Students interested in receiving an education in health information technology can enroll in a 2-year associate's degree program immediately upon completing high school. Others may choose to first earn a postsecondary diploma or certificate in a related field, such as medical billing and coding, before transferring credits over to an associate's degree program.
Associate Degree in Medical Records Technology
An Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology program provides aspiring technicians with the medical knowledge, business communication principles and technical skills necessary to upkeep medical records. Such programs primarily teach students about the coding systems used to keep track of various diagnoses and procedures. Students enrolled in an associate's degree program in the field of medical records technology also learn basic office procedures, problem-solving skills and patient interaction techniques.
Most of the courses found within an associate's degree program related to the medical records technology field offer technical instruction in practical tasks along with courses associated with medicine.
Courses may include:
- Computer information systems, medical terminology,
- Anatomy and physiology
- Introduction to coding, insurance coding
- Business communication, medical office skills
- Basic pharmacology
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Medical hospitals, doctors' offices and nursing care facilities were the top employers of medical records and health information technicians in May 2015. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 189,930 such individuals employed across the country in that year. The mean annual salary for medical records and health information technicians in May 2015 was $40,430. Those who worked in other professional, scientific, and technical services typically earned the highest salaries (www.bls.gov).
Certification and Continuing Education
Although certification is not strictly required in the field of health information technology, it is strongly encouraged. Individuals who have earned a credential from an organization, such as the American Health Information Management Association or the American Academy of Professional Coders, may have an edge when seeking jobs in the field. Individuals interested in advancing in the healthcare industry might consider enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in health information technology or even healthcare administration.
An Associate Degree in Medical Records Technology prepares students to work in healthcare facilities by equipping them with skills in medical office procedures and basic pharmacology. Taking such a degree and acquiring certification may improve graduates' chances in the job market.