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Health Information Technicians

At a Glance

  • Maintain patient medical records
  • Work with paper files as well as computers
  • Must be highly organized and pay attention to detail
  • Are sometimes called medical records technicians
  • Training usually lasts two years
  • Work for hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices, or nursing homes

Career summary

Health information technicians collect, code, and maintain medical information about patients.

#match with 1431 medical records technicians, checked 2/12/15 lh

Health information technicians are also called medical records technicians. Medical records include information about patients' visits to hospitals or doctors. For each patient this information includes:

Health information technicians gather and organize this information. They make sure records are complete and accurate. They also develop organized filing and storage systems to store and retrieve files. They make sure that files are secure and confidential.

Technicians assign a code to each diagnosis and procedure. They may consult with doctors to resolve or clarify information in the record.

Health information technicians may be responsible for providing patient records to agencies, insurance companies, and lawyers. Some technicians maintain special records, called registries. These records are for specific groups of patients, such as those who have cancer, heart disease, or organ transplants.

Health information technicians also perform other related duties. These include transcribing medical reports, processing insurance bills, and handling patient admission and discharge forms. Experienced technicians may train or supervise other medical records staff.

Related careers

This career is part of the Health Science cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Military careers

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to health information technicians.

Common work activities

Health information technicians perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, health information technicians:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Health information technicians frequently:

It is important for health information technicians to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for health information technicians to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Health information technicians need to:


Reason and problem solve

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a health information technician, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Most health information technicians have a certificate from a medical records technology program. Some have an associate degree in medical records technology. These programs include courses in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and statistics. Courses in database management and coding are also helpful. Some employers may prefer applicants who have a bachelor's degree.

On-the-job training

Some hospitals and clinics offer on-the-job training to employees who have worked as medical records clerks. Training usually lasts two to three months. However, this type of training is becoming less common.

Work experience

It is very helpful to have at least two years of experience as a medical records clerk. If you have this experience, you will be a good candidate for health information technology training offered through an employer.

Military training

Some branches of the military train people to be medical record technicians. Training lasts for six to 18 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Most employers prefer to hire technicians who have completed formal training programs. They also prefer to hire technicians who are a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). To become registered, candidates must pass a written exam that is given by the American Health Information Management Association.

Employers look for applicants who have good attention to detail. They also look for applicants who have good communication skills. In addition, many employers prefer candidates with one to two years of work experience or a bachelor's degree.

Some employers may require a one-year apprenticeship. It is also important to keep up to date with the changes in medical technology and current legislation.


High school graduates who have basic secretarial skills can enter the medical records field as clerks. Summer job experience working for insurance companies or medical record departments will greatly increase your chances of getting your foot in the door. Getting experience in a variety of areas before specializing is helpful.

Costs to workers

After entering this field, a worker may wish to join a professional association, which may have annual dues. Certification requires application, examination, and renewal fees. Some health information technicians may be required to join a union and pay an initiation fee. Continuing education is required to maintain certification.


It is possible to become a Registered Heath Information Technicians (RHIT). To do so, an individual must complete an accredited two-year degree program and pass a written exam.

For more information about optional registration, contact:

American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) (external link)

#fine. not a secure link 2/24/19 lh

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Medical records and health information technicians (SOC 29-2071)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $15.20 $17.19 $20.91 $26.40 $31.55
Monthly $2,634 $2,979 $3,624 $4,575 $5,468
Yearly $31,610 $35,760 $43,500 $54,920 $65,620
    Bellingham Hourly $12.87 $16.76 $20.60 $24.02 $27.83
Monthly $2,230 $2,905 $3,570 $4,163 $4,823
Yearly $26,779 $34,852 $42,852 $49,972 $57,889
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $14.92 $16.90 $19.71 $23.02 $27.05
Monthly $2,586 $2,929 $3,416 $3,989 $4,688
Yearly $31,030 $35,143 $40,982 $47,898 $56,273
    Clarkston-Lewiston Hourly $12.92 $15.34 $18.09 $22.85 $30.77
Monthly $2,239 $2,658 $3,135 $3,960 $5,332
Yearly $26,885 $31,919 $37,633 $47,520 $63,996
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $14.24 $16.35 $18.78 $22.47 $25.51
Monthly $2,468 $2,833 $3,255 $3,894 $4,421
Yearly $29,618 $34,004 $39,065 $46,747 $53,054
    Longview Hourly $16.77 $20.17 $27.15 $32.68 $37.02
Monthly $2,906 $3,495 $4,705 $5,663 $6,416
Yearly $34,875 $41,935 $56,483 $67,974 $77,017
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $15.23 $16.90 $19.94 $27.30 $32.92
Monthly $2,639 $2,929 $3,456 $4,731 $5,705
Yearly $31,673 $35,147 $41,470 $56,778 $68,479
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $15.36 $18.23 $23.43 $28.07 $30.77
Monthly $2,662 $3,159 $4,060 $4,865 $5,332
Yearly $31,947 $37,921 $48,740 $58,380 $63,991
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $16.34 $18.35 $22.44 $28.16 $33.64
Monthly $2,832 $3,180 $3,889 $4,880 $5,830
Yearly $33,990 $38,171 $46,679 $58,583 $69,960
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $14.05 $16.35 $19.41 $25.04 $30.93
Monthly $2,435 $2,833 $3,364 $4,339 $5,360
Yearly $29,218 $33,999 $40,370 $52,081 $64,343
    Vancouver Hourly $15.76 $19.49 $24.01 $29.40 $34.63
Monthly $2,731 $3,378 $4,161 $5,095 $6,001
Yearly $32,786 $40,538 $49,946 $61,154 $72,034
    Walla Walla Hourly $14.34 $15.87 $17.45 $19.03 $22.41
Monthly $2,485 $2,750 $3,024 $3,298 $3,884
Yearly $29,810 $33,003 $36,293 $39,583 $46,613
    Wenatchee Hourly $12.83 $14.98 $17.85 $21.73 $27.36
Monthly $2,223 $2,596 $3,093 $3,766 $4,741
Yearly $26,687 $31,147 $37,116 $45,200 $56,914
    Yakima Hourly $13.44 $15.12 $18.32 $22.53 $26.55
Monthly $2,329 $2,620 $3,175 $3,904 $4,601
Yearly $27,954 $31,442 $38,117 $46,852 $55,229
United States Hourly $12.76 $15.42 $19.40 $25.35 $31.86
Monthly $2,211 $2,672 $3,362 $4,393 $5,521
Yearly $26,550 $32,070 $40,350 $52,730 $66,260

Pay varies by employer and area of the country. The technician's level of education and experience also affect wages.

Health information technicians who work full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include paid vacation, life and health insurance, and sick leave. Some employers also provide a retirement plan.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

In Washington, employment for health information technicians is expected to grow due to an aging population, the increasing number of health care facilities, and greater demand for quality and cost control in health care.

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Medical Records and Health Information Technicians (SOC 29-2071)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 5,050 19.4% 16.1% 523
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 163 20.2% 13.4% 16
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 142 16.2% 8.6% 14
    Benton and Franklin Counties 180 27.2% 15.0% 21
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 190 17.4% 11.9% 19
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 236 19.1% 15.2% 24
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 377 27.6% 14.1% 46
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 281 17.4% 14.6% 27
    King County 1,958 21.6% 19.6% 213
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 287 19.5% 13.8% 30
    Pierce County 546 16.8% 15.2% 53
    Snohomish County 195 17.9% 12.4% 20
    Spokane County 492 16.3% 13.9% 47
United States 215,500 10.7% 5.2% 16,800

National employment

About one third of all health information technicians work in hospitals.

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will be strong. Much of the growth is due to new health care policies and the growing aging population. The number of medical tests, treatments, and procedures performed each year will increase and this leads to more health insurance claims.

Job prospects will be best in hospitals and health clinics. Many new jobs are also expected in nursing homes and home health agencies. Those with health information certifications will have the best job opportunities.

Other resources


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Strong Interest Inventory

Holland occupational cluster