment from insurance providers
  • Entering and storing electronic data
  • Protecting patient confidentiality

How Do I Become A Medical Records Technician?

Many medical records personnel study in some type of vocational degree program, although many have an associate’s degree as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that most post-secondary training programs, whether they are offered through vocational schools or junior colleges, focus on the skills necessary to become a medical records technician such as transcription, medical terminology, anatomy, and medical coding.

Certification is not required in every state, but most employers choose certified employees over those who have no certification. The American Health Information Management Association offers a test that leads to the Registered Health Information Technician or RHIT certification. Medical records technicians can also seek other, specialized types of certification such as a Certified Tumor Register or CTR who specializes in cancer patient records. There are several types of specialized certification, each with its own individual exam, that students can acquire to make them more marketable to various healthcare facilities and institutions.

What Skills Do I Need to Become A Medical Records Technician?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are several important qualities that successful medical records technicians possess. These include:

Analytical Skills

Good medical records technicians do not just maintain records; they also make judgment calls on how to arrange and code information so that doctors, insurance companies, and other healthcare professionals can understand the records and use the information they contain.

Detail Oriented

One tiny mistake in a patient’s medical record could cause serious repercussions, including death. While no one is perfect, it is vital that medical records technicians pay extremely close attention to detail to avoid giving doctors or other healthcare providers erroneous information. Medical records technicians simply cannot afford to make careless errors with patient medical records.

Interpersonal Skills

Medical records technicians frequently interact with doctors, patients, other medical records technicians, and insurance companies. Because medical records technicians spend so much time communicating with others, it is very important that they have good interpersonal and communication skills.

Technical Skills

Medical records technicians must be able to operate a variety of software programs efficiently and accurately.

How Much Do Medical Records Technicians Earn?*

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for medical records technicians was $32,350 in 2010. This came from a low salary range of $21,240 and a high salary range of $53,430. The location where you work will have a direct impact on how much you earn. Those working in hospitals will likely make more than those in small doctor’s offices, although some private clinics and doctor’s offices pay more than hospitals.

Where Can I Find A Job As A Medical Records Technician?

Medical records technicians work in a variety of healthcare facilities; in fact, every healthcare facility must have some form of medical records management, so it is safe to say that anywhere there are patients there will be medical records technician jobs.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of medical records technicians work in hospitals; 39 percent work in state, local, or private hospital settings, 23% work in doctor’s offices and another 10 percent work in nursing homes and home health care agencies.

What Is The Job Outlook for Medical Records Technicians?*

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that jobs for medical records technicians will increase in number by 37,700, or 21 percent, over the next ten years. Compared to the national average job growth this particular field shows much faster growth.

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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