Health Information Technology Salary & Job Overview

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Health Information Technology

Registered health information technicians are responsible for maintaining patients’ medical records in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. The professionals ensure accuracy of documents and that information stays up to date through regular updates. Record keeping is important in healthcare facilities because it helps doctors to provide better services and also acts as legal documents that can be used as proof in case of a dispute.

Be sure to read our articles: What is Health Information Technology (HIT)? and How to become a Registered Health Information Technician

Job Duties

Specific job descriptions of RHIT are determined by their employers. However, all RHIT keep patient information concerning their medical history, diagnosis, prescribed treatments and examination results among other forms of records. Some RHIT are vested with the responsibility of coding medical information for billing purposes.

Qualifications

Those who want to be RHI technicians must, among other requirements pass the American Health Information Management Association administered test. Aspiring RHITs must earn an associate degree from an institution accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

Salary Range

General Salary Range

According to the Bureau of Labour and statistics, the general salary for the middle 80 percent in the Health Information Technology sector, including registered technicians, is within the range of $20,800- $51,510. The median salary for these professionals is $31,290. The range takes into account variances based on location, years of experience and employer. This salary information applies to certified professionals as well.

Salary by Employer

The type of employer determines the salary range of a registered health information technician. According to the Allied Health World, professionals working in hospitals and large healthcare facilities earn an annual salary of $35,000 while technicians working in doctors’ offices and small health facilities make $33, 000.

Other potential RHIT employers include pharmaceutical companies, research firms, insurance companies as well as state and local institutions. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics states that those who work with pharmaceutical firms make the most with an annual income of $61,210. Like other professions, the salary range is determined by years of experience.

Salary by State

Some of the best places to work as an RHIT include Maryland ($39,330), New Jersey ($45,750), Hawaii ($41,340), Alaska ($39,490) and District of Columbia ($41,290). The Bureau of Labor and Statistics also keeps track of the states with the highest number of Registered Health Information Technicians. The states with the highest number of professionals include Nebraska that has a mean wage of $32,180 and South Dakota ($31,310).

Additional Compensation

Many professionals in the Health Information technology sector receive bonuses from their employers based on individual and organizational performance. In most cases, the bonuses are paid on a yearly basis. Average bonuses range from $247-$1,033 a year. This makes the total annual salary range to fall between the $27,034-$38,568 ranges.

Professional Affiliations

Some registered health and information technicians belong to professional bodies related to their field of specialty. Technicians who receive the Certified Coding Specialist Certification earn an average salary of $14-$22 per hour or $29,120-$45,760 a year. Professionals who belong to the American Health Information Management Association earn between $26,890 and $35,900 annually.

Experience and Industries

Registered health and information technicians can work in various healthcare settings including acute and general care hospitals, doctors’ offices and clinics. The salary, of those in the Health Information Technology sector, who gain professional experience and advanced skills is higher. The highest paid RHIT were in acute care hospitals with an average salary of $14-$19 an hour or $30,160-$40,900 a year. Professionals with more than 10 years’ experience earn $12-$24 an hour or $26,800-$50,300 annually.

Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labour and Statistics, the number of RHIT jobs is expected to increase by more than 20 percent in a 10-year period from 172, 500 positions in 2008 to 207,600 positions in 2018. Read more about jobs in health IT

RHIT with additional skills such as computer applications and database management will be in higher demand. The same applies to those who go on to gain supplemental qualifications including training in legal and ethical management of health information records.

health information technology salary

RHIT Requirements

Certification

The Health Information Technology sector is one of the sectors where employers look for certification. However, before taking the certification exam, aspiring RHIT must earn an associate’s degree in Health Information Management. The learning institutions offering the program must be accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education. Alternatively, candidates can graduate from an approved program accredited with AHIMA. Candidates are expected to submit their transcripts the first time they apply for the test so that it can be verified by AHIMA.

Test Application

Candidates can apply online or submit hard copy application forms to register for the test. The application should include copies of transcripts and other documents specified by AHIMA. The accreditation body states that it is the responsibility of applicants to verify if they are eligible for the test.

Those who apply but do not meet the requirements will get their application fee refunded minus the processing fee. However, if the application is accepted, the candidate should prepare for the test. It is advisable for candidates to schedule their exams early so that they get the date and time they want.

Testing

on the day of the exam, candidates are required to show their primary IDs such as military ID, passport or driver’s license as well as secondary IDs such as credit cards, employee IDs or student IDs. Social security cards and voter registration are not accepted.

The test is allocated a time limit of 3 ½ hours. It consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. Candidates are not allowed to bring in any reference material into the exam room except codebooks.

Examiners are allowed to ban a candidate’s codebook if there is reasonable proof to show that the book gives the candidate an unfair advantage over others. Other items not allowed in the exam room include pagers, cellphones, backpacks, PDAs, laptops, tablets, computer bags, and briefcases among others.

Misconduct

Examiners are allowed to eject candidates from the exam room if they are found to be using PDAs, Calculators or Cellphones in the exam room. Examiners can also dismiss a candidate who is taking the exam for someone else, tries to remove question papers from the exam room, creates a disturbance or behave in abusive manner. Dismissed candidates will not receive their test scores, but can apply for a retest.