Is a Health Information Technology Degree Right for You?
Health information technology is the management of health care data and information resources. A bachelor’s degree in health information technology teaches students how to plan, collect, analyze, and disseminate patient data. They may also gain skills in designing, implementing, and maintaining health information systems, hiring and supervising employees, and conducting research.
Thanks to increased demand for health services as well as the widespread use of electronic health records by medical providers, this is an in-demand profession. If you have an interest in working in the healthcare field and have an interest in information technology solutions, a degree in health information technology could be for you.
Advice for Earning Your Health Information Technology Degree Online
If you’re considering earning a health information technology bachelors degree online, make sure the program you choose is a good fit for your experience and goals. Some programs are geared towards current healthcare professionals looking to gain IT skills, information technology professionals looking to move into healthcare, or individuals with no experience who are just starting their degree or making a career change.
Also, consider programs offered by regionally- or nationally-accredited online institutions. It is recommend that you focus on programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education so that you are properly prepared to take any credentialing exams.
Online Health Information Technology degree will include a range of courses that cover healthcare and medical topics, processes that relate specifically to the health care industry, and technology skills and programming. Management, organization, and business classes may also be included in the curriculum. Required courses might include the following:
- Data Warehousing and Mining
- Programming and Software Development
- Data Communications and Networks
- Healthcare Terminology and Body Systems
- Healthcare Billing and Coding
Common Career Paths
Some potential careers for those with a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Technology include:
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
- Expected Growth: 21%
- Average Annual Salary: $37,335
Medical records and health information technicians oversee patient data. They ensure that it is accurate, up-to-date, accessible, and properly secured and protected for confidentiality. They aren’t involved directly in patient care, but would work directly with physicians and other healthcare professionals to clarify diagnoses and obtain information. Credentials aren’t required for the profession, though technicians may decide to obtain Registered Health Information Administrator certification to improve their chances of employment.
A bachelor’s degree exceeds the minimum qualifications for the position, but bachelor’s degree holders may have more advancement opportunities. The above salary and employment growth figures were gathered from the BLS, and represent average incomes.
- Expected Growth: 30%
- Average Annual Salary: $102,185
Software engineers in the healthcare industry design software applications that streamline the process of collecting, storing, and organizing patient data. In some cases, they may develop software systems for research and clinical trials. A degree in health information technology can give you the insight into the healthcare industry that you need to design relevant software tools for medical professionals. The above salary and employment growth figures were gathered from the BLS, and represent average incomes.
- Expected Growth: 28%
- Average Annual Salary: $75,245
Network administrators design and support networks for businesses and organizations. In a hospital or healthcare setting, network administrators test the reliability and security of the facility’s internal network, which is an important part of the hospitals daily functioning. To work as a network administrator, you need at least a bachelor’s degree, although some professionals in this field are self-taught through on-the-job training and experience. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
- Expected Growth: 22%
- Average Annual Salary: $91,345
Management analysts in the healthcare business evaluate healthcare facilities and hospitals and recommend ways to improve efficiency and profitability. Information technology is an important element of healthcare operations and some management analysts with specialized education can inform hospitals about how to improve their information technology infrastructure. A degree in health information technology, along with industry experience, is an ideal way to move into a management consulting role in this niche. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
Computer Systems Analysts
- Expected Growth: 22%
- Average Annual Salary: $83,715
Computer systems analysts are similar to management analysts because they also evaluate equipment, software, network systems, and more for areas of improvement. In the healthcare business, they work with hospital administrators and management to recommend software and hardware systems that can make the facility operate more efficiently. A bachelor’s degree in health information technology or a related technology field is often required for this position. Figures above were provided by the BLS.