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Degree Overview: Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Health Information Technology

Majors Overview June 21, 2014

Those interested in health information management careers should look into Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs in Health Information Technology. These programs also open up many career opportunities.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree Programs in Health Information Technology

Students enrolled in these two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs in Health Information Technology are trained to seek entry-level jobs as registered health information technicians (RHITs) or health information technicians. Health information technicians need to have keyboarding and computer programming skills as well as the ability to compile and analyze data efficiently.

Students can also expect to gain skills related to medical insurance coding and medical records filing while also being imparted perception on basic pathology and medical terminology and basic knowledge of anatomy.

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.

Coursework

Coursework aside, internships are required to be completed by students, who can acquire practical, hands-on training in the process. Some coursework may be offered through online formats. Coursework may include various subject areas, such as:

•Electronic health records
•Pathology and disease
•CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) coding
•Healthcare quality improvement
•Insurance and reimbursement procedures
•Medical terminology

Career Choices

Good job prospects are expected for workers in this industry with high job growth rates of 20% predicted for medical records and health information technicians during the period of 2008 to 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). Graduates of the associate’s degree program can aspire for job titles such as the following:

•Medical coders
•Billing reimbursement specialists
•Health information technicians
•Medical records technicians
•Coding specialists

Continuing Education Choices

Although professional certification is not mandatory for medical record and health information technicians, most employers prefer certified graduates. Passage of a written exam through a certifying organization will help an interested candidate acquire the credential of Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification is also offered by the AHIMA.

The Board of Medical Specialty Coding & Compliance (BMSC), the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), and the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS) offer credentials for medical coders. Certifications in various specialties are also offered by the BMSC and PAHCS.

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