Published August 2016
Welcome to our ranking of the top online health informatics associate’s degrees.
As a subject, Health Informatics, which sometimes goes by names like Health Information Technology or Health Information Systems, encompasses a wide berth and in-demand selection of topics for our current economy. The U.S. National Library of Medicine (quoting the Health Informatics Journal), describes the subject as “the interdisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption and application of IT-based innovations in healthcare services delivery, management and planning.” It’s hard to find a more valuable combination of skill sets in an economy that claims IT and healthcare as two of its biggest (and fastest growing) industries.
To design this ranking of the Top 10 Health Informatics Online Associate’s Degrees, we started our search at College Navigator, an online education database through which we acquired a list of all the public and private non-profit post-secondary institutions in the United States offering online degrees in Bioinformatics, Medical informatics, Health Information/Medical Records Technology/Technician, or another related field. With the exception of the North Dakota State College of Science (see below), we excluded community colleges from our search in order to focus on degree programs with the resources, facilities, and opportunities for advancement that one would expect from a four-year university. We further narrowed the list by focusing exclusively on health informatics programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Finally, we looked at College Navigator-provided undergraduate graduation rates and tuition rates for the 2015-2016 school year, ranking schools according to their combined performance in these categories. In this article, you can take a look at the final product: the top 10 online health informatics associate’s degrees that outperformed the rest.
10. Idaho State University
Online Health Information Technology AAS
Like most of the online health informatics associate’s degrees on this list, Idaho State University’s program is in Health Information Technology. The program takes 18 months to two years to complete – potentially more if you choose to attend part-time – and enables graduates to sit for the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) national certification exam. In preparation for this difficult test, associate’s degree students at Idaho State take courses in Medical Law and Ethics, Health Statistics, and Information Technology, plus a healthy dose of Anatomy and Physiology labs. The department also offers independent study, special topics, and experimental courses for students who want to explore nontraditional subjects.
9. Davenport University
Grand Rapids, MI
Online Health Information Technology Associate of Applied Science
At Davenport University, students interested in earning an associate’s in health informatics online can look to the Health Information Technology program to help them fulfill this goal. The program’s focus on the analysis, management, and utilization of data and other information resources makes it the perfect fit for budding professionals who aspire to a career in computer systems and informatics. Available both online and at Davenport’s campus in Grand Rapids, this affordable degree incorporates a number of special resources and opportunities – namely the Virtual Lab, an American Health Information Management Association-run learning tool that uses state-of-the-art software.
8. Peirce College
Online Health Information Technology Associate Degree
In healthcare – or any industry, for that matter – strong leaders require insight. That is to say, you can’t rise through the ranks of any organization unless you understand how that organization ticks. This insight is precisely what the online health informatics associate’s degree at Peirce College aims to provide. From workflow to physician practices, this program imparts the skills that healthcare professionals need to find, interpret, and apply organizational data. Topics of study include Statistical Applications in Healthcare, Pathophysiology, and Computer Information Systems for HIT, among others. Finally, a Professional Practice Experience and Workshop will help you get one foot in the door of the real world so you’re ready to jump in head first after graduation.
7. Washburn University
Online Associate of Science (AS) Degree in Health Information Technology
For an affordable associate’s in health informatics online that barely scrapes $10,000 a year, take a look at Washburn University. Housed within the Department of Allied Health, the AS in Health Information Technology provides versatile online instruction with applications in public health, hospital administration, finance, law, and statistics. It’s rare to find such a wide breadth of training in a two-year degree, but Washburn – like many of the other schools on this associate’s in information technology online ranking – is an exception. Although the curriculum includes a small number of purely health science courses (such as Human Disease), you’ll spend the majority of your time immersed in the details of healthcare policy, legal and regulatory issues, coding, and quality improvement.
6. Weber State University
Online AAS in Health Information Technology
Weber State University takes a slightly different approach to health technology education in the form of an AAS Health Information Management program. Although this accredited associate’s in health information technology online will still qualify you to take the national RHIT exam, it will also give you an edge in the job market by providing introductory exposure to administrative principles. Throughout the course sequence, you’ll touch on ideas related to database management and healthcare security and complete a five-credit sequence in Professional Practice Experiences (including a segment devoted entirely to coding).
5. St Petersburg College
St. Petersburg, FL
Online Health Information Technology AS Degree with Health Informatics Certificate
The appeal of earning your associate’s in healthcare technology and systems online from St. Petersburg College is clear. Above all, this degree “prepares you for quick entry or advancement in your career.” Available entirely through distance education (with the exception of a professional practice course, which students can complete at a local healthcare facility), St. Petersburg’s program combines vocational coursework, hands-on learning, and convenience to help you gain a competitive advantage for minimal investment. Indeed, this is the cheapest health information program on our list, and yet the payout is huge: in 2014, 100% of SPC students passed the national credentialing exam!
4. Dakota State University
Online Health Information Technology AS
In many ways, Dakota State University’s online health informatics associate’s degree isn’t that much different from the other top 10 programs. And yet, DSU easily differentiates itself by excelling in areas that other schools overlook. Take the faculty, for example. At Dakota State, the HIT program director is a fellow in the American Health Information Management Association, and the department maintains an advisory board to help keep the health informatics curriculum up-to-date. Another example? Tuition. While many schools work to keep costs down, DSU has developed a robust grant and scholarship program that includes financial discounts for academic high achievers, transfer students, in-state residents, and more.
3. State University of New York College of Technology-Alfred
Online Health Information Technology AAS
SUNY College of Technology at Alfred, or Alfred State, maintains a small group of HIT students that fluctuates between approximately 15 to 30 members each year. This intimate program is particularly appealing to those who wish to continue their education beyond an associate’s, as Alfred provides direct entry into its own baccalaureate program and can facilitate transfers to a number of other schools in the region. Nearly a quarter of graduates from the associate’s in health information technology online take this route, while many of the rest pursue careers. Given Alfred State’s rigorous Professional Practice Experience requirements (which include internet-based lab projects) and training for certified coding exams, you can be confident that you will succeed on either path.
2. North Dakota State College of Science
Online Health Information Technician AAS Degree
Although the North Dakota State College of Science is technically a community college, it almost certainly won’t feel like one when you step on campus (or sign up online). The college works hard to offer its students the “complete collegiate experience,” from top-notch academics to diverse extracurricular activities. This energy permeates every corner of campus, including the Department of Health Information, home to the AAS Health Information Technician program. For less than $8k a year (this is one of the most affordable associate’s in health informatics online degrees on this ranking, and certainly in the country) you can tap into a lively group of like-minded individuals studying everything from pathopharmacology to reimbursement methodologies.
1. University of Northwestern Ohio
Online Associate’s Degree in Health Information Technology
The University of Northwestern Ohio claims to provide an education that imparts a “versatile, yet focused, skill set” to associate’s in health information technology online students. And it’s not hard to believe that this school is telling the truth! The curriculum, which includes a three-course sequence in Health IT coding and a two-semester block of internships, invites students to dive head first into the study of health and information science. Ranked first on this list due to a combination of its affordable tuition and higher-than-average graduation rates, UNO is seriously dedicated to making sure you enjoy serious success in your chosen field.
You’ve reached the end of our associate’s in health informatics online ranking.