Medical records technicians, also called health information technicians, work in doctor's offices, hospitals and clinics to manage and maintain patient records. Individuals who are interested in a career in medical records technology can train through short one-year certificate programs or two-year associate's degree programs. Associate's degree graduates can also earn professional certification in the field.
Students learn about billing and insurance coding methods as well as how to use medical office software. Applicants must have completed coursework in computer skills and mathematics or science.
Certificate in Medical Records Technology
Medical records technology certificate programs offer a focused, vocationally oriented introduction to the medical records field. Courses in certificate programs introduce the technical and theoretical skills required to maintain medical records, handle insurance claims and deal with legal considerations. Some programs also incorporate internships and on-the-job training. Common course topics include:
- Medical terminology
- Medical records coding
- Medical ethics
- Law and medicine
- Accounting and billing procedures
- Insurance procedures
Associate of Science in Medical Records Technology
An associate's degree program in medical records technology combines vocational instruction with general education in the sciences, arts and humanities. Students in medical technology associate's degree programs take courses in the financial, technical, legal and medical aspects of maintaining health records. They also complete courses in general education and communications. Courses often cover:
- Medical procedures
- Health care terminology
- Medical transcription
- Health insurance procedures
- Patient communication
- Medical law and ethics
Popular Career Options
Medical records technology associate's degree programs prepare students to work in administrative positions at hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and doctor's offices. Some possible career titles include:
- Medical receptionist
- Health information technician
- Medical office manager
- Billing and coding technician
- Medical coder
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that available positions for health information and medical records technicians are expected to increase by 11% between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). In May 2018, the BLS stated that medical records and health information technicians earned $40,350 as a median annual wage.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Graduates of associate's degree programs in medical records technology are eligible to apply for certification as Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT) from the American Health Information Management Association (www.ahima.org). Most medical records technologist positions require only an associate's degree or professional certification, but students interested in holding supervisory or management positions may pursue bachelor's or master's degrees in health information management. Such programs deal with more high-level institutional planning and business concerns related to health records.
Medical records technology programs prepare students to work in many different environments by providing a solid foundation of general skills in addition to vocational coursework in medical office software, coding and medical transcription. Certificate and associate's degree programs are available, in addition to voluntary certification.