FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. I want a job in coding - what is the difference in this program and medical office and medical coding programs?
For students who want jobs as professional coders, Health Information Technology programs are your best choice. These programs are accredited and prepare the student to take the national exam for the RHIT (Registered Health Information Technician) credential. In order to be qualified to take the RHIT exam, a student must have graduated from an accredited HIT program. There are only three such programs in the state of Mississippi, the other two being at Hinds Community College in Jackson and at Itawamba Community College in Tupelo. You can be assured that when you enroll in an HIT program, the instructors are credentialed (RHIA or RHIT) and have several years hands-on coding experience. Hospitals in our area hire only credentialed coders or they hire program students in part-time coding positions and offer them full-time employment upon graduation with the expectation that they will take their national exam as soon as possible after graduation.
2. I'm not sure I want to code, what other career choices would I have with this degree.
The possibilities are endless! MCC graduates have chosen careers such as Medical Staff Credentialing, Performance (Quality) Improvement, Cancer Registry, Utilization Management, and HIPAA Privacy Officer, just to name a few. Many serve as supervisors and health information management department directors. In addition to working in hospitals, some work in physicians' offices, long term acute care, mental health facilities, outpatient clinics, and insurance companies.
3. What are the "perks" in this profession?
No week-ends, no holidays! Most jobs involve day time hours - 8:00 - 4:30. For those who like to travel, they might choose to work for companies who provide interim H.I.M. employment at facilities all over the country . . and for those who want to stay close to home the opportunities for working from home are growing every day. These types of positions would require that a person be credentialed and have three to five years' experience.
4. How long does the program last?
Health Information Technology is a two-year program consisting of four semesters. A class is admitted each August and graduates two years later in May. HIT courses are not offered in the summer to allow time for you to take academic courses. We also offer a one year Coding Certificate program which is only available online.
5. What if I have taken all of my academic courses, do I have to be a full-time student?
Yes, you have to be a full-time student; i.e., you must have a minimum of 12 semester hours each semester. There are several courses to choose from that you can take to meet the minimum full-time requirement that will not interfere with your HIT studies.
6. Do I have to take the HIT courses in the order they are shown on the schedule?
Yes, you must take HIT courses in the sequence you see on the website and in the college catalog. Each course has pre-requisites and you must have passed all the courses in one semester to continue into the next semester.
7. Do I have to take any pre-requisite courses to get into the program?
Yes. Anatomy and Physiology I is a pre-requisite for admission to the HIT program. However, most applicants who are admitted into the program already have many academic courses out of the way. We also recommend taking Medical Vocabulary before you apply for the program.
8. How can I be sure this program is accredited?
MCC's HIT program has been accredited since 1979. The American Health Information Management Association was the accrediting agency until 2005, when it established a separate accrediting agency, the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education. To view CAHIIM's listing of accredited programs, click here.
9. What do I need to do to become credentialed?
After graduation, you must fill out an application and mail it to AHIMA, along with a college transcript indicating that you have graduated from an accredited HIT program. After your application and other information is processed, AHIMA will contact you to let you know that you are eligible to take the national exam. You will then schedule an appointment at a testing site selected by AHIMA. The only testing site in Mississippi is in Jackson. When you have passed the national, you can use the RHIT (Registered Health Information Technician) credential.
10. I think this is what I want, but what kind of information can I expect to be covered in my HIT courses.
If you want to work in a hospital or other health care setting, but without direct patient contact, health information would be a great choice for you. Upon completion you will have an in-depth clinical background consisting of medical terminology, pharmacology, and two semesters of pathophysiology. These classes will give you the clinical knowledge needed to correctly master coding, performance improvement, utilization review, and cancer registry to name a few. You will also learn about technology regarding health informatics, information systems, and electronic health records. You can view the latest curriculum content on AHIMA's web site.
11. What is the starting pay after graduation?
When you graduate, you can expect to earn an average of $31,200 per year with an increase upon obtaining the RHIT credential. High-end salaries, after several years' experience range from $40,000-55,000.
12. What is the difference between an RHIT and and RHIA?
There are two professional levels in the Health Information Management field. The RHIT level is the two-year program level which prepares one for positions in coding, reimbursement, HIPAA privacy, utilization management, risk management, performance improvement, etc. The RHIA level is the four-year level with concentration on computer systems, medical informatics, and higher level management. Some universities are now offering courses that lead to a Masters Degree in Health Information Management.
13. Is this program offered online?
Yes, this program is offered online. The on-line option is designed for disciplined students who have time to study, work on projects, and submit assignments in a timely manner. We offer the two year HIT program and a one year Health Information Medical Coding program on-line. The admission requirements are the same as for traditional students.