Health Information Management Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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What are the pros and cons of a health information management career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a health information management professional is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Health Information Management Career

Health information management professionals oversee the process of recording and maintaining patient data for physicians and healthcare providers. Three career titles that fall under the category of health information management include health information manager, health information technician and medical transcriptionist. Continue reading to learn more about each career.

Health Information Manager Health Information Technician Medical Transcriptionist
Career Overview Health information managers oversee the medical records and health information department in a healthcare facility. Health information technicians organize and ensure the accuracy of patient data. Medical transcriptionists create documents from the recordings made by physicians.
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Certificate Certificate or associate degree
Program Length Four years Nine months to one year One to two years
Certification Certification is not required, but the employers may prefer applicants with the Registered Health Information Administrator credential Certification is not required, but employers prefer technicians with professional credentials such as Registered Health Information Technician Certification is not required, but employers may prefer transcriptionists with credentials from the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity
Experience Requirement Up to five years experience in health information management No information available No information available
Job Outlook for 2012-2022 Fast growth of 23% predicted (for all medical and health services managers)* Fast growth of 22% predicted (for all medical records and health information technicians)* Average growth of 8% predicted*
Approximate Median Salary (2014) $92,810 (for all medical and health services managers)* $35,900 (for all medical records and health information technicians)* $34,750*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Health Information Manager

Health information managers direct the activities of workers in the medical records and health information departments of hospitals, clinics, physicians' offices and other healthcare facilities. Managers must remain up-to-date on state and federal regulations, maintain patient confidentiality and monitor the quality of medical records. Health information managers may perform quality and efficiency audits to ensure workers maintain the department's standards.

Requirements

Most employers require healthcare managers to have a bachelor's degree, but some may prefer candidates with a master's degree education. Degree programs in health information management include coursework in finance, leadership and management in addition to health information courses. Employers may also hire health information managers with a bachelor's degree in business or health administration. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some healthcare facilities may hire managers with experience instead of a formal education.

Below are some examples of health information manager positions available in December 2012:

  • An employer in Colorado in the healthcare industry is looking for a health information manager to oversee the medical records department in a 154-bed facility. The employer requires applicants to have two to five years experience as a health information manager and knowledge of government regulations.
  • An Ohio employer in the healthcare industry is searching for a health information manager to oversee the health information and medical records department. Applicants must have a minimum of a two-year degree and at least three years experience to qualify for the position. The employer requires the applicant to possess the Registered Health Information Administrator credential.
  • An employer in New Jersey in the healthcare industry is seeking a health information manager to monitor the quality and efficiency of a medical records department. Applicants must have at least a two-year degree, a minimum of five years experience and a Registered Health Information Administrator or Registered Health Information Technician credential.

Standing Out

Certification is not a requirement for a health information manager position, but earning a credential from the American Health Information Management Association may enhance employment opportunities. The organization offers the Registered Health Information Administrator certification for professionals in the field.

Health Information Technician

Health information technicians keep tabs on medical data in hospitals, clinics, physician's offices and other healthcare facilities. Technicians review patient charts and records for completeness and accuracy, enter the information in a database and assign a code to the information. Health information or medical records technicians must consult with physicians and medical professionals to clarify the information in patient records.

Requirements

Employers may require health information and medical records technicians to complete a certificate or associate degree program to qualify for a position. Courses for medical records and health information technicians cover medical terminology, coding systems, anatomy, physiology, billing and reimbursement systems. According to the BLS, some employers prefer medical billers and records technicians with professional certification.

See below for some examples of medical records technician job postings available in December 2012:

  • An Oregon employer in the healthcare industry is searching for a medical records technician to visit medical offices in the area and upload medical records for the company. Applicants must have a high school education and experience in an office environment. Previous experience with medical records is not a requirement but is preferred.
  • An employer in Florida in the non-profit healthcare industry is looking for a medical records technician to audit patient charts, perform data entry and filing and prepare admission charts. Applicants must have a high school education, filing experience and a valid driver's license.
  • A Virginia employer in the healthcare industry is seeking a medical records technician to work in its facility. Applicants must have a high school education and either two years of college-level business education or certification in medical records.

Standing Out

Certification from the American Health Information Management Association as a Registered Health Information Technician can help you stand out in the job market. To be eligible for the certification, you must complete an associate degree program in health information management, which can also help you gain an edge in the job market.

Medical Transcriptionist

Medical transcriptionists create reports and written documentation from physician and healthcare providers' recordings. The reports and documents become part of a patient's medical history. Transcriptionists must translate the information in recordings or from speech recognition software into accurate and complete documents.

Requirements

According to the BLS, employers prefer medical transcriptionists who have completed a certificate or degree program in medical transcription. Transcriptionist education programs include courses in grammar, medical terminology, legal requirements for medical documents and anatomy.

Below are some examples of job postings for medical transcriptionists available in December 2012:

  • An Arizona employer in the healthcare industry is looking for a medical transcriptionist to perform transcription and cytology entry. Applicants must have a high school diploma and two to three years experience in pathology to qualify for the position. Professional certification is not required, but the employer prefers applicants with the Certified Medical Transcriptionist credential.
  • A Minnesota employer in the healthcare industry is looking for a medical transcriptionist to transcribe dictation by healthcare professionals and physicians. Applicants must have a minimum of one year training in medical transcription or experience as a medical secretary. The employer prefers applicants with the Certified Medical Transcriptionist credential.
  • An employer in Kentucky in the healthcare industry is seeking a medical transcriptionist to transcribe pathology and cytology reports and prepare correspondence for physicians. The employer requires applicants to have a high school diploma and a minimum of six months experience in the field. Those without experience can qualify for the position with a transcription certification.

Standing Out

Certification is not a requirement to work as a medical transcriptionist, but employers often prefer applicants who have earned a credential from the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity. The organization offers certification as a Registered Medical Transcriptionist or a Certified Medical Transcriptionist. The Certified Medical Transcriptionist credential demonstrates transcription skills in more than one medical specialty, which may help you stand out in the field.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Bryant & Stratton College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BBA Medical Services Management
      • Health Services Administration - BS
    Associate's
      • AS - Medical Administrative Assistant
      • Medical Administrative Assistant - AAS
      • Medical Reimbursement & Coding, AAS
      • AS - Medical Reimbursement and Coding
      • Health Services Administration - AAS
    Certificate
      • Health Services Admin Diploma
      • Medical Billing and Coding Diploma
      • Medical Office Assisting Diploma
      • Health Services Assistant - Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS: Health Care Administration
  • Knoxville, TN

    The University of Tennessee

  • Philadelphia, PA

    Temple University

  • Online Programs Available
    5. Penn Foster

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Career Diploma - Medical Billing and Coding
      • Career Diploma - Medical Transcriptionist
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Health Administration: Operational Leadership (Qualitative Research)
      • Doctor of Health Administration: Operational Leadership (Quantitative Leadership)
    Master's
      • Master of Science in Health Administration
      • M.S. in Health Informatics
      • Master of Science in Health Administration with an Emphasis in Health Care Quality and Patient Safety
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Purdue Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Health Care Management
      • Master: Management/Health Care Mgmt
      • Master of Health Informatics
    Associate's
      • Associate of Applied Science in Health ScienceNo Concentration
      • Associate of Applied Science in Health SciencePreprofessional
      • Associate of Science in Health Science
      • Associate of Science in Health SciencePreprofessional
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Liberty University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences: General
      • Doctor of Health Sciences: General

Featured Schools

Bryant & Stratton College

  • BBA Medical Services Management
  • AS - Medical Administrative Assistant
  • Health Services Admin Diploma

What is your high school graduation status?

Saint Leo University

  • BS: Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Penn Foster

  • Career Diploma - Medical Billing and Coding
  • Career Diploma - Medical Transcriptionist

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • Doctor of Health Administration: Operational Leadership (Qualitative Research)
  • Master of Science in Health Administration
  • BS in Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue Global

  • MBA: Health Care Management
  • Master: Management/Health Care Mgmt
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health ScienceNo Concentration
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health SciencePreprofessional

Which subject are you interested in?

Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

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