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Medical Records Clerk: Job Description, Salary and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a medical records clerk. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

Medical records clerks manage information records, which include both electronic data and paper files. They are typically required to have a post-secondary certificate or associate's degree. Coursework may include coding systems, health care reimbursement, and data systems.

Essential Information

Medical records clerks may also be known as 'health information technicians' or 'medical records technicians'. An associate's degree and specialized credentials are frequently earned by these professionals, though not always required. Certification is highly recommended by employers.

Required Education Post-secondary certificate or associate's degree
Other Requirements Certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 15% (Medical records and health information technicians)
Average Salary (2015)* $40,430 (Medical records and health information technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Medical records clerks work in health care institutions but do not have any interaction with patients. The job is characterized by office work at a fairly normal 40 hours per week pace.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these clerks organize and maintain medical records by collecting information about patients. This information can include test results, diagnoses, exam results, recommended treatments, prior medical history and other relevant data. Medical records clerks must be sure that these records are well-organized, and they should be able to provide quality reports. Security and accuracy of the records is also crucial, as a small mistake could result in a large liability (www.bls.gov).

Salary

According to the BLS, jobs for medical records and health information technicians are expected to increase 15% from 2014-2024 as a result of an aging population needing more medical procedures. In May, 2015, the average yearly income of medical records and health information technicians was $40,430 (www.bls.gov).

Requirements

The BLS indicates that most employers prefer to hire medical records clerks with an associate's degree and, sometimes, additional credentials. Medical records clerks may earn an associate's degree that includes courses in coding systems, health care reimbursement, anatomy, physiology and data systems. In addition, several professional organizations offer credential and certification programs (www.bls.gov).

Certification, Credentials and Continuing Education Courses

Medical records clerks may earn professional credentials or certification in health information, coding and cancer registry services. These credentialing programs are typically exam based. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) sponsors the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential. Specialized certification programs and continuing education opportunities are offered by the Professional Association of Health Care Coding Specialists (PAHCS), the Board of Medical Specialty Coding (BMSC), the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA).

Proficiency in computer applications, data security and data analysis are becoming increasingly important to medical clerks and technicians as electronic health records (EHR) become more prevalent. Medical records professionals may complete continuing education sessions to keep their knowledge and skills current to ensure the continued accuracy and quality of medical reports and data.

Medical records clerks organize and manage health information, which includes ensuring accuracy, accessibility, and security of data. A post-secondary certificate or associate's degree may be required. The average salary for medical records and health information technicians was $40,430 in 2015.

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