Medical File Clerk: Job Description and Requirements

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

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Medical file clerks work with patients records. They need to be well versed in medical terminology as well as coding for insurance and reporting purposes. This field is expected to experience a faster-than-average job growth between 2014 and 2024.

Essential Information

Medical file clerks, also known as medical records clerks or health information technicians, perform administrative tasks, which require knowledge of detailed medical record maintenance systems. Clerks typically hold a certificate or associate degree in medical billing and coding or health information technology.

Required Education Certificate or associate degree program typically required
Certification Most employers prefer the Registered Health Information Technicians credential
Projected Job Growth* 14% (2014-2024)
Average Annual Salary* $40,430 (2015)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for Medical File Clerks

Medical file clerks are responsible for organizing and maintaining patient's medical records, including personal information, medical history and billing records. Clerks enter medical and financial information into databases, create and implement filing systems, and ensure that the records are being managed according to industry standards. They also confirm with physicians or other medical personnel that the records are complete and correct.

Required Skills

The information contained in medical records is highly sensitive and a small mistake can directly affect a patient's care; therefore, clerks must be extremely detail oriented and knowledgeable about the particular practices in the office where they are employed. They must be excellent communicators and perform their tasks exactly as instructed. Medical file clerks may also be required to learn how to use advanced computer software for tracking medical and financial data.

Job Requirements for a Medical File Clerk

Positions as a medical file clerk may only require a high school diploma and on-the-job training; however, some positions may require the completion of a certificate or associate degree program in health information technology or medical record technology. Programs in health information technology typically include courses in information systems, coding, medical terminology, legal issues, health insurance, risk management and physiology. A bachelor's degree or master's degree is required to advance from a clerk to a managerial position.


Most employers prefer technicians who have obtained the Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT) credential offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Students must pass an AHIMA examination and have completed a 2-year program at an institution accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Several organizations, such as the American Academy of Professional Coders, offer specialized coding credentials, which are also obtained by passing an examination.

Job Outlook and Salary Information for Medical File Clerks

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects medical records and health information technicians, also known as medical file clerks, will see above-average job growth at 14% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS shows the average salary for medical records and health information technicians was $40,430 in 2015, with individuals working in high-paying states like the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Alaska, California, and Maryland earning average salaries between $47,930 and $69,290 that year.

Medical file clerk positions may require completion of a certificate or associate's degree in health information technology or a similar field of study. While not always required, most employers prefer candidates who have RHIT credentials. According to the BLS, the average annual salary in this occupation is about $40,000.

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