What You Should Know About This Degree
Registered health information technicians don’t have direct patient contact, but play a crucial role in ensuring patients receive the proper care. They maintain health records for patients, ensuring that diagnoses and procedures are properly tracked. Technicians must follow medical, administrative, legal, ethical, and regulatory practices, be detail-oriented, and have strong analytical and technical skills.
Medical coders and billers perform similar functions to RHITs, although their work is more focused on coding for insurance and billing purposes. At this stage, you may want to explore both career paths to determine which one interests you most.
Most employers seek health information technicians who are certified by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). To receive the RHIT credential, health information technicians must hold a degree in health information technology from a CAHIIM-accredited program, and pass the AHIMA’s exam.
Programs that are CAHIIM-accredited have a clinical experience component, even if all coursework is offered online. Students who are enrolling in an online program should discuss in-person requirements with an advisor, to confirm that they will fit into your schedule.
When earning an associate’s degree, selecting a program at a regionally accredited school is recommended. If you plan to pursue an advanced degree, schools are more likely to accept your credits and degree if they were earned at a regionally accredited institution.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Online RHIT programs:
- How are online courses delivered? Online classes are typically offered in synchronous or asynchronous formats. In synchronous courses, students attend classes remotely, but must be available at specific times. Asynchronous courses are more flexible, as lessons and assignments are available at all times, but they don’t offer the same level of instructor and classmate interaction. Talk to program representatives to find out how courses are delivered, and decide which format works best for you.
- Will I pass a background check? As RHITs work in clinical settings with sensitive patient information, most internships and jobs require individuals to pass background checks as part of the hiring process. If there are any incidents on your record that may prevent you from passing a background check, talk to an advisor as soon as possible to discuss your options.
Be sure to review the program’s application requirements and deadlines while you are researching programs. Gathering application materials well before deadlines will facilitate a smooth application process.
Funding your RHIT degree is another important consideration. You can research federal financial aid, scholarships, assistantships, and tuition assistance benefits, if you are currently employed.