Health Technician Education Requirements and Career Information
Health technician is a general term that can be used for almost any type of technician who works in the health care industry. Education requirements will vary according to the specific career, but the majority of technician jobs require some type of formal training and education.
Therapeutic Health Technician
Therapeutic health technicians are found in a variety of fields, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and respiratory therapy. They assist licensed therapists in providing treatment for patients with debilitating injuries or medical conditions.
Education requirements vary based on the therapeutic field, but most jobs require an associate's or bachelor's degree. Depending on state requirements, some therapeutic health positions may also require certification. Coursework often includes medical terminology, communications and anatomy, as well as study in the specialized field.
Some therapeutic health technicians may choose to further their careers by continuing their educations to become licensed therapists or therapeutic managers. They may also advance through on-the-job experience and specialized certifications.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job prospects for therapeutic health technicians varied greatly by field. Between 2008 and 2018, physical therapy and occupational therapy technicians were expected to experience healthy growth in employment opportunities. However, respiratory therapy technicians were predicted to find keen competition for positions due to negative job growth in their field (www.bls.gov).
In May 2009, physical therapy technicians made a median salary of $48,290 per year, while occupational therapy technicians earned an average of $50,250. Respiratory therapy technicians had a median annual wage of $44,700.
Mental Health Technician
Mental health technicians usually work as part of a psychiatric team in providing treatment to patients, often in a hospital or mental health clinic. Their duties can include monitoring medications, working in therapy sessions and completing administrative tasks.
Educational requirements for mental health technicians often vary according to state and institutional requirements. Most employers hire applicants who have had formal training in mental health technology, such as an associate's degree or certificate program. Coursework often includes psychiatric terminology, behavioral management and abnormal psychology.
The 2009 median annual wage for mental health technicians was $25,650, according to BLS data. The number of positions in this field was projected to grow by 18% between 2008 and 2018, partly due to the increased number of senior citizens suffering from some form of mental impairment.
Health Information Technician
Health information technicians manage patient records in a variety of settings, including medical centers, doctor offices, clinics and hospitals. Many technicians specialize in certain types of medical records management, such as records coding, insurance claims or patient billing.
The majority of health information positions require applicants to have an associate's degree, and some also require credentials from a professional organization. Coursework in health information programs often includes classes in medical terminology, medical coding systems and database management. Certification requirements vary according to the organization, but most involve a written exam following graduation from a degree program.
Many health information technicians advance in their careers by furthering their educations or obtaining advanced certification in a specialized field of records management. Techs with an advanced degree in health information often assume managerial positions within a health care organization.
According to the BLS, the job market for health information techs was predicted to be quite strong. Employment was expected to increase by 20% between 2008 and 2018. As of May 2009, the median salary for health information techs was $31,290.
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