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Should I Become a Registered Health Technician?
Health technicians work in medical facilities and assemble the medical histories, exam results, treatment plans, and other patient information. Registered health technicians hold the Registered Health Information Technician (or RHIT) credential.
Almost all health technicians work full-time during the day; those who find employment in facilities that are open 24 hours a day may need to work evenings, nights, and weekends. Although contact with patients is minimal, there is a small risk of exposure to infectious diseases while working in any medical care center. Technicians work in office settings, and they spend most of their time in front of computers, on the phone, and handling paperwork.
|Degree Level||Associate's degree|
|Degree Name||Health information management|
|Certification||The RHIT designation may be preferred by some employers|
|Experience||Some experience is needed to become registered, typically around 2 years|
|Key Skills||Analytical and communication skills, attention to detail, proficiency with healthcare software and records systems|
|Salary (2016)**||$15.00/hour (median hourly wage for RHITs)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Monster.com job postings (December 2012), Salary.com (August 2015), **PayScale.com
Let's take a look at the preparation involved in becoming a registered health technician.
Step 1: Earn an Associate's Degree
In order to obtain the RHIT credential, an individual will need to earn an associate's degree in health information management. This program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. Health information management coursework generally includes clinical coding and classification systems, medical terminology, data analysis, anatomy, and physiology.
Step 2: Obtain Certification
Completion of a CAHIIM-accredited degree program in health information management enables the graduate to sit for the RHIT exam administered by the American Health Information Management Association (or AHIMA). Students may also take the test if they are in their last semester of the program. AHIMA offers test preparation materials and other resources for this written examination.
Step 3: Find Employment
Employment seekers with the proper credentials can find positions in hospitals, nursing care facilities, physician's offices, outpatient clinics, and home health care services. Health care technicians often must communicate in writing or by telephone with insurance companies, providers, and patients. As the trend toward electronic medical records continues, health care technicians also need increasingly sophisticated computer skills; candidates need to be comfortable learning new software programs as they are created. These are duties individuals will have to be prepared for when they begin working as registered health technicians.
So, what is the salary potential for one of these professionals? According to PayScale.com, registered health information technicians earned a median wage of $15.00 per hour as of January 2016.
Step 4: Advance Your Career
Individuals interested in advancement in this field can become health information managers. This involves obtaining at least a bachelor's degree in health information management after gaining experience in the field. Some schools offer online bachelor's degree programs that students can take while employed as technicians. Additionally, AHIMA offers the Registered Health Information Administrator designation to qualified candidates.
A registered health information technician holds a professional credential through the American Health Information Management Association, and they must have at least a bachelor's degree and pass a certification exam to obtain the RHIT credential.