To become a health information technician, you’ll need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in health information technology. In these programs, you can take classes in computer science, medical coding, medical billing, how healthcare is paid for, and statistics about healthcare.
Many health information technicians go on to get certifications like RHIT (Registered Health Information Technician), RHIA (Registered Health Information Administrator), and CCA (Certified Clinical Auditor) (Certified Coding Associate). As a health information technician, you need to have good analytical skills, technical skills, and the ability to pay close attention to details.
Behind the fast-paced emergency rooms, doctor’s offices, and all other healthcare facilities where patients go, there is a whole world of healthcare information that is very important to give good care. If the idea of collecting and keeping track of information that helps doctors, nurses, and other professionals make decisions excites you, you might do well as a health information technician.
This career guide will tell you everything you need to know about becoming a health information technician. This includes the education requirements, certifications, day-to-day tasks, and how long it usually takes to start a new career as a health information technician.
Health Information Technician Definition
What does a Health Information Technician do?
Accurate patient records and medical databases help make decisions about everything from how to care for a single patient to how to improve public health. Health Information Technicians gather and check information about patients, such as their symptoms, medical histories, and other medical information. They also use software called electronic health records (EHR) to help them look at trends in healthcare data from a bigger perspective.
Job Description for a Health Information Technician
What do they do?
Health information technicians don’t work directly with patients but with registered nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals to clarify diagnoses or get more information as needed. Health information techs work with administrative staff to collect and analyze data that helps healthcare facilities improve their operating procedures and run more smoothly. In addition to verifying and classifying patient data, they also work with administrative staff to classify it.
Health Information Technician Duties
Some of the things that health information techs do every day are:
- Keeping track of each patient’s treatment and follow-up information
- Information in healthcare software and registries needs to be kept up to date.
- Putting important data into groups, so it’s easy to find and study
- Analysis of data to help management or administrative teams
- Keeping private medical information about patients private
- Responding to requests for records, permissions, or other proposals from the law
Skills of a Health Information Technician
To be a good health information technician, you’ll need to be good at analyzing things and paying close attention to the details. As a health information tech, you’ll be interpreting medical information that needs to be carefully checked and put into categories, both for the benefit of individual patients and for the success of your healthcare facility. You’ll also need to be able to talk to everyone, from doctors and nurses to people on the finance or administrative teams, about patient information or data discrepancies. You must also have a strong sense of ethics since you’ll be dealing with information about patients protected by strict privacy laws.
Where do Health Information Technicians get their jobs done?
Most health information technicians work in hospitals or the offices of private doctors. But there are also a lot of jobs in healthcare management, at health insurance companies, and even with the federal government. Most health information technicians work 40-hour weeks. Even though most places have standard business hours, locations that provide care around the clock may need people to work evening or overnight shifts.
Schooling and Certification for Health Information Technicians
What kind of degree do you need to be a Health Information Technician?
One of the best ways to get started as a health information technician is to finish an accredited college or university’s Allied Health program. By getting your associate’s degree in Allied Health, you’ll be ready to start your career as a health information tech. You’ll also have a set of skills that can be used in a variety of other jobs in the healthcare field. Many associate degrees take years to finish, but if you already have a diploma in Allied Health, you can complete your Associate of Applied Science in Allied Health in as little as 30 weeks!
Working toward a new career as a health information technician seems much more doable when you break it down into smaller steps, just like any other long-term goal. Here is a step-by-step guide to the education, experience, and certifications you’ll need to become a health information technician:
1. Sign up for a degree program in allied health
If you get an associate’s degree in allied health, you’ll be a good candidate for jobs as a health information technician. You’ll learn a lot about the healthcare industry as a whole, which will give you a lot of chances to move up in your career once you get your foot in the door.
Getting an Associate of Applied Science degree is a great way to stand out in a competitive job market if you already have a diploma in allied health. It’s also straightforward to understand. For example, at Brookline College, all you need to get into the Associate of Applied Science in Allied Health program is a high school diploma or GED and a passing score on a Scholastic Level Exam and a computer literacy exam, as long as you’ve already finished your Allied Health diploma.
2. Get your Associate’s Degree in Allied Health
Since you’ll be transferring credit hours from your Allied Health diploma, most of your associate’s degree program will help you become a more well-rounded professional with a better understanding of the healthcare industry. This will help you do well as a healthcare information technician and make it easier for you to get a promotion or move into management.
Like any other associate’s degree program, your Allied Health degree program will include general education courses in math, English, and social and behavioral sciences. These will help you develop the critical thinking and communication skills you’ll need to do well in your new job in the medical field.
As for the courses that make up your Allied Health program concentration, you will learn about finance, marketing, accounting, and management through the lens of the healthcare industry. This will ensure you are ready for your job as a health information technician and give you a wide range of skills that will help you move up the ranks.
Regardless of where you decide to get your associate’s degree in allied health, you might want to look into colleges or universities that help students find jobs after graduation. As you move from finishing school to getting your first job as a health information technician, it can be beneficial to have someone on your side who knows what employers look for.
3. Get certifications to stand out.
Health information technicians certified as Registered Health Information Technicians will be very attractive to many employers (RHIT). It’s a great way to show you the basics of managing healthcare information. The RHIT exam is a timed, computer-based test with 130–160 questions that usually takes 3.5 hours to finish. Exam topics will include everything from best data handling to privacy laws and compliance rules. The American Health Information Management Association. can tell you more about RHIT certification and the exam details.
What does it cost to get a degree in allied health?
Many colleges and universities charge more than $20,000 per semester for tuition alone. Often, that doesn’t even cover the cost of books and other course materials or those hidden fees that always seem to pop up. Over several semesters, that price tag adds up even more. But now that online colleges are becoming more popular, prospective students have many more choices for accredited degree programs that are much cheaper than traditional colleges. For example, the total cost of the Allied Health program at Brookline College, which includes all books, lab fees, and other course materials, is about $30,000. No matter where you decide to get your Allied Health degree, ensure the school is honest about how much it will cost.
Pay for a Health Information Technician
How much do people who work in health information make?
Based on the most recent information from the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a health information technician is over $44,000 per year, which is more than $21 per hour. Just like doctor of physical therapy, Health information techs in the top 25% of earners make an average of almost $53,000 a year, and those in the top 90% can make $66,000 or more.
Highest Paying Industries for Health Information Technicians
According to the BLS, these industries are where you’re most likely to find the top-paying jobs for health information technicians:
|Industry||Average Hourly Pay||Average Salary|
|-Health Insurance Companies||$25.40||$52,830|
|-Federal Executive Branch||$24.19||$50,320|
|-Healthcare Management Companies||$23.78||$49,470|
|-General Medical & Surgical Hospitals||$22.45||$46,690|
Highest Paying States for Health Information Technicians
According to BLS data, health information technicians earn the highest average wages in these states:
|Location||Average Hourly Pay||Average Salary|
Highest Paying Cities for Health Information Technicians
According to the BLS, they earn the highest average annual pay in these cities:
|Location||Average Hourly Pay||Average Salary|
|-Atlantic City, NJ||$30.06||$62,520|
|-San Jose, CA||$28.82||$59,940|
|-Yuba City, CA||$28.05||$58,350|
|-San Francisco, CA||$26.37||$54,850|
Job Prospects for Health Information Technicians
What are the job prospects for people who work in health information?
According to BLS job growth projections, the number of technicians working in the U.S. is expected to grow by 8% by the year 2029. That’s twice as fast as the average growth rate for all jobs over the same period, which was 4%. As the baby boomer generation ages, the overall need for health care services is expected to increase. The ongoing move toward electronic health records is likely to make health information technicians’ jobs very stable in the long run.
Are you ready to become a Health Information Technician?
In the modern world, medical care will continue to be driven by data, and health information technicians are at the forefront of this change. A career as a health information technician could be the chance you’ve been waiting for to make a difference behind the scenes, both for individual patients and for the success of the organization as a whole.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the role of a health information technologist?
Health information technicians learn about medical terms and the coding systems that doctors and nurses use all over the world. Health information professionals can create billing reports, put medical care into the right categories, and keep track of patient data by studying medical terminology, medical codes, and different software systems.
Is health information technology a good career?
Health information technology is a field that many people can do well in. Experts don’t think that will change in the near future. Based on the U.S. Jobs in medical records and health information systems are expected to grow by 8% over the next ten years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Is health information technology in high demand?
Health information technology (HIT) is a field that is growing quickly. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor says that jobs will grow at a much faster-than-average rate of 15% through 2024. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
How long does it take to be a health information technology?
How long does it take to get an online associate’s degree in health information technology? Online associate programs in health information technology usually take between 61 and 74 credits to finish and can be done in about two years.