Are you interested in the jobs available in health informatics with an associate's degree? You are not alone. Many have taken note of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' prediction that opportunities for health information technicians will grow by more than 20 percent over the next decade. As the medical establishment becomes increasingly reliant on computers and the United States' aging population demands more and more healthcare, the need for qualified health informatics professionals capable of processing the influx of health information effectively and securely is rising rapidly.

What is Health Informatics?

As the American Health Information Management Association explains, health informatics is the science of capturing, using and transmitting health information. Health informatics professionals must understand health information and how it is used by the medical establishment, be proficient with computers, information technology and traditional office programs, and know how to apply basic information management procedures. They must also understand the legal and ethical issues involved in handling health records and be mindful of privacy and security concerns.

What Does a Health Information Technician Do?

Health information technicians do not typically connect with patients; instead, they work behind the scenes. Their job is to collect, organize and manage health information and see that it is stored accurately and securely in electronic health records. They must be capable of communicating easily with doctors and nurses about the health records they handle. They should also be confident in their computer skills. Health information technicians work in hospitals, doctors' offices, clinics, and other healthcare establishments. Training to become a health information technician includes coursework in medical topics, office management and computer science. Most entry-level positions require an associate's degree and certification as a Registered Health Information Technician.

What Does a Medical Biller and Coder Do?

Medical billers and coders create an important bridge between health care providers and health insurance companies. They translate every treatment performed into a code recognized by insurance companies so that medical providers in doctors' offices, clinics, hospitals and other healthcare organizations receive proper reimbursement for their services. Because this coding can be quite complex, medical billers and coders must earn an associate's degree in health informatics and be certified as a Registered Health Information Technician.

What Does a Cancer Registrar Do?

Cancer registrars help gather the pieces that may someday solve the puzzle of cancer. They sort through the medical records and pathology reports of any patient admitted with cancer, and then they write abstracts summarizing each case with standard medical code. They also follow up with the doctor or patient to discover the patient's condition. The information gathered by cancer registrars helps identify cancer clusters, calculate survival rates, monitor clinical trials and assist in cancer research. Cancer registrars may work at hospitals, cancer treatment centers, pharmaceutical companies, government cancer registries or software companies that serve the medical industry. Cancer registrars need an associate's degree in health informatics and a few additional training courses.

Related Resource: Health Education Specialist

The surge in demand for healthcare is drawing attention from job seekers. Careers that require an associate's degree can be excellent for people embarking on their first professional journey and for those who wish to transition to a new career. While an associate's degree typically leads to an entry-level position, advancement in this hot field is a real possibility with experience and additional training. The positions available in health informatics with an associate's degree offer real potential for people interested in careers in healthcare.