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. Purdue University Global

    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
      • BS in Health Information Management
      • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
      • Bachelor: Health Science
    Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
      • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Admin: Healthcare Admin
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Healthcare Management
      • Bachelor of Healthcare Management - HSA Mgt.
      • Bachelor of Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS: Healthcare Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • MS in Health Care Administration
    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
    5. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Public Administration - Healthcare Policy and Ethics
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS Clinical Operations & Healthcare Management
      • MSHS in Biomedical Informatics
    Bachelor's
      • Dual Degree: BSHS in Clinical Research Administration/MSHS in Regulatory Affairs
      • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. The University of Scranton

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Health Administration
      • Dual MBA-MHA
  • Campus Locations:
    8. College of Health Care Professions

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Medical Coding and Billing-Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Healthcare Admin and Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Healthcare Admin and Management
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Utica College

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Health Care Management
      • MHA in Healthcare Administration
      • MHA in Health Care Administration - Acute Care
      • MHA in Health Care Administration - Long Term Care
      • MHA in Health Care Administration - Service Organization

Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • Master of Health Information Management
  • BS in Health Information Management
  • Medical Office Administration Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of Healthcare Management
  • Master of Business Admin: Healthcare Admin
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Healthcare Management
  • Bachelor of Healthcare Management - HSA Mgt.

Are you a US citizen?

Saint Leo University

  • BS: Healthcare Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

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?

Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

The George Washington University

  • MSHS Clinical Operations & Healthcare Management
  • MSHS in Biomedical Informatics
  • Dual Degree: BSHS in Clinical Research Administration/MSHS in Regulatory Affairs
  • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management

What is your highest level of education?

The University of Scranton

  • MBA - Healthcare Management
  • Master of Health Administration
  • Dual MBA-MHA

What is your highest level of education?

College of Health Care Professions

  • Medical Coding and Billing-Certificate

What is your highest level of education completed?