How to Become a Health Information Technician

How to Become a Health Information Technician

If you’re interested in a career in health information management, becoming a Health Information Technician (HIT) could be the right path for you. As an HIT, you’ll play a crucial role in ensuring the accuracy and integrity of patient health records, making you an essential support to healthcare providers.

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll take you through the process of becoming an HIT, from the educational requirements to the necessary certifications. We’ll also provide insights into the skills and qualities needed for this role, as well as the job prospects and demand in the field.



Once you’ve completed your educational requirements, you can apply for the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification. This certification, offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), is highly regarded and recognized in the industry. It demonstrates your competence and expertise in health information management and opens up additional opportunities for career advancement.

The demand for health information technicians is on the rise, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 11% growth in employment from 2018 to 2028. This growth is driven by the increasing need for accurate and up-to-date health records, as well as the implementation of electronic health record systems.

If you’re ready to take the first step toward a career as a Health Information Technician, this guide will help you navigate the educational requirements, certification process, and job prospects. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to change your career, possessing the right credentials and skills will make you a valuable asset in the healthcare industry.

Step 1: Research the Role of a Health Information Technician

Before you can become a health information technician, it is important to understand the responsibilities and requirements of the role. Health information technicians play a crucial role in the healthcare industry by ensuring the accuracy, accessibility, and security of patient health information. They are responsible for organizing and managing health-related data, including medical histories, diagnostic test results, treatment plans, and insurance information.



Health information technicians work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and insurance companies. They may also work for government agencies or in research settings. The role of a health information technician is constantly evolving, as advancements in technology and data management continue to shape the healthcare industry.

Responsibilities of a Health Information Technician

The responsibilities of a health information technician can vary depending on the specific role and setting. However, some common responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring the accuracy and completeness of patient health records
  • Organizing and maintaining health information databases
  • Using specialized software and tools to input and retrieve patient data
  • Assigning codes to diagnoses and procedures for reimbursement purposes
  • Working with healthcare providers to ensure proper documentation and coding
  • Ensuring compliance with privacy and security regulations
  • Preparing and analyzing health-related reports

Requirements to Become a Health Information Technician

To become a health information technician, you will typically need to complete a postsecondary certificate or associate degree program in health information technology. These programs typically include coursework in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, coding systems, healthcare statistics, and electronic health record systems.



After completing your education, you may also need to gain practical experience in the field. This can be done through internships or entry-level positions in healthcare settings. Some employers may also require or prefer candidates who have obtained professional certification, such as the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification.

The RHIT certification is offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and requires passing an exam. Certification can demonstrate your expertise and dedication to the field, and may improve your employment prospects. Some states may also have additional requirements or regulations for health information technicians, so it is important to research the specific requirements in your state.

See also Steps to Become an Emergency Nurse Practitioner

Once you have completed the necessary education and gained practical experience, you can apply for health information technician roles in various healthcare settings. With the increasing demand for professionals in health informatics and the advancement of electronic health record systems, the job outlook for health information technicians is good. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can become a skilled and registered health information technician and contribute to the advancement of healthcare through the effective management of health-related data.

Discover the Responsibilities and Requirements of a Health Information Technician

Health information technicians, also known as medical records technicians, play a crucial role in the healthcare industry. They are responsible for organizing, managing, and maintaining patient health records. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in this specialized field, it’s important to know what it entails and what qualifications are required.

As a health information technician, your main responsibility is to ensure the accuracy, integrity, and security of patient health records. You will be in charge of collecting, analyzing, and coding patient information, as well as maintaining electronic health records (EHRs) and other databases. This information is vital for healthcare providers to make informed decisions about patient care.

To become a health information technician, you will need to have a strong understanding of medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology. You will also need to be proficient in using specialized software and technology, such as electronic health record systems. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in health information technology, as the field is constantly evolving.

It’s also important to note that health information technicians must adhere to strict ethical and legal standards. They must maintain patient confidentiality and privacy at all times, ensuring that only authorized individuals have access to patient records. This requires a high level of professionalism and attention to detail.

Step 4: Obtain Certification

If you are wishing to become a health information technician, obtaining certification is highly recommended. Certification not only enhances your job prospects but also demonstrates your commitment to the field and your dedication to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and accuracy in health information management.

The most well-known certification for health information technicians is the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential, which is offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). To be eligible for RHIT certification, you must meet certain requirements. These requirements include:

  • Completion of a CAHIIM-accredited associate degree program in health information management or a related field.
  • Successful completion of the RHIT examination.
  • Compliance with the AHIMA Standards of Ethical Coding.

Once you have met these requirements, you can apply for the RHIT examination. The examination consists of multiple-choice questions that test your knowledge and skills in health information management. It covers various topics such as health data management, information technology, medical coding, and healthcare statistics.

It is important to note that the RHIT examination has a pass rate of around 70%, so you should prepare extensively to increase your chances of success. AHIMA provides study resources and practice exams that can help you in your preparation.

After passing the RHIT examination, you will be awarded the RHIT credential. This credential is recognized nationwide and can significantly enhance your employment opportunities. Many healthcare organizations and employers prefer to hire RHIT-certified professionals due to their proven expertise and knowledge in health information management.

Furthermore, obtaining RHIT certification is not the end of your journey. To maintain your RHIT status, you will need to fulfill certain continuing education requirements. This ensures that you stay updated with the latest developments in the field and continue to enhance your skills and knowledge.

Explore the Educational Options and Programs Available for Aspiring Health Information Technicians

If you are considering a career in health information technology and wishing to become a health information technician (HIT), it is important to know what educational requirements and options are available to you. Ensuring accuracy and managing medical records are just some of the responsibilities associated with this role.

Health information technicians work in the healthcare industry and are responsible for the collection, organization, and management of patient health information. They ensure that medical records are accurate, complete, and up-to-date, and they use specialized tools and technology to perform their tasks.

To become a health information technician, you will need to complete a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree program in health information technology. These programs are typically offered by community colleges, vocational schools, and some universities.

See also Steps to Become an Interventional Radiologist

When choosing an educational program, it is important to consider several factors. First, make sure that the program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Accreditation ensures that the program meets certain standards and will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in the field.

Next, consider the curriculum of the program. Look for programs that offer courses in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, healthcare data management, coding and classification systems, and healthcare laws and ethics. These courses will provide you with a solid foundation in the field of health information technology.

It is also important to consider the delivery format of the program. Some programs may be offered online, while others may be offered in a traditional classroom setting. Choose a format that best fits your learning style and schedule.

In addition to completing a formal education program, you may also consider obtaining additional certifications to enhance your skills and marketability. The Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification is one of the most recognized certifications in the field. To become certified, you must pass an exam administered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

Continuing education is also important for health information technicians. The field of health information technology is constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends and advancements is crucial. Consider attending workshops, conferences, and seminars to expand your knowledge and stay current in your field.

Step 3: Gain Practical Experience

If you’re wishing to become a health information technician (HIT), gaining practical experience in the field is an essential step in your career journey. Practical experience will not only enhance your understanding of the role but also make you more competitive in the job market.

Health information technicians are responsible for ensuring the accuracy, accessibility, and security of health-related records. They manage the collection, analysis, and organization of patient data, making it readily available for healthcare professionals when needed. To excel in this profession, you need to have a strong focus on attention to detail and a commitment to maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of patient information.

There are a few routes you can take to gain practical experience as a health information technician. One option is to secure an internship or externship at a healthcare facility or a health information management (HIM) department. This will allow you to work alongside experienced professionals in a real-world setting and apply the knowledge and skills you’ve learned in your HIT program.

Another option is to seek employment as a medical records technician or a medical coder. These roles involve working with health information and electronic health records (EHRs) on a daily basis, giving you hands-on experience in the field. You can start by looking for entry-level positions at hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare organizations.

It’s also recommended to join professional organizations, such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). These organizations provide resources, networking opportunities, and continuing education programs that can further enhance your knowledge and skills as a health information technician.

Before pursuing certification, ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements. This typically includes completing an accredited HIT program and passing the RHIT exam. The exam covers topics such as health data management, information technology, legal and ethical issues, and healthcare statistics.

Remember, gaining practical experience as a health information technician will not only make you more marketable in your job hunt but also provide you with valuable insights and skills that will set you up for success in your career.

Step 7: Learn how to gain hands-on experience in the field of health information technology

Once you have obtained the necessary education and have a solid understanding of the role of a health information technician, it is important to gain practical experience in the field. This hands-on experience will not only enhance your skills and knowledge but also make you more competitive in the job market.

There are several ways to gain practical experience as a health information technician. One option is to complete an internship or externship program. Many healthcare facilities and companies offer these programs, which allow you to work under the supervision of experienced professionals in a real healthcare setting. This will give you the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills to real-world situations and gain valuable insights into the day-to-day responsibilities of a health information technician.

Another option is to seek employment in entry-level positions in healthcare organizations. This could include working as a medical records clerk or a data entry specialist. While these positions may not be directly related to health information technology, they will provide you with valuable experience working in a healthcare environment and interacting with healthcare professionals.

See also Steps to Become a Labor and Delivery Nurse

In addition to gaining practical experience, it is also important to stay updated on the latest advancements in health information technology. The field is constantly evolving, and new technologies and practices are being introduced regularly. By staying informed and continuously updating your skills, you will be better prepared to meet the demands of the job market and provide quality care to patients.

Furthermore, obtaining certification as a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) can greatly enhance your career prospects. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers the RHIT certification, which demonstrates your proficiency and expertise in health information technology. To obtain this certification, you must pass an examination that assesses your knowledge and skills in various domains of health information technology.

By following these steps and gaining practical experience, you will be well on your way to becoming a successful health information technician. Remember to always prioritize the integrity and confidentiality of patient information, as this is a crucial aspect of the job. With the increasing importance of technology in the healthcare industry, the demand for skilled health information technicians is likely to last, making it a promising career pathway for those wishing to work in a health-related field without direct patient care.

Step 4: Obtain Certification

Obtaining certification is an important step in becoming a health information technician. Certification not only validates your knowledge and skills in the field, but it also enhances your professional status and opens up new opportunities for career advancement.

One of the most well-known certifications for health information technicians is the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential, offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). To be eligible for the RHIT exam, you must possess a minimum of an associate’s degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

Before applying for the RHIT exam, it is important to carefully review the exam requirements and ensure that you meet all the necessary criteria. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions that assess your knowledge and expertise in areas such as health data management, information technology, legal and regulatory requirements, and coding and classification systems.

Once you have completed the RHIT exam and passed it successfully, you will be awarded the RHIT credential. This credential is recognized and respected in the healthcare industry and can greatly enhance your job prospects and earning potential.

It is important to note that certification is not a one-time event. To maintain your RHIT status, you will need to engage in continuing education and meet certain requirements set by AHIMA. This may include completing continuing education courses, attending conferences and workshops, and staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in health information technology.

In addition to the RHIT credential, there are other certifications available for health information technicians, such as the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) credential for those working in cancer registries. These additional certifications can further demonstrate your expertise and specialization in specific areas of health information technology.

Overall, obtaining certification as a health information technician is a crucial step in your career journey. It not only validates your knowledge and skills, but it also opens up new opportunities for advancement and professional growth. By earning the RHIT credential or other relevant certifications, you can position yourself as an expert in the field and increase your value to employers.

FAQ

What is a health information technician?

A health information technician is a professional who manages and organizes medical data, including patient records, treatment plans, and insurance information.

What are the job responsibilities of a health information technician?

A health information technician is responsible for maintaining and updating patient records, ensuring the accuracy and confidentiality of medical information, coding and categorizing diagnoses and procedures, and managing electronic health records.

What education and training is required to become a health information technician?

To become a health information technician, you typically need to complete a postsecondary certificate or associate’s degree program in health information technology or a related field. Some employers may also require certification through the American Health Information Management Association.

What skills are important for a health information technician?

Important skills for a health information technician include attention to detail, strong organizational skills, knowledge of medical terminology and coding systems, proficiency in electronic health record software, and the ability to maintain patient confidentiality.

What is the job outlook for health information technicians?

The job outlook for health information technicians is favorable, with a projected growth rate of 8 percent from 2019 to 2029. This growth is due to the increasing need for healthcare services and the transition to electronic health records.

What is a health information technician?

A health information technician is a professional who manages and organizes medical records and health information in healthcare settings. They ensure the accuracy, accessibility, and security of patient data.

What are the educational requirements to become a health information technician?

To become a health information technician, you typically need an associate’s degree in health information technology or a related field. Some employers may also accept a certificate or diploma program in health information technology.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.