Regardless of what the industry is, from education to police work, hospital and health care or computer software development, records need to be maintained for that industry. Some organizations have such a large scope of records that they hire a specific individual to create, organize, maintain, and retrieve the records and maintain the records system. This individual is known as the records officer.
A records officer may be involved in maintaining patient records in a hospital to ensure a proper account is kept of all procedures and medications as well as the patient's health history, insurance and family information. Records officers also work in county employment maintaining records for births, deaths, marriages and taxes. A records officer manager may be hired to update and organize student and teacher records in schools and universities, or employee records at a large corporation. The records officer may be working with electronic storage, newspaper and other paper documents, microfiche, film, or other imaging software.
The work is typically indoors, although some industries such as property tax records and police evidence storage may also require field work as part of the records retrieval and creation process. Some records may be in a warehouse environment and others may be old, in poor condition or kept in controlled storage. As a result, the records officer's job may involve temperature extremes and a noticeable level of dust or mildew, which can affect some individuals.
The records officer is expected to be a highly organized critical thinker who is able to multitask. Most industries will require a minimum of a college degree and some evidence of prior experience working with records or documents such as filing. Some industries such as insurance, health care, and police or legal firms also require specialized training before a candidate would be considered qualified to deal with the specific record procedures.
According to Salary.com, in 2009 the typical salary of a records manager was around $74,000 with some positions grossing more. A well trained, experienced records manager can expect to command a salary between $60,000 and $100,000. Records management positions in small, private firms will likely pay less.The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals an average salary of about $30,000 for medical records technicians for 2008.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for medical records experts, police records officers and other record management positions are expected to continue growth by at least 20 percent through 2018.