Offering classroom time as well as laboratory instruction, health informatics associate's degree programs teach students about information technology, medical coding and procedures for protecting patient privacy. Internships and clinical practica may also be included. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate and an up-to-date immunization record.
Associate's Degree in Health Informatics
Coursework prepares students to act ethically and professionally in the management of personal, medical and financial information, which includes adhering to laws of privacy and patient confidentiality. Topics of discussion in coursework include:
- Retrieval programming
- Security practices
- Statistical reports
- Classification systems
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical records and health information technicians held about 189,930 jobs in the U.S. in 2015, with most professionals employed by general medical and surgical hospitals (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that jobs in this profession were expected to grow by 15% between the years 2014 and 2024. The median annual salary of medical records and health information technicians in May 2015 was $37,110.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Graduates of an associate's degree program are eligible to sit for the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification exam, offered through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). RHITs are required to complete 20 continuing education units every two years in order to maintain certification. Graduates might also consider enrolling in a bachelor's degree program to improve their career opportunities and salary potential. Degree options include a Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics, Health Information Management or Information Technology with a concentration in health informatics.
An associate's degree program in health informatics gives students the skills to manage various kinds of information in a medical setting. Graduates can pursue professional certification, and can expect positive job growth as medical records and health information technicians.