6 Education Options to Help You Break Into the Field of Medical Information Technology

Degrees to Help Break Into the Medical Information Technology Field

  • Coding Certificate
  • Associate’s Degree in Health Information Management
  • Baccalaureate Degree in Health Information Management
  • Master’s Degree in Health Information Management or Health Informatics
  • Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics, Public Health Informatics or a Related Subject
  • Certificate of Degree in Health Information Management

There’s no one right educational path into a career in the field of medical information technology. Some candidates enter the career field with a simple certificate that takes one year to earn. Others spend years earning advanced degrees up to the Ph.D. level. What option is right for you depends on your career goals and what your current level of education. Here are six options to consider when training for a medical information technology career. 

1. Coding Certificate 

If you’re looking to quickly build up your skills and résumé, a certificate program in coding could be your best bet. Many employers today include certification as a preference, if not an absolute requirement, in job listings for medical coders.

You can complete the training and education necessary to earn your coding certificate in six months to one year, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) reported. The AHIMA approves coding certificate programs in traditional, online and hybrid formats and recognizes programs offered by public and private schools as well as organizations.

2. Associate’s Degree in Health Information Management 

An associate’s degree is the minimum education requirement necessary for attaining the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification. This credential can give you the power to advance your career to mid-level roles in health information management.

The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) accredits more than 260 associate’s programs in Health Information Management.

3. Baccalaureate Degree in Health Information Management  

If an associate’s degree can open some doors, a bachelor’s can open even more. It can help you reach mid-level supervisory roles, possibly preparing you for more profitable and prestigious management positions. The CAHIIM accredits more than 50 health information management programs at the baccalaureate level. 

4. Master’s Degree in Health Information Management or Health Informatics  

You don’t have to stop your education at the undergraduate level. The CAHIIM accredits master’s programs in both health information management and health informatics.

5. Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics, Public Health Informatics or a Related Subject

There are no accredited professional doctoral programs in health information technology, according to the AHIMA. However, there are career opportunities for candidates with advanced degrees in similar fields. If you want to pursue a terminal degree and find work in the growing field of health informatics, the AHIMA recommends pursuing a Ph.D. in a program such as public health informatics, biomedical informatics, business administration, project management or political science. 

6. Certificate of Degree in Health Information Management

If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in another academic subject, you don’t have to start your health information technology education from square one. Certificate of degree baccalaureate programs allow you to build on the college coursework you have already taken and complete courses in health information management so you meet the competencies necessary to break into Health Information Technology, the AHIMA reported.

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