A degree in health information technology offers the skill development necessary to enter the workforce directly in a variety of positions (medical coding, for example). Students can expect to gain foundational knowledge and an understanding of important practices and concepts in the field. Theoretical classwork is combined with internship opportunities in this program to ensure concrete, practical development of graduates.
Applicants to these 2-year programs need a high school diploma or equivalent. Some courses may be offered through distance learning.
Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
The associate's degree program teaches medical insurance coding and medical records filing; students also gain an understanding of medical terminology, basic pathology and anatomy. Health information technicians are skilled at keyboarding and computer programming, while efficiently compiling and analyzing data. Students can expect to take courses with titles such as the following:
- Healthcare quality improvement
- Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding
- Pathology and disease
- Electronic health records
- Medical terminology
- Insurance and reimbursement procedures
Popular Career Options
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that job prospects will be very good for workers in this field (www.bls.gov). Employment of medical records and health information technicians was projected to increase by 15% between 2014 and 2024, according to the BLS. Median wages were $37,110 in May 2015. Possible career titles include these:
- Medical records technicians
- Health information technicians
- Medical coders
- Coding specialists
- Billing reimbursement specialists
Continuing Education Information
Medical record and health information technicians aren't required to be certified, but most employers prefer certification. Certification is obtained by passing a written examination through a certifying organization. A qualifying candidate can earn the credential of Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The AHIMA also offers the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification.
Medical coders can obtain certification through the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS) and the Board of Medical Specialty Coding & Compliance (BMSC). The PAHCS and the BMSC both offer certification in various specialties.
An Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology teaches students medical terminology, insurance coding, computer programming and more. Graduates of these programs are prepared to work a variety of jobs in the health information field, and may choose to obtain professional certification.