Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Find the heartbeat of an ailing job market with new healthcare degrees from Peirce

If you’re looking for a job, you know there’s no arguing that it’s tough out there. But there are still opportunities to be found. You just need to know where to look!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of the 20 fastest-growing occupations in the economy are related to healthcare, and not just the patient care side. Careers in health information management and healthcare administration are projected to grow much faster than the average. Good news! So how do you land those jobs? The majority of healthcare careers require an associate or bachelor’s degree, so now is the time to get the degrees you’ll need to be an eligible candidate for these in-demand fields.

To meet these workforce trends, Peirce College is extending our offering of career-related degrees for working adult students in the region with the addition of a bachelor's degree in Health Information Administration (HIA).

The need for sharing fast and accurate medical information has never been greater. And with healthcare management careers on the rise, Peirce’s Health Information Technology, Healthcare Administration, and now Health Information Administration programs give students the skills and credentials needed to get on the fast track to a career centered on supporting the delivery of healthcare and the management of patient health information.

The Health Information Administration degree is a natural extension of Peirce’s recently introduced Health Information Technology program, and will prepare students for management and leadership positions within the booming non-patient healthcare field.

Students can go straight for their bachelor’s, or follow what we call a 2+2 model. In this approach, students start with the two-year program to secure their Associate in HIT, gain real-world experience by working in the field, and then complete the bachelor’s component that will arm them with the credentials needed to land management jobs.

Students with professional experience who already have a Registered Health Information Technology (RHIT) credential have the opportunity to earn their bachelor's degree in two years. Taking the next step to earn that degree and secure a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credential opens doors to management positions.

Benefits of the program include:
  • Access to the AHIMA Virtual Lab, which provides a number of applications currently used in the healthcare industry. Hands-on access help ensure students are better prepared to enter healthcare information careers. 
  • Exposure to Health Information Management (HIM) principles from day one. Students take courses in this area every year, introducing them to important concepts that lay at the core of what health information professionals need to know.
  • Flexible course delivery (online and/or on-campus), accelerated seven-week courses.
  • Networking: engaged faculty members who are active professionals in the healthcare community along with a student association offering opportunities for networking, skill-building, and support.
  • Real-world experience: Internships are part of the program’s requirements, allowing students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom, establish new relationships with potential mentors, and explore future employment opportunities
    • HIT students are required to complete two professional practice experiences (PPEs) to expose them to the diverse employment opportunities that exist beyond the traditional hospital or physician office setting.
    • HIA students are required to complete a management PPE in order to demonstrate and apply their management skills and strengths in addition to their technical skills

Why HIA?

A Health Information Administration degree prepares students to advance in a career as a health information administrator in a number of professional settings. After completion of the RHIA exam, graduates can seek employment in hospitals, multispecialty clinics and physician practices, long-term care, mental health, and other ambulatory care settings. They can also seek employment in non-patient care settings; with careers in managed care and insurance companies; software services; consulting services; veterinary offices; law offices; and government agencies such as departments of health, education, and pharmaceutical companies, to name a few.

According to US News, “the need is huge for professionals who can help acquire, manage, and use information to improve health and manage payments.” Health information management is #4 on their list of 9 hot college majors being added in growth fields. We already did that. And we’re continuing to build on it to make sure our grads are prepared with the degrees and credentials that will help them excel in a fast growing career.