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What Are My Options in Health Records Management?

Explore the career requirements for health records management professionals. Get the facts about education requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you.

What Careers Are Available in Health Records Management?

The two careers available in health records management are health information technician and health information manager. Health information technicians are responsible for compiling and organizing medical records in databases and electronic health records, as well as ensuring patient confidentiality by securing the system. The duties of health information managers are more wide-ranging; not only do they help with record maintenance and security, but they also follow industry trends in order to develop and implement new data storage and analysis techniques. At some institutions, they oversee the work of health information technicians.

The following table gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Health Information Technician Health Information Manager
Degree Required Associate's degree Bachelor's degree; Master's degree recommended
Education Field of Study Health informatics Health administration
Certification Registered Health Information Technician certification preferred by many employers License required by all states for nursing facility administrators; certification is voluntary
Key Skills Medical coding, data management, office management Information technology, management, business expertise
Job Growth (2018-2028) 18%* 18% for all medical and health services managers*
Median Salary (2018) $40,350* $99,730*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Work Do Health Records Management Professionals Do?

Health information or medical records technicians are responsible for assembling and maintaining accurate, complete and updated patient health records. Technicians use electronic health record (EHR) software. They may also be involved in the oversight and development of health information networks. The field also includes medical coders, who process insurance reimbursement claims for hospitals and medical practices.

What Education Do I Need?

For most entry-level positions in the field, you need an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. Credentialed Registered Health Information Technicians (RHITs) are preferred by many employers. This credential requires an associate's degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIM), as well as passing a written exam. Medical coders are generally required to have completed high school. Medical coding credentials are offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), by the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS) and by the Board of Medical Specialty Coding (BMSC).

Who Employs Health Records Management Professionals?

Health records management technicians may be employed by physicians' offices, hospitals and clinics, government agencies, law firms, computer companies and insurance companies. They may also work as consultants. Medical coders usually work in medical practices and in hospitals.

What Can I Expect to Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median salary for health information technicians in 2018 was $40,350. The highest average wage, $62,740, was reported in the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry. The lowest, $37,720, was in physicians' offices. According to BLS, the median annual salary for health information managers in 2018 was $99,730.

Are There Opportunities for Advancement?

Medical records management professionals may become medical office or medical practice managers, or increase their earning potential with specialty certification. Earning a bachelor's or master's degree can lead to a position as a health information manager.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in the technical aspects of health records management, you could also consider a job as a database administrator. These professionals can find work in organizations in many different industries, maintaining and securing financial data and other critical information. Alternatively, if you are drawn to the supervisory aspects of work as a health information manager, you could consider becoming a health service administrator. It is important to note that, for either of these administrative jobs, you need at least a bachelor's degree.