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How to Become a Document Control Specialist

Do you have an eye for detail and like building personal relationships with those around you? If so, this may be the perfect job for you. For this job, you need to be extremely detail-oriented because you’ll be performing duties such as overseeing HIPAA procedures, indexing different types of data, and helping convert hard files to all types of electronic formats. This position only requires a high school diploma, but an associate/bachelor’s degree will set you apart from other candidates. Being bilingual and having 2+ years of experience is also a plus.

Sample job description

Document control specialists are responsible for providing professional and efficient clerical support to our team, which would include receiving, reviewing, categorizing, scanning, filing, and tracking documents using our company’s classification and organization systems. This position needs to be extremely detail-oriented, have knowledge of inbound communications, and be familiar working with documents of confidential nature, such as HIPAA procedures or company-specific proprietary information. If you have experience indexing batches of data, are able to organize and recall sensitive information, and have knowledge of legal requirements, this could be the position for you.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Work with clients, contractors, vendors, and internal stakeholders to issue and transmit requested documents
  • Develop procedures for transferring digital files to the Document Management System (DMS) library
  • Ensure that document management processes meet legal requirements
  • Convert selected hard copy files to electronic format
  • Train and assist team members in the use of document management software
  • Retrieve documents in storage areas upon request
  • Respond to requests for documents and distribute them as needed

Education and experience

This position requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Employers typically prefer candidates with an associate or bachelor’s degree, especially in areas such as construction management, business administration, library science, or a related field.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Knowledge of records management procedures and standards
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Word and Excel
  • Detail-oriented

Preferred qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in science or related field
  • Bilingual
  • 2+ years of experience as a document control specialist

Typical work environment

Document control specialists generally work in an office environment in the medical or science fields. Although they may find themselves wherever physical documentation can be stored, their work is largely digital now. For this reason you’ll be either seated at a desk for long hours, or walking from various office settings for meetings or appointments. Some may also work remotely if given the opportunity.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a document control specialist are during normal business hours between 9 AM and 5 PM, Monday through Friday.

Available certifications

As document control specialists work in a variety of industries, there are many institutions that offer certifications, including:

  • Certified Billing and Coding Specialist. The CBCS will more specifically focus on converting medical documentation and data from jargon and shorthand into billable codes for claims purposes. This is excellent if one is looking to move towards a more claims-related position within a medical insurance company or hospital.
  • Certified Medical Office Manager. The CMOM demonstrates the holder’s high knowledge of medical administration skills. You’ll show a working knowledge of financial management, care contracting time and personnel management, record keeping, risk mitigation, and much more.
  • Microsoft Office Specialist Master Certification. The MOS certification helps demonstrate the holder’s overall knowledge of the Microsoft Suite. You’ll have more than a working familiarity with the separate programs and be considered technically skilled at navigating and operating within them.
  • Certified Coding Specialist. The CCS holder has demonstrated the ability to produce accurate, high-quality documentation. As healthcare organizations are directly impacted financially by properly and improperly coded bills, this certification and others like it have become the industry standard. The certification provides testing on data quality and integrity, as well as mastery over inpatient and outpatient records. You’ll want to already be familiar with medical coding and billing in order for this certification to be possible.

Career path

Document control specialists can often find work with a high school diploma or the equivalent. Candidates who have associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees in fields like construction management, business administration, library science, or a related field are often more attractive to employers looking to fill document control specialist positions. Successful document control specialists can often progress into management positions, either as document control managers or office managers.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 43-4199

2020 Employment159,900
Projected Employment in 2030168,100
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 5% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift8,200 increase

According to the business technology firm Gordon Flesch Company, one major trend in the document control field is robotic process automation. This process involves the use of software robots to perform repeatable office tasks such as digitizing documents. Cloud storage is another growing trend in document management. Many agencies and organizations are moving from physical storage of documents to digital cloud storage to increase efficiency in searching for documents and create a more secure environment for sensitive information.