Becoming a Health Records Manager: Job Description & Salary Info

About this article
A health records manager's median salary is $83,654. Is it worth the education requirements? Read real job descriptions and get the truth about career prospects to decide if becoming a health records manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Health Records Manager

Health records managers, also known as health information managers, store patient health records. The following list of pros and cons can help you decide if this occupation is right for you.

Pros of Being a Health Records Manager
Above average earning potential ($83,654)*
Good job outlook (17% expected growth from 2014-2024)**
Job experience may be suitable for some employers*
Most managers work in comfortable settings*

Cons of Being a Health Records Manager
Usually requires certification and continuing education*
Typically requires at least five years of experience*
High level of responsibility can be stressful**
May work late evening, overnight or weekend shifts**

Sources: *Salary.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Essential Career Info

Job Description

As a health records manager, you're responsible for overseeing the collection, organization, storage, retrieval, and security of patient records. You must also ensure that records in both paper and electronic formats are complete and accurate. You may have the added responsibility of making sure that only authorized personnel can access computer databases. Other duties include compiling data used to provide treatment plans, preparing business and government forms, processing admission and discharge reports, and releasing information to authorized third parties.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for health services managers is expected to grow 17% from 2014-2024. This is primarily due to an increase in the elderly population, which may drive demand for medical services. Also, employment is expected to grow at private practices - health procedures commonly done at hospitals are now being performed at physicians' offices. The median salary for medical records managers in 2016 was $83,654, according to Salary.com.

What Are the Requirements?

A bachelor's degree is usually the minimum education required to work as a health records manager; however, a master's degree could be necessary for some positions. Employers may require that managers hold either the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) or the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) designation offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). In addition, many employers expect you to have strong analytical, communication, information-gathering, and time-management skills.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Job postings for health records management positions show that employers are looking for candidates who hold associate's or bachelor's degrees, relevant experience, and industry certifications. Some employers also accept candidates with high school diplomas; however, these applicants usually need additional work experience. To give you an idea of what employers are looking for, here are some real job postings from March 2012:

  • A behavioral health organization in Arkansas is looking for a manager of medical records with a 4-year degree and 1-3 years of experience. Job duties include analyzing, coding, managing, and maintaining medical records in compliance with healthcare regulations. Other requirements include RHIT or RHIA certification.
  • A health services company in Ohio seeks a records and information manager to develop, implement, and monitor documents and electronic information. This candidate is required to have 5-7 years of experience in corporate records management and a bachelor's degree in archives and records management, library science or technology. This employer prefers applicants who hold the Certified Records Management (CRM) and Electronic Records Management (ERM) credentials.
  • A health information company in California wants to hire a medical records area manager to assist the district manager in supervising and training medical records staff at facilities in the city. Job requirements include an associate's or bachelor's degree in business or medical management and two years of healthcare management experience. A high school diploma and two years of healthcare management experience is also acceptable.
  • A hospital system in Pennsylvania seeks a health information manager to maintain medical records, perform review analysis, and manage daily operations and staff members. This candidate must have a high school diploma or, ideally, a degree in health information management.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Pursue Alternate Certifications

Although the RHIA certification is the standard for this profession, there are other certifications that can help you stand out. Among them are the Certified Documentation Improvement Practitioner (CDIP) and Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security credentials (CHPS) offered by AHIMA. To register for the CHPS certification exam, you may need to hold a healthcare credential, such as the RHIA, and 2-6 years of experience in health information management, depending on the level of education you completed. For the CDIP exam, you need 2-6 years of work experience.

You could also obtain the Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems designation offered by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. To sit for this exam, you must have a bachelor's degree and five years of experience in information management.

Earn a Master's Degree

Earning a master's degree in health information management or a related field may give you an edge on the competition. Most health information management programs take 2-3 years to complete, and many of these programs are offered online, so you can continue to work while furthering your education.

Alternative Career Paths

Clinical Data Managers

If you're looking for a similar occupation with higher earning potential, consider becoming a clinical data manager. These professionals are responsible for designing and testing databases used to store health records. Some of your duties would involve designing forms used to track data, monitoring databases to ensure authorized usage, and writing guidelines on how information should be captured and stored. According to Salary.com, completion of a master's or doctorate program in an area of specialty is usually required. Salary.com also reported that the median salary for clinical data managers was about $97,000 in 2012.

Human Resource Manager

if you're looking for a career with more personal interaction, a job in human resource management may be for you. In this position, you'd be responsible for maintaining employee records that contain sensitive data, such as criminal and education history, previous employment, disciplinary actions, and salary. In addition, you might conduct interviews and employee orientations, resolve employee relations issues, and recruit candidates. According to the BLS, most human resource managers have at least a bachelor's degree; some positions require a master's degree. As of 2011, the median salary of human resource managers was $99,000, reports the BLS.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Health Information Management
      • MBA: Health Care Management
      • Master of Healthcare Admin
      • Master: Management/Health Care Mgmt
      • Master of Health Informatics
    Bachelor's
      • Health Information Management
      • BS in Health Information Management
      • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
      • Bachelor: Health Science
    Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration
      • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
      • Master of Science in Health Informatics
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Health Services Admin
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Medical Administrative Billing and Coding
      • Associate of Arts - Health Services Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Health Administration
      • MS in Health Administration - Informatics
  • Online Programs Available
    5. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Health Care Admin
      • PhD in Business Admin - Health Care Admin
    Master's
      • MBA - Health Care Admin
      • MS - Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • MS in Health Care Administration
      • MS in Health Care Informatics
      • MS in Nursing: Health Care Informatics
      • Master of Public Administration - Health Care Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Health Care Administration
      • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
      • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Project Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Health Information Management
    Associate's
      • Associate: Health Information Management
      • Associate: Healthcare Management
      • Associate of Science - Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist
    Certificate
      • Diploma: Medical Office Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    9. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    10. University of Saint Mary

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Health Care Management Concentration
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Master of Health Information Management
  • Health Information Management
  • Medical Office Administration

Which subject are you interested in?

George Mason University

  • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • B.A. - Health Services Admin
  • Associate of Science - Medical Administrative Billing and Coding
  • Associate of Arts - Health Services Admin

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Joseph's University

  • MS in Health Administration
  • MS in Health Administration - Informatics

What is your highest level of education completed?

American University

  • Master of Science in Healthcare Management

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Health Care Admin
  • PhD in Business Admin - Health Care Admin
  • MBA - Health Care Admin
  • MS - Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • MBA: Health Systems Management
  • BS in Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
  • Bachelor: Health Information Management
  • Associate: Health Information Management
  • Diploma: Medical Office Admin

What is your highest level of education?