In North Carolina, most programs in health information technology are offered at the associate degree level; undergraduate diploma programs are also available. Undergraduate and graduate certificates, which often require completion of 12-18 credit hours, are also common. Depending on the school, some health information technology courses may be completed online.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that health information technicians who are certified by a professional organization may have an increased chance of finding a job. Students who complete one of the following undergraduate programs may want consider earning the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) designation through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Below are profiles of 10 of the largest 2- and 4-year schools in the state that offer health information technology training.
Brunswick Community College
Bolivia-based Brunswick Community College offers a 47-credit-hour health information technology (HIT) diploma program and a 76-credit-hour HIT associate's degree program. The diploma program includes courses in anatomy and physiology, health law and ethics, disease principles, medical coding, reimbursement techniques and health data systems. Along with the courses from the diploma program, the associate's degree program also includes general education requirements and classes in electronic health record systems, quality management, health informatics and database concepts. Both programs include professional practice experience and are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Graduates of the associate's degree program may qualify to sit for the RHIT certification exam.
Catawba Valley Community College
Students who live near Hickory may be interested in the HIT programs offered at Catawba Valley Community College. The HIT certificate program requires 17-18 credits of coursework and can be completed in two semesters by part-time students. The HIT associate's program is approved by CAHIIM and consists of up to 71 credits of coursework. Topics covered include ICD coding, medical terminology, quality management and reimbursement methods. The associate's program can also help prepare students to pursue RHIT certification.
Central Piedmont Community College
Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte has a 2-year HIT associate's degree program that's accredited by CAHIIM and qualifies students to take the RHIT exam. Topics covered include health law and ethics, HIT management principles, coding systems, healthcare statistics, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and reimbursement methodologies. Prior to graduation, students earn hands-on experience through professional practice sessions.
Craven Community College
A CAHIIM-accredited HIT associate's degree program can be found at New Bern's Craven Community College. Students are prepared to pursue RHIT certification after completion of the program. Courses provide training in database concepts, quality management, health law and ethics, health informatics, coding systems, medical terminology and health data systems. Professional experience requirements help round out this 71-semester-hour program.
Davidson County Community College
Davidson County Community College in Thomasville houses an HIT associate's degree program. Required courses include quality management, HIT management principles, healthcare statistics, health data systems, medical coding, health law and healthcare computer systems. This CAHIIM-accredited program aims to help students pass the RHIT certification exam. Students can earn the degree in two years, which includes one summer session between the first and second years of the program.
Durham Technical Community College
Durham Technical Community College is located in Durham and offers a CAHIIM-accredited HIT associate's degree program. Coursework covers medical terminology, health data systems, anatomy and physiology, HIT management principles, medical coding, reimbursement methodology and healthcare statistics. Some courses must be completed online. Professional experience is required in the last semester of this 72-credit-hour program, and students can also take the RHIT exam after completing the program.
Edgecombe Community College
Edgecombe Community College in Tarboro has four HIT certificate programs, an HIT diploma program and an HIT associate's degree program. Depending on the certificate program, students may encounter topics in HIT coding, ambulatory billing, protected health information and ambulatory coding.
The CAHIIM-accredited associate's degree program covers database concepts, anatomy and physiology, medical coding systems, HIT management principles, health law and ethics, health data systems and disease principles. Students in the associate's program also need to complete a professional practice experience. After graduating from the associate's degree program, students should be eligible to take the RHIT certification exam.
Pitt Community College
The HIT training and associate's degree programs at Winterville's Pitt Community College are offered mostly online, but students have to go to the campus for the required science courses. The HIT training program can be completed in six months and covers electronic health record systems, system workflow redesign and healthcare information exchange.
The associate's degree program is approved by CAHIIM and helps students prepare for RHIT certification. Prior to starting the HIT associate's degree program, students must pass courses in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, computer basics, expository writing, database concepts, professional research techniques and mathematics. HIT courses cover disease principles, health data systems, health law and ethics, health information management fundamentals, medical coding and healthcare statistics. Before graduation, students are expected to participate in professional practice experiences (which do not take place online).
Southwestern Community College
Students can take the RHIT certification exam after finishing the HIT associate's degree program at Southwestern Community College in Sylva. In addition to professional practice experience sessions, students encounter courses in reimbursement methodology, medical coding systems, health law and ethics, medical terminology, healthcare statistics, heath information management and health data systems. A total of 72 credit hours are needed to graduate from this CAHIIM-accredited program. The school features transfer agreements with three different schools. Students can thereby pursue a bachelor's degree in health information management, public health education or healthcare management after completion of the associate's program.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
A 15-credit-hour graduate certificate program is provided through the University of North Carolina's Charlotte campus. This program is intended for students who are already working in the field and need training in HIT. Prospective students need to have a bachelor's degree in a related field, submit a statement of purpose and understand information technology applications prior to enrollment.
This program requires courses in computer security and the U.S. healthcare system. Participants also complete informatics and health administration elective courses that can cover health law and ethics, data warehousing, human-computer interaction, health classification systems, information resource management, recommender systems and quality management. An internship project is also required for program completion. Credit hours can be transferred to this school's health informatics master's degree program.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||HIT Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)|
|Brunswick Community College||2-year; public; distant rural|| HIT Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in HIT
| $2,532 in-state;
|Catawba Valley Community College||2-year; public; small city|| Certificate in HIT,
Associate of Applied Science in HIT
| $2,347 in-state;
|Central Piedmont Community College||2-year; public; large city||Associate in Applied Science in HIT|| $2,792 in-district;
|Craven Community College||2-year; public; distant town||Associate in Applied Science in HIT|| $2,023 in-state;
|Davidson County Community College||2-year; public; fringe rural||Associate in Applied Science in HIT|| $2,588 in-state;
|Durham Technical Community College||2-year; public; midsize city||Associate in Applied Science in HIT|| $1,958 in-state;
|Edgecombe Community College||2-year; public; fringe rural|| Ambulatory Billing/Coding Certificate,
Hospital Ambulatory Coding Certificate,
HIT Coding Certificate,
Protected Health Information Certificate,
HIT Coding Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in HIT
| $2,640 in-state;
|Pitt Community College||2-year; public; midsize suburb||Associate in Applied Science in HIT|| $1,930 in-state;
|Southwestern Community College||2-year; public; distant town||Associate in Applied Science in HIT|| $2,213 in-state;
|University of North Carolina at Charlotte||4-year; public; large city||Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics|| $7,378 in-state;
$20,812 out-of-state (graduate figures)*
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics