After initially wanting a career in nursing, Marissa Ryle found her fit in health information technologies.
Ryle, 27, said she once pursued nursing school, but had a change of heart in February 2015.
She spent an evening with her mom, a former Durham Tech student, researching healthcare programs in the Triangle.
Once they came across the Health Information Technology program at Durham Tech, it was an easy decision.
“My mom always wanted me to go to Durham Tech,” she said. “I enrolled that same year.”
The Health Information Technology program – or HIT – prepares students for careers in health information management, which largely includes medical coding.
Before enrolling, Ryle came across a career map on the American Health Information Management Association website.
“You can look at all the possible careers – entry, mid, advanced. Seeing all of the options was one of the things that got me most interested in this field,” she said. “You don’t have to be a medical coder, you could also be a billing manager, revenue cycle manager, or credentialing specialist.”
A unique facet of the program at Durham Tech is that it is almost entirely online – a big draw for working students.
“I had a mortgage to pay and was working full-time while I was in the program, so I loved that it was online,” Ryle said.
The program also includes two internship opportunities for students to gain firsthand experience.
Ryle interned at a dental office in Cary, then at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill. “It was amazing. I learned so much,” she said. “I went all around the hospital, met with different people, and made so many connections. A lot of what I learned helps me in my job today.”
Shortly after graduating from the program in May 2017, Ryle got a job at Regional Anesthesia, PLLC as a Registered Health Information Technician and does surgical medical coding for Duke Raleigh Hospital.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, doing anything else. I think this is what I was meant to do,” Ryle said. “I love that this job involves a lot of critical thinking and problem solving. I enjoy really digging for answers.”
According to the College Foundation of North Carolina, the Triangle has a projected growth rate of 23% for Health Information Technicians.
“This field has grown so much in the last 20 years because of the transition from paper to electronic medical records,” Ryle said. “So there’s a lot of room for advancement.”
Jessica Vaughan, Director of the Health Information Technology program at Durham Tech, remembers Ryle fondly.
“It’s heartwarming to know that a student who successfully completed the program is now doing something that she is so passionate about,” Vaughan said. “Marissa was an excellent student and I had no doubt that she was would make a great employee in the world of HIT.”
Vaughan said changes are coming soon to the HIT curriculum.
“Students will have the opportunity to focus on specialty tracks such as informatics and data management or medical coding and revenue cycle,” Vaughan said. “This will allow students to gain more knowledge in specific areas and make them more marketable.” In addition to working full-time at Regional Anesthesia,
Ryle is currently earning her bachelors in Health Information Management from East Carolina University, which is also offered online. Upon graduation, Ryle will be eligible to apply for positions as a Registered Health Information Administrator.
“I’m so glad I went to Durham Tech for my degree,” Ryle said. “I learned so much from the program and it gave me the confidence to continue my education and really know that this is what I want to do with my life.”
If you have additional questions, contact Jessica Vaughan at 919-536-7200 ext. 8193 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Marcy W. Gardner, Coordinator for Content and Social Media, at email@example.com
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