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Ensuring that a patient’s health information data maintains its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security is essential to providing top-notch care. By earning a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) degree, students position themselves to play an integral role in the healthcare field.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be a 16% increase in employment for health information technologists and medical registrars through 2032. The median annual wage for these positions is $58,250. With experience and further education, individuals can go on to work as medical and health services managers, a field that is expected to grow by 28% in the next decade.

RHIT programs award an associate degree, which typically requires 60 credits and takes two years of full-time study to complete. Tuition varies by school, but for the 2022-23 academic year, the average tuition for two-year programs was $3,885 at public colleges and $20,019 at private colleges, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

How to Choose a Registered Health Information Technician Degree Program

Choose your area of study

Before beginning your research into RHIT degree programs, reflect on your educational and career goals. An associate degree in health information technology provides the necessary educational preparation for taking the required certification exam to become an RHIT. However, students also have the option of earning a post-secondary certificate in medical coding, which can provide the same training in a shorter time frame.

Students should also consider what type of professional certification they’ll seek post-graduation. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), and the Practice Management Institute (PMI) all award the professional certifications health information technicians need to obtain employment. Most degree programs align their curricula with the educational requirements for these certifications, so look for one that will prepare you for the certification you want.

This is also an excellent time to reflect on your logistical needs. Can you attend a program that has classes during daytime hours on weekdays, or do you need a program with evening and weekend classes? Will you enroll full-time or part-time? Establishing these parameters can help narrow your search to programs that meet your scheduling needs.

Research schools and programs

The best place to start gathering information about RHIT programs is on schools’ websites, where you can find details about curriculum, faculty, program costs, and admissions requirements. If you have questions about a program, contact the school’s admissions office to speak to an admissions counselor. If available, you may also want to attend virtual or in-person open houses or information sessions to get a closer look at the school.

Here are some questions to can ask during the research process to confirm that a program is a good fit:

  • What is the program’s curriculum? How does it align with your interests and goals?
  • Are there experiential learning components, like an internship? Can you accommodate these requirements in your schedule?
  • How many hours per week are students in class? What are the expectations for work outside the classroom?
  • Who are the faculty members, and what are their qualifications?
  • What is the program cost, and what financial aid resources are available?
  • What are the eligibility requirements for admission?
  • Are the school and program accredited?

Confirming that an institution and program are accredited is important, as this can impact your eligibility for financial aid, professional certification, jobs, and future education opportunities, as well as the quality of the education you receive. Look for schools that are regionally accredited and programs that have specialized accreditation through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). This organization awards professional credentials that are required for most health information technologist jobs. You can verify accreditation statuses by visiting the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s database.

Prepare for tests and applications

To find out what specifically you’ll need to prepare to apply to an RHIT program, visit the school’s website or speak to an admissions counselor, as all colleges set their own application requirements and protocols.

Generally speaking, applicants to an RHIT program must submit the following:

  • Completed application and application fees
  • Official high school transcripts or GED
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Resume or CV
  • SAT or ACT scores

Be sure to review the program’s eligibility requirements before applying. Eligibility requirements may include a minimum high school GPA or prerequisite coursework.

Select your program

Some students focus on applying to one or two programs, while others submit multiple applications and select one based on where they are accepted. The number of programs you apply to varies based on your personal interests and needs.

If you’re accepted to several schools and are having trouble narrowing down your options, visiting schools and talking with current students and faculty can help you find the one that’s the best fit. You can also compare the programs you’re admitted to based on your initial criteria and any new information you’ve received, such as financial aid offers.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

If you haven’t already, confirm the program’s tuition and fees (and room and board costs if you’re living on campus), as well as what financial aid resources are available from the school. This information is likely published on the school’s website, but if you have questions, you can contact the school’s financial aid office to speak to a financial aid counselor.

To access need-based financial aid through the Federal Student Aid program, as well as institutional need-based aid like scholarships and grants, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Other options include merit-based scholarships and grants that aren’t dependent on financial need. Many schools offer this type of support, as do external organizations like nonprofits, professional associations, and religious and community groups.

You can also ask your employer about tuition assistance benefits if you plan on working while earning your degree. Active duty service members and veterans can ask about GI Bill benefits and military discounts.

The Top 50 Registered Health Information Technician

Best Registered Health Information Technician Degree Programs_2024 badge

North Dakota State College of Science

Dallas College

Lamar Institute of Technology

Weber State University

Monroe Community College

Ozark Technical Community College

Miami Dade College

Macomb Community College

Southwestern Community College

Missouri State University - West Plains

Tyler Junior College

Jefferson Community and Technical College

Discover More Options

How we rank schools

Students can obtain an education in health information technology at multiple levels. An associate degree or postsecondary certificate is the minimum level of education required to become a registered health information technician, although bachelor’s programs exist as well. The majority of programs we reviewed for this list award Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degrees.

Our list includes schools with regional and national accreditation. Most of these programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM), which performs annual program monitoring to continually improve the quality of health informatics education. We reviewed programs that are offered online, in person, and in hybrid formats.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect From a Registered Health Information Technician Degree Program?

Being a registered health information technician requires specialized knowledge of medical coding systems, governmental and non-governmental healthcare regulations and standards, and medical diagnoses and procedures. The courses in an RHIT degree program introduce students to these concepts and help them develop the skills and knowledge necessary to pass the American Health Information Management Association’s RHIT certification exam.

Most RHIT degree programs award an Associate of Applied Science (AAS). In addition to coursework focusing on medical terminology and coding, computer applications, pharmacology, and healthcare delivery systems, students will also take some general education requirements in areas such as English, math, and humanities.

Programs may also include an experiential learning component, such as an internship, to give students experience working in a medical office setting. Before enrolling in a program, students should review internship requirements and confirm that they can accommodate them in their schedules.

Potential courses you’ll take in a registered health information technician degree program

  • Introduction to Healthcare and Healthcare Information Management (HIM): Introduces healthcare settings and the role of the health information management (HIM) professional in healthcare delivery systems, covering topics such as electronic health records (EHRs) and health information management operations in compliance with standards, regulations, and accrediting body initiatives.
  • Medical Terminology I: Covers prefixes, suffixes, and word roots used in the language of medicine, with topics including medical vocabulary and terms that relate to anatomy, physiology, pathological conditions, and treatments.
  • Medical Terminology II: A continuation of Medical Terminology I, further expanding students’ medical vocabulary.
  • Anatomy & Physiology: Reviews normal human anatomy and physiology of cells, tissues, organs, and systems with an overview of common pathophysiology.
  • Health Law, Privacy & Ethics: Studies health law, privacy, security, confidentiality, access, release, and ethical issues. 

Registered Health Information Technician Degree Program Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a registered health information technician degree program?

You’ll likely submit your application and supporting materials online through an admissions portal on the school’s website. Before starting your application, confirm with the school’s admissions office what application materials they require and what their application deadlines are. Some RHIT degree programs enroll new students multiple times throughout the academic year, while others only have one or two start terms. Missing application deadlines can delay your entry into the program.

A typical application to an RHIT program includes the application itself, official transcripts from your high school (and any other colleges you may have attended previously), letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and SAT or ACT scores.

How much does a registered health information technician degree cost?

The amount you’ll pay for an RHIT degree varies depending on factors like the type of institution you attend and how much financial aid you receive.

For example, if you attend a public college located in the state where you reside, you’ll likely pay less than you would if you attend a private school or are an out-of-state student at a public university. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average tuition for two-year degree programs during the 2022-23 academic year was $3,598 at public colleges, and $20,019 at private colleges.

Financial aid like scholarships, grants, and tuition assistance can also help decrease the amount you’ll pay out of pocket. For the most accurate information about how much a specific program costs, speak to a financial aid counselor at the institution you’re attending.

How long does it take to earn a registered health information technician degree?

Students studying to become registered health information technicians earn an associate degree, which is a 60-credit program designed to be completed in two years of full-time study. Enrolling part-time will likely mean taking longer than two years to complete the program. Students who want to earn their degree faster can seek out accelerated programs, which condense coursework into a shorter time frame and can be completed in eighteen months or less.

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