By Lisa A. Eramo
We’ve all heard the story. Someone earns a bachelor’s or master’s degree, is unable to land a decent-paying job, and ends up financially strapped because of a less-than-ideal income, student loan debt, and an inability to progress in the field.
The good news is if you graduate with a health information management (HIM) or health information technology (HIT) degree, you don’t have to worry about that. It’s not a matter of whether you will find a decent-paying job—but rather, which job you will choose when multiple offers come your way. This is because HIM and HIT professionals are in high demand, and they have the salaries to prove it.
How much will you actually make as a health information professional? How do HIM and HIT salaries compare? Here are the answers to those questions and more.
How much can I expect to earn as an HIM professional?
With a bachelor’s degree in health information management, you will have strong earning potential that only continues to grow. A 2012 AHIMA salary survey of 3,100 participants found that HIM professionals earned an average of $65,963 in 2012—with amounts exceeding $100,000 for those working in consulting—and that’s a ten percent increase compared to the average salary in 2010 (i.e., $59,935).
What factors affect a health information management salary?
Your salary will vary largely according to the setting in which you work. Consider the differences in HIM salary by setting, as reported in the AHIMA salary survey.
- Consulting: $105,397
- Integrated healthcare delivery system: $80,469
- Non-provider setting: $75,518
- Education: $69,502
- Acute care hospital: $63,658
- Other provider: $60,034
- Ambulatory: $56,490
- Behavioral/mental health: $51,154
- Long-term care: $50,735
- Home health/hospice: $47,931
- Clinic or physician practice: $47,870
Salaries also vary according to job level.
- Executive/president/vice president: $132,040
- Consultant: $95,688
- Director of HIM or HIT: $87,734
- Officers (e.g., privacy, security compliance): $81,821
- Educator: $70,281
- Manager: $69,880
- Other: $67,446
- Technology roles (e.g., data/systems analyst, product analyst/specialist): $65,978
- Clinician: $58,444
- Supervisor: $55,416
- Coding professional: $49,222
- Other HIM technician roles (e.g., transcriptionist, CDI specialist, claims/financial analyst): $48,649
- Clerical/administrative support: $36,112
UW HIMT Degree GuideGet Guide
Download a four-page overview of the UW Health Information Management and Technology bachelor’s program, including information on courses, careers, and tuition.
How much can I expect to earn as an HIT professional?
The average health information technology salary is $89,879 with 30 percent also receiving an average bonus of $31,100, according to the 2014 HealthITJobs.com Salary Report.
Other industry data supports these numbers and suggests that you may earn even more as an HIT professional. The 2013 HIMSS Compensation Survey found that HIT professionals earn an average of $113,269 and a median salary of $95,000.
The 2014 AHIMA/HIMSS Health Information Exchange (HIE) Technology Staffing Challenges Survey, which takes a closer look at those working specifically in HIEs and health information exchange organizations (HIOs), found that those working in data connectivity roles (i.e., application architect, database administrator, director, HIE integration manager, HIE project manager, interface engineer, project analyst, senior network engineer, and technical outsourcing analyst) earn between $75,000 and $119,999.
What factors affect a health information technology salary?
As with HIM salaries, the type of setting in which you work affects the amount of money you will make. Consider the following average 2014 HIT salaries according to setting, as reported in the HIT salary survey.
- Consulting company: $109,715
- Insurance company: $93,162
- Software vendor: $87,992
- Hospital or health system: $85,367
- Other: $77,361
- Government: $75,354
- Physicians group: $68,820
- Clinic: $66,842
The Health IT survey identified the following salary differences according to geographic region.
- New England: $98,242
- Mid-Atlantic: $105,923
- Southeast: $84,468
- Midwest: $81,255
- Southwest: $94,051
- Mountain: $98,308
- Pacific: $99,040
HIT salaries also vary according to job function.
- Project manager: $111,648
- Healthcare informatics: $94,275
- Systems analyst: $81,574
- Implementation consultant: $80,907
- Clinical applications: $78,147
- Training: $74,227
Other factors that will affect your salary include years of experience, such as how long you have worked with electronic health records (EHRs). According to the Health IT survey, professionals with two or fewer years of experience earn an average of $70,158 while those with more than 20 years of experience earn an average of $145,133.
Those who have experience working with Epic—an EHR vendor—earn an average of $97,115. Experience working with other vendors pays off as follows: McKesson (average salary of $80,905), Meditech (average salary of $78,015), Allscripts (average salary of $76,236), and Nextgen (average salary of $68,688).
Unfortunately, salary also differs by gender. The average salary is $99,566 for males and $82,036 for females, according to the Health IT survey. The HIMSS survey found similar results. Women earned an average of $99,523, while men earned an average of $130,800.
What does the future hold for HIM and HIT?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that HIM-related jobs will grow by 23 percent between now and 2022—far outpacing all other occupations, which are growing at an average of 11 percent.
As for HIT jobs, the Health IT survey found that 59 percent of respondents feel as though they have the ability to advance their careers. Fifty-six percent feel as though they have the potential to earn more money. The HIMSS survey found that approximately 70 percent of respondents saw salary increases in 2013.
As technology evolves and plays an ever greater role in the delivery of healthcare services, you can bet your earning potential as an HIM or HIT professional will continue to increase with demand.
And that’s something you can toast to right now.