Everyone’s always searching for new, emerging, and soon-to-be essential occupations. And when it comes to health care, America’s fastest-growing industry sector, medical records and health information technicians — a key healthcare IT occupation — sits pretty near the top.
Since 2001, employment in this occupation (SOC 29-2071) has increased by nearly 20% and, according to EMSI’s most recent data, there are nearly 185,000 medical records and health information technician jobs spread out around the nation. The BLS describes the occupation this way:
Compile, process, and maintain medical records of hospital and clinic patients in a manner consistent with medical, administrative, ethical, legal, and regulatory requirements of the health care system. Process, maintain, compile, and report patient information for health requirements and standards in a manner consistent with the healthcare industry’s numerical coding system.
Medical records are also increasingly digital, so the people in this occupation have a great deal of responsibility when it comes to recording health information so it can be easily shared with patients and other health-care providers. According to O*NET, the top knowledge areas for this occupations are clerical, customer service, English language, computers/electronics, and law/government. As far as skills, reading comprehension, listening, writing, and critical thinking are important.
If we look at year-over-year change since 2001, this occupation hasn’t slowed or dipped at all, even during the recession.
Also notice that this healthy growth is supported by more than 8,000 annual openings — a measure of new job growth and turnover from retirements, etc. — and nearly 6,000 current job postings. See the chart below for more detail. Most (95%) of the people who work as medical records and health information technicians are female. More than 50% of the workers are 45 or older, which means that there will continue to be a lot of turnover as a result of retirement in the coming years.
Another key thing to notice is the relatively low wages for this occupation. This isn’t surprising given that a large majority of the people working in this field have lower levels of education. About 67% of health information techs have either some college or a high school diploma. As this occupation becomes more in-demand in settings like doctors’ offices and hospitals, look for the qualifications and wages to go up. It would be interesting to do a survey of new hires and employers to see what the education requirements and pay is in just over the past few months.
Here is a look at the top education programs for these health information techs. Obviously not all of these people will end of working in these categories. This is just a count of the people who would be qualified based on their education and training.
Below is a look at the top industries that employee health information techs. Not surprisingly, the biggest employer is hospitals, followed by offices of physicians and nursing homes and home health care companies.
And now for the fun part. How are these jobs spread across the nation and what regions are more specialized with health information technicians?
According to a scan of the top 50 metro areas in the U.S., Milwaukee has the highest concentration of these jobs. The location quotient for the Milwaukee MSA is 1.73, which means it has nearly twice the number of these jobs per capita than the national average (an LQ of 1.0 represents a typical region). After Milwaukee comes San Antonio (1.59), Memphis (1.56), Salt Lake City (1.52), Phoenix (1.46), Boston (1.39), Oklahoma City (1.39), Tampa (1.33), and Seattle (1.31).
If we were to look at the same data for all states, South Dakota has the highest concentration (1.66), followed by Montana (1.48), West Virginia (1.40), Oklahoma (1.40), Massachusetts (1.35), and Kansas (1.29).
New York and San Jose pay the best (over $20 per hour), while Sacramento, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia are in the $20 per hour range. When it comes to states, New Jersey ($24 per hour) is way above the national average and higher than the top MSAs. D.C. is second at $20 per hour. The odd thing about New Jersey is that it is the only state to actually experience decline from 2001-2012. Pretty unthinkable given the tremendous growth in health care. The concentration of health information technicians in New Jersey is also really low (0.44).
When it comes to growth, Texas is the clear leader. The top MSAs for new health IT jobs from 2001-2012 are San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas. Each city experienced 30% growth or better. Phoenix was the only other major metro to have growth above 30%.
We have included the data for the top MSAs below.
|MSA Name||2001 Jobs||2012 Jobs||2012 Annual Openings||% Change||Median Hourly Earnings||2011 National Location Quotient|
|New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA||6,743||7,100||357||5.0||$21.03||0.61|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA||5,807||6,726||919||13.7||$17.71||0.87|
|Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||3,267||4,672||1,405||30.1||$15.98||1.12|
|Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX||2,647||3,824||1,177||30.8||$18.04||1.02|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL||2,974||3,546||572||16.1||$15.67||1.06|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA||2,219||2,723||504||18.5||$15.51||0.84|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA||2,029||2,315||286||12.4||$20.72||0.80|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||1,935||2,261||326||14.4||$19.39||0.96|
|Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL||1,646||2,051||405||19.7||$14.74||1.33|
|San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX||1,395||1,958||563||28.8||$17.76||1.59|
|Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI||1,579||1,728||149||8.6||$16.13||1.73|
|San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA||1,335||1,691||356||21.1||$17.71||0.88|
|St. Louis, MO-IL||1,516||1,685||169||10.0||$15.93||0.98|
|Kansas City, MO-KS||1,357||1,652||295||17.9||$16.14||1.28|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||1,217||1,576||359||22.8||$17.83||0.92|
|Salt Lake City, UT||938||1,305||367||28.1||$12.72||1.52|
|Oklahoma City, OK||969||1,106||137||12.4||$14.52||1.39|
|Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN||805||1,004||199||19.8||$14.80||1.28|
|Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA||906||964||58||6.0||$17.39||1.12|
|Las Vegas-Paradise, NV||693||952||259||27.2||$16.01||0.85|
|Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX||674||943||269||28.5||$15.04||0.83|
|Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC||647||883||236||26.7||$16.50||0.79|
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC||761||876||115||13.1||$14.34||0.85|
|Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY||729||788||59||7.5||$17.39||1.17|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||589||643||54||8.4||$21.33||0.51|
|New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA||663||595||(68)||(11.4)||$15.15||0.81|
|Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT||521||543||22||4.1||$18.36||0.66|
Data and analysis from this report came from Analyst, EMSI’s web-based labor market tool. Please contact Rob Sentz (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions or comments. Follow us @desktopecon.