Health Information Technician: Training and Education Options

Health information technology programs teach students about both electronic and traditional paper-based record keeping, as well as the supporting role medical records play in various health care delivery systems.

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Essential Information

Individuals who want to become health information technicians (HITs) can do so in a relatively short time by earning an associate's degree, which is available from a number of public and private schools across the U.S. These programs cover the practicalities of assembling, storing, retrieving and disseminating medical records, coding and indexing records, and making sure record-keeping procedures comply with legal requirements.

Associate's degree programs in health information technology require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED for admission.

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  • Health Care Administration
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Associate's Degree in Health Information Technology

Some topics, such as medical coding, may be covered across two levels of courses in HIT programs. In addition to health information fundamentals, required courses about or closely related to health information technology may include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Quality management
  • Health statistics
  • Database concepts
  • Medical coding
  • Medical law and ethics

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The leading employer of health info technicians is primarily hospitals, but industrial clinics, nursing homes, group practices and government health agencies also employ HITs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that over the 2014-2024 decade, employment of medical records and health information technicians will increase 15%. Growth will be driven by the aging population, which will need more medical tests and treatments, which in turn create a need for workers trained in handling medical records. The BLS reported that the mean annual wage for medical records and health information technicians was $40,430 in May 2015.

Credentialing and Continuing Education Information

Credentialing as a Registered Health Information Technician is available from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). To earn the credential, candidates must have graduated from an accredited associate's degree program and pass AHIMA's written exam.

HITs may advance to management positions by earning a bachelor's and master's degree. Alternatively, they may earn an advanced certification in a specialty, through additional education and experience.

By taking courses in medical terminology, quality management, and medical coding, HIT associate's programs prepare students for administrative jobs in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities. Graduates can expect good job prospects in the field over the 2014-2024 decade.

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