Online Health Information Management Degree Programs
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The field of health information technology and management is witnessing rapid growth, and it’s only expected to increase over the coming years. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS Dec. 2015) reported that positions for health information technicians were expected to grow 15 percent between 2014 and 2024, and those for medical and health services managers were expected to grow 17 percent in that timeframe (BLS). Notably, these projected growth percentages were more than double the average anticipated growth among all U.S. occupations in that same decade (6.5 percent).
While some aspiring health information management (HIM) professionals pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree on campus, others are turning to distance-based programs. Online health information management degrees can be convenient for working professionals; military personnel, who cannot break free from their rigorous schedule; and those in more remote locations, who cannot commute to a campus that offers this type of education. Online programs generally combine web-based coursework with in-person intensives completed either through limited campus visitation or training facilities close to a student’s home.
This comprehensive guide covers online health information management programs at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels, including the expected coursework and tuition costs.
Admissions Requirements for Online Health Information Management Degree Programs
While admissions requirements differ by program, there are some commonalities. Online HIM programs typically require candidates to submit:
- Completed application and fee
- Proof of a high school diploma (or a bachelor’s degree for master’s level candidates)
- Personal statement or essay
- Proof of health insurance or immunizations
- Test scores (e.g., SAT, TOEFL for non-native speakers of English)
Although the curriculum for an online health information management degree varies, a majority of HIM programs cover the following topics at length:
- Medical terminology
- Healthcare delivery systems
- Healthcare data management
- Healthcare quality management
- Coding and classification systems
- Compliance and risk management
- Communication and healthcare technology
- Pathophysiology and pharmacology
- Anatomy and physiology
Accredited Online HIM Associate Degrees
The following programs are all CAHIIM-accredited. Reference the last section of this guide for information about accreditation. Please note that at the associate degree level, many programs are in “health information technology.”
University of Cincinnati Online
Rasmussen College - Online
Southern New Hampshire University
Penn Foster Career School
Sullivan University of Louisville, KY offers a 103-credit-hour online associate program in health information management, which takes approximately 18 months to complete. Courses include anatomy and physiology; computer applications; information literacy; medical terminology; pathophysiology and pharmacology; ICD-10-CM coding; healthcare statistics; and more. It costs $395 per credit.
The CHCP has several locations across TX and provides an online associate of applied science (A.A.S.) in health information management, which takes approximately 96 weeks to complete. Courses include coding; healthcare statistics; quality assessment and performance improvement; electronic health record management; pathophysiology; and healthcare law and ethics, among others. This program costs approximately $31,350 total.
The PCC of Portland, OR provides an online A.A.S. in HIM. Courses include healthcare delivery systems; health information systems; and data management and analysis, among others. This program costs $104 per credit for residents of OR, CA, WA, ID, and NV, and $236 for non-residents. Please note that while all courses are available online, it requires a 40-hour in-person practicum.
Hutchinson Community College of Hutchinson, KS provides an online A.A.S. in health information management. It includes coursework in medical terminology; legal and ethical issues in healthcare; quality improvement in healthcare; CPT coding; health statistics; pathophysiology; and reimbursement methodologies, among others. This program costs $106 per credit-hour for in-state residents and $137 for non-residents.
Other CAHIIM-accredited online associate degrees in health information management and technology are available from:
Accredited Online HIM Bachelor’s Degrees
The following programs are all CAHIIM-accredited.
The UW provides a 61-credit, online bachelor’s of science (B.S.) degree in health information management and technology with instruction in human resource management; financial and organizational leadership; and strategic planning, among other subjects. The school also offers a health information track focusing on data analysis; programming and data structures; data security; and information and communication technologies. This program costs $390 per credit.
Students at Southern New Hampshire University based in Manchester, NH can pursue an online bachelor of science (B.S.) degree in health information management. Students in this program study medical terminology; the management of health information service; healthcare quality management; healthcare data management; coding and classification systems; and a HIM capstone course, among other topics. This 120-credit-hour program costs $960 per course or $320 per credit-hour, although discounts are available for active-duty military members and their spouses.
The University of Cincinnati offers a 100 percent online degree in health information management. Aspiring students may submit applications three times throughout the year and the program comprises six semesters of full-time study. Courses include health data management; health information systems; issues in legal aspects and healthcare delivery; reimbursement systems; and healthcare statistics and research methods. Notably, students are required to participate in a health information technology practicum, as well. This program costs $466 per credit hour for Ohio residents and $481 for non-residents.
Franklin University of Columbus, OH offers an online bachelor’s degree in health information management. The curriculum covers health data management and healthcare management; health informatics and information systems; compliance and risk management; and culture and performance enhancement. Tuition costs between $494 and $511 per credit-hour, although this is reduced to $250 per credit-hour for active-duty servicemembers.
Through the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, students can pursue an online B.S. degree in health information management. Courses include medical sciences and pathophysiology; management and business practices; alternative health records; health data structures and management; financial management; and coding and reimbursement systems, among many others. All students are required to participate in a clinical practicum in their final year. The length of the program is two years for full-time students (or three years for those studying part-time), and requires 63 credit hours. For a tuition estimate, check out UIC’s calculator.
St. Joseph’s College of Standish, ME offers an online B.S. in health information management. It includes instruction in how to administer computer information systems; analyze patient data; and maintain compliance with administrative, legal, and ethical standards. The program costs approximately $381 per credit or $1,143 per three- to four-credit course.
Other CAHIIM-accredited online bachelor’s degrees in health information management are available from:
- Augusta University (health information administration or HIA)
- Charter Oak State College
- Clarkson College (HIA)
- College of St. Scholastica
- CUNY School of Professional Studies
- Davenport University
- Fisher College
- Herzing University (associate and bachelor’s HIM degrees)
- Parker University
- Pennsylvania College of Technology
- Rasmussen College (associate HIT and bachelor’s HIM degrees)
- Stephens College (HIA)
- University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (associate HIT and bachelor’s HIA degrees)
- Weber State University (associate and bachelor’s HIM degrees)
- Western Kentucky University (hybrid associate HIT and online bachelor’s HIM degrees)
Accredited Online HIM Master’s Degrees
The following programs are all CAHIIM-accredited. Please note that at the master’s degree level, some programs are in “health informatics.”
The UMUC of Largo, MD provides an online master’s degree in health informatics administration. This 36-credit program features instruction in health data management; the foundations of information security and assurance; research methods for healthcare managers; financial management for healthcare organizations; the legal aspects of healthcare administration; and relational database systems, among others. This program costs $458 per credit for in-state students; $659 for those living out-of-state; and $458 for those in the military.
The UTHSC of Memphis offers a 61-credit, online master’s degree in health informatics and information management. Classes include organization and administration; management affiliation; clinical foundations of health information management; reimbursement methodologies in healthcare; information technologies and systems; and quality management in healthcare services, among other subjects. Please reach out to the UTHSC Bursar’s Office for a customized tuition estimate.
East Carolina University of Greenville, SC offers an online master of science (M.S.) degree in health informatics and information management. Classes include training in electronic health records; database systems in healthcare; health information privacy and security; health data structures; evaluation methods in health informatics; and eHealthcare information systems, among other topics. This program costs $232.79 per credit for residents and $877.35 for non-residents.
Boston University has an online M.S. in computer information systems with a concentration in health informatics. This program features 40 credits of classes such as business data communication and networks; database design and implementation for business; information systems analysis and design; IT strategy and management; and training in programming languages such as Java and Python. It takes between 18 and 24 months to complete and costs $860 per credit-hour. Additional fees may apply.
The College of St. Scholastica of Duluth, MN offers an online M.S. in health information management. It features coursework in IT management ethics; IT project management; database methods; medical vocabulary and classification systems; healthcare data analytics; assessing healthcare quality; and strategic management in health, among other topics. It costs $638 per credit-hour.
Other CAHIIM-accredited online master’s degrees in health information management or informatics are available from:
As a final note, aspiring health information management professionals are strongly encouraged to seek out accredited educational programs. Accreditation is a quality assurance process where an established, independent body evaluates programs and institutions. The predominant accreditation organization for HIM programs is the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), which is nationally recognized. As of August 2017, there were 155 accredited online health information programs at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels.
Enrolling in an accredited program can impact a student’s ability to receive financial aid; transfer credits; enroll in graduate school; or achieve credentialing in one’s field. In fact, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) requires that candidates for its certifications (e.g., Registered Health Information Technician or RHIT) have graduated from a CAHIIM-accredited program or the equivalent.