Health Record Technician: Career and Salary Facts
Explore the career requirements for health record technicians. Get the facts about educational requirements, job responsibilities, career outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you.
What Is a Health Record Technician?
Health record technicians, also known as health information technicians, work in medical offices to manage and update patient files and medical records. They document patients' health information in electronic health records and organize it in databases and registries, where it can be analyzed for quality assessment and insurance billing purposes. They also make sure that all electronically stored medical information remains secure. Some health information technicians pursue specialized careers in the field, choosing to work as medical coders or cancer registrars.
The following chart shows an overview of becoming a health record technician.
|Degree Required||Associate's degree is common; certificates are also available|
|Education Field of Study||Health information technology|
|Key Responsibilities||Documentation and storage of patient medical information|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||11%*|
|Average Salary (2018)||$44,010*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What Duties Would I Have as a Health Record Technician?
You would be in charge of documenting patients' medical information and storing it in their medical records, ensuring that the data is accurate, confidential, complete and secure. This may require you to communicate with other staff members if the records are not up to date or are unclear. You could work in a hospital, outpatient clinic, general practitioner's office or nursing care facility.
Because many medical facilities are moving toward using electronic health records, you would spend a considerable amount of time inputting medical data into a computer. You may also be responsible for medical coding, a process in which you would input codes that correspond to medical procedures. Your codes would then be used to submit claims to insurance companies.
What Education Do I Need?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most health record technicians hold an associate's degree (www.bls.gov). However, you may qualify for some jobs with only a high school diploma and relevant experience. Earning a certificate in health information technology or medical coding may prepare you for work in this field as well.
Associate's programs in health information technology take two years to complete and include classes like medical terminology, anatomy, coding, medical transcription, health insurance, ethics, electronic health records, information security and computer systems. Earning an associate's degree could qualify you to become a Registered Health Information Technician, a designation offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
What Salary Could I Expect to Earn?
In 2018, the BLS reported that the average annual salary of medical records and health information technicians was $44,010. You could increase your salary potential by earning a bachelor's degree in health information management and becoming a Registered Health Information Manager. As of 2018, medical and health services managers earned an average income of $113,730 per year.
According to the BLS, the job outlook for medical records and health information technicians was anticipated to increase about 11% from 2018-2028, which is faster than average growth. The prospects could be best for those with certifications in the health information field.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
If you are interested in using high-level software to organize and secure data, you might think about getting a job as a database administrator. Rather than focusing on health information management, these professionals can manage databases for organizations in a wide range of industries. Alternatively, if you are looking for a supervisory position within the medical field, you might want to get a job as a medical services manager, where you would be responsible for coordinating staff and managing the budget in a healthcare facility. For either of these jobs, you would need to earn a bachelor's degree.