According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), medical records and health information technicians occupations are growing much faster than the average of all occupations at 15% job growth from 2014-24.This is largely due to transition to electronic health records and the increased demand in health services because of an aging population.
To answer this demand and provide a career opportunity, Craven Community College (Craven CC) offers a certificate and two-year associate’s degree in health information technology (HIT). Craven CC’s HIT program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
According to HIT instructor Crystal Smith, a career in HIT is a good choice for independent workers who are very organized. Smith said HIT offers the best of health care, IT and business fields. The national mean annual wage is $41,460 according to BLS.gov. Salaries can vary by market and credentials.
“Professionals who work in HIT are focused on the technical side of managing health information, working with software and hardware used to manage and store patient data. HIT professionals are responsible for data organization, accuracy, security and confidentiality.
Smith said that students will gain an understanding of the theory and practice of HIT and will receive hands-on education including a clinical experience. The exposure to different job types and locations allows students to explore the very wide range of jobs in the HIT profession.
Smith said there are 150 different job titles and a wide variety of industries graduates can work in including hospital, medical offices, long-term care facilities, insurance companies, and software companies. Graduates can also work from home with flexible hours. Smith said that there are opportunities to advance in the HIT field with experience and additional education.
HIT student Sonia Mizelle said she started at Craven CC in the medical office administration program in August 2015. It was a job exploration assignment in the ACA college success class where she discovered the HIT field is growing and a good fit for her. She said she would like to work at an outpatient surgery center.
“Our program is unique in that it is hybrid combining seated and online classes. This gives students access to hands-on instruction by faculty,” said Smith. She said that the program requires students to take the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) exam. “The RHIT credential is nationally recognized so students can work in any state,” said Smith.
Craven CC is accepting applications until Monday, July 31, for the program’s start in the fall semester which begins August 18. Prospective students will first apply to the college and then the HIT program. The application is free.
For more information or to apply to the HIT program, visit the college’s website at www.cravencc.edu/alliedhealth, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Jolie Huffman, health admissions specialist, at 252-639-2025
Deborah Kania is the director of communications at Craven Community College.
Article originally appeared in the New Bern Sun Journal.