Completion of an associate degree program provides academic and practical training to students who wish to become health information technicians. A related degree program could provide students with technical expertise and medical knowledge necessary to launch a high-tech career in the healthcare field. A 2-year associate's program in health information technology is designed to educate students in healthcare procedures and basic medical terminology. An internship is required before graduation in most programs. You can find some health information technology associate's programs and coursework online.
Typically, a health information technology program requires little more than a high school diploma or GED. A few schools may require liability insurance and health records prior to internship participation. Generally, high school biology, computer science and mathematics should provide sufficient academic preparation, though some programs may require some college courses prior to admission.
Associate's Degree in Health Information Technology
A health information technician is primarily responsible for inputting and maintaining medical data within healthcare organizations. Many programs include a field experience or internship component that places students directly within the records departments of healthcare facilities. Graduates of health information technology programs typically possess sufficient knowledge to obtain professional certification.
Coursework within a health information technology program combines medical topics with data processing and management. Students also receive specific, technical training in healthcare information systems, healthcare billing and reimbursement systems, healthcare coding systems and basic electronic recording software. Examples of a few classes include basic computer science, information systems, basic human diseases, and medical terminology. Other classes include the following:
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Legal aspects of healthcare information
- Healthcare coding systems
- Foundations of health data systems
Popular Career Options
A degree in health information technology can provide job seekers with additional value when applying for positions within healthcare organizations. Some possible careers might include:
- Medical records technician
- Medical coding specialist
- Health data analyst
- Patient information coordinator
- Insurance claims analyst
Certification and Continuing Education
Health information technicians may increase job opportunities with professional credentials, such as a Registered Health Information Technician or a Certified Medical Coding Specialist. Experienced professionals may also seek management positions by earning a bachelor's or master's degree in health information management or informatics. In addition to learning in-depth health management and technology skills, students enrolled in such programs study advanced concepts of management and leadership.
During the course of a typical health information technician associate's degree program, students take several healthcare-related courses and are involved in internships or fieldwork. Upon graduation, some students may enter directly into the workforce, while others are prepared to pursue professional certifications or more advanced degrees.