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Becoming a Registered Health Information Technician

What Does a Health Information Technician Do?

health information technician at computer

Registered health information technicians (RHITs) are custodians of one of the most important tools in modern health care – the medical record. Medical records have traditionally been paper-based documents containing a patient’s health information and history from birth to death. The healthcare industry has slowly been evolving from paper-based records to computer-based records; electronic record systems aid caregivers and providers in the ability to improve the quality and efficiency of services.

With this transition from paper to electronic health records (EHR), there are many opportunities for those who have the knowledge, skills and understanding of health information management. Health information must be accurately captured, completed and maintained, protected from inappropriate disclosure, and available when needed for continuity of effective patient care. It is also a vital component used for research, statistical data analyses and trending, coding and reimbursement. In short, the information maintained by registered health information technicians is central to the efficacy of health care.

Workplace Details

The workplace environment for a health information technician (HIT) is most often in a hospital setting. Common duties include using computer applications to perform record processing functions like assembly and analysis of the patient data to ensure that it is complete and accurate. Duties can also involve scanning and indexing paper documents for those organizations still in transition to an electronic record. HITs work closely with professional staff like physicians and other caregivers to ensure that the documentation gathered is signed and completed according to the organization’s bylaws and legal record requirements.

HITs most often specialize in the coding and abstracting of the patient data. This function includes gathering and reviewing the patient information in order to assign an ICD code that corresponds to the diagnosis and procedures for the patient, as applicable. This critical role has a direct impact on an organization’s reimbursement as well as the accuracy of data used in research and analysis. HITs also perform the very important compilation and maintenance of data needed for cancer registries.

Aside from employment within hospitals, health information technicians also find work in the physicians’ offices, nursing homes, insurance companies, government health agencies, cancer registries, pharmaceutical companies, attorneys and software vendors. Positions typically provide a full-time work schedule; however, with the shift to electronic records, greater flexibility with work schedules is on the rise, along with the ability to work remotely. Since technicians will spend long periods of time using a computer, it is advisable to practice occupational safety precaution against eyestrain and ergonomic injury.

RHIT Salary and Job Outlook

State
Average Wage
California
$48840
Texas
$39710
Florida
$40810
Ohio
$39000
New York
$45060

Hover over any state to explore local income and job growth data.

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ALABAMA

Median Salary: 
$29,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $52,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 18%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 110

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Birmingham$21,520$31,860$56,310
Huntsville$20,440$33,400$50,270

ALASKA

Median Salary: 
$43,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $32,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $62,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Anchorage$32,310$41,540$58,830
Fairbanks$40,260$45,870$63,150

ARIZONA

Median Salary: 
$36,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $64,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 22%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 310

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Phoenix$26,230$36,970$68,770
Tuscon$22,740$35,610$54,050

ARKANSAS

Median Salary: 
$31,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 70

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Little Rock$23,530$36,490$53,910
Fort Smith$17,600$24,070$45,300

CALIFORNIA

Median Salary: 
$43,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $77,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 20%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 790

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Los Angeles$26,890$43,050$76,080
San Francisco Bay$33,800$53,820$90,660
San Diego$26,120$39,680$74,070
Sacramento$28,500$46,980$78,270

COLORADO

Median Salary: 
$45,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $29,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $71,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 32%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 140

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Denver$32,420$51,630$76,510
Colorado Springs$28,550$39,580$57,010

CONNECTICUT

Median Salary: 
$43,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $28,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $65,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Hartford$27,620$40,060$63,630
Bridgeport$27,600$39,910$57,550
New Haven$32,950$51,330$69,140

DELAWARE

Median Salary: 
$38,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $27,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $52,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Wilmington$29,100$40,410$57,680
Dover$26,120$31,300$51,540

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Median Salary: 
$48,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $32,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $104,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Washington DC$29,720$46,370$76,730

FLORIDA

Median Salary: 
$36,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $24,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $61,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 24%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 440

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Miami$24,370$37,450$66,720
Orlando$27,410$39,890$55,720
Tampa$25,500$37,370$64,290
Jacksonville$24,400$36,810$58,720

GEORGIA

Median Salary: 
$34,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $57,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 23%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 190

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Atlanta$24,170$36,270$58,950
Augusta$24,630$39,550$55,500

HAWAII

Median Salary: 
$44,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $73,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Honolulu$31,860$48,710$75,020

IDAHO

Median Salary: 
$34,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $23,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 330

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Boise$26,330$35,600$49,720
Idaho Falls$20,670$24,780$38,910

ILLINOIS

Median Salary: 
$36,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $23,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $61,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 260

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Chicago$25,430$39,750$65,950
Rockford$23,430$32,710$53,270

INDIANA

Median Salary: 
$33,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $23,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $54,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 18%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 170

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Indianapolis$25,110$35,760$60,940
South Bend$23,500$33,920$47,490
Fort Wayne$25,470$36,210$56,490

IOWA

Median Salary: 
$37,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $56,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 70

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Des Moines$25,080$37,730$57,200
Cedar Rapids$25,580$37,240$61,640

KANSAS

Median Salary: 
$33,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $53,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 90

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Wichita$22,310$31,810$51,130
Kansas City$25,930$36,320$56,720

KENTUCKY

Median Salary: 
$34,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $54,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 27%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 230

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Louisville$22,640$34,900$53,910
Lexington$22,560$34,260$55,760

LOUISIANA

Median Salary: 
$30,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $47,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 130

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
New Orleans$21,370$31,190$46,110
Baton Rouge$21,230$29,710$51,300
Lafayette$21,500$29,920$45,380

MAINE

Median Salary: 
$35,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $50,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Portland$27,050$36,730$54,430
Lewiston$26,460$37,420$48,380

MARYLAND

Median Salary: 
$46,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $27,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $73,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 20%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 270

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Baltimore$27,840$46,040$73,040
Frederick$32,710$53,060$78,700

MASSACHUSETTS

Median Salary: 
$42,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $28,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $68,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 7%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 170

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Boston$31,380$46,700$71,160
Worcester$27,840$41,280$70,750
Springfield$27,290$40,070$59,580

MICHIGAN

Median Salary: 
$36,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $23,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $57,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 130

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Detroit$23,190$35,410$56,120
Grand Rapids$25,870$34,950$48,420

MINNESOTA

Median Salary: 
$44,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $32,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $60,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 120

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Minneapolis - St. Paul$32,580$44,410$59,800
Rochester$34,950$48,390$64,120

MISSISSIPPI

Median Salary: 
$28,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $47,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 90

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Jackson$21,400$31,130$50,060
Gulfport$20,390$31,560$54,970

MISSOURI

Median Salary: 
$36,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $24,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $57,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 170

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
St. Louis$25,510$40,760$59,030
Kansas City$25,930$36,320$56,720

MONTANA

Median Salary: 
$31,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $55,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 19%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Billings$22,360$36,670$72,060
Missoula$21,930$30,290$47,200

NEBRASKA

Median Salary: 
$37,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $56,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 60

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Omaha$28,850$38,670$57,250
Lincoln$26,210$35,540$53,030

NEVADA

Median Salary: 
$40,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $63,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 27%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 80

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Las Vegas$26,750$42,170$63,440
Reno$26,300$39,180$67,220

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Median Salary: 
$36,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $57,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 14%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Manchester$26,610$37,340$50,690
Nashua$26,360$34,830$54,180

NEW JERSEY

Median Salary: 
$58,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $35,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $82,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 60

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Newark$40,940$60,980$94,310
Trenton$28,270$51,060$72,910

NEW MEXICO

Median Salary: 
$30,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $51,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Albuquerque$21,380$31,450$54,990
Las Cruces$20,180$24,300$42,650

NEW YORK

Median Salary: 
$41,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $63,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 360

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
New York City$30,670$46,540$73,580
Buffalo$27,730$41,600$61,190
Rochester$25,800$36,960$54,310
Albany$23,810$32,780$49,630

NORTH CAROLINA

Median Salary: 
$33,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $23,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $51,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 20%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 220

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Charlotte$23,360$33,380$50,250
Raleigh$23,740$33,250$51,240
Greensboro$22,680$29,930$45,030
Winston - Salem$24,550$39,940$58,100

NORTH DAKOTA

Median Salary: 
$38,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $51,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 23%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Fargo$30,160$42,110$56,970
Bismarck$21,590$34,880$50,160

OHIO

Median Salary: 
$36,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $56,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 280

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Cleveland$25,110$36,050$54,250
Columbus$26,370$35,490$51,340
Cincinnati$27,820$39,380$63,150
Dayton$24,980$30,830$48,880

OKLAHOMA

Median Salary: 
$31,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $51,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 140

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Oklahoma City$20,250$31,890$54,000
Tulsa$23,240$30,860$52,790

OREGON

Median Salary: 
$41,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $60,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 18%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 130

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Portland$28,650$43,270$60,660
Salem$26,450$41,150$58,770

PENNSYLVANIA

Median Salary: 
$36,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $55,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 280

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Philadelphia$26,890$37,580$60,380
Pittsburgh$25,650$36,090$52,590
Harrisburg$25,580$38,940$60,630
Allentown$23,510$32,370$49,770

RHODE ISLAND

Median Salary: 
$39,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $58,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 6%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Providence$26,000$38,430$57,980

SOUTH CAROLINA

Median Salary: 
$32,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $54,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 110

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Greenville$22,170$31,140$49,100
Columbia$21,740$35,330$58,950
Charleston$24,430$35,690$53,110

SOUTH DAKOTA

Median Salary: 
$35,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $57,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Rapid City$25,870$36,410$56,970

TENNESSEE

Median Salary: 
$31,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $52,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 29%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 230

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Nashville$24,790$33,290$58,460
Memphis$21,340$32,560$60,970
Knoxville$21,720$29,960$46,040
Chattanooga$21,280$34,220$62,220

TEXAS

Median Salary: 
$35,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $61,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 30%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 870

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Dallas - Ft. Worth$25,790$39,900$69,550
Houston$21,890$38,500$63,350
San Antonio$21,280$34,220$62,220
Austin$21,180$32,770$57,040

UTAH

Median Salary: 
$35,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $58,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 32%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 90

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Salt Lake City$26,000$36,800$61,360
Ogden$21,850$29,900$48,150

VERMONT

Median Salary: 
$36,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $59,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Burlington$26,900$35,030$57,820

VIRGINIA

Median Salary: 
$36,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $58,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 18%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 160

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Virginia Beach$25,610$33,850$48,440
Richmond$24,410$32,060$53,000

WASHINGTON

Median Salary: 
$40,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $28,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $62,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 190

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Seattle$31,160$44,090$67,590
Spokane$26,580$33,860$51,140

WEST VIRGINIA

Median Salary: 
$32,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $51,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Huntington$22,340$33,910$57,110
Charleston$21,020$29,350$44,540

WISCONSIN

Median Salary: 
$37,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $59,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 150

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Milwaukee$26,130$39,430$61,400
Madison$28,620$39,880$58,510

WYOMING

Median Salary: 
$36,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $24,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $57,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Cheyenne$26,090$41,530$58,890
Casper$25,740$36,610$66,380

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, RHITs make an annual average salary of $41,460. Eighty percent earn between $25,070 and $62,840. HITs with good coding abilities and/or experience with electronic health records experience are in a position to earn higher income. Obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the field can also boost both earnings and advancement opportunities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for RHITs are expected to grow by 15% between 2014 and 2024, which is considered faster than the average for all occupations. Our country’s population is getting older and a greater number of people are enjoying health insurance coverage, both of which mean that health services are in greater demand.

Compare Salaries by City

Los Angeles CA Median Pay

$43050 Per Year

$20.69 Per Hour

New York City NY Median Pay

$46540 Per Year

$22.37 Per Hour

Steps to Become an RHIT

1

If possible, start building a foundation in high school.

High school students should try to take classes in business, computers, math, health and biology. This helps inform them about whether they’re truly interested in the career path, while also providing a good base of knowledge heading into college.

2

Earn at least an associate degree.

If you’re interested in becoming a registered health information technician, you need to complete a two-year associate degree program, at minimum. Make sure to choose a health information management (HIM) program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM).

Show Me Schools »

3

Pass the exam to get certified.

This is how an RHIT earns that “R”! Once you have successfully completed the academic requirements by completing an HIM/HIT program accredited by CAHIIM, you are eligible to sit for the RHIT certification exam administered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Upon successfully passing this exam, you’re then able to utilize the RHIT designated credentials. Obtaining certification credentials opens many doors for an HIT; many employers look for this designation as part of their hiring process.

4

Participate in some training.

RHITs can receive on-the-job training. Some institutions will offer in-house development programs for new professionals in many of the functional areas of health information management. The highest demand currently is for those individuals who are talented and skilled in the areas of ICD coding.

5

Explore all of the opportunities to advance your career.

Experienced RHITs often pursue additional training and credentials in an area of interest such as medical coding (CCS, CCS-P, CCA) or cancer registry operations (CTR).

There are also opportunities to further your education in HIM. For instance, you might decide to enroll in a four-year bachelor’s degree program that prepares you to become a registered health information administrator (RHIA). This degree has more focus in the collection, interpretation and analysis of patient data and also more focused training in management. A master’s degree in HIM would likely bring a career more focused on administration and leadership roles, consulting, academics and information technology.

Regardless of the level of education, health information management is an exciting and rewarding career.

Explore Degree Paths

ASSOCIATE DEGREE

2 years

To become a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT), you’ll need to earn an associate degree at minimum in health information management (HIM). (Some schools call this major health information technology, or HIT).

You can find HIM programs at many universities, community colleges, and career and technical schools. In order to be eligible for RHIT certification, you must graduate from a program accredited by CAHIIM, the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

No HIM school near you? CAHIIM accredits 104 online associate degree programs, making it easy to study for this career from just about anywhere.

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Here are some HIM courses that are common at the associate degree level:

Principles of healthcare reimbursement

Study the laws, regulations, and methods governing medical payments in the United States.

Workflow fundamentals

Understand how technology can be used to improve the quality and efficiency of health care processes.

ICD coding

Learn and apply the guidelines, structures, and conventions of this essential healthcare coding system.

Data visualization

Practice using spreadsheets and graphs to tell a story with data and interpret its meaning for others.

Keys to Success as an RHIT

Necessary Skills and Qualities

Excellent verbal and interpersonal skills

While RHITs do not provide hands-on patient care, they often interface with providers, insurance companies and health care facilities.

Strong computer skills and tech savvy

Health information professionals rely on these skills to keep pace in this rapidly evolving field. Comfort with math, word processing, data entry and electronic document management systems is also desirable.

Attention to detail

This helps RHITs code with accuracy and comply with regulations and privacy laws.

Additional Credentialing Information

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is the primary credentialing body for health information technologists. Certification in this field is voluntary, but preferred by many employers.

AHIMA offers two levels of generalist certification. Candidates must graduate from a CAHIIM-accredited degree program and pass a test:

AHIMA also offers a number of specialty certifications. Candidates must pass a test and meet education or experience requirements. Not all of these credentials are well-known among employers, so ask your boss or mentor which ones make sense for you.

Many health information technologists also hold coding certifications:

Wendy James, RHIA, PMP

With over 25 years of experience in health information management, project management and information technology, Wendy James is passionate about improving health information for individuals and providers. Throughout her career, Wendy has experienced first-hand the transition from paper to electronic health records. Today she is a senior quality control engineer at a prominent software vendor in the Atlanta area. Wendy is responsible for ensuring quality software development for the document management business.

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