Health Information Specialist Career Plan

There are health information careers available for people with degrees at all levels. If you want a specialized position, and you’re just starting out, you’ll want to take your education to the bachelor’s or master’s level.

  1. Get a good overall foundation in high school. Take rigorous college prep classes in both English and math. Also consider computer applications, economics, and vocational office management classes.

  2. Do some health career exploration. Attend career fairs and shadow a professional.

  3. Research educational programs and certifications. Your school’s accreditation is very important as it determines what certifying exams you will be able to sit for. Accreditation by

  4. CAHIIM is an indicator of program quality in both health information management and health informatics.

    You will have a choice of levels. Health information management courses at the associate’s level are often called health information technology while those at the bachelor’s level may go by a variety of names. A combined health information/ health informatics program may qualify you for additional certifications.

  5. Excel inside and outside the classroom. As part of your studies, you will complete internships. The right attitude can mean a job after graduation. AHIMA recommends going a bit beyond your duties by developing a professional relationship with someone in a good position and asking if you can spend a day shadowing them. AHIMA also recommend volunteering in a hospital. (There may be regulations limiting what duties you can perform, but you’re still making contacts.)

  6. You may want to take your education to the master’s level. There are programs available in health informatics and health information management (If you already have a bachelor’s in a related health or information field, you can enter the HIM or HI field at the graduate level.)

  7. Find a job. AHIMA manages a site, Health Information Careers, where you can post a resume. The organization cautions new professionals, though, not to rely too heavily on internet postings as an estimated 70% to 80% of positions come through networking. You will likely want to maintain a web of contacts, relying on mentors and members of your professional organization.

Personality Traits: Health information professionals are savvy with both computers and people.