How to Become a Patient Access Representative in Tennessee

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A patient access representative is the first point of contact when a patient comes to a medical facility.

They work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and outpatient centers.

Their duties include obtaining a patient’s insurance and personal information, answering phone calls, and helping patients find where they need to go.

They will also perform billing duties.

They play a critical role in a patient’s experience and set the tone for the visit.

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Steps to Becoming a Patient Access Representative in Tennessee

Tennessee doesn’t have any formal requirements for patient access representatives.

However, most employers do require potential employees to meet certain requirements.

To become a patient access representative in Tennessee, you’ll need to follow these steps.

1. Decide if a Patient Access Representative is a Good Career for You

The first step in becoming a patient access representative is to determine if it’s a good career choice for you.

You’ll be working at a medical facility with patients and staff.

Qualities that make a good patient access rep include good communication skills, empathy, patience, and strong attention to detail.

If you have these qualities, and the desire to learn the trade, you are a good candidate for a patient access representative.

2. Attend a Training Program

Attending a training program isn’t required in Tennessee, but it makes you more desirable to potential employers.

Students will learn how to perform the duties of a patient access representative.

Training programs range in length from a few months to 2 years.

After training, you may be eligible for certification.

Completing a training program is particularly important if you don’t have experience in the medical field.

3. Consider an Internship

You can choose to do an internship after formal training, or in place of training.

Most employers require 1 year of experience if you haven’t completed a patient access representative training program.

Internships may be offered with lower compensation than regular employees or no pay at all.

In this case, the experience you receive is considered compensation.

4. Get a Certification

Getting a certification will help set you apart from the competition, and show potential employers that you have the skills needed to perform your job duties.

To get a certification, you’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Other requirements will vary based on the certification you choose.

The first option is Certified Healthcare Admissions Associate (CHAA).

Requirements to take the exam include one year of experience within the medical or financial field or completion of a patient access representative training program accredited by the NAHAM.

You must also complete 30 hours of professional contact hours within the last 2 years.

If you have an associate’s degree from an accredited college, you aren’t required to complete the professional contact hours.

The CHAM is an advanced certification.

You can choose to pursue this certification after you have experience in the field or receive a bachelor’s degree in a related medical field.

You’ll need 2 years of management experience in finance or the medical field.

You’ll also need 90 professional contact hours within the last 3 years unless you have a bachelor’s degree.

Another option is the CMAA or Certified Medical Administrative Assistant certification.

To take the CMAA exam, you’ll need to have completed a medical assistant program within the last 5 years, or have 1-year experience as a supervised medical assistant within the last 3 years.

The last option is the CEHRS, or Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist, certification.

You’ll need to complete electronic health records specialist training within the last 5 years. or have 1 year of supervised work experience as an electronic health records specialist within the last 3 years.

5. Start Your Career

Once you’ve completed these steps, you are ready to begin your career as a Tennessee patient access representative.

Schools in Tennessee

There are a few schools in Tennessee that offer programs that can get you started as a patient access representative.


Ross Medical Education Center Logo

Ross has two locations in Tennessee, Knoxville, and Johnson City.

However, they offer programs online, so you can access them from anywhere.

Ross doesn’t offer a program specifically for patient access representatives.

However, they offer other programs that can prepare you for this career.

You can choose to earn an associate’s degree in healthcare administration or medical billing administrative specialist.

These courses take 75 to 100 weeks.

You can also choose a certificate in office administration certificate program, which takes 55 to 70 weeks, or medical insurance billing and office administration, which is completed in 30 weeks.

Once you complete the course, you’ll have an internship, which provides you with real-world experience.

Academy of Allied Health Careers

Academy of Allied Health Careers Logo

The Academy of Allied Health Careers is located in Chattanooga, TN.

They offer a course in Medical Administrative Assistant/Electronic Health Records Specialist.

This course is only 9 weeks long.

Patient Access Representative Schools in Tennessee – Summary Table

Top 2 Schools in Tennessee

School NameAddress
Ross Medical Education Center206 N Seven Oaks Dr, Knoxville, TN 37922, United States
Academy of Allied Health Careers5600 Brainerd Rd C3, Chattanooga, TN 37411, USA

Patient Access Representative in Tennessee Salary

The average salary for a patient access representative in Tennessee is $46,324.

Salaries range from $42,153 to $51,780.

Your salary will vary based on your location and the type of facility you work in, your experience, and your education and certifications.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Patient Access Representatives in Tennessee

City NameSalary
Johnson City$29,608
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Tennessee

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Chattanooga, TN-GA420$48,040$23.09$64,460$31,050
Clarksville, TN-KY110$45,680$21.96$65,670$27,410
Jackson, TN230$42,470$20.42$60,140$31,120
Johnson City, TN130$41,770$20.08$59,450$28,890
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA90$38,170$18.35$51,750$28,120
Knoxville, TN480$45,220$21.74$65,010$30,990
Memphis, TN-MS-AR1,020$52,940$25.45$76,340$31,920
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN1,690$51,420$24.72$78,070$32,700
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Medical Records Specialists, OCC Code 29-2072, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are patient access representatives in demand in Tennessee?

There are many listings for this position in Tennessee.

Indeed lists 1,700 current openings.

What is the Best City to be a Patient Access Representative?

Like most careers, you’ll find more opportunities in larger cities.

There are many openings in Nashville, Knoxville, Murfreesboro, and Memphis.

Smaller cities and towns will have fewer positions, but competition is also lower.

What Types of Tennessee Facilities Can I Work In?

Patient access representatives can work in a wide variety of settings.

You can work in a hospital, doctor’s office, outpatient facility, and other types of medical office.

What are the Duties of a Patient Access Representative?

The duties of a patient access representative include creating and maintaining electronic health records, interviewing patients when they come into the facility, processing billing and payment information, and explaining the facility’s policies and procedures.

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