Career Development

What Does a Records Management Specialist Do?

Find out what a Records Management Specialist does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as a Records Management Specialist.

The Records Management Specialist plays an integral role in ensuring that an organization’s records are accurately maintained and readily accessible when needed. This position involves the organization, storage, and retrieval of both physical and digital records, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. By managing the lifecycle of records from creation to disposal, the specialist supports various departments in maintaining operational efficiency and safeguarding sensitive information. Their expertise in records management practices helps in streamlining processes, reducing redundancies, and enhancing the overall management of information within the organization. Through their meticulous work, they ensure that records are kept in an orderly manner, making it easier for staff to access and utilize vital information, thereby supporting the organization’s goals and operational needs.

Records Management Specialist Job Duties

  • Implement and oversee electronic and physical filing systems, ensuring compliance with organizational policies and legal requirements.
  • Develop and administer records retention and disposition schedules to ensure that documents are kept for the duration of their relevance and legally required periods.
  • Facilitate the migration of records from paper formats to digital formats, including scanning, quality control, and metadata tagging.
  • Coordinate with department heads and staff to identify records management needs and provide solutions that enhance efficiency and accessibility.
  • Conduct periodic audits of records and information management systems to ensure accuracy, completeness, and compliance with internal and external standards.
  • Provide training and support to staff on records management policies, procedures, and best practices to ensure organization-wide adherence.
  • Respond to internal and external requests for information, ensuring that the release of records complies with privacy laws and organizational policies.
  • Develop disaster recovery plans for records, ensuring the protection and quick recovery of critical documents in the event of an emergency.

Records Management Specialist Salary & Outlook

Factors influencing a Records Management Specialist’s salary include industry sector (e.g., government vs. private sector), years of experience, size of the organization managed, complexity of records (digital vs. paper), and specialized skills in records management software or systems. Advanced knowledge in compliance and legal aspects can also significantly impact earnings.

  • Median Annual Salary: $69,825 ($33.57/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of records management specialists is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

This growth is driven by increasing regulatory compliance demands, the exponential growth of digital data, and the need for sophisticated data management and security, requiring skilled Records Management Specialists to organize, secure, and facilitate efficient access to information across diverse sectors.

Records Management Specialist Job Requirements

Education: A Records Management Specialist typically holds a Bachelor’s Degree in fields such as Information Management, Library Science, or Business Administration. Advanced positions may require a Master’s Degree, often in Information Science or a related area. Relevant coursework includes records management, archival science, database management, and legal aspects of records management. Electives in computer science or information technology are beneficial for understanding digital recordkeeping systems.

Experience: Records Management Specialists typically come from backgrounds rich in hands-on experience with document management systems, data entry, and records preservation. Their journey often includes substantial on-the-job training, where they refine their skills in organizing, maintaining, and securing both digital and physical records. Many have participated in formal training programs that focus on best practices in records management, including understanding compliance and privacy laws. Their experience usually spans managing a wide array of records types, implementing retention schedules, and ensuring efficient retrieval processes.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications beneficial for a Records Management Specialist include the Certified Records Manager (CRM) from the Institute of Certified Records Managers and the Information Governance Professional (IGP) certification from ARMA International. No specific licenses are required for this role.

Records Management Specialist Skills

Digital Archiving: Involves the organization, preservation, and accessibility assurance of digital records. It requires a detailed approach to categorizing and protecting electronic documents and data, incorporating best practices in metadata, digital preservation strategies, and comprehension of legal and compliance requirements related to electronic records management.

Compliance Auditing: Focuses on verifying that an organization’s record-keeping practices meet legal standards and industry regulations. It entails a detailed review and evaluation of the processes and systems used for document management, emphasizing the importance of understanding current compliance requirements and their application to the storage, retrieval, and destruction of records.

Information Governance: Centers on compliance with legal, regulatory, and organizational policies, requiring the organized control of all business records from creation to disposal. Strategic management of information supports business outcomes, mitigates risks, and enhances operational efficiency, positioning it as a critical competency for Records Management Specialists.

Data Privacy: Concerns the confidentiality and security of records, applying legal and regulatory frameworks to manage sensitive information and protect against unauthorized access or breaches. It demands comprehensive knowledge of data protection laws and the implementation of policies and procedures that adhere to these regulations, ensuring the integrity and privacy of organizational records.

Records Retrieval Systems: Enables efficient location and access to documents and records, facilitating timely responses to information requests and compliance demands. This competency is integral to the smooth operation of information governance strategies, affecting organizational efficiency and legal compliance.

Metadata Management: Focuses on the organization, categorization, and maintenance of accurate descriptions of digital records to streamline access and retrieval for compliance, discovery, and operational purposes. It requires the application of consistent standards and practices to improve the discoverability and management of electronic records throughout their lifecycle.

Records Management Specialist Work Environment

A Records Management Specialist typically operates in an office setting, surrounded by both physical and digital filing systems. Their workspace is often equipped with computers, specialized software for document management, and possibly areas for the storage of physical records. This role usually adheres to standard office hours, though there might be some flexibility depending on the employer’s policies.

The environment is generally quiet, conducive to concentration and meticulous work. Interaction with colleagues and other departments is frequent, necessitating good communication skills, but the bulk of the work is independent, focusing on the organization, storage, and retrieval of records.

Health and safety concerns are minimal, primarily revolving around ergonomic practices and the potential for eye strain from computer use. The pace of work can vary, often depending on the volume of records to be managed and any specific deadlines for retrieval or archiving tasks.

Professional development opportunities may be available for those looking to advance in the field of information management or specialize further in records management technologies and practices.

Advancement Prospects

A Records Management Specialist can progress to a Records Manager or Information Governance Manager role, overseeing broader records management strategies and compliance. This advancement requires deep expertise in records management policies, digital preservation, and data privacy laws.

To achieve this, specialists should focus on leading complex projects within their organizations, demonstrating their ability to manage large-scale records systems and navigate legal and regulatory frameworks effectively.

Additionally, gaining experience in emerging technologies such as blockchain for secure records management or AI for data categorization can set a specialist apart. This technological proficiency, combined with a track record of improving records management processes and contributing to policy development, positions them for higher-level roles.

Engagement in professional associations specific to records management and information governance can also provide leadership opportunities and exposure to industry best practices, further supporting career advancement.


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