Strong organizational and computer skills are two basic requirements for anyone wishing to become a medical records technician. A certificate or associate's degree in health information technology is all the education that is needed to enter this field.
When patients are admitted into hospitals or other health care facilities, a detailed medical record is created for them. A medical records technician is responsible for ensuring that these records are assembled properly and are accurate. An associate's degree in health information technology is typically required for students entering into this profession.
|Required Education||Certificate or associate's degree|
|Other Requirements||Optional Registered Health Information Technician certification is available|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||15%|
|Average Salary (2015)*||$40,430|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
An associate's degree in health information technology focuses on the management of electronic medical records. Completion of the degree requires that students be comfortable using computers and have strong organizational skills. Once a student graduates, he or she can choose to pursue certification.
Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
Students enrolled in an associate's degree program in health information technology learn how to handle patient data by using various electronic health care systems and databases. Courses address how to correctly collect, maintain and analyze health data. Students also learn about regulatory standards, and how to ensure that the processes that use medical data for billing and coding meet legal guidelines. Courses address topics such as medical office pharmacology, alternate health records, medical transcription, health care documentation and health information systems.
Certification is an option for graduates of an associate's degree program in health information technology. Currently, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential. To be eligible for this credential, a candidate must graduate from an associate's degree program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). The RHIT credential is awarded after a candidate successfully passes a written examination.
Medical records technicians collect, organize and analyze patients' health records data. This data consists of a patient's medical history. Medical records are increasingly being stored in electronic health records (EHR) systems. This requires that medical records technicians be familiar and comfortable with computer software systems used to collect and organize patient data.
In some instances, a medical records technician may suggest improvements to an electronics health records system. Also, if a patient's health record is deemed incomplete by a medical records technician, the technician may consult with a physician or another health care professional to acquire the missing information.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a 15% increase in the employment of medical records technicians is expected from 2014-2024. The BLS also reports that the average annual salary of a medical records technician was $40,430 in May 2015.
Medical records technicians are responsible for maintaining medical records, which may mean working with physicians to ensure the records are completed correctly, and organizing records in a digital or file system. A certificate or associate's degree are the necessary educational requirements for this career. Certification is available for those who wish to attain it, but it is not required by employers.