Online Medical Records Courses and Schools

Find out about career options working with medical records, and get facts about the education required for those careers. Learn about classes offered online as well as tips to choose a program. Schools offering Electronic Medical Records degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

You can enroll in a medical records specialist program or earn a medical records technician degree online to help prepare you for a job in the field. You will study a range of topics to give you the knowledge to work in this industry.

Courses Medical terminology, medical coding and medical records management
Certification Agencies including the American Academy of Professional Coders, the Professional Association of Health Care Coding Specialists and Board of Medical Specialty Coding offer certification
Online Programs offered fully online

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Online Courses Are Available in Medical Records?

Many programs, although not necessarily identified as medical records programs, can also prepare you for work in this field. These programs include medical office management, medical transcription, and business administration with a concentration in medical billing and coding. Most online medical records programs are available at the certificate or associate's degree level.

You'll study medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, medical coding and medical records management. Additional courses in a business administration program might include computer science, statistics, data abstraction, database management and legal issues. Other course topics in a medical office management program could include medical law, bioethics, human diseases and medical office accounting. In a medical transcription program, you'll learn how to write out many different types of medical records, including patient histories, radiology and autopsy reports, consultations, discharge summaries and physical examinations.

How Do I Choose a School?

If you are interested in becoming certified, you should look for programs that qualify and prepare you to take relevant certification exams. If you'd like to gain hands-on experience, look for a program that offers an externship. Externships may involve shadowing a professional through their normal day-to-day activities to get a feel for the kind of work you'll be doing. You may not receive any compensation or course credit for your externship, but you should gain experience and insight. Although medical records coursework can be completed online, your externship will need to be completed in-person at an off-campus location.

What Jobs Can I Do?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 184,740 jobs in health information technology and medical records in 2014 (www.bls.gov). Medical records positions can be found in hospitals, nursing homes, physicians' offices, home health care services and government agencies. The employment outlook for this field, as reported by the BLS, is quite good, with an expected increase of 22% from 2012-2022; this is significantly higher than the national average for all occupations. The BLS also notes that the mean annual wage for medical records and health information technicians was $38,860 in May 2014. The industry you choose can affect how much you make, with government workers making the highest average annual salary of $47,070 and individuals employed in physicians' offices earning the lowest mean annual wage of $33,910, also per the BLS.

Do I Need to Be Certified?

According to the BLS, although certification isn't required for medical records and health information technicians, most employers prefer to hire someone with credentials. Several organizations offer certification for this field, typically based on an exam and the completion of a qualifying program. Some coding certifications may also require a certain number of hours in the field. To maintain your credentials, continuing education and recertification is generally required.

If you'd like to be a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT), you'll seek your credentials through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). You'll need an associate's degree from a Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIM)-accredited program, in addition to passing a written test.

If you've completed a qualifying coding program, you can seek credentials from the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), the Professional Association of Health Care Coding Specialists (PAHCS) or the Board of Medical Specialty Coding (BMSC). Seeking specialty certification is one way to advance in the field of medical records and health information technology, as are relevant bachelor's and master's degree programs.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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