Medical Records Administrator: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a medical records administrator. Learn about job duties, education requirements, job outlook and average wages to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Electronic Medical Records degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Medical Records Administrator?

There are two types of medical records administrators: health information technicians and health information managers. Both are involved in the collection of patient medical data in electronic health records and databases. They also make sure these systems remain secure. In addition to this technical work, health information managers also design and implement innovative database management strategies in response to new trends in the field, and they are sometimes responsible for overseeing information technology staff.

Look at the chart below to familiarize yourself with some specifics about these careers.

Career Title Health Information Technician Health Information Manager
Degree RequiredPostsecondary certificate or associate's degree Bachelor's Degree
Education Field of StudyHealth information technology Health information technology, management
Licensure RequiredRegistered Health Information Technician (RHIT) typically required Professional certification may be preferred
Job Growth (2014-2024) 15% (much faster than average)* 17% (much faster than average)*
Average Salary (2015)$40,430* $106,070*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do as a Medical Records Administrator?

As a medical records administrator or technician, you'd organize patient records, test results, medical histories and treatments. You'd need to maintain secure and accurate records and communicate information to healthcare professionals, patients and insurance companies. In the role of a health information manager, you might collaborate with application developers to coordinate content for medical records systems used by health professionals. You'd be responsible for ensuring that patient records are accurate and compliant with regulations.

What Are the Requirements?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that an associate's degree and/or certification as a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) are typically required for entry-level medical records technician positions (www.bls.gov). The RHIT credential is a standard in the industry and can be obtained through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). You could prepare to advance to a health information manager position by earning a bachelor's or master's degree. AHIMA certification as a Registered Health Information Administrator could demonstrate your proficiency as a medical records administrator and might be required by employers.

Aside from certification, medical records technician and administrator jobs aren't generally regulated by the state. However, if you work in a nursing home or long-term care facility as an administrator, you'll need to obtain licensure through your state. You'll have to meet education and competency requirements as well as participate in continuing education.

Since federal law requires that medical records be kept in a digital format, you should have a solid understanding of computer, security and application technologies. Your work would involve interacting with health care professionals, patients and insurance companies, making good communication and interpersonal skills very necessary.

What Is the Job Outlook?

The BLS anticipated exceptional job prospects for health information technicians, particularly for those with the RHIT credential and strong computer software and technology skills. From 2014-2024, employment is projected to grow 17%. Medical records managers are also expected to see relatively good job growth, with a 15% increase projected during the same period. The majority of jobs are anticipated to be found in doctors' offices, though hospitals and other health care clinics will also need competent managers. Business skills and health care experience could improve your employment opportunities for these positions.

How Much Could I Earn?

In May 2015, the BLS reported that medical records technicians earned an average annual salary of $40,430. Hospitals were the main employers, though the highest average salaries were paid by scientific, technical and other types of professional organizations. At the same time, medical and health services managers and administrators made an average salary of $106,070. Those who worked in pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing made an average of $161,530 per year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of becoming a health information technician, you might want to consider another medical office job, such as that of a medical transcriptionist. These professionals use specialized software to convert audio recordings made by doctors into text forms that can be input into patients' medical records. You usually need to complete a postsecondary certificate program to get this job. If you are looking for an alternative to the health information manager position, you might want to think about becoming a database administrator. These professionals maintain information management systems for organizations in a wide range of industries, not just the healthcare field. This career usually requires a bachelor's degree.

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