Many 2-year public colleges in Illinois offer degree programs in health information technology. Prospective students must sometimes pass background checks or have minimum typing speeds. Once enrolled, they could participate in clinical practicum experiences that provide hands-on expertise. After graduating from a program, usually at the associate's degree level, that is approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), individuals are eligible to take the voluntary Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification examination. This designation is not required to find work in the field but may offer a competitive edge in the job market. Below is an overview of the programs that are featured by ten of the largest schools, along with a table comparing the program offerings and tuition info.
College of DuPage
College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn offers a 2-year associate's degree program in health information technology. The program, which is accredited by CAHIIM, prepares students to work with healthcare databases, clinical information and healthcare privacy issues. Students can expect to take a combination of lecture-style and clinical courses that offer an opportunity to gain hands-on experience.
College of Lake County
The associate's degree program at Grayslake-based College of Lake County is designed to give students the skills needed for a career in collecting, analyzing, retrieving and managing health information. The 2-year program is accredited by CAHIIM and includes courses in anatomy and physiology, medical science, medical terminology, healthcare delivery, legal and ethical issues related to medical records, health information systems and advanced coding. To be eligible for entrance into the program, prospective students must take the National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Entrance Exam and meet minimum scores of 30 in the verbal and math categories.
Harper College in Palatine has an associate's degree and a certificate program in health information technology. The associate's program combines coursework in biological sciences and healthcare management with courses in medical record coding and computer technology. The curriculum is designed to teach students how to use electronic health record software systems and ensure that medical records are complete and accurate. The associate's program is pending accreditation by CAHIIM. Graduates will only be eligible to take the RHIT exam once the program becomes accredited.
John A. Logan College
Carterville-based John A. Logan College offers a health and information technology program through the Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market (SICCM). This partnership allows students from participating colleges to complete general education courses at their home campus and the health information technology courses at a central location in Herrin. The program is accredited by CAHIIM and includes courses in medical terminology, statistics, transcription, health records systems, medical legal issues and computer science.
Joliet Junior College
The health information management program at Joliet Junior College in Joliet offers an option to earn a certificate or an associate's degree. Although the name of this associate's program is slightly different, it prepares students for the same careers and includes almost identical coursework as standard health information technology programs. Students who finish the associate's program are also eligible to take the RHIT certification exam. Required courses may include medical terminology, health information management, CPT and ICD coding and health information management legal issues.
The health information technology program at Kaskaskia College in Centralia is also part of the SICCM. Students complete general education courses, such as English and statistics, at Kaskaskia's campus while taking core courses in health data, health records systems and healthcare management in Herrin. Incoming students must pass a typing test with a speed of 30 words per minute or better.
Moraine Valley Community College
Students enrolled in the health information technology program at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills can expect prerequisites for this 72-credit program to include medical terminology and an introductory computer course. In addition to required courses in insurance reimbursement, pathophysiology and medical coding systems, students are also required to complete multiple clinical practicum experiences during the latter part of the program. The program is approved by CAHIIM, and graduates are eligible to take the exam that leads to the RHIT credential.
The health information technology program at Oakton College is offered in full-time day or part-time evening formats at the college's Des Plaines campus. Students can pursue an associate's degree, which includes courses in medical transcription, medical terminology, medical coding, health information management and industry issues and trends. Students complete clinical experiences at area healthcare facilities, including hospitals, long-term care and ambulatory care facilities. In order to gain admission, students must complete an interview.
Southwestern Illinois College
Although students in Southwestern Illinois College's health information technology program can complete their general education courses at the college's Belleville, Granite City or Red Bud campuses, they must take the health information technology courses at the college's Belleville campus. This 69-credit associate's degree program includes clinical experiences that begin once students complete the first year of coursework. Students may be required to submit to a drug test or a criminal background check before beginning clinical work. Additionally, students must be CPR-certified and provide proof of health insurance, current immunizations and a physical. The program is approved by CAHIIM.
Waubonsee Community College
The health information technology program at Aurora-based Waubonsee Community College is pending accreditation with CAHIIM. The curriculum combines information technology with business administration and clinical healthcare to prepare students for entry-level employment in the field. Courses generally include pharmacology, data applications, health information, medical terminology and medical office procedures.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Health Information Technology Degree Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|College of DuPage||2-year; public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology|| $4,080 in-district;
|College of Lake County||2-year; public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology|| $3,948 in-district;
|Harper College||2-year; public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology|| $3,684 in-district;
|John A. Logan College||2-year; public; small suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology|| $3,766 in-district;
|Joliet Junior College||2-year; public; large suburb|| Certificate of Achievement in Health Information Management,
Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Management
| $4,380 in-district;
|Kaskaskia College||2-year; public; fringe rural||Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology|| $4,470 in-district;
|Moraine Valley Community College||2-year; public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology|| $4,356 in-district;
|Oakton Community College||2-year; public; small city||Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology|| $3,985 in-district;
|Southwestern Illinois College||2-year; public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology|| $3,660 in-district;
|Waubonsee Community College||2-year; public; fringe rural||Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology|| $3,264 in-district;
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.