If you are looking to work in a growing field such as the healthcare industry, you might be interested in medical records administration. Read on to learn about what it takes to become a medical records administrator.
Medical records administration workers compile, update and organize medical records in hospitals, physicians' offices and other healthcare facilities. Medical records technicians, administrative medical assistants and medical secretaries all fall under the general category of medical records administration. Communication skills are important for these jobs because you often interact with patients and contact other agencies. It is important that you pay attention to detail to make sure that records are accurate and secure. Electronic records are becoming commonplace, so computer skills are also useful to have. As a medical records administrator, you will typically work 40 hours each week, but you might find a part-time or weekend position.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that medical records technicians would experience a 20% increase in employment opportunities and medical assistants would see a 34% increase between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). Medical assistants, who also perform some clinical duties, made a median annual income of $28,860 in 2010. Medical records technicians made $32,350 in that same year. Medical record technicians who worked for the government usually had the highest median income, making a median yearly salary of $42,760 in 2010.
You generally need an associate's degree to work in medical records administration, although some medical technicians may find job opportunities with little postsecondary education. An associate's degree in medical information technology can help you prepare to work with medical records.
In an associate's degree program you can take health information courses such as medical terminology, medical coding, medical data collection and reimbursement systems. If you wish to become a medical administration manager or move to another profession in the healthcare industry, you might be interested in continuing your education by obtaining a bachelor's degree in a related medical field. A bachelor's degree program in health information management usually offers courses in healthcare management, legal issues in healthcare and health data management.
Certifications can be helpful if you wish to work in medical records administration. You can obtain the Registered Health Information Technician designation from the American Health Information Management Association by completing an associate's degree program and passing the exam. Medical assistants can find some certification options from the American Association of Medical Assistants. The Certified Medical Assistant certification shows employers that you can perform administrative and clinical assistant procedures. This certification must be renewed every five years, so it is important to keep up with the latest procedures and technology in the healthcare industry if you wish to keep this designation.