Other Qualifications, and Advancement: Entry-level
medical records and health information technicians usually have
an associate degree. Many employers favor technicians who have a
Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT) credential.
Medical records and health information technicians generally have
an associate degree. Typical coursework in health information technology
includes medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, health data
requirements and standards, clinical classification and coding systems,
data analysis, healthcare reimbursement methods, database security
and management, and quality improvement methods. Applicants can
improve their chances of admission into a postsecondary program
by taking biology, math, chemistry, health, and computer science
courses in high school.
and other qualifications:
Most employers prefer to hire credentialed medical record and health
information technicians. A number of organizations offer credentials
typically based on passing a credentialing exam. Most credentialing
programs require regular recertification and continuing education
to maintain the credential. Many coding credentials require an amount
of time in coding experience in the work setting.
American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers
credentialing as a Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT).
To obtain the RHIT credential, an individual must graduate from
a 2-year associate degree program accredited by the Commission on
Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management
Education (CAHIIM) and pass an AHIMA-administered written examination.
In 2008, there were more than 200 CAHIIM-accredited health information
technology colleges and universities programs.
American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) offers coding credentials.
The Board of Medical Specialty Coding (BMSC) and Professional Association
of Health care Coding Specialists (PAHCS) both offer credentialing
in specialty coding. The National Cancer Registrars Association
(NCRA) offers a credential as a Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR).
To learn more about the credentials available and their specific
requirements, contact the credentialing organization.
information technicians and coders should possess good oral and
written communication skills as they often serve as liaisons between
healthcare facilities, insurance companies, and other establishments.
Candidates proficient with computer software and technology will
be appealing to employers as healthcare facilities continue to adopt
electronic health records. Medical records and health information
technicians should enjoy learning, as continuing education is important
in the occupation.
Experienced medical records and health information technicians usually
advance their careers by obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s
degree or by seeking an advanced specialty certification. Technicians
with a bachelor’s or master’s degree can advance and
become a health information manager. (See the statement on medical
and health services managers for more information on health information
managers.) Technicians can also obtain advanced specialty certification.
Advanced specialty certification is typically experience-based,
but may require additional formal education depending on the certifying