Hospital Patient Registration Specialist: Salary, Duties & Requirements

Working as a hospital patient registration specialist requires little formal education. Learn about the education, job duties, and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

A hospital patient registration specialist collects patient information and performs several administrative functions, from verifying insurance to executing admissions, transfer, and discharge procedures. This professional must remain calm and efficient since his or her work is often performed in a fast-paced environment where time is of the essence. A certificate or diploma program, along with administrative experience in a medical environment, can prepare an individual for this career.

Required Education None mandatory; certificate and diploma programs in health information technology and related fields are available and are preferred by some employers
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 22% for medical records and health information technicians*
Median Annual Salary (2013) $30,811 for patient registrars**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Salary Information

According to PayScale.com, patient registrars earn between $22,162 and $35,901 a year, as of October 2014. Salaries for this position can vary greatly, depending on the size of the hospital or healthcare facility, the amount of job responsibility, and each specialist's level of experience.

Job Duties

A hospital patient registration specialist is often one of the first people a patient sees when entering a hospital. In addition to accurately gathering information from clients, hospital patient registration specialists execute various administrative functions, such as reception and clerical work.

Job Responsibilities

Registration specialists help assign beds and carry out procedures to admit, transfer, or discharge patients. They also input patient information into a computer system and verify necessary physician referrals and insurance authorizations. All tasks must be performed with close adherence to both hospital rules and regulatory compliance. Hospital patient registration specialists must make sure that clients properly fill out and sign all relevant insurance and hospital release forms.

The job also requires that the registration specialist explain financial options to patients. It also might involve the collection and processing of payments. Additionally, a hospital patient registration specialist must keep an accurate record of payments received and then provide patients' insurance companies with the proper paperwork that reflects all related transactions. Registration specialists often need to maintain and balance a cash drawer as well.

Job Requirements

Hospitals are often interested in candidates with experience in patient registration, insurance verification, or both, combined with relevant education. Some training programs provide students with the opportunity to gain work experience in a hospital or clinical setting while still in school.

Education

While a college degree is not typically required for hospital patient registration specialists, a certificate or diploma program at a vocational or business college can help provide the training and experience necessary to obtain one of these positions. These programs teach the medical terminology necessary for the field as well as the communication and computer skills to register patients and outpatients in various areas of the hospital.

Skills

The following skills and aspects of professionalism enable hospital patient registration specialists to successfully perform their jobs:

  • Ability to multitask
  • Knowledge of basic mathematics and payment processing
  • Computer experience, with fast, accurate typing skills
  • Strong organization abilities and attention to detail
  • Outstanding customer service skills
  • Ability to remain calm and professional, even in emergency situations
  • Understanding of medical terminology and standard insurance forms
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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics