How to Become a Medical Records Technician
Have you always been interested in the medical field? Do you have strong organizational and analytical skills? A career as a medical records technician might be an enticing option for you.
Medical records technicians, otherwise known as health information technicians, are an important part of the healthcare system. They keep track of patient data ranging from medical history to test results, and help code and digitize that information into electronic health records (EHRs), which are stored in a hospital’s patient database and later interpreted by health insurance companies for reimbursement of healthcare services. Medical records technicians must also ensure that patient information is cataloged correctly and transferred and stored securely, so attention to detail is an important skillset.
A career as a medical records technician offers strong employment prospects and earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of medical records technicians is expected to increase from 11% from 2018 to 2028. The BLS also reports that medical record technicians make a median annual wage of $40,350, with the highest 10% earning more than $66,260. There is potential to earn more as you advance in the field.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a medical records technician, here’s how to get started:
1. Earn your degree in Health Information Management (HIM)
There are a couple of options to start your career as a medical records technician:
- Associate of Science in Health Information Management: An associate degree program in HIM will prepare you for an entry-level position as a medical records technician. Herzing students can get their associate degree in as little as 20 months. Because the program can be completed online, students can continue working full-time while earning their degree.
- Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management: This particular pathway provides the most opportunity for career advancement. In as few as 36 months, Herzing students can learn how to apply coding basics, business skills, management skills and more to the medical records and health information field. With experience, they can advance from medical records positions to leadership roles like medical and health services manager or HIM Director.
2. Work toward a certification
Most employers prefer medical records technicians to have a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification or Registered Health Information Administration (RHIA) certification. Students with an associate degree in HIM will be qualified to take the RHIT certification exam, while graduates of the bachelor’s degree program will be eligible to take the RHIA certification exam – both through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Each certification denotes a slightly different skillset and, therefore, different career tracks. Those with an RHIA certification typically hold leadership positions, such as HIM directors that oversee the management of medical records. RHIT certifications prepare you for more technical positions that specialize in areas such as medical coding. While certification is not required by all employers, it can play a vital role in your career growth and earning potential. Learn more about which certification is right for you.
3. Consider advancement
As demand for healthcare services increases, so does the need for experienced HIM professionals. Many medical records technicians go on to pursue advanced roles in HIM, such as a medical and health services manager. Employment for medical and health services managers is expected to grow 18% through 2028, adding 71,600 new jobs, according to the BLS.
If you’re interested in advancing your career, Herzing offers a pathway for qualifying students in the HIM bachelor’s degree program to get a head start on earning their MBA in Healthcare Management. Students can earn up to 12 credits toward their MBA while enrolled in the bachelor’s program, setting themselves up for career advancement in the future.
Ready to take the next step? Learn more about Herzing University’s health information management degree programs and begin your career as a medical records technician today!