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What does a Medical Records Technician do?

Spending on health care is growing more quickly than any other sector of the US economy. That makes health care a promising area for long-term career prospects.

While the first health care jobs that come to mind might be high-profile occupations such as doctors and nurses, there are plenty of other professions within health care that don't require as lengthy or expensive an investment in education. For example, medical records technician is an occupation you can pursue with an associate degree, and which should benefit from the long-term growth in the health care sector.

Job requirements for medical records technicians

Medical records technicians gather, store, and retrieve patient health care information. This may involve interaction with patients and medical professionals, as well as with third parties such as insurance companies and government agencies. As medical record-keeping becomes increasingly automated, knowledge of computer and database operations is of growing importance.

This type of job requires attention to detail, good communication skills, organizational ability, and a comfort level with technology systems. You should be prepared to learn medical terminology, and relevant health care regulations, and administrative procedures.

The most common educational requirement for this profession is an associate degree. Degrees in medical record-keeping or health information technology may include a wide range of coursework, encompassing medical concepts, record-keeping techniques, data management and retrieval, and industry procedures and practices. There are also professional certifications available, and you could improve your advancement prospects by moving on to earn a bachelor's degree.

Career outlook for medical records technicians

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for this field is expected to be well above average, with a 20 percent increase in the number of jobs expected. Positions in this field can be found anywhere from your local doctor's office to large hospitals and insurance companies, and the federal government is also a significant employer of medical records technicians.

Hospitals are the largest employer of medical records technicians. The highest-paying employers in this profession tend to be pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing companies. Geographically, the list of the highest-paying regions for this profession is pretty diverse, with New Jersey, Hawaii, the District of Columbia, Alaska, and Maryland all among the areas offering the highest average wages.

In short, there are various career paths for medical records technicians to pursue, but all should benefit from the strong growth in health care for years to come.

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