Health Information Technology Associate Degree
A health information associate's degree program can give you the skills you need to start your career in the healthcare industry. Learn what to expect from an associate's degree program, what classes you may take, how online programs work and what jobs you can get after graduation. Schools offering Health Information Systems degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Is a Health Information Technology Associate's Degree Program?
A 2-year program in health information technology educates you in the technology that plays a role in the modern healthcare industry. You explore the software and computer applications that manage healthcare information, such as medical records. The program examines how technology helps with medical coding for insurance and billing purposes. Completing the program qualifies you to work in a variety of medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, labs and other facilities.
You usually need about two years of full-time study to earn your associate's degree in health information technology. Community colleges and technical schools often offer these programs, and some are designed to allow flexible scheduling for working students. You can find online learning opportunities through both for-profit and non-profit schools.
What Classes Will I Take?
Coursework includes medical coding, software applications, anatomy, physiology and medical terminology. The program trains you in healthcare computer applications, as well as how to process medical documents. Health information laws are also discussed, which give you a direct understanding of how to handle confidential documents and information. Medical coding gives you an understanding of insurance reimbursement methods and the technology associated with that process.
Many of your classes focus on data management, organization and retrieval of medical information. Statistical analysis and presentation is also discussed. Some programs require you to intern in a hospital or other facility, allowing you to apply your knowledge in a clinical setting.
How Can I Learn Online?
If you choose to earn your health information technology associate's degree online, you access your course materials and communicate with instructors via the Internet. Viewing and reading lecture notes, videos, readings and message boards is typically required. While you can study when it's convenient for you, assignment due dates and academic calendars typically apply. In most cases, you still have to complete an in-person internship or externship, which can usually be arranged near your home.
What Are My Career Options?
Associate's-holders are qualified for careers as a medical records assistant or health information technicians at physician's offices, nursing homes and home health services. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health information technicians are expected to be very good at 20% from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). Health information technicians earned $35,010 as of May 2010, stated the BLS.
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