Become a Health Information Technician

Read on to learn more about the job duties of health information technicians and the requirements for the job. Review the employment outlook and salary for these technicians, and explore some related career options in the healthcare field.

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Career Definition of a Health Information Technician

Health information technicians work to sort, code, file and ensure the accuracy of patients' health care information. They commonly work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, out-patient care groups and doctors' offices. Common duties of health information technicians include organizing and evaluating medical records, coding diagnoses and procedures for insurance purposes and working with doctors to clarify information in charts.

Education Associate's degree in health information technology
Job Skills Detail-oriented, excellent communicator, computer proficient, ethical, methodical
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $40,350 for medical records and health information technicians
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 13% job growth for medical records and health information technicians

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Most people beginning their careers in health information technology hold at least an associate's degree in health information technology or a related field. Common coursework in a 2-year associate's degree program includes anatomy, medical terminology, health data standards, statistics, database management and physiology. Relevant certifications for this field are available from the Board of Medical Specialty Coding and the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS).

Required Skills

Because they are working with patients' private and important personal medical data, health information technicians must be methodical and meet the highest ethical standards. Good attention to detail and strong computer and communications skills are also important for a successful career in health information technology.

Employment and Economic Outlook

With the rapid growth of the medical field in the United States, the employment outlook for medical records and health information technicians is excellent; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) projects that employment in this field will expand 13% from 2016-2026. Median annual earnings for this field in 2018 were $40,350, according to the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

If you enjoy working in the health care field, two other career options you might look at are medical transcriptionist and medical manager.

Medical Transcriptionist

One-year certificate programs or two-year associate's degrees are the most common education options for this career. These transcriptionists listen to doctors' and other health providers' voice recordings and convert them into written reports. A 3% decline in employment was expected for this profession from 2016-2026, according to the BLS. In 2018, the median annual salary was $34,770, the BLS said.

Medical and Health Services Managers

Some medical and health services managers have a minimum of bachelor's degrees, while others have master's degrees. They direct and coordinate medical services of entire facilities or certain departments and clinical areas. Much faster than average employment expansion of 20% is expected from 2016-2026, according to the BLS. The median annual salary for these managers in 2018 was $99,730, the BLS reported.

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