Health IT reigns as "hot" career choice, UCSD study finds

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A trend study carried out by the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Extension has determined that health IT is the top “hot” career choice for college graduates.

The study is based on enrollment figures, national employment statistics and interviews with San Diego business executives.

According to the study, the government initiatives encouraging the adoption of advanced IT systems for managing and utilizing health information is fueling the demand for health IT technicians who can support medical record reform.

“As technology increases, so does the need for health information technicians to use and maintain patient data that is vital for quality healthcare and to keep all medical records organized and confidential,” the report stated. “EHRs will continue to expand to include patient data from various sources.”

The study suggests that technicians will be needed for emerging jobs such as healthcare integration engineer, healthcare systems analyst, clinical IT consultant and technology support specialist. Course work in the field includes medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, health data requirements and standards, clinical classification and coding systems, data analysis, healthcare reimbursement methods, database security and management, and quality improvement methods.

“Jobs and needs in the healthcare IT field are a critical component of plans for positive change in the healthcare industry,” said Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor of public programs and dean, UCSD Extension.

According to the survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job prospects in the field should be a “very good” and that opportunities are expected to grow faster than average.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also said that medical records and health information technicians took up about 172,500 jobs in 2008 (about 39 percent of jobs were in hospitals). Jobs are expected to grow by 20 percent, or about 35,100 new jobs, for the decade 2008-2018.

Other healthcare related fields making the list of top career choices include:

  • Clinical trials design and management for oncology
  • Geriatric healthcare
  • Data mining; and
  • Health law