Health Information Systems



Those interested in HIS will need a minimum of an associate's (two year) degree, preferably in computer sciences and/or information technology. It is optimal, however, to have a bachelor's or master's degree, and some schools offer such degrees specifically in health informatics. The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) accredits these programs. Those attending schools without this specific major or focus are urged to study computer science, math (including calculus and statistics) and biology. Knowledge of data base construction and management is expected. A potential competitive advantage can be in having specialized knowledge, such as in bioinformatics, the application of IT to the mountains of genetic data being generated by researchers on a weekly basis.


A college degree as described above is the optimal training for health information technology careers. However, it is conceivable that someone with an appropriate bachelorís degree, such as in math or biology, could follow that up with extensive training in computers from a top level vocational school as well as gaining certification (below) to become a viable HIT candidate.

Licensing and/or Certification

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers certification of two types: Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA). This certification is gained by passing the corresponding test administered by AHIMA. An associateís degree is a prerequisite for RHIT certification, while a bachelorís degree is needed to sit for the RHIA exam. Members of AHIMA pay $229 for this exam while non-members pay $299. AHIMA membership itself costs between $175 and $235, depending on the level, but student and new graduate rates are also available. For those taking the RHIT or RHIA for the first time, a little over 70% will pass. AHIMA provides full information on the nature of the tests as well as recommended preparation and resources.

HIS Degree Requirements

General Education Credits: 18
HL Credits: 22
CS Credits: 18
BU/AC Credits: 6

Total AAS Degree Credits: 64*

*Credit totals do not include Developmental Courses. Students must either demonstrate mastery of the subject matter based upon ACT/SAT scores, placement exam or by successful completion of Developmental Courses.

AAS (Associate of Applied Science) in Healthcare Information Systems Degree:

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
EN130 Rhetoric and Composition 3
EN160 Literature and Composition 3
SP100 Public Speaking 3
MA165 College Algebra 3
MA200 Statistics 3
HS104 or HS105 or PS100
HL100 Introduction to Health Information Management 3
HL105 US Healthcare Systems 3
HL110 Foundations of Medical Science I 3
HL120 Foundations of Medical Science II 3
HL135 Health Information and the Law 2
HL200 Medical Insurance and Billing 2
HL250 Medical Coding 3
HL270 Management of Health Information Services 3
CS110 Introduction to CIS 3
CS115 Healthcare Information Technologies 3
CS120 Introduction to Programming 3
CS240 Database Management for Health Information Systems 3
CS280 Advanced Database Concepts for Health Information Systems 3
CS299 Health Information Internship 3
BA212 Principles of Management 3
AC100 Introduction to Accounting 3