Some health information technology programs include both classroom lecture sessions and hands-on training in health facilities or clinics. Those with a diploma may go on to pursue an associate's degrees in health information technology, which is the basic academic requirement for the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential. These programs may specialize in database management, introduction to healthcare or Electronic Health Records (EHR) software. Lengths vary, but they often take one to two years to complete. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED.
Diploma in Health Information Technology
Courses cover the basic concepts involved in managing and processing health information, focusing on medical terminology and medical transcription. Curricula may also offer more generalized courses in management, physiology, writing, mathematics and computer technology. Common courses include:
- Medical transcription
- Medical terminology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Healthcare statistics
- Introduction to computers
- Facilities management
Popular Career Options
Graduates can obtain entry-level positions within the field of health information technology, organizing and processing data that are related to healthcare. They may find work at hospitals, specialty clinics, outpatient centers, mental health facilities and insurance companies. Some career options are medical transcriptionist, medical biller, medical coder, and health information technician.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Medical records and health information technicians were projected to see a 15% increase in job opportunities between 2014 and 2024, stated the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median annual wage of medical records and health information technicians was $37,110 in 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Individuals may choose to augment their employment potential by earning an associate's degree in health information technology. Some institutions allow diploma program course credits to transfer toward associate's degree programs.
Employers may prefer to hire certified employees; students may wish to earn voluntary certification through a number of organizations that grant credentials to students who pass a qualifying examination. The most common type of certification is the Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT) credential, offered through The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Students who wish to earn this credential must already hold an associate's degree in health information technology from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) grants coding credentials to students who wish to validate their skills in specialty coding.
Through both in-class and hands-on instruction, a health information technology diploma program can teach students how to edit, transcribe and format various medical reports for billing and insurance purposes. Students looking to advance their career or earn certification may want to go on to an associate's degree program.