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Medical Records Technician

Career Overview

Also known as health information technicians, medical records technicians (MRTs) compile and update patient's medical records, checking for accuracy, completeness and authentication. In some instances, MRTs also compile and analyze data for use in research, cost control and even legal action; they may specialize in cancer registry, or maintaining databases on cancer patients. MRTs sometimes work coding diagnoses at hospitals; these are known as coding specialists or medical record coders.

MRTs work in large hospitals, doctor's offices, and insurance companies. In large organizations such as HMOs, MRTs often specialize in one aspect of health information, eventually supervising and managing teams of MRTs - at which point they are called medical and health services managers.

Education

MRTs usually have a two year degree from a program accredited by the Commission for Accreditation on Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), of which there are currently approximately 245 in the country. They must also become registered by passing an examination offered by the American Health Information Management Association. In order to qualify for this examination a candidate must have graduated from one of the aforementioned accredited programs. 

Employment

Of the estimated 170,000 available jobs in 2006, 2 out of 5 were in hospitals, with the balance located in physician's offices, nursing facilities, and outpatient care centers such as home health agencies and clinics.

Job Outlook

Job prospects are very good as employment is expected to grow faster than average, and technicians with a strong background in medical coding will be in particularly high demand.

Salary

Lowest 10%:  $19,630

Median Salary $29,290

Highest 10%:  $47,440

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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