A health tech worker usually works in a hospital or a physician's office. An associate's degree is often required before finding work as a health tech worker, and many employers also prefer hiring workers who hold the Registered Health Information Technician credential.
Health tech workers, also known as health information technicians, use information technology to manage patients' healthcare records. Employers typically require health tech workers to have completed an associate's degree program; professional certification, such as Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT), is commonly required.
|Required Education||Associate's degree|
|Other Requirements||Professional certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||15% for medical records and health information technicians*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$37,110 for medical records and health information technicians*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Profile of a Health Tech Worker
Health tech workers maintain patients' medical records and regulate access to this sensitive information. They compile patients' information into documents and organize these records in storage and retrieval systems. Health tech workers may retrieve documents when requested by patients or healthcare providers. These technicians also ensure that the information is accurate and that all medical charts are complete. Health tech workers often use specialized computer software to enter and manage patient data.
Depending on the size of the office, health tech workers might specialize in specific types of medical records. For example, they may serve as medical coders, who focus specifically on assigning codes to each diagnosis and medical procedure for billing purposes. Health tech workers could also work as cancer registrars, who manage cancer-patient databases.
Individuals in this industry must be able to take on multiple tasks at one time and must have excellent organizational skills. Due to the importance of technology in this field, health tech workers must also have proficient computer skills and be able to enter and manage data in office settings.
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Educational Requirements of a Health Tech Worker
In most cases, health tech workers are required to hold associate's degrees in health information technology. These 2-year programs often include coursework in medical coding, computers, medical terminology and healthcare reimbursement. Students also complete supervised practicums.
Many employers prefer to hire technicians who hold the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential, which is available through the American Health Information Management Association (www.ahima.org). Candidates must hold associate's degrees from accredited programs and pass a certification exam to obtain the credential. Other professional certifications are also available.
Health Tech Worker Salary and Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical records and health information technicians made a median annual wage of $37,110 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). A large number of these professionals worked in general medical and surgical hospitals, earning a median annual wage of $39,570. The BLS also reports that health information technician jobs were projected to increase 15% from 2014 to 2024.
Health tech workers hold associate's degrees and are trained to have strong organizational skills, the ability to multitask and proficiency with computers. Professional certification, which calls for earning a degree and passing an exam, is a common requirement by employers. Jobs in this field are projected to continue to grow at a greater than average rate for the decade from 2014-2024.