How Can I Become a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)?

Research what it takes to become a registered health information technician. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Health Information Systems degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)?

Health information technicians are responsible for the management of patient medical records at healthcare facilities. They use specialized software to aggregate and organize information in databases and electronic health records. Although certification is not state-mandated, it is possible to earn the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) designation offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), which can boost job prospects.

Find out about the job duties and typical salary for RHITs in the following table.

Degree Required Associate's degree
Education Field of Study Health information technology
Certification Required Registered Health Information Technician certification from AHIMA
Key Skills Health informatics, data management, people skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) 15%*
Average Salary (2015) $40,430*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)?

Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT) are employed to organize and analyze data in hospitals, including patient histories, diagnoses and treatments. As an RHIT, you work closely with physicians and other hospital staff in order to ensure the accuracy and completion of the data. Because medical records are increasingly electronic, you could spend much of your time working with computers to analyze certain data.

What Degree Do I Need?

Most Registered Health Information Technicians hold associate's degrees. Two-year programs in health information often include coursework in anatomy, medical terminology, data analysis and health data requirements and standards. In high school, you could focus your studies on sciences, particularly biology and computer science, in order to better prepare yourself for success in an associate's degree program.

How Can I Become Certified?

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers RHIT certification (www.ahima.org). In order to qualify for the RHIT credential, you must complete an accredited associate's degree program in health information management. The certification exam is multiple choice and lasts three and a half hours. The RHIT designation demonstrates your knowledge and ability in the health information field, and may be a step toward advancing your career.

How Much Can I Expect to Make?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job prospects for medical records and health information technicians are very good (www.bls.gov). Employment is projected to grow much faster than average, increasing by 15% in the decade from 2014-2024. This growth may be attributed to a growing aging population and increases in the number of medical treatments and procedures being performed.

The BLS also reports that, in May 2015, workers holding positions as medical records and health information technicians earned an average annual wage of $40,430. Payscale.com reports that in October 2016, Registered Health Information Technicians in the 10th to 90th percentiles made hourly wages between $11.84 and $23.55.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are looking for an office-based job in a medical institution, you could also think about becoming a medical secretary. These workers perform basic clerical duties, like phone-answering and file organization, but in medical offices, they may also be involved in getting the patient's medical history and handling insurance payments. For this job, you'll only need a high school diploma. However, as a medical secretary, you'll need to have a good understanding of medical terminology to perform your duties. In this regard, you'll receive on-the-job training. Alternatively, you could look into becoming a medical assistant, a job that combines basic patient care with office administration. More than ever, these workers are also involved in the organization of data in electronic health records. For this job, you usually need to complete a postsecondary certificate program.

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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