The health technician field is not only one that is expected to see above average growth in the next several years, but is also one that will continue to see changes in job responsibilities.
Working in this field usually means the business environment will be a pleasant and comfortable office setting. This is one of the few medical fields that does not include direct, hand-on contact with patients. The typical work week is 40 hours, though there may be some overtime. In facilities that are open 24 hours a day, technicians may work day, evening or night shifts.
Medical information and record technicians usually have at least an associate’s degree. Course work in the field will include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, data requirements and standards, data analysis, clinical classification and codifying systems, data base security and management, insurance reimbursement and quality improvement methods. Taking math, biology, chemistry, health and computer science courses in high school can improves an applicant’s standing when applying to a post-secondary school.
Many employers will prefer to hire credentialed technicians. Credentialing programs often will require re-credentialing and continuing education. Obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree, or an advanced specialty certification, can help with career advancement for someone experienced in the health information technology field. Those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree can often become an information manager.
The U.S. Department of Labor projects employment for medical records and information technicians to increase by 20 percent through 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations through that time. As the population continues to age, more medical tests, treatment and procedures will be required. Those technicians that can demonstrate a strong understanding of technology and computer software likely will be particularly in demand.
As the use of electronic medical records continues to increase, more technicians will also be needed. In fact, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department recently announced it would be awarding $267 million to several non-profit organizations to establish Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers, which will help grow this emerging field. These centers will provide support to medical practitioners as they transition to electronic records.
In 2008, the most recent numbers available, the median wage was $30,618. The middle 50 percent of workers in the field earned between $25,000 and $40,000. The upper 10 percent earned $50,000.
The health information technology field is one that will continue to have very good job prospects due to constant changes in computer and medical technology combined with an aging population.