Health Information Management Majors: Salary and Career Facts

You can pursue a career in health information management by completing a degree program that merges science and technology. Read on to learn about educational programs, certification, career options, and potential salaries in the field of health information management. Schools offering Electronic Medical Records degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can You Do With a Health Information Management Major?

In a health information management degree program, you will learn about different healthcare and business concepts, including things like budgeting, medical terminology and management skills. Programs typically culminate in a bachelor's degree. With this degree, you may pursue a position as a medical coder, cancer registrar, or more general medical records and health information technician. Certification is recommended and typically completed after graduation.

Employees working in the field of health information management are responsible for seeing that healthcare records for providers and patients are updated properly and the data is safe. Below is a table listing job information for medical records and health information technicians.

Certification Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS)
Key Responsibilities Secure correct reimbursement for healthcare providers, ensure accuracy and compliance with reimbursement procedures, keep records and serve as a liaison between insurance companies and healthcare providers
Job Growth (2014-2024) 15%*
Median Salary (2015)$37,110*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Expect as a Health Information Management Major?

You may be able to find health information management degree programs online, but they are more commonly available in a traditional classroom setting. Programs typically result in a Bachelor of Science. As a health information management major, your coursework includes an introduction to health records, medical terminology, budgeting, and quality management in healthcare. Your courses may include training in the software programs commonly used by healthcare information managers.

What Professional Certifications Can I Pursue?

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers several certifications for health information professionals, including a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) or Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). Upon completion of a bachelor's degree in health information management, you may qualify to test for either certification. Sometimes these certifications are required for employment.

According to the AHIMA, the RHIA certification process includes a 4-hour, multiple-choice test that covers topics in research and statistic support, organization and management, health data management, legal issues, and privacy.

The RHIT exam is over three hours long and is also a multiple-choice test, according to the AHIMA. The organization states that the exam includes requirements for healthcare information (accuracy and compliance with regulations and standards), classification systems, reimbursement, quality assessment, and confidentiality. It also tests skills related to data storage and retrieval, including security.

What Jobs Might I Acquire with a Bachelor's Degree?

As a medical record and health information technician, you could be responsible for gathering an individual's health history, verifying that the information gathered is accurate and then safely storing in the medical practitioner's information system. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that as a health information technician, you can choose to specialize in medical coding or cancer registry (www.bls.gov).

As a medical coding specialist, you would assign codes to each diagnosis for a patient and use specialized software to determine the proper classification. A cancer registrar is responsible for maintaining databases of information about cancer patients. Such tasks could include reviewing records and reports, coding the diagnoses, and tracking the treatment of patients, according to the BLS.

How Much Could I Earn?

The BLS reported in 2015 that there were 189,930 medical records and health information technicians in the U.S. Those individuals earned an average of $19.44 per hour or $37,110 median annual salary. Earnings varied based on the industry in which health information technicians were employed. As of 2015, most technicians were employed by general medical and surgical hospitals, earning an average of $20.71 per hour; the pharmaceutical industry stated that the average hourly wage was $20.70 ($43,050 annually), according to the BLS.

What Are Some Similar Careers?

Medical transcriptionists make written records of voice recordings from healthcare professionals, as well as edit documents created in such a manner for accuracy and completeness. Transcriptionists may prepare for the field by earning a postsecondary certificate in medical transcription. Medical and health services managers, which require a bachelor's degree in a major like health management, are in charge of planning and coordinating health and medical services, coordinating departments or entire facilities of healthcare staff.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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