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Health Information Management BS

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Health Information Technician
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AHIMA Requirements
RHIT Certification

Professionals holding the RHIT credential are health information technicians who:

  • Ensure the quality of medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into computer systems.
  • Use computer applications to assemble and analyze patient data for the purpose of improving patient care or controlling costs.
  • Often specialize in coding diagnoses and procedures in patient records for reimbursement and research. An additional role for RHITs is cancer registrars - compiling and maintaining data on cancer patients.

With experience, the RHIT credential holds solid potential for advancement to management positions, especially when combined with a bachelor's degree.

Although most RHITs work in hospitals, they are also found in other healthcare settings including office-based physician practices, nursing homes, home health agencies, mental health facilities, and public health agencies. In fact, RHITs may be employed in any organization that uses patient data or health information, such as pharmaceutical companies, law and insurance firms, and health product vendors.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Successfully complete the academic requirements, at an associate's degree level, of an HIM program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)

  • OR

  • Graduate from an HIM program approved by a foreign association with which AHIMA has a reciprocity agreement

The academic qualifications of each candidate will be verified before a candidate is deemed eligible to take the examination. All first-time applicants must submit an official transcript from their college or university.

1. Students interested in obtaining a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Certificate of Completion, or Transfer of Credits information must contact the CAHIIM-accredited program in which they wish to enroll regarding their institutional policies.

2. AHIMA and the Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA) shall permit a graduate of a program in HIM at the associate or baccalaureate degree level to apply to write the appropriate certification examination consistent with the academic level achieved and given independently by the two associations. The graduate must meet the educational competencies for certification as a technician or administrator established by the association to which the application is made.

3. Beginning October 6, 2008, students in CAHIIM-accredited programs for RHIT or RHIA, enrolled in their final term of study, are now eligible to apply for and take their respective certification exam early. Eligible students include the following:

  • Students currently enrolled and in their last term of study
  • Students who have completed their course work but have not yet graduated
  • Graduates that are currently waiting for their official transcripts
Source: AHIMA 2010
Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)
Your guide to RHIT careers, certification, and education.
HIM Career Pathways
(provided by AHIMA)

Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) Career Overview & Degrees
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

Registered Health Information Technicians (RHITs) ensure the quality of medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into computer systems. They may also use computer applications to assemble and analyze patient data for the purpose of improving patient care or controlling costs. RHITs often specialize in coding diagnoses and procedures in patient records for reimbursement and research. RHITs may serve as cancer registrars, compiling and maintaining data on cancer patients. With experience, the RHIT credential holds solid potential for advancement to management positions and increase in salary, especially if it is combined with a bachelor's degree.

RHIT Career Outlook and Salary Potential

RHITs are career-minded professionals, with 86% working full-time and only 8% working part-time. As the nation continues to implement EMR/EHR, job outlook stays strong. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in health information is expected to grow by 15% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than the average of all occupations.

RHITs have excellent earning potential which only improves with further experience, education, and certification. According to the U.S. BLS, Health Information Technicians earned a median salary of $37,1100 in 2015, while Health Managers earned a median salary of $94,500. According to AHIMA's 2012 Salary Survey, health information professionals earned average salaries of $40,930 to $56,807 in 2012, depending on their credentials.
>> AHIMA 2012 Salary Survey (pdf)

2012 AHIMA Salary Survey: Average Salary by Credential
AHIMA Credential* Coding Professional
2010          2012
Other HIM Tech Roles
2010          2012
CCA $37,428 $40,930 $38,424 $44,101
RHIT $44,807 $49,446 $43,390 $47,487
RHIA $50,494 $56,807 $48,241 $48,018
CCS $50,244 $53,862 $54,535 $59,637
CCS-P $46,859 $48,740 $44,398 $58,558
*Many credential holders can AND do hold multiple credentials.
**The 2012 average salary survey for "Other HIM Technician Roles" holding a CCS-P was based on fewer than 10 respondents.

RHIT Career Opportunities

RHITs have many employment options. Although most RHITs work in hospitals, you will also find them in a variety of other healthcare settings including office-based physician practices, nursing homes, home health agencies, mental health facilities, and public health agencies. In fact employment opportunities exist for RHITs in any organization that uses patient data or health information such as pharmaceutical companies, law and insurance firms, and health product vendors.

Job Titles for HIT Professionals with RHIT Credential
Clinical Coder/Auditor Health Information Technician Medical Coding Specialist
Charge Master Auditor Healthcare Data Analyst Clinical Data Collection & Reporting Specialist
HIM Director Quality Improvement Specialist Document Imaging Coordinator
Consultant Data Integrity Specialist Documentation Specialist
Instructor/Trainer Cancer or Other Disease Registrar HIM Department Manager/Supervisor
Medical Records Supervisor Information Access/Disclosure Specialist

Preparing for an RHIT Career

The RHIT credential is a national certification for health information technicians. To qualify for AHIMA's RHIT Certification, candidates must hold a CAHIIM accredited Associate's degree in Health Information Technology. Although the associate degree curriculum offers some general education, the primary focus is more on the technical component of providing a variety of health information services. The curriculum is designed to prepare entry-level graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to use, analyze, present, abstract, code, store and/or retrieve health care data for the support of departmental operations, and clinical and business decision making in healthcare, or related organizations.

A CAHIIM accredited HIT degree is standard for RHITs. According to the 2011 AHIMA RHIT Job Survey (pdf), 93% of surveyed RHITs hold a degree. Most (74%) of the surveyed RHITs hold an Associate's degree,16% hold a Bachelor's degree, and 3% hold graduate and post-graduate degrees.

Earning the RHIT certification doesn't require extensive amounts of coding experience. In the AHIMA survey, 69% of RHITs earned their certification with one year or less of coding experience. In fact, 36% of surveyed RHITs received their certification with less than 1 month of coding experience.

RHIT candidates must pass the national RHIT certification exam. The 3 1/2 hour exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions. The pass rate of first time test takers for the 2009 RHIT Certification Exam was 82.7%. >> RHIT Exam Content (pdf)

Health Information Management Offers Versatility

By studying health information, students can acquire a versatile yet focused skill set incorporating clinical, information technology, leadership, and management skills. Health information professionals use their knowledge of information technology and records management to form the link between clinicians, administrators, technology designers, and information technology professionals. Health information programs incorporate the disciplines of medicine, management, finance, information technology, and law into one curriculum. Because of this unique mixture, health information graduates can choose from a variety of work settings across an array of healthcare environments.

Careers in health information management can be found in a wide variety of settings, such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Physician's offices
  • Clinics and other medical or mental health facilities
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Educational institutions
  • Insurance companies
  • Government agencies
  • Vendor firms

Benefits of RHIT Certification

Whether you are certified as an RHIT, RHIA, CCA, CCS, etc., earning an AHIMA credential puts you in a special league, positioning you as a leader and role model in the health informatics and information management community. Investing in AHIMA certification is an investment in yourself and your long-term career. AHIMA certification can help you:

  • Improve your earning potential
  • Open the door to more opportunities for career advancement
  • Increase your job mobility and choices even in the face of a tough job market
  • Reach not only your short-term job goals, but also position yourself for success in your long-term career
  • Provide a foundation of broad and deep understanding
  • Be associated with AHIMA's strong and long-standing reputation of integrity and excellence.
  • Connect with a strong network of AHIMA-certified peers. Earning an AHIMA credential plugs you into a prestigious community of ongoing support. Although membership is not required in order to become AHIMA-certified, you can enhance your connection even more by becoming an AHIMA member.

RHIT vs CCS Certification

Both the RHIT and CCS/CCS-P certifications are offered by AHIMA. The CCS certification shows that you are a master of medical coding. The RHIT certification can enable you to move beyond coding and into other health information jobs. For those struggling to decide on which of the two certifications to pursue first, educators, coding professionals, and AHIMA strongly recommend that candidates pursue the RHIT certification first. By completing a CAHIIM accredited HIT program, candidates will be eligible to sit for the RHIT exam.

The CCS/CCS-P certifications are not for newcomers, but they are a logical next step for many RHITs. In AHIMA's 2011 RHIT Job Survey, 46% of respondents also held the CCS or CCS-P credential and 12% of respondents planned to pursue the CCS credential. To sit for the more demanding CCS exam, candidates should have atleast three years of on-the-job experience.

>> More on RHIT Certification & Requirements
>> Interview with a Medical Records and Health Information Technician

To be eligible for AHIMA's RHIT exam, candidates must have earned an associate degree in health information management or technology in a CAHIIM accredited program.

Note to Canadian Applicants: AHIMA (U.S.) and CHIMA (Canada) have a reciprocity agreement, which allows Canadian and U.S. applicants to pursue certification exams to become certified as a technician or administrator as long as the applicants have completed CAHIIM accredited (U.S. schools) or CHIMA recognized (Canadian schools) programs and meet competency requirements.

Salary and employment figures are based on a national median and may vary by location.

Online Schools - Registered Health Information Technician Sponsored Listings
Kaplan University Online

Health Information Management
Bachelor of Science (Degree Completion)

The objective of the Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management program is to prepare you with the knowledge, technical skills, and work habits to be an innovative and adaptable critical thinker and problem solver. Individuals that possess these qualities are capable of using available services and technologies to support operations, management, and decision-making initiatives within the health information field. In addition, the curriculum encourages lifelong learning and addresses the evolving professional skills of baccalaureate degree students.

Upon graduation, you may pursue positions that require you to perform either technical or management duties within the health information field. Typical duties may include overall department management; generation and analysis of health care data; implementation of quality improvement processes, risk management techniques, compliance strategies, and reimbursement procedures; research; and evaluation of legal issues. Employment opportunities may exist within hospitals, long-term care facilities, physicians' offices, health maintenance organizations, insurance companies, home health care, consulting companies, computer software companies, and government agencies.

Ashford University Online

Health Information Management
Bachelor of Science

The Ashford University Health Information Management program prepares graduates to enter the healthcare industry well versed in health information management, health data management, and management of health information services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that health information managers are among the fastest-growing occupations. If you want to work in the health care industry, but don't want to care for people directly, then this degree might be for you. With a broad healthcare background, graduates will seek employment in all levels of healthcare and interact with a wide spectrum of other healthcare professions. The curriculum blends the disciplines of management, finance, information technology, medicine and law into one program.

Forbes School of Business and Technology at Ashford University Online

Business Information Systems
Bachelor of Arts

Build a repository of skills in the modern business environment when you earn your online Bachelor of Arts in Business Information Systems degree from the Forbes School of Business & Technology™ at Ashford University. This degree program is a great fit if you aspire to be a systems trainer, support specialist, e-commerce developer, or business analyst. Your Bachelor of Arts in Business Information Systems demonstrates your proficiency at designing, developing, implementing, as well as troubleshooting information systems in a high-tech organization. You will complete online coursework in database management, systems analysis, technology planning, programming concepts, business law, and procurement.

Ultimate Medical Academy Online

Health Sciences / Healthcare Technology & Systems
Associate of Science

Get the training you need for a career in healthcare technology and systems. Professionals in this field may hold a position as computer technician, electronic data processing auditor or electronic health records specialist. Work environments may include healthcare software companies, medical hardware companies, hospitals and doctors' offices.

As a UMA student in this online program, you'll learn how to configure and troubleshoot healthcare software, help keep health records secure, operate a help desk and more. Some classes you would take include “Introduction to Information Technology,” “Health Records Management” and “Medical Terminology.” UMA provides an engaging online learning experience with personal feedback from instructors, educational videos and live study group sessions.

bestcollegesColorado Technical University Online

Colorado Technical University has been ranked among the Best Online Bachelor Programs for 2015 by U.S. News & World Report. CTU offers professionally focused degree programs through our award-winning educational model. CTU boasts over 75,000 graduates and is proud to be ranked as a military friendly school.

Healthcare Management / Health Informatics
Bachelor of Science

Colorado Technical University's Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management - Health Informatics degree offers instruction in the business and administrative side of the healthcare industry, including, but not limited to, patient access, revenue cycle management, project management, economics of healthcare, and fundamentals of marketing and human resource management. The Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management degree program with a concentration in Health Informatics is designed to help students obtain the didactic theory and hands-on training required to pursue work in management within a healthcare industry.

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