Health Information Technology Specialist Salary and Career Facts
Health information technology specialists maintain and repair the IT systems within a healthcare facility, including computers, networks and servers. Read on to learn about typical job duties, education requirements and earning potential. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Is a Health Information Technology Specialist?
Health information technology specialists, also known as health information technicians, are responsible for the management and organization of medical records and databases. Using high-level software, they assign codes to particular medical procedures for future analysis and insurance billing purposes. These specialists also handle the security of sensitive health data. Most work in doctor's offices or other medical facilities.
Take a look at the following table for more information about this profession:
|Degree Required||Associate's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Health information technology|
|Licensure/Certification Required||Certification preferred by employers|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)||15%*|
|Average Salary (2015)||$40,430*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
What Are the Job Duties of a Heath Information Technology Specialist?
As an IT specialist in the healthcare field, you'll primarily be responsible for maintaining and updating the computer systems and medical records used in hospitals, physicians' offices and a variety of healthcare facilities. Other types of health-related businesses, such as insurance companies, often hire IT professionals with a specialization in specific types of healthcare software and networking systems.
As a health IT specialist, you'll be required to install and maintain computer systems and software within a healthcare facility. Depending on your experience level and seniority, you might help to develop technical standards, data organization methods and provide supervision to other IT specialists. An often computer-intensive profession, you'll work with medical coding software to create and maintain patient files within a database, ensuring data integrity and regulatory compliance.
What Education Will I Need?
To qualify for most health IT specialist positions, you usually need an associate degree. You can earn this 2-year degree through several community and technical colleges, and some offer online learning. The first part of a program covers basic topics in medical terminology and computer usage. As you progress, you'll be exposed to professional subjects, such as medical coding, data security, pharmacology and legal regulations.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers commonly prefer to hire IT specialists with credentials in medical coding and information systems, so you'd benefit by finding a degree program that adequately prepares you for certification (www.bls.gov). Additionally, you can also receive bachelor's or master's-level education in the field, though these degrees generally prepare you to advance an existing career.
What Salary Could I Make?
According to the BLS data from 2015, the profession sustained a median annual salary of $37,110. The majority of employees worked in general medical and surgical hospitals, averaging between $43,080 per year. Professional, scientific and technical service organizations offered the highest average annual wage, which was $52,940.
What Does the Future of the Career Look Like?
The BLS predicted employment of health IT specialists would increase 15% between 2014 and 2024. The higher-than-average growth rate was attributed to the increase in the aging population and the number of people who have health insurance, as well as the expansion of the use of electronic health records in the medical industry.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
If you are looking for an office-based career in a medical facility, you might also consider a job as a health service manager. These professionals manage finances and coordinate services in medical institutions or departments. Alternatively, if you are more interested in information technology, you might want to become a database administrator, which involves storing, organizing and securing information for organizations in a wide range of industries. Both of these jobs usually require a bachelor's degree.
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