The type of health information technology degree or health information technology certification you pursue depends on your desired career path. For more information check out Health IT Degree’s VS Certificate’s .
These eight are the most popular health information technology degrees and certificates:
- Mastery Coding Credentials (CCS, CCS-P)
- 6 Month Certificate Programs
- Associate Degree in Health Information Technology (HIT)
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Information Administration (HIA)
- Advanced Credentials (CHDA/CHPS)
- Masters Degree in Health Information Management (HIM)
- Masters Degree in Health Informatics
Coding Certificate Program (CCA) (CPC)
Earning a Certified Coding Associate certificate can land you an entry level position as a medical coder in one year or less. This is a great way to get into the field without having any previous experience working in health information technology jobs.
A Medical Coder assigns numeric codes to patient records which allows insurance companies to process their claims. In addition, medical coders usually work in the finance department of hospitals or a physicians office entering patients information into a computer database.
The average salary for a medical coder is $36,850 and the job is in high demand. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a need for 50,000 more qualified medical coders by the year 2015.
The only education required to earn your medical coding certificate is a high school diploma. In addition, AHIMA recommends at least 6 months of experience in a healthcare organization applying ICD-9-CM and CPT coding conventions and guidelines before taking the exam.
For more information about coding certificates and requirements please visit:
Mastery Coding Credentials (CCS, CCS-P)
A Certified Coding Specialist is highly skilled in classifying patients medical records and health information. To become eligible for the CCS exam requires at least 2 years of on the job experience in medical coding. The average salary for a Certified Coding Specialist is $56,772
- Review patients medical records and assign numeric codes for every diagnosis and procedure
- Demonstrate an expertise in the ICD-9-CM and CPT coding systems
- Understand medical terminology, disease processes, and pharmacology
Health Information Technology Certification Programs
In 2009 the Obama administration enacted the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) which allocated more than $25 billion to help promote the adoption of health information technology by the US healthcare system. The money from the HITECH Act goes to funding health information technology programs at community colleges, grants, and health information technology training which can provide students with a 6 month certificate.
The programs provide job training for these six role based areas:
- Technical Software Support Staff
- Clinician Consultant
- Practice Workflow and Implementation redesign Specialist
- Implementation Manager
- Implementation Support Specialist
These health information technology certification programs are best suited for someone who is already working in healthcare and wants to learn additional job skills that relate to health information management and the implementation of electronic medical records in hospitals and doctors offices.
Associate’s Health Information Technology Degree (HIT)
This is two year degree which gives you basic health information technology training working with electronic medical records, health information data, and medical billing. You can also earn this health information technology online.
If you want to become a Registered Health information Technician (RHIT) then make sure the health information technology program you choose is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM) because those are the regulations given by AHIMA.
There is a great job outlook for a trained health information technician with a predicted increase in demand of 21 percent by 2020. According to Payscale.com the average health information salary for a trained technician is $32,220.
Healthcare Information Administration Bachelor’s Degree
You can earn a four year B.S. Healthcare Administration Degree to begin your career in healthcare information management. Alternatively, you can pursue two year post bachelors healthcare administration certificate that will help advance your career if you’re already working in healthcare IT or want to transition into the field.
One of the most in demand health information technology jobs available with this degree is a health information administrator. This a versatile profession with high demand in hospitals, doctors offices, software development, government agencies, consulting services, education, and pharmaceutical companies.
People working in the profession report to having a high job satisfaction. The health information management salary varies significantly depending on your location, work environment, and experience with a range between $50,000 – $75,000.
Working as an intermediary between health care providers, insurances companies, and patients the HIA:
- Collects, analyses, and manages patients medical records and health information data
- Administers computer information systems, including accuracy of medical records and coding
- Demonstrates expertise in using classification systems and medical terminology
- Knowledgable of legal requirements and security standards relating to the release of patients information to persons and agencies
- Performs administrative tasks such as preparing budgets, managing people and operational units, and recruiting and training staff
- Communicates with all levels of the organization including financial, administrative, clinical, and information systems that use patient data in everyday operations.
Advanced Credentials ( CHDA/CHPS )
A Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA) credential is for individuals who want to receive recognition of their expertise in health information data analysis. It validates commitment to the health information field and mastery of the domain.To attain the credential typically requires 4-5 years of work experience in health information technology jobs and a bachelor’s degree, or a RHIA credential and 1 year of work experience. Once you meet these educational requirements you have to take a national exam.
A Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security (CHPS) credential signifies:
- Expertise in planning, executing, and administering privacy and security protection programs in healthcare organizations.
- Specialized skill set in the privacy and security aspects of health information management
- Demonstrates commitment to the privacy and security field and professional development
To receive the CHPS credential, candidates must have at least 4-5 years of work experience in healthcare privacy and security management and pass a national exam.
Masters in Health Information Management
Health information management is a challenging and rewarding career for people interested in technology, medicine, and management. It usually takes 2 years to earn your Masters degree in Health Information Management (HIM) which can lead to more opportunities for career advancement and a higher salary. You can become a director of Health Information Management and earn an average salary of $80,000. Health information Directors manage a large team of people responsible for on-site client HIM and coding operations.
In addition, the job responsibilities of an HIM director include:
- Review coding performance, implements policies to support revenue cycle, and accomplishes business objectives
- Establish and maintain professional relationships with state and national organizations to understand future health information technology trends
- Demonstrate leadership skills and take initiative to solve problems
- Monitor the accuracy of coding inpatient and outpatient records according to regulations
- Accountable for the performance and improvement of coding department services
Masters in Health Informatics
If you want to advance your career in health information technology and become a Director of Clinical Informatics, Chief Clinical Informatics Officer, or any other health informatics executive position, then you must first earn your Master’s Degree in Health Informatics.
Most master’s degree programs take 2 years to complete with the academic side focusing on a combination of information systems, informatics, and information technology. Individuals who earn a master’s degree in health informatics are in high demand, and will have more opportunities for career advancement available to them.
By earning your masters degree in health informatics and having 4-5 years of work experience in health information, its possible to earn a six figure salary in states such as California, Georgia, and Texas.