Most associate's degree programs in health information technology are two years in length and provide training in the common electronic record systems used in health care. Some associate's degree programs in the field require students to complete either a paid or unpaid practical experience in the medical records department at a local health care facility. Prerequisites for this program include a high school diploma, at least one high school biology course, and basic computer science and keyboarding skills.
Associate's Degree in Medical Records
Classroom lectures included within an associate's degree program in health information technology cover the technical aspects of electronic recording systems, as well as the scientific aspects of basic medical procedures. Some examples include:
- Human anatomy, physiology and common diseases
- Medical terminology
- Health information management, reimbursement and insurance procedures
- ICD-9-CM coding systems
- Coding PPE
- Health data systems
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care facilities across the nation employed 189,930 medical records and health information technicians in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Professionals in the field earned a median annual salary of $37,110 in 2015. The rapidly aging population should increase the demand for medical records technicians over the next decade and was expected to cause a 15% growth of employment in the field between 2014 and 2024.
Certification Options and Continuing Education
There are several organizations offering certification options for professional medical records and health information technicians. The American Health Information Management Association, the American Academy of Professional Coders and the Board of Medical Specialty Coding all offer credentials in the field. Individuals who are interested in advancing in their careers to positions as health information managers might consider enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in health information management.
An associate's degree in medical records incorporates classroom learning and internships, which prepare graduates for professional credentialing and work as a medical records and health information technician or to go on to a bachelor's degree in this field.