Healthcare Technology Systems (HTS) is one of the fastest growing and in-demand career paths with continued growth expected in medical and health services management positions for years to come. Pairing healthcare and information technology has created a vast amount of jobs that rely on technology to support efficiency, financial stability, and patient satisfaction. This creates an enormous need for health IT experts, also referred to as HIT. Think hospitals, insurance companies, billing services, medical practices, and various public agencies; they all depend on HIT experts to get the job done.
Great news for students interested in this field. The race is on to improve healthcare through IT professionals who can effectively design and execute systems that promote quality patient care and safety. Paradise Valley Community College’s two-year Associate of Applied Science degree enables students to jump into this growing industry, starting at a good salary, even while they pursue their bachelor’s degree at one of our transfer universities. PVCC’s HTS degree gives students the option to apply credits towards a four-year degree at one of Arizona’s state schools - University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and Grand Canyon University. Students must earn a C grade or better in all program courses.
“A popular Bachelor's degree option for HTS students is NAU’s 90/30 BIS in Technology Management. This is an efficient and affordable option to obtain a Bachelor’s,” explained Professor Abigail Rusu, Residential Faculty and HTS Program Director.
One of the program's first graduates, Adrionna Hatfield, entered PVCC with goals of working in project management. “I was always good at project management, having run my own business for many years,” she explained. “I also had a passion for health care. Professor Rusu helped me determine that I could tie together the two skills to create a great career.”
As a single, working mom with two children, Hatfield juggled school with the demands of motherhood, completing her degree while also interning at Phoenix Children's Hospital. She graduated from PVCC in 2017 and calls the HTS program the “foundation of my career.” PVCC’s partnership with NAU enabled her to transfer the majority of her credits to complete her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Technology Management in 2018. Today, she manages joint teams, both internal and external stakeholders at CVS.
Jazzmyn Yehle had a similar experience as an HTS program student. Professor Rusu came into one of her computer classes to promote the HTS program, which immediately piqued Yehle’s interest. “I always knew I wanted to do something in technology,” she said. “Knowing that there would always be a need for health care, I decided to check it out.”
Yehle also received her bachelor’s by transferring to NAU’s Technology Management program and fulfilling the requirements virtually. She will begin her master’s program in Data Analytics this fall. Currently, Yehle oversees a team of 30-to-50 employees at one of Amazon’s large fulfillment centers in Las Vegas. “There are a lot of moving parts, but I am very much people oriented and enjoy taking care of others.”
She shared that it is her dream to shift into another area of Amazon - health sciences - and study big data analytics, which entails compiling and studying data that comes from a myriad sources such as smartphones, social media posts; sensors, such as traffic signals and utility meters; point-of-sale terminals; consumer wearables such as fit meters; and electronic health records.
“Now more than ever we are seeing a demand for skilled Healthcare IT professionals,” said Rusu. “The HTS program is an ideal starting point for students wanting to learn more about this rewarding field. The career options are endless.”
Theresa Smith is a current PVCC student and is on course to complete her HTS degree this year. As a 22-year teacher with a master’s in Education, Smith worked full time while attending school part time.
“I wanted to move into a career that presented new challenges, coupled with an increased earning potential,” Smith said. “While I enjoy working with technology, I was not entirely sure what area of IT I wanted to focus my studies on. Meeting Professor Rusu and learning more about the HTS program solidified my decision. Not only did the HTS professional opportunities described sound rewarding, it was also encouraging to learn that the HTS job market in the Metro Phoenix area is extremely robust.”
Students interested in pursuing an HTS degree would begin by taking HTM150 - Introduction to Healthcare IT Systems. The class familiarizes students with current and emerging healthcare IT systems, emphasizing healthcare information and data. Additionally, PVCC offers an HTS certificate program for students who already have healthcare/IT experience or a bachelor’s degree and are simply looking to retool or update their skill set.