Healthcare jobs are expected to grow 15% from 2019 to 2029, resulting in the addition of approximately 2.4 million new jobs5. If you’d like to work in this field, one role to consider is health information technician.
What Is a Health Information Technician?
Health information technicians assist healthcare agencies with ensuring that their patient’s health records are complete, accurate, and secure. Individuals working in these roles also help manage and organize patients’ medical information so it is accessible.
Health information technicians sometimes work within a healthcare organization’s electronic health record (EHR) system. This is a digital recordkeeping system that contains patients’ private information, such as their medical history, symptoms, diagnoses, medical tests performed, and treatment protocol.
Health Info Technician Duties and Responsibilities
Exact job duties and responsibilities assigned to those working in a health information tech role can vary by employer. They may include:
- Reviewing patients’ health records to make sure the information is both accurate and complete
- Inputting clinical codes to reflect the patients’ correct diagnosis, testing, and treatments; or retrieving these codes
- Organizing patient information for analysis and/or reporting
- Ensuring that the patients’ private health information is secure
Work Environment and Typical Jobs
Health information technicians can be found working in a variety of healthcare settings. They can be employed by hospitals, doctors’ offices, insurance companies, health technology companies, and more.
Sometimes health information technician jobs are posted under different titles. For example, you may find a posting for a health information management technician or a medical records technician.
Health Information Tech Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, as of May 2020, health information specialists — which is the category under which health information technicians fall — had a median annual wage of $44,090 per year in all settings or $46,880 when working in a hospital specifically10.
Actual pay can vary based on a variety of factors. This includes your level of experience, education, whether you hold a certification, and more.
Job Outlook and Career Opportunities
Medical records and health information roles are projected to grow 8% between 2019 and 2029, creating a projected 29,000 new jobs in that time6.
If you are interested in working within the health information management (HIM) field, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers an interactive map that can help you plan your career path.
For example, if your goal is to become a chief compliance officer, your path may involve starting as a health information technician, then advancing to a clinical informatics coordinator role, then compliance officer, then chief compliance officer.
Health information management, or HIM, encompasses a broad spectrum of job titles. Those similar to health information technician that are also typically entry-level positions include:
- Medical records analyst
- Medical records coordinator
- Medical billing specialist
- Medical coder
Occupations with Skills that Transfer to HIM
Certain skillsets can help you become more successful when working in a health information technician position. They include being analytical, being detail-oriented, and having good interpersonal skills7. Experience in other job roles that use any of these skillsets can be helpful when transferring into a health information role.
Maybe you’ve worked as a bookkeeper, for instance. One of the qualities beneficial to that role is attention to detail11. Thus, your bookkeeping experience can help better prepare you for this aspect of a health information technician job.
How to Become a Health Information Technician
If you decide that health information technician is a role that interests you, there are a couple of things that you can do to help better prepare you for your first entry-level job.
- Education. Some employers hire health information technicians with only a high school diploma or an equivalent. Others require an associate degree or higher. Check with the healthcare organization where you want to work to learn more about their educational requirements. Alternatively, do a job search online and see what level of education most employers request. This will help you determine the education you may need to fill this type of role in your area and your desired work setting.
- Certification and/or Registration. Employers sometimes prefer or require their health information technicians to be certified or registered. This involves meeting eligibility requirements and applying for and passing a certification or registration exam. (Some certifying agencies require the completion of an accredited educational program to apply.) Examples of certifications and registrations in health information management include Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT), Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS), and Certified Coding Associate (CCA), though there are also several others.
Health Information Schooling and Education
Should you decide to pursue schooling in health information management, the courses you take can help provide the education and skills necessary to work in a technician role.
For example, courses offered as part of Ultimate Medical Academy’s Health Information Management Associate Degree program include Information Technology in the Healthcare Environment, Statistics and Data Sets in Healthcare, Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Coding, and Healthcare Reimbursement & the Revenue Cycle.
Our Health Information Management Associate Degree program can be completed in 18 months9 and includes a 90-hour practicum, offering students access to training in a healthcare facility. If you’re ready to pursue your career in health information management, or you simply want to discuss your options, contact us today to learn more!
- What does a health information technician or HIM specialist do? They help healthcare agencies with the storage, organization, management, and security of their patient's private health information. This is often accomplished through the organization’s electronic health record (EHR) system.
- What degree do you need to be a health information technician? Some employers only require a high school diploma (or its equivalent) to work in a health information technician role, whereas others may require an associate degree or higher.
- Is health information technician a good career? Whether health information is a good career for you depends on whether you’d enjoy working in a healthcare role that involves primarily working on computers and within digital recordkeeping systems. If you’re looking for a career within a growing field, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that medical records and health information specialist jobs are expected to increase 8% between 2019 and 2029, creating roughly 29,000 new positions6.