West Virginia Health Informatics
Across the state of West Virginia, students of all ages are flocking to a new profession, poised at the crossroads of Information Technology and Medicine. Known as Health Informatics, this exciting occupation allows graduates to work in all forms of environments, from hospitals and clinics to correctional institutions and major corporations. Mainly, Health Informatics professionals are tasked with the collection, cataloging, and proper communication of vital health care data. Because of the highly confidential nature of these records, strong attention is required regarding the proper ethical and legal aspects of such a responsibility. This makes for a challenging and stimulating work experience, which has attracted numerous students with its rigors.
West Virginia (WV) Health Informatics Links
Health Informatics Degree Options – WV
There are currently three basic degrees offer in the field of Health Informatics. The first is a two year Associate’s level certification, which grants finishers the title of Registered Health Information Technician, or RHIT. The second is a standard four-year Bachelor’s degree, which garners the moniker of Registered Health Information Administrator, or RHIA, for its graduates. The third is a Master’s degree for those that are striving to take their informatics career to the next level. Both of these degrees earn their certification from the same source – the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management. More commonly referred to as CAHIIM , this group of industry officials maintains a rigorous method of evaluation regarding their college choices. Only those institutions who meet their strict standards are allowed to bestow the titles of RHIT and RHIA on their graduates. For students considering a venture into this new territory, there is no more vital aspect of college selection. Choosing a CAHIIM-approved college is the best way to get a leg up on the competition in today’s tough job market.
Students in West Virginia, however, should have a relatively easy time of things. There are currently three CAHIIM-qualified programs operating within their borders, all offering certification at the RHIT level. In Huntington, there is the Marshall Community and Technical College. Those closer to the Fairmont area will be able to complete their Associate’s degree at Pierpont Community and Technical College. The state’s remaining entry hails from the city of Wheeling, where the West Virginia Northern Community College has their campus.
One of the most unique aspects of the Health Informatics courses offered across the nation is the acceptance of online educational tools. Many colleges have posted a great deal of their curriculum online, allowing those who are already employed to fit college into their everyday schedule. Students with families and jobs would do well to inquire as to the online status of each prospective school.
Health Informatics Salary – West Virginia
Health Informatics graduates can look forward to some of the higher starting wages enjoyed by new entries into the labor force. Among the estimated 1,280 RHIT’s and RHIA’s employed in West Virginia as of May 2009 , the average yearly take home pay was reported at $27,330, or just around $13.14 per hour. Those just getting their feet wet will likely earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $9.15 per hour, or close to $19,000 annually. Experience Health Informatics professionals can expect to see much higher compensation, with rates climbing above $21 per hour, bringing their yearly gross to a respectable $45,000.
*Salary Data: Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Earnings Statistics
All members of the Health Informatics field should consider joining the American Health Informatics Management Association . Usually shortened to AHIMA, this exclusive group offers several benefits to its members, including access to news bulletins outlining the latest advances in the industry. But perhaps most valuable are their regularly updated job boards, which will help even their newest members land a position in the field. Check out their website, www.ahima.org, for more information.