Innovators Guide



Health Information Technician Training

Entry-level medical records and health information technicians usually have an associate degree. Many employers favor technicians who have a Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT) credential.

Education and training. Medical records and health information technicians generally have an associate degree. Typical coursework in health information technology includes medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, health data requirements and standards, clinical classification and coding systems, data analysis, healthcare reimbursement methods, database security and management, and quality improvement methods. Applicants can improve their chances of admission into a postsecondary program by taking biology, math, chemistry, health, and computer science courses in high school.

Certification and other qualifications. Most employers prefer to hire credentialed medical record and health information technicians. A number of organizations offer credentials typically based on passing a credentialing exam. Most credentialing programs require regular recertification and continuing education to maintain the credential. Many coding credentials require an amount of time in coding experience in the work setting.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers credentialing as a Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT). To obtain the RHIT credential, an individual must graduate from a 2-year associate degree program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and pass an AHIMA-administered written examination. In 2008, there were more than 200 CAHIIM-accredited health information technology colleges and universities programs.

The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) offers coding credentials. The Board of Medical Specialty Coding (BMSC) and Professional Association of Health care Coding Specialists (PAHCS) both offer credentialing in specialty coding. The National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) offers a credential as a Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR). To learn more about the credentials available and their specific requirements, contact the credentialing organization.

Health information technicians and coders should possess good oral and written communication skills as they often serve as liaisons between healthcare facilities, insurance companies, and other establishments. Candidates proficient with computer software and technology will be appealing to employers as healthcare facilities continue to adopt electronic health records. Medical records and health information technicians should enjoy learning, as continuing education is important in the occupation.

Advancement. Experienced medical records and health information technicians usually advance their careers by obtaining a bachelor�s or master�s degree or by seeking an advanced specialty certification. Technicians with a bachelor�s or master�s degree can advance and become a health information manager. (See the statement on medical and health services managers for more information on health information managers). Technicians can also obtain advanced specialty certification. Advanced specialty certification is typically experience-based, but may require additional formal education depending on the certifying organization.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition

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Health Information Technician Employment
Health Information Technician Training
Health Information Technician Job Outlook
Health Information Technician Income

 

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