Health technology, which combines healthcare with technology, is a field often chosen by students interested in working in settings but without patient contact. California offers students many choices in schools offering health technology degree programs. These programs are usually certificate, diploma or associate degree programs. Health technology programs offer students classroom instruction, lab studies and clinical internships. Many of these programs are available fully or partially online.
Located in Redwood City, Cañada College is a public school that offers a medical billing specialist associate degree program. To successfully complete the program, students must complete 24 units of medical billing courses, 24 units of elective courses and 18 units of general education courses. Students become familiar with and learn to use the ICD (International Classification of Diseases) -9-CM (Clinical Modification) and the CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) coding systems. Courses include basic, intermediate and advanced coding, medical terminology, medical office procedures, medical insurance procedures and introduction to medical assisting. Students learn to work with various insurance companies such as Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Medicare, Medi-Cal and Workman's Compensation. This training is also offered as a certificate program; general education courses are not required for the certificate program.
City College of San Francisco
The health information technology (HIT) program at City College of San Francisco prepares students to maintain and process healthcare information in hospitals, clinics or other medical facilities. This two-year, CAHIIM-accredited program prepares students to take the AHIMA certification exam to earn the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential. In addition to coursework, students complete two professional practice experiences working in clinical settings to obtain hands-on training. Students learn about information retention and retrieval, data entry and collection, coding, quality assessment, medical transcription and registries. Upon completion of this program, graduates may seek employment as ICD/CPT coders, health information analyst, medical coders and health information technicians.
Cosumnes River College
Sacramento-based Cosumnes River College offers an HIT associate degree program, as well as a health information coding specialist certificate program. Through a curriculum of lectures, lab studies and hands-on training, students learn to verify health information data for accuracy, use computers to integrate and enter patient and health information data for risk management, quality assessment and reimbursement. Additionally, the student will learn to assign codes to diagnosis and treatments using the ICD and CPT coding systems. Students take courses in health statistics, computerized health information systems, current procedural terminology coding and basic ICD-CM coding. Additionally, the student completes two practical work experiences and a complete a 300-hour internship in a clinical setting.
Cypress College in Cypress offers an HIT associate degree program that prepares students to work in hospitals, clinicals or other medical settings. To earn the degree, students must complete 73-76 credits, which include HIT required courses, general education courses and elective courses to meet the credit requirement. Course topics include beginning ICD-10 coding, health information management, anatomy and physiology, CPT/ambulatory care coding and legal aspects of health care. Students complete lecture-based courses, lab courses and two practical experiences to obtain training in a work setting. Clinical practical experiences take place in various medical facilities throughout the city.
Applicants to this program must provide proof of current immunizations, liability insurance and criminal background clearance. Prior to starting the practical experiences, students must have a physical examination and complete a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Privacy and Security Training Session. Graduates of this program may pursue the following certifications: RHIT, Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA), Certified Coding Associate (CCA), Certified Coding Specialist (CCS), Certified Coding Specialist - Physician Based (CCS-P)and Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA).
East Los Angeles College
Located in Monterey Park, East Los Angeles College is a public school that offers various healthcare programs, including a medical assisting associate degree program. The program offers a medical assistant, community health worker and medical secretary emphasis. Students in the medical secretary emphasis take courses in business computations, hospital ethics and law, medical terminology, health information technology and also complete general education courses and electives. Elective courses may include records management and filing, general microbiology and word processing. Students also participate in a cooperative education experience to obtain real experience.
Fresno City College
Students interested in HIT careers can earn an Associate in Science in Health Information Technology at Fresno City College in Fresno. Students complete HIT courses, general education courses and directed practice experiences at various healthcare facilities. Many of the courses in this program can be completed online. Course topics include coding and reimbursement, quality management, healthcare delivery systems, data collection and legal/regulatory issues. Upon completion of this program, graduates can obtain the RHIT certification and seek employment as records technician specialists, health data analysts, clinical coding specialists and insurance claims analysts. While the national mean pass rate for the AHIMA certification exam is 75%, graduates of this program had a pass rate of 100% for 2011-2012.
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda University, which is located in Loma Linda, is a four-year, private college that offers a student-faculty ration of 3:1. Loma Linda various healthcare programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration program. This program, which is offered online, is aimed at individuals interested in careers in healthcare administration. The program is offered through the college's School of Allied Health Professions. The registered health info administrator bachelor's degree program at Loma Linda University offers an option for students who already have a bachelor's degree and one for those without a previous degree.
San Diego Mesa College
San Diego Mesa College in San Diego offers a CAHIIM-accredited HIT associate degree program that prepares students to take the RHIT certification exam and work in medical settings. The curriculum includes courses in ICD-9-CM coding, health law, accreditation and licensing standards, medical terminology, hospital and health statistics, pharmacology and introduction to health information. Students in this program are required to complete directed clinical practical courses to obtain hands-on training working in healthcare facilities. Prior to starting the clinical portion, students may be required to submit to drug screenings, fingerprinting and criminal background checks
Santa Barbara City College
Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) in Santa Barbara offers an HIT associate degree program that prepares students to work in medical settings that utilize health information. Students are required to complete health information technology courses and general education courses. The HIT courses teach students to assess health data, assign numeric codes to each diagnosis using classification systems, perform clinical quality assessment, assemble health data and ensure patient privacy and security. This program offers the HIT courses and exams online so students must have an e-mail account and Internet access. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the RHIT certification exam. Graduates of SBCC's program have had pass rates of 90% for the past three years.
Located in Chula Vista, Southwestern College is a public college with a student population of more than 20,000 students. Among the college's various offerings is a medical assisting program with an administrative emphasis. This program is offered at the school's Higher Education Center in National Center. Students learn to complete administrative duties within a medical office, such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, billing and bookkeeping. This program is offered in a certificate and associate degree option.
Some health technology careers involve students obtaining certification. Some organizations that offer certification exams include the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Certifying agencies may require that students complete programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Outlined below are 10 California schools offering health technology programs.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Health Technology Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2019-2020)*|
|Cañada College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Science in Medical Assisting - Medical Billing Specialist|| $1,362 in-state
|City College of San Francisco||Two-year, public; large city||Associate in Science in Health Information Technology|| $1,144 in-state
|Cosumnes River College||Two-year, college; large city||Associate in Science in Health Information Technology|| $1,104 in-state
|Cypress College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Science in Health Information Technology|| $1,142 in-state
|East Los Angeles College||Two-year, public; small city||Associate in Science in Medical Assisting - Medical Secretary|| $1,220 in-state
|Fresno City College||Two-year, public; large city||Associate in Science in Health Information Technology|| $1,304 in-state
|Loma Linda University||Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb||Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration||$35,180|
|San Diego Mesa College||Two-year, public; large city||Associate in Science in Health Information Technology|| $1,144 in-state
|Santa Barbara City College||Two-year, public; small city||Associate in Science in Health Information Technology|| $1,374 in-state
|Southwestern College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Medical Assisting Program|| $1,340 in-state
Source: *NCES College Navigator