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South Carolina Health Informatics

Across the state of South Carolina, the call has gone out for medical students with an interest in computing and communication. Once assembled, these highly prized individuals will form the base of an entirely new field – Health Informatics. Poised at the intersection of medicine and computing, Health Informatics involves the recording, storing, and distribution of vital health care data. From hospitals to correctional institutions to large corporations, the need for navigators on this sea of information has never been greater. The medical industry is marching forward at a steady pace, guided by the legal, ethical, and academic expertise provided by South Carolina's Health Informatics technicians.

South Carolina Health Informatics Job Outlook

The men and women of this labor force are divided primarily into two classes, as dictated by their level of education. First is the Registered Health Information Technician, or RHIT, which requires a two-year commitment to securing an Associate's degree. The upper crust of the field requires an additional two years of study, earning graduates a Bachelor's degree and the title of Registered Health Information Administrator, or RHIA. While there are definite incentives to staying in school for a full four years, the demand for both positions remains high. Employment in Health Informatics, in fact, is projected to grow by 20-percent over the decade following 2008.

Health Care Informatics Certification - SC

At both levels, certification in the field is governed by one source – the Commission on the Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management. Referred to more colloquially as CAHIIM, this organization monitors the academic programs throughout South Carolina, ensuring that only the best are eligible to produce graduates in the RHIT/RHIA field. Not all schools offering Health Informatics courses, however, are CAHIIM certified. Students looking into potential programs would do well to visit www.cahiim.org, in order to ensure their post-graduation appeal to potential employers.

Currently, there are four authorized Health Informatics programs running in South Carolina. At the RHIT level, students can choose from the Florence-Darlington Technical College, the Greenville Technical College, or the Midlands Technical College. Those with a taste for further schooling will find what they need in the University of South Carolina Upstate, which offers Bachelor's degrees and RHIA certification. Additionally, there are a number of other health informatics programs offered at highly reputable schools in South Carolina as well as online. Because of the mostly nontraditional status of the students in each program, many colleges have found it convenient to introduce online courses into the educational equation. This allows those with busy schedules to work their study time around their jobs, families, and other time commitments.

Health Informatics Salary - South Carolina

South Carolina's Health Informatics professionals make fairly good coin, as well. Among the states estimated 2,270 workers as of May 2009 , the average hourly wage registered at $15.27, with annual earnings approaching $31,800. Those just entering the field can expect to earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $11.06 per hour, or around $23,000 per year. Experience Health Informatics professionals can clear $50,000 annually, at about $24.58 for each hour of their time.

*Salary Data: Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Earnings Statistics

Regardless of pay grade, all Health Informatics professionals are encouraged to join the American Health Information Management Association , more commonly referred to as AHIMA. Membership is open to all CAHIIM certified graduates, and features several enticing benefits. Among these are their regularly updated job boards and insider access to the latest advances in the Health Informatics field. Check out their website, www.ahima.org, for further information.

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