Best Online Associate in Health Information Technology Programs

Our higher education experts at BestColleges have analyzed and ranked the top online health information technology associates programs. Read on to check out our list of the best online programs and find out what you can do with the degree.

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by Bethanny Parker

Updated May 13, 2022

Reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

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An associate in health information technology is a two-year program that is sometimes offered at community colleges. Students who enroll in a health information technology program learn how to store and process data in an electronic database or other health IT program.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost of tuition and fees at a public two-year college was $3,800 for the 2019-2020 school year. The actual cost varies from one school to another. Some online schools offer very competitive rates to attract more students.

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Graduates with an associate in health information technology may qualify for positions as medical records and health information specialists. This position is growing about as fast as average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical records and health information specialists earned a median salary of $45,240 per year as of May 2020.

What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Health Information Technology Program?

Individuals who want to pursue a career in health information technology should be creative and work well as part of a team. They should find it easy to empathize with others and be able to go with the flow, accepting whatever comes their way. It also helps to have a knack for explaining things to other people.

An associate program in health information technology consists of around 60-70 credits and takes about two years to complete. In a typical program, students learn about health insurance and reimbursement, legal and regulatory issues, and health services information systems. Students also learn to document and record information in electronic format.

In addition to regular classes, students may have lab requirements, practicums, internships, or other requirements. For example, Baker College requires the students in its associate of applied science (AAS) program in health information technology to complete 120 hours of work experience as a capstone project.

Most associate degrees in health information technology are either AAS or associate of science (AS) degrees. The AAS degree generally prepares students to enter the workforce directly after graduation, while the AS degree is aimed more at preparing students to transfer to a four-year college to pursue a bachelor's degree.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Health Information Technology Program?

Basic Medical Terminology

In this course, students learn the basic vocabulary, symbols, and abbreviations used in medical practices. They learn to recognize common prefixes, suffixes, and root words used in medical terminology.

Health Services and Information Systems

Students taking this course will learn about the health information systems that health insurers, hospitals, and other healthcare businesses use to store and exchange information about their patients.

Health Information Processes with Lab

This course introduces students to the formatting of patient records, the creation of indexes and registries, and the storage requirements for patient records. Students learn how to design the forms that are used to input patient data.

Legal and Regulatory Issues in Health Information

In this course, students learn about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other legislation that affects health information. They learn about patients' right to privacy and other ethical issues in healthcare.

Health Insurance and Reimbursement

This course teaches students how patient care is financed through health insurance. Students study processes and practices, reimbursement, and payment methodologies.

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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Health Information Technology Program?

The admission requirements for community college are usually less stringent than those for a four-year college or university. Students still need to meet certain minimum requirements, however. Even community colleges may require a minimum high school GPA or a minimum score on a college entrance exam.

You'll need to start the admissions process by filling out an application form and submitting an application fee. This can usually be done online. You'll also need to submit your official high school transcripts or prove that you passed the GED test to earn your GED diploma.

Some schools require an application essay or letters of recommendation. If you've been working in the medical field, you may be able to take tests to prove your existing knowledge in order to gain college credit for life and work experience.

What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Health Information Technology Degree?

Career Outlook

The career outlook for medical records and health information specialists is about average. The BLS projects that jobs for these professionals will grow 9% between 2020 and 2030. In February 2022, there were over 21,000 jobs on Indeed for medical records specialists in the U.S. and over 188,000 jobs for health information specialists.

Payscale reports that the average base salary for someone with an associate in health information technology was $55,000 per year as of April 2021. This is close to the average base salary for graduates with any associate degree, which was $56,000 per year as of February 2022.

Medical records and health information specialists often work in general medical and surgical hospitals. They also work in physicians' offices, educational services, governmental agencies, and professional and scientific services.

See where an associate in health information technology can take you. Learn more about healthcare careers.

Career Paths

Medical Records and Health Information Specialists

Medical records and health information specialists manage, organize, and code health information. They use databases and registries to categorize patient data to maintain patients' health histories and treatment records and for insurance reimbursement purposes. Medical records and health information specialists electronically record health information, organize and update that information, and keep patients' records confidential.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $45,240

Medical Coder

Medical coders convert diagnostic and treatment terms from healthcare professionals into codes that are used for recordkeeping and billing. Insurance companies often require certain codes to be used for reimbursement, and medical coders make sure they use the right codes so that the medical office will get paid. Medical coders must possess a thorough understanding of medical terminology in order to ensure proper coding.

Median Annual Salary (February 2022): $44,690

Medical Billing Specialist

Medical billing specialists resolve issues related to billing within healthcare organizations. They help improve and facilitate processes by using standardized practices. They often help with customer service and accounting in addition to taking care of billing. In larger healthcare organizations, medical billing specialists work as part of a team. This is a fast-paced job that requires multitasking.

Median Annual Salary (February 2022): $40,190

Computer Support Specialist

Computer support specialists evaluate and troubleshoot problems that customers have with their company's products. This is often done over the phone on a tech support line. Computer support specialists listen to their customers describe their problems and ask questions to help diagnose the cause of the problem. Then they walk the customer through the necessary steps to resolve the problem.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $55,510

Data Analyst

Data analysts locate survey participants and ask them questions to gather data. Then, they analyze the data to gain useful insights from it. They interpret the data and put it into spreadsheets, charts, and reports so that other people can understand it. Data analysts need to be skilled in using Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, SharePoint, and SQL databases. They also need good communication skills.

Median Annual Salary (February 2022): $62,610

Health Information Technology Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Since many employers look for candidates with a bachelor's degree, some graduates with an associate in health information technology eventually go back to school. They may pursue a bachelor's in health information technology or health informatics.

A bachelor's degree program in health informatics can prepare students for higher-level careers in the field, such as medical records manager and medical office manager. Candidates are more likely to move up to management-level positions in health information technology if they possess a bachelor's degree.

Another degree path for those with an associate in health information technology is healthcare administration or healthcare management. Those with serious ambitions of moving up the healthcare ladder may even consider further education to earn a doctorate in healthcare administration or healthcare management.

How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Health Information Technology Program?

Cost

When considering a program's cost, be sure to consider the total cost, including tuition, room and board, and fees. Public in-state, two-year colleges are often more affordable than private schools. Online colleges often charge students in-state tuition. Costs vary from one school to another, so shop around.

Program Format

Online programs may be synchronous or asynchronous. Asynchronous programs allow you to log in and view the material whenever it is convenient to you, as long as you meet the required deadlines. Part-time programs may allow you to continue working, while full-time and accelerated programs allow you to finish school more quickly. Some accelerated programs can enable you to earn an associate degree in as little as 18 months.

Location

If you're attending college online, location may not matter. However, when evaluating an online associate in health information technology program, check with the school to make sure there are no in-person requirements. If you live in New York City and the program requires you to attend an orientation in California, that course of study may not be right for you.

Accreditation

If you take classes at a school that is not properly accredited, it may not be possible to transfer your credits if you need to switch schools. It is much easier to transfer credits from an accredited college or university. In addition to institutional accreditation, some schools gain programmatic accreditation for specific courses of study.

Student Support

Many schools offer a variety of student support services, including online support services for remote students who cannot access them in person. You should consider what services you need and check to see if the school offers them. Student services can include tutoring, internships, mentorships, and alumni connections.

Best Accredited Online Associate in Health Information Technology Programs

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Best Online Associate in Health Information Technology Programs

  1. Minnesota State Community and Technical College
    Location

    Fergus Falls, MN

    Tuition

    $10235

    M State's associate in health information technology prepares students for electronic medical records and coding careers. The online associate of applied science (AAS) in health information technology/coding has been accredited for more than 40 years by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

    The 64-credit AAS degree introduces students to healthcare information practices and policy, diagnostic and procedural coding, and patient confidentiality. The online program includes a hands-on professional practice component and preparation for the registered health information technician (RHIT) certification exam.

    Applicants must pass a criminal background check to qualify for admission. M State boasts a 100% placement rate for students within one year of graduation and an 82% RHIT exam pass rate, higher than the national rate. M State maintains articulation agreements with multiple bachelor's programs in health information management.

  2. Lakeshore Technical College
    Location

    Cleveland, WI

    Tuition

    $9337

    Graduates of LTC's associate in health information management can become medical and health services managers and health information technicians. The 61-credit program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

    The curriculum combines general and technical studies in subjects like basic anatomy, medical terminology, and diagnosis coding. Students must complete a two-part coding practicum during the third and fourth terms. LTC's dual delivery enables students to incorporate optional in-person courses into their online program.

    Learners may enroll in the spring or fall semester. While LTC charges variable tuition rates based on residency, the university waived its additional per-credit fee for online courses for the 2021-22 academic year. Additionally, health information management students may qualify for financial aid.

  3. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
    Location

    Shell Lake, WI

    Tuition

    $9968

    WITC offers an online associate in health information technology as part of a "career cluster" that also includes a medical coding specialist diploma. The program boasts a 100% graduate employment rate for 2019-2020. Additionally, between August 2019 and July 2020, 100% of graduates passed the registered health information technician exam on their first attempt.

    The associate degree requires 62 credits over two years. Online coursework emphasizes core health information management skills. Additional topics include coding and reimbursement and healthcare law and ethics. Students must complete a professional practice experience in person during their final semester.

    WITC charges a set tuition rate regardless of residency. The university maintains generous transfer and articulation agreements with many four-year universities in Wisconsin. The associate degree in health information management offers a choice between full-time and part-time enrollment.

  4. University of Alaska Southeast
    Location

    Juneau, AK

    Tuition

    $8927

    UAS offers an online associate degree in health information management through its Sitka campus. The program prepares students for careers as health information technicians, medical billing specialists, and medical records clerks. Graduates qualify to sit for the registered health information technician certification exam.

    Students must complete 62 credits over two years to earn the degree. Coursework combines general and program requirements, and learners develop skills like written and oral communication, financial management, and project management. The curriculum emphasizes health information management, coding, and healthcare information technology.

    The online program culminates in an internship in healthcare management. In addition to the associate in health information management, UAS offers multiple endorsements and certificates in fields like healthcare information technology, health information management coding, and medical assisting.

  5. Barton County Community College
    Location

    Great Bend, KS

    Tuition

    $8510

    BCC offers a medical administrative technologist program for students aspiring to medical office manager positions. The associate in applied science degree explores the nonclinical soft skills needed to become a medical administrative specialist, including interpersonal communication, word processing, and business ethics.

    BCC's learners can choose to take courses online, in person, or through hybrid study. The 64-credit curriculum includes general education, major requirements, and elective components. Students are not required to complete an internship.

    Though students can complete the degree entirely online, BCC also offers career-centered in-person programming such as simulated medical transcription and coding courses, guest speakers, and optional field trips. BCC offers a set, per-credit tuition rate for online learners no matter where they live.

  6. Clarkson College
    Location

    Omaha, NE

    Clarkson College offers an online associate of science in health information technology for aspiring health information and medical records managers. The curriculum focuses on information science, healthcare reimbursement, and health science for emerging professionals.

    Students can complete the online associate in health information technology in six semesters. The program includes optional tracks in revenue management (coding and reimbursement) and data management. Learners must complete a professional practice experience in person.

    Clarkson College offers both full-time and part-time enrollment options. The college charges the same per-credit tuition rate for online undergraduate study regardless of residency. The college's 2019-20 graduates enjoy a 100% job placement/employment rate.

  7. Columbus State Community College
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Tuition

    $5532

    CSCC's associate of applied science in health information management technology takes a multi-faceted approach to health information systems professions. The program incorporates coursework in administrative, medical, ethical, and regulatory healthcare management. Graduates are qualified to pursue registered health information technician certification.

    CSCC's associate in health information technology trains students to acquire, process, and manage medical records and healthcare information using the latest technology. The program holds special accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

    CSCC maintains an articulation agreement with several Ohio universities, enabling graduates to transfer into a bachelor's program in health information management. Some labs, proctored tests, and occasional meetings may require on-campus attendance. Students must complete a first-year seminar and a field experience in health information management.

  8. Central Arizona College
    Location

    Coolidge, AZ

    Tuition

    $5028

    CAC offers a health information management degree that features an emphasis in either data management or revenue management. Students must complete prerequisites in biology and computer information systems prior to enrollment.

    The full-time program requires 65 credits over six semesters in subjects like insurance coding, medical terminology, and legal aspects of health information. While students can complete the degree almost entirely online through asynchronous coursework, they must also complete an in-person practicum at an affiliated healthcare organization.

    CAC's program explores the hard and soft skills needed to become successful health information managers. Covered topics include essential mathematics, college composition, and communication. Graduates qualify to sit for the registered health information technician and certified coding associate exams.

  9. Davidson County Community College
    Location

    Thomasville, NC

    Tuition

    $6510

    Davidson-Davie offers an associate of applied science in health information technology for aspiring health information technicians and medical records managers. The program receives special accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

    The curriculum combines general education and major course requirements. Coursework includes health informatics, revenue cycle management, and procedure coding and classification systems. The program culminates in a two-part professional practice experience and a health information management capstone.

    Applicants must pass a criminal background check and drug screen and provide current immunization records to complete the required clinical coursework. Davidson-Davie may approve a maximum of 15 transfer credits in health information management prerequisites from a CAHIIM-accredited institution.

  10. Peirce College
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Peirce integrates business, IT, and healthcare skill development into its online associate in health information technology. The program emphasizes real-world experience through a professional practice workshop and practicum requirement. Students qualify for membership in the Health Programs Student Association.

    The 61-credit curriculum explores subjects like medical terminology, outpatient coding, and healthcare reimbursement. Students may also take courses in application software fundamentals, communication, and ethics. Peirce accepts up to 30 transfer credits applicable toward this degree.

    Peirce charges all students a set, per-credit tuition rate no matter where they live. Learners may qualify for an additional corporate tuition discount. Peirce accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the academic year. This program receives accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Health Information Technology Programs

Is an associate degree in health information technology worth it?

In order to determine whether an associate in health information technology is worth it, you need to consider the cost of the degree, the amount of income you will lose while earning your degree, and the amount you expect to earn after graduating.

For example, if your associate degree costs $22,000, and you stop working at a job that pays $15,000 annually for two years to earn your degree, the total cost of your degree is $52,000. If you get a job earning $45,000 per year after graduating, you will be earning $30,000 more per year than before you got your degree. In this case, it will take less than two years of working your new job to recoup your investment in the degree.

How fast can I get an associate in health information technology degree online?

Most online associate in health information technology degrees take two years to complete. However, an accelerated program may allow you to finish in 18 months. You can sometimes speed up a traditional program by taking extra courses each term or by taking classes during the spring and summer terms.

Online degree programs typically take about the same amount of time as in-person programs to complete. True self-paced degree programs are extremely rare. Usually, schools offer online classes on the same schedule as their on-campus courses.

Is an online associate degree in health information technology credible?

If you earn your online associate in health information technology from an accredited school, your degree will be widely accepted. The accreditation process ensures that the school meets certain minimum standards of credibility.

Make sure you check your school's accreditation status with the accrediting organization. Do not just take the school's word for it. Most accrediting organizations have lists of the schools they have accredited on their websites.

How much money can I make with an associate in health information technology?

According to Payscale, the average salary for someone with an associate in health information technology was $55,000 per year in April 2021. However, your actual salary will vary depending on your level of experience, location, and other factors.

Entry-level jobs usually pay less than more senior positions that require more experience. You may also make less if you live in a rural area. Salaries tend to be higher in large metropolitan areas.

Is an associate degree in health information technology in demand?

The demand for health information technology graduates is higher than some professions and lower than others. If you go to a job posting site and search for "medical records specialist" or "health information specialist," you will likely find thousands of results.

The demand for computer support specialists is about average, as well. The BLS projects 9% growth in jobs for computer support specialists between 2020 and 2030. That's an increase of about 72,200 jobs over 10 years.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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