What you'll do as a Health Information Technician: You'll manage, analyze and organize patient medical records and databases for statistical reports and studies. You'll design and manage health information systems to ensure they meet medical, legal and ethical standards and see that each patient's medical record is complete, confidential and safeguarded.
Degree you'll need: Associate's degree
Median annual salary range: $34,160*
Experienced technicians may specialize in medical coding, particularly Medicare coding, or in cancer registry.
Most coding and registry skills are learned on the job, however some schools offer certificates in coding as part of the associate degree program for health information technicians.
What You'll Study in Your Education Program
Health information technology programs vary from school to school, but most programs cover the following topics:
- Medical terminology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Legal aspects of health information
- Coding and abstraction of data
- Computer science
Health Information Technician Licensing
Most employers prefer to hire Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT) or Registered Health Information Administrators (RHIA), who have passed the written certification examinations offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
In order to qualify to take either the RHIT or RHIA examination, a person must graduate from a 2-year associate degree program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Health information technicians who receive their training on the job or from non-CAHIIM-accredited programs are not eligible to take the examination.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook; Medical Records and Health Information Technicians.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.