Tell me About HIT

What Prospective Students Should Know

If you are planning on a career in Health Information Technology, you need to come to Ferris prepared to succeed. 

Employment of health information technicians is expected to increase by 20 percent through 2018, in part, due to electronic medical record implementation mandates. Most health information professionals start their career as a coding professional.  Average annual earnings of Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT) is $54,880 based on a 2010 salary study conducted by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).  Graduates with associate’s degrees can expect to start in the $32,000 -$35,000 range.  After gaining experience, that salary quickly increases. 

In high school, you should take anatomy and physiology and computer courses.  A good understanding of Excel and databases will be beneficial to a health information professional.

There is a six week (240 hour) internship in a health care setting that is required the semester before graduating. This may mean that you need to relocate.  At the end of your coursework, you will take a review class to prepare for the national certification exam.

It is important to note that you may be required to complete a criminal background check at your own expense.  If you have a criminal history, you may not be able to complete an internship which means you won’t be able to graduate.  Please see an advisor if you have any questions regarding this.  

Many internships require proof of immunizations.  They may require proof of a negative TB test within one year of your internship.

 Source:  AHIMA Salary Survey 2010

What Our Graduates Do

Medical records and health information technicians, organize and manage health information data. They ensure its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories.

Health Information professionals work in hospitals, clinics, physician private practices and health departments and insurance companies. They typically work in an office setting, Monday-Friday, 40 hours per week.

To learn more, visit the site of the American Health Information Management Association www.ahima.org

Salary and Employment Information

Employment of health information technicians is expected to increase by 22 percent through 2022, in part, due to electronic medical record implementation mandates. Most health information professionals start their career as a coding professional.  The United States plans to implement ICD-10 Coding in October 2015.  This system is much different than ICD-9 which is currently used.  The new system will provide a lot of job opportunities for new graduates.  Average annual earnings of Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT) is $54,880 based on a 2010 salary study conducted by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).  Graduates with associate’s degrees can expect to start in the $30,000 -$38,000 range.  After gaining experience, that salary quickly increases. 

Most of our Health Information Technology graduates work in hospitals or outpatient settings.  The remainder find jobs in long term care, insurance companies, education, and consulting.

Source:  AHIMA Salary Survey 2010

 WORK ACTIVITIES

Health Information Technicians ensure the quality of medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into computer systems. They use computer applications to assemble and analyze patient data for the purpose of improving patient care or controlling costs. They consult classification manuals and computer software to assign the patient to a diagnosis-related group which will determine the amount that the hospital will be reimbursed by the government or insurance company. Technicians often specialize in coding diagnoses and procedures in patient records for reimbursement and research.

The United States will begin using ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS in October 2015. This is a totally different system than the current ICD-9 codes. The coder will need a solid background in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and pathophysiology to provide the expertise that will be required with ICD-10. A well-prepared coder will be in high demand in the healthcare industry.

Health Information Technicians must maintain and secure all patient records electronically. This requires workers to keep up with computer and software technology to meet federal government requirements.

WORK SETTINGS

Most health information technicians work in hospitals or physician’s offices. Technicians typically work at desks or in offices and may spend many hours in front of computer monitors.

TYPICAL EARNINGS

Starting Annual Wages for Occupations:

General Medical Surgical Hospitals

  $ 40,100

Nursing Care Facilities

  $ 36,500

Outpatient Care Center

  $ 36,490

Office of Physicians

  $ 32,700

Source:  bls.gov 2013

*National average salaries could vary by region

CAREER PATHWAYS

  • Coders and Billers in hospitals, clinics, and physician private practices
  • Release of Information
  • Medical Staff Coordinator
  • Cancer Registrar
  • Documentation Specialist

 HELPFUL SKILLS & PREFERENCES

Common Characteristics of Graduates

    • Organization skills
    • Strong computer skills
    • Attention to detail
    • Good written and oral communication skills

 

NETWORKING

  • Professional Organizations: American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
  • Student Organizations: Health Care Management Association (HCMA)

College of Health Professions:For more information on what to do with a Health Information degree contact: 231-591-2266. For more program options and requirements see the Ferris catalog.

If you are interested in career counseling assistance or would like to comment on 'What Can I Do With This Degree', please send a message to ecds@ferris.edu.Educational Counseling & Disabilities Services | Retention & Student Success 901 S. State St. Starr 313, Big Rapids, MI 49307 | Phone: 231-591-3057 | http://www.ferris.edu/eccc