How can I become a Medical Records Technician? Schools, Cost, Salaries

What if I told you that not all medical profession involves relating directly to patients? One of such professional is the Medical Records Technician. Medical records technology focuses on the transcription and organization of medical records.

Every time nurses or doctors treat their patients, they need to record what they have seen and done; from x-rays and exam notes to the formation of diagnoses and treatment plans.

Medical records technicians Organize and maintain health information data. Their responsibilities include ensuring that the information is accessible in both print and electronic form and that the stored data is accurate and secure.

In this article, you will be extensively informed on how to become a medical records technician.

Who is a Medical Records Technician?

Medical records technicians also known as health information technicians organize and maintain medical documents. These technicians do not provide patient care, instead, they work behind the scenes with care providers to complete the missing information, process forms, and ensure that insurance companies receive the correct records.

They use coding systems to document patient information for billing and record-keeping and are responsible for the privacy of patient records.

A medical records technician is an administrative job that primarily involves administrative tasks such as record-keeping in a medical office. He is responsible for tracking all aspects of the medical history and the care received from a patient.

They have nothing to do directly with the condition, diagnosis or treatment of a patient. This person keeps patient records up to date and meets the standards of the health care coding system.

The accuracy and quality of these recorded data will be relevant for reimbursements by the insurance company for the services provided to patients by their employers.

Therefore, you must have high analytical, technical, and computer skills, as well as being detail-oriented and having high integrity when entering this professional field.

Maintain and access personal information, welfare, health procedures and medical problems of the patient.

Medical records technicians play a very important role in ensuring that doctors’ offices, outpatient clinics, and hospitals are organized and keep detailed records of patient visits, including symptoms, test results, and medical records.

What does a Medical Records Technician do?

A medical records technician (MRT) occupies one of the few positions in medical care that does not require practical patient care, however, it is one of the most important jobs in the industry.

Every day, people make thousands of visits to doctors and hospitals, and each of these visits involves a person’s medical history.

Medical records technicians play a crucial role in ensuring that doctors’ offices, outpatient clinics, and hospitals remain organized and keep complete records of patient visits, including symptoms, test results and medical records.

Through the use of computer programs and filing systems, medical records technicians enter and update information for reference to doctors and insurance companies.

Some specialize in standard coding systems used to categorize conditions, treatments, and diagnoses for insurance processing, while other medical records technicians pursue further education and training to enter the field of medical information management.

Job Description of a Medical Records Technician

Every time a patient sees a doctor, there are doctor’s notes that a medical records technician should add to a patient’s record, such as:

  • Existing health conditions.
  • Patient’s medical history.
  • Diagnostic reports
  • Prescription medications or treatments.
  • Treatment schedules.
  • Later recovery

How to become a Medical Records Technician?

To become a medical records technician, candidates usually have a high school diploma or equivalent. However, most employers are beginning to require formal training or an associate’s degree that includes skills such as creating, administering, editing, and interpreting medical records.

In addition, knowledge of medical jargon and terminology would be important. Candidates with knowledge of the computer system, coding, medical classifications, standards, and training in insurance also have a higher probability of employment.

Read: How can I become a Medical Coder in 2022?

A typical medical records technician job posting

Let’s see a description of the work published by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This job advertisement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:

  • Performs the coding of hospitalized and / or outpatient patients in billable and/or non-billable patient care meetings and develops skills and knowledge of medical records coding and has basic knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and diseases.
  • Select and assign codes of the current version of the International Classification of diseases: clinical modification, current procedure terminology, evaluation and management codes, HCPCS and assignment of modifiers.
  • Assigns diagnoses or diagnoses and procedural codes based on accepted coding practices, guidelines, conventions and policies with instructions from a senior coder.
  • Review the documentation of the registry to summarize all the medical, auxiliary, demographic, social and administrative data required with the guidance and instruction of the supervisor or main coder to develop knowledge of the organization and structure of an electronic patient record.
  • Send questions about vendor coding and documentation to a senior coder or supervisor for resolution or guidance.
  • Uses the facility’s computer system and software applications to encode, summarize, record and transmit data to the national VA database in Austin. Any identified data error is reviewed with a superior encoder or supervisor to correct it as necessary.
  • Uses a variety of window-based applications in daily activities and tasks, such as Outlook, Excel, Word, and Access; develops the use of medical records applications (Vista and CPRS), as well as code selection software. It guarantees that the current versions of all software applications will load and function after any update or change.
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These technicians work on a computer for extended periods. Whether they are updating the clinic records or tracking a patient’s results, accuracy is essential, so medical records technicians should pay close attention to detail.

Some work with data to analyze health care costs and identify trends in health data. Most health information technicians work full time. In health care centers that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, such as hospitals or nursing facilities, technicians may need to work at night or night shifts.

How much does a medical records technician earn?

Salaries vary according to education, experience, and geographic location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical records technicians earn an average annual salary of $37,110; the bottom 10% earn a median of $24,190 and the top 10% earn a median of $61,400.

The highest-paid 25 percent earned $51,350 that year, while the highest-paid 25 percent earned $30,990. MRTs that have gained experience with electronic health records generally have higher salaries, as do those with strong coding skills.

Jobs with hospitals and the government generally pay better than jobs in medical offices or extended-care facilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 38% of medical records technicians work in hospital settings in 2014, followed by medical offices with 21%.

Most work full time, and those who work in facilities that are open 24 hours a day may have to work night or night shifts.

What kind of education do medical records technicians need?

To become a medical records technician, you need an associate’s degree or post-secondary certificate in health information management or a similar field.

These will likely include courses such as medical terminology, anatomy, health care reimbursement methods, and classification and coding systems.

Most employers also want their medical records technicians to obtain a professional certification, such as a Registered Health Information Technician certification through the American Medical Records Technicians Program Association.

There are a number of 2-year colleges and 4-year colleges that offer programs for those interested in working with medical records. Students can obtain a certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree to prepare to enter this professional field.

Steps to become a medical records technician

What skills do you need to work as a medical records technician?

Medical records technicians must be highly detail-oriented, knowledgeable about computer systems and technologies, and well-versed in general medical concepts and terminology.

Students studying medical journalist programs learn to collect, analyze and protect medical information from patients in various organizations.

Medical file technicians have different personalities. They are usually conventional people, that is, they are conscientious and conservative.

They are logical, efficient, neat and organized. Some of them are also entrepreneurial, meaning they are adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extrovert, energetic, enthusiastic, confident and optimistic.

Most schools for medical records technicians offer associate and bachelor programs as well as certificates.

What is the workplace for a medical records technician?

The medical records technician is usually a full-time job in an office environment. He or she can work in medical facilities such as hospitals, medical offices, clinics, and state or local health departments.

MRIs are used not only in hospitals but also in other areas where health information is used, eg. In insurance companies, software vendors, pharmaceutical companies, medical practices, rehabilitation centers, home health care institutions, nursing homes, and government agencies.

How long does it take to become a medical records technician?

Certified certificate programs usually require one to two years of study. These programs introduce students to the basics of medical records, including privacy concerns and quality assurance methods.

In addition to the core courses, students generally have to spend 15 hours on average for general education.

Check this out: 15 Quick Certifications In The Medical Field That You Can Get …

Which schools offer a program for medical records technicians?

The choice of a school with a program for medical records technicians requires consideration of the accreditation of the program and the preparation of the students for the certification exams.

The following list includes a number of public and private schools offering medical information technology programs.

Keizer University

Tuition Fees: $17,664

Keizer is one of Florida’s largest independent universities and a valued choice for professionally motivated students. Keizer University offers degrees in sought-after areas and provides job placement assistance to all its students and alumni, including the program for medical journalists.

We research trends for growing fields and tailor our curriculum to prepare students for entry and promotion to a rewarding career. Keizer University is a private, nonprofit university.

Keizer University offers online degree programs to prepare students for high-demand careers. Degrees are offered through a syllabus that keeps pace with technological and demand trends in business, criminal justice, and healthcare and computer technology.

Hutchinson Community College, Hutchinson, Kansas

Tuition Fees: $14,458

The 66-point AAS program for medical records technicians prepares students to manage critical information and records in healthcare.

Participants participate in courses that include patient record applications, health analysis, medical terminology, and a coding lab.

After completing their studies, RHIT Online students can take the national RHIT certification exam of the American Medical Records Technician Program Association (AHIMA).

Coastal Community University, Coastline, Washington

Tuition Fees: $17,642

Students who graduate from SCC online as SCC medical record technicians will learn how to professionally collect and manage medical records. Graduates find work as health information technologists, coding specialists, health information managers, supervisors, and medical records technicians.

Work environments include hospitals, insurance companies, nursing homes, and home health agencies. The curriculum for this degree is not personal and can be completed online.

Peirce College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tuition Fees: $11,000

The college offers undergraduate bachelor’s degrees in business administration, information technology, law, general science, and healthcare.

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Prospective students interested in one of the best online degree programs for medical journalists may seek an Associate in Medical Records Technician Program Degree from Peirce.

This program provides technical training in healthcare, business and IT to help students embark on or advance their careers in healthcare. The Flexible Associate of Science program is fully online or available as a hybrid option.

Dakota State University, Madison, South Dakota

Tuition Fees: $24,337

Students attending an associate degree program for medical file technicians online may be interested in the Dakota State University Medical Records Technician Program.

This program prepares students for work as health information technicians and provides them with the skills needed to ensure the accuracy of medical records and protect patient health.

All students of the Medical records Technician program also complete a supervised internship that provides networking opportunities and hands-on training in a healthcare facility.

Collin County Community University District, McKinney, Texas

Tuition Fees: $18,404

The school has an online medical records technician program that addresses distance learning students who want to improve healthcare outcomes by effectively managing health data.

Graduates of this program have various positions in healthcare, including hospitals, government agencies, insurance companies, home care providers, and long-term care facilities.

All courses for this employee in the program for medical records technicians are available online.

Can I Run a Medical Records Technician Program online?

Online courses for medical record technicians are offered in full-online and hybrid format across several post-secondary institutions and may be more advanced than medical paper technician courses.

Certificates, Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s are available. Introductory courses in these programs provide medical coding, computer literacy, data processes, and terminology.

Research Training Groups offer topics such as the development of computer systems, the design of data networks, and security strategies that are all tailored to healthcare.

Graduates of the Medical Record Technician Program may choose to work for hospitals, medical practices, insurance companies, and more.

Students can complete the online medical record technician program through numerous certificate programs as well as employee, bachelor and master programs. Topics include medical coding, medical terminology, and database techniques.

Medical Record Technician Program |FAQs

How long does it take to get a degree from a Medical Record Technician School?

There are many schools that offer a program for medical records technicians.
Students can sign up for a two-year Associate-in-Applied-Science (AAS) program in the Medical Record Technician / Medical Records Program.

You can also sign up for a Medical Records Technician Certificate Program, which can be completed in about nine weeks. Upon graduation, students can work as Medical Coders, Data Integrity Specialists, Health Information Technicians and Electronic Health Record Specialists.

What are the prerequisites for obtaining a degree from a Medical Record Technician School?

To earn an Associate in Science degree in Medical Records Technician, students must complete approximately 61 credits, and to obtain a Medical Records Technician Program Certificate, students must complete 16 credits.

You will need to study modules such as Introduction to Business Computing, Keyboard Editing, Medical Terminology, Communication Technologies, Medical Coding, Documentation and Records Management, and Healthcare Information.

How much can I earn after completing a medical degree?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average annual pay for medical records and healthcare professionals in May 2018 was $40,350.

In 2018, 215,500 specialists were employed in this area. It is also predicted that employment in this area will increase by 11% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average for all other occupations.

Does an online certification of medical records help my career?

Yes, you can improve your career by obtaining a Certificate in Medical Records Management. Certificate programs generally reflect expertise and understanding of a particular profession.

Many employers are looking for applicants who have acquired certifications in addition to the regular degree programs. You can easily complete a certification program online through accredited schools.

What Kinds of degree can I get in Medical Records Schools Online?

Today, online medical schools offer different degrees for medical records. These include Associates, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Health Informatics and medical records.

These programs provide information on the management of health-related data in various forms. Students learn how to analyze medical data, ensure compliance with laws, ensure data accuracy, and produce medical reports.

How do you find the best schools for medical records technicians?

Deciding which school is best for a medical record program or for an academic program is a very subjective matter. Some consider the location, the price, the availability of grants or the content of the course the most important. Regardless of your criteria, our web search will help you find the best school for you.

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