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How to Choose a School to Become a Medical Records Director

Certificate, associate degree, bachelor's degree and master's degree programs in health information technology or management are available throughout the U.S. for aspiring medical records directors. Read on to find the right school for you.

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A medical records director oversees the clinical, coding, data filing and financial aspects of a healthcare facility. Undergraduate and graduate programs in healthcare or medical administration, along with significant healthcare experience, can help students prepare for the profession.

10 Schools with Medical Information Management Programs

The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer medical information management or health administration programs.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition* (2015-2016)
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Master's In-state Graduate $20,638; Out-of-state Graduate $41,688
University of Alabama - Birmingham Birmingham, AL 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state Undergraduate $7,766; Out-of-state Undergraduate $17,654
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state Undergraduate $13,790; Out-of-state Undergraduate $22,210; In-state Graduate $15,844; Out-of-state Graduate $24,508
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral In-state Graduate $10,710; Out-of-state Graduate $21,933
Rush University Chicago, IL 4-year, Private Master's Graduate $32,608
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state Undergraduate $8,591; Out-of-state Undergraduate $33,673; In-state Graduate $9,143; Out-of-state Graduate $26,354
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 4-year, Private Master's, Doctoral, Graduate Certificate Graduate $48,710
Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO 4-year, Private Bachelor's Undergraduate $39,226
Baylor University Waco, TX 4-year, Private Master's Graduate $27,270
Ohio State University Columbus, OH 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state Undergraduate $10,037; Out-of-state Undergraduate $27,365

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

How to Select a Medical Records Director School

A listing of accredited undergraduate and graduate programs in healthcare and medical administration can be found on the official CAHIIM website. Some important things to consider when selecting a school include:

  • Students should look for programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Completion of such a program is a requirement for Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification.
  • While associate's degrees are available, students should be aware that a bachelor's degree is the common minimum education requirement for healthcare administrator roles in general.
  • Employed students may want to consider online or hybrid programs, which could offer greater scheduling flexibility.
  • The responsibilities of a medical records director are diverse, and students are encouraged to review the course offerings of all prospective programs to ensure that the curriculum covers substantial medical management topics.

Associate Degrees

Associate degree programs are typically designed to qualify students to become certified as RHITs, which can lead to employment as medical records directors. Internships are commonly required in these programs.

Bachelor's Degrees

A bachelor's degree program in health information management is commonly the preferred level of education for medical record director positions. Several hundred hours of professional experiences in multiple clinical settings may be required.

Certificates

Certificate programs for aspiring medical records directors may be completed in two years, are commonly designed as post-baccalaureate opportunities and when properly accredited by the CAHIIM, can qualify students to become RHIAs.

Master's Degrees

Accredited master's degree programs for medical records directors can commonly be completed in two years and may appeal to students who already hold a bachelor's degree but cannot yet earn RHIA certification. Research opportunities and internships may be required, as well as a master's thesis or capstone project.

The most important consideration when selecting a healthcare or medical administration program is to ensure it's accredited by the CAHIIM. Although some institutions offer associate's degrees, most aspiring medical records directors hold a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree.

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