According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health information technician jobs are expected to grow by at least 15 percent by 2024. As US News points out, hands-on experience is a key part of the curriculum. To get a head start while studying, consider one of these jobs.
1. LPN or RN
There is a growing market for nurse informaticists. Since the health informaton field blends medical knowledge with IT and record-keeping skills, nurses who have the capability to develop these skills and obtain a health informatics degree on top of a nursing degree are a powerful asset to a medical facility. Nurses learn how to analyze patients, collect data, chart data, sort data, spot errors and put data into reports. These are all essential skills for nursing informaticists after they earn a health informatics degree.
2. Nurse Assistant
For those who are not already on their way to becoming a health care professional, a nursing assistant job is a good start. In addition to paying better than most jobs that do not require a degree, this job gives health informatics majors the opportunity to learn how to observe, collect data, analyze data and organize data. It is also a good job for developing strong attention to detail and accuracy. Most nursing assistant courses last a week to several weeks depending on state education requirements, and most major health care employers provide paid training.
3. Medical Records Assistant
In some facilities, there are secretarial or clerk positions available for people who have some experience in managing paperwork or files. If the job includes electronic management of data, this is a plus. Learning how to look up patient files, keep information confidential, read medical terminology and relay information to superiors will be useful for becoming a health information professional. Students also learn how to stay organized in a fast-paced environment where accuracy is paramount.
4. Assistant Administrator
This job may require a degree in a related field. For those who have an existing four-year degree, this is a good job to seek. Some smaller facilities may hire people without degrees to be assistants. Assisting a health care administrator gives a health informatics student the opportunity to see how a health information system is set up, maintained, accessed, modified and used in the delivery of health care. Assistant administrators also have some authority, which is a useful benefit for learning how to use authority responsibly.
5. Database or Help Desk Internship
Many health care facilities offer help desk internships for students in computer-related programs. Data entry jobs may also be available in some areas. Both jobs give students access to electronic health information systems. Students can learn and practice using medical terminology and see how the systems work. They learn the value of attention to detail and how to avoid making mistakes. This is good practice for developing stronger IT skills and health information management skills. Both are crucial to have when working as a health informatics professional in the future.
Since the health informatics profession is in high demand, many health care facilities give hiring preference to people who are enrolled in a health informatics program or have a four-year degree. Students who want to get a head start in the career world by sharpening and practicing skills as they learn them have the potential to be very successful. Enrolling in a degree program and learning the material is important. However, simultaneously putting it to use in the real world will maximize the learning experience.