If you want a job in the medical field, but are more comfortable dealing with paperwork than patients, you may be wondering what kind of degree is needed to get a job in medical records. Thankfully, you should be able to start a career in this field without having to get a four-year degree.
To work in the medical records field, you'll need to either get a certificate or two-year degree. If you're still in high school, though, worry about getting your diploma before you start fretting too much about what kind of degree is needed to get a job in medical records. Medical records technicians, also called health information technicians, organize health information data both on paper and on computers. Because of this, you should take high school classes like:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Computer science
Taking these classes will help you become better prepared for your future career and give you a better chance of getting accepted into a good medical records post-secondary program. Taking AP, or Advanced Placement, courses isn't required, but these harder classes will prepare you for work at the college level.
Post-Secondary Non-Degree Award
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the minimum education needed for an entry-level position in this field is a post-secondary non-degree award. Basically, this means that you'll need to get a certificate in order to find your first job. Some employers state that an associate's degree is needed to get a job in medical records, but many others are willing to hire people without two full years of schooling. If you're looking for the quickest way to become eligible for jobs in this type of field, consider going to a local community college. Some schools have certificate programs for medical records technicians while others don't, so look at other community colleges in your city or state if your local branch doesn't offer what you're looking for. Certificate programs often don't have practicums or internships, so ask nearby hospitals and doctor's offices if you can volunteer or at least shadow a current employee for a day or two.
To have the best job prospects, get an associate's degree. You'll learn more applicable skills than others by taking twice as many courses compared to peers who are enrolled in a certificate program. Even though an associate's degree may not be needed to get a job in medical records, it will definitely help you in your job search. In addition to taking more theoretical medical records courses, your school may offer practicum experiences. In fact, you may even be required to complete a practicum or internship in order to graduate. If your college doesn't require you to complete an internship, don't feel pressured to get one while you're taking courses. Depending on your workload and other responsibilities during the school year, it may be wiser to try to gain experience during the summer.
Related Resoucre: MBA in Healthcare Management
To summarize, a post-secondary non-degree award or an associate's degree is needed to get a job in medical records, so take health, math, science and computer classes in high school and try your hardest while taking college classes in order to find a good job.