Minnesota offers students many choices in schools with health technology programs. They are offered through several community and technical colleges as well as one area university. Although the health technology programs outlined below are primarily diploma or associate degree programs, certificate programs also exist. Students can complete their studies in one to two years. Some programs are offered online.
Students obtain training through coursework, laboratory experiences and possible supervised internships. In addition to educational training, students may become prepared for certification from organizations such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC). The ten Minnesota schools below offer programs that are related to health technology, including:
- Medical Administrative Specialist
- Health Information Technology
- Medical Administrative Secretary
- Health Data Specialist
- Health Information Technician
Alexandria Technical and Community College
Alexandria Technical and Community College in Alexandria is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System and it offers a medical administrative specialist program. This two-year program requires that students complete at least 70 credits, some of which are general education courses. Students learn about medical document formatting, electronic health records, medical transcription, CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) coding, ICD-9-CM (International Classification of Disease) codes and health care systems and practices. Topping the program off is a summer internship where students can obtain real work experience.
Anoka Technical College
A medical administrative specialist program is offered at Anoka Technical College in Anoka. This 62-credit, two-year program results in students earning an associate degree upon completion. Because of the various career options available to a medical administrative specialist, the student will complete both administrative courses and medical office courses. Topics of study include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, integrated software applications, administrative office procedures, disease conditions and medical office procedures. Students also complete 15 credits of general education courses.
Lake Superior College
Located in Duluth, Lake Superior College has a medical administrative secretary associate degree program available. The 63-credit program offers a broader area of study and prepares students for administrative and medical office careers. In addition to courses in medical machine transcription, health insurance and billing, business vocabulary/proofreading, medical office procedures and records management, this program includes a medical secretary internship.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls has a health information technology/coding program that culminates in an Associate in Applied Science degree for students when all requirements are met. The 64-credit program provides students with the skills to work as health information technicians. The general education courses include anatomy and physiology I and II (lecture and lab), college writing and introduction to public speaking. Health information technology course topics are health care delivery, health record documentation, medical terminology, advanced and ICD coding, reimbursement systems and health information systems. This program provides students with a lot of practical experiences working with health information professionals. Students also become familiar with AHIMA code of ethics. Graduates are prepared to take the RHIT certification examination.
Minnesota West Community and Technical College
Granite Falls-based Minnesota West Community and Technical College offers a medical administrative secretary associate degree program. The 64-credit program prepares students to work in a medical office in an administrative position, completing tasks such as billing, bookkeeping, processing insurance claims, transcription and ordering lab supplies. Courses include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, medical insurance and coding, medical office procedures, medical machine transcription and supervisory management. This program is also offered at Canby, Jackson, Pipestone, Worthington and online.
Northland Community and Technical College
Located in Thief River Falls, Northland Community and Technical College offers various programs through distance learning, including health technology programs. The 42-credit medical office specialist diploma program prepares students to work as trained specialists running a medical office, with an emphasis on medical transcription and medical insurance/coding. The 60-credit medical administrative assistant program prepares students to work as medical secretaries, while also providing training in medical office management. Both programs have medical office courses, such as medical terminology, electronic health records, medical transcription, ICD-9-CM coding, medical billing/insurance and medical office procedures. The associate degree program has additional courses such as sociology, composition, psychology and pharmacology. Although these are online programs, students are not required to have laptops.
Willmar-based Ridgewater College offers a health information technician program that prepares students for the national registration exam to become a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). This program combines the study of science, computers and health information. Students also complete two internships to obtain hands-on training. Graduates of the two-year program, which is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education, find employment as medical coding specialists, data quality managers and health information manager.
Rochester Community and Technical College
The associate degree in health information technology program at Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester is a predominantly online program. The curriculum includes a variety of health technology, business and general education courses, as well as a coding internship and two health technology internships. Students learn about CPT coding, ICD-9-CM codes, advanced coding and reimbursement, pathophysiology and pathology, quality analysis and health statistics, computerized health information and legal aspects of health information. Upon completion of this training, students are prepared to take certification exams through the AHIMA and AAPC.
St. Catherine University
St. Catherine University in St. Paul offers a health information specialist associate degree program that can be completed in two-to-three years. Offering day or evening classes, this program teaches students about computerized systems and prepares them for the following career choices: quality assurance specialist, coding specialist, information manager, supervisory manager and registry specialist. Students must complete degree-related courses, supporting courses, and liberal arts and sciences courses to meet the requirements of the degree. Graduates can earn the RHIT credential by passing the AHIMA certification exam.
St. Cloud Technical and Community College
St. Cloud Technical and Community College, which is located in St. Cloud, offers a 65-credit health care specialist associate degree program. This four-semester program utilizes courses from health information technology and computer programming fields and integrates them into a curriculum to help students meet the needs of today's health care industry. Students learn about electronic health care records, administrative medical terminology, C# programming, cryptography, basic networking/security and computerized health information. The curriculum also includes general education courses and a practicum course that puts students in a work setting where they can become familiar with various areas of health care.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Health Technology Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*|
|Alexandria Technical and Community College||Two-year, public; remote town||Associate in Applied Science in Medical Administrative Specialist||$5,416|
|Anoka Technical College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Medical Administrative Specialist||$5,584|
|Lake Superior College||Two-year, public; small city||Associate in Applied Science in Medical Administrative Secretary||$5,166|
|Minnesota State Community and Technical College||Two-year, public; remote town||Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology/Coding||$5,335|
|Minnesota West Community and Technical College||Two-year, public; remote town||Associate in Applied Science in Medical Administrative Secretary|| $5,692 in-state
|Northland Community and Technical College||Two-year, public; remote town|| Medical Office Specialist Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in Medical Administrative Assistant
|Ridgewater College||Two-year, public; remote town|| Medical Coding Specialist Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technician
|Rochester Community and Technical College||Two-year, public; midsize city||Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology||$5,639|
|St. Catherine University||Four-year, private not-for-profit; large city||Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Specialist||$39,554|
|St. Cloud Technical and Community College||Two-year, public; small city||Associate in Applied Science in Health Data Specialist||$5,377|
Source: *NCES School Navigator