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

Majors Overview March 1, 2014

Students will be prepared to work as professionals in physician’s offices, hospitals, and other medical facilities. With an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in health care information technology program, students can continue to a four-year programs to continue their education, or find entry-level jobs in the field.

A.S. Programs in Health Care Information Technology

Community colleges and technical schools commonly offer these two-year programs. Students can expect to become adept at computer programming and keyboarding, in addition to gaining expertise in analyzing data. They are also taught about assembling and categorizing medical data for legal or administrative purposes, in addition to assignation of numeric codes related to diagnosis and treatment. These programs may also be offered in distance learning formats. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold GED certificates or high school diplomas.

Coursework

Coursework augments health care-related courses with supervised internships devised to impart hands-on training. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Medical terminology
•Alternative delivery systems
•Pathophysiology
•Classification of diseases
•Health information management
•Health care coding systems
•Pharmacology
•Health care law & ethics
•Health care reimbursement methodologies

Career Choices

Students enrolled in an associate degree program in health information technology are prepared to seek entry-level clerical work in the health care field in various work settings. They may choose from job titles such as:

•Medical records technician
•Coding specialist
•Health information technician
•Medical coder

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Graduates may seek entry-level jobs or choose to continue their education. Health information technicians can augment their experience with continued education thereby enhancing their job opportunities; they can also obtain professional certifications. Those seeking positions as health care managers should earn bachelor or master degrees in public health, health administration or health science, augmented with advanced specialty certifications.

Passage of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) written exam can qualify an individual who has completed training to obtain the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential. The Board of Medical Specialty Coding & Compliance (BMSC), the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) also offer various credentials to medical coders. Specialty coding certifications are offered by both the BMSC and the PAHCS.

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