Tier 1 and Tier 2 - Frequently Asked Questions

Jump to:

  1. General
  2. Qualifications to Enter Temple Health Information Professions Career Pathways Initiative
  3. Training Program
  4. Student Financial Support
  5. Student Program Support
  6. Participation Expectations and Policies


1. What is Health Information Technology and who uses it?

Please refer to the Wikipedia information page posted on the Wall for your convenience. For information on career options in the Health Information field, please review this informative video on Medical Insurance Billing and Coding Professions, compliments of Education-Portal.com.

2. Is this just medical billing?

No, the program concentrates on: medical billing/accounts and electronic medical health records. In addition, you will receive instruction to develop and improve your academic skills in reading, writing, and math in the academic skills class. Instruction is also provided to support your road to success in the professional development class. Topics include: interview techniques, resume review, overview of how to navigate Microsoft Office suite, office etiquette, cover letter assistance, and job search techniques. The curriculum revolves around all of these topics.

3. What skills and qualities should I have to be successful in HIP?

Our ideal student is a mature, responsible, determined adult committed to professional success and personal development through lifelong learning and career exploration. Some of the skills and qualities we’ve found in our most successful students are:

  • Self-determination
  • Able to prioritize
  • Excellent time management skills
  • A proactive approach to life’s challenges
  • Team player
  • Seeks win-win situations
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Clear values and life goals
  • A desire for constant improvement
  • Good academic skills and study habits
  • A support network
  • Stable housing, transportation, and childcare
  • Working knowledge and familiarity with computers, Microsoft Office, and email basics

4. What kinds of jobs can a person get after completing training?

The great thing about medical billing and coding is that your knowledge and skills training can be used in many different areas within the health care industry. Your detailed use of codes and careful precision in handling medical records, are skills that can be transferred to other fields and areas of medicine. If you want to expand on your medical billing and coding career or advance to a higher, administrative position, you can do it with time, proper training and patience.

If you plan on taking the most common, direct route in medical billing and coding, then you will most likely be a health information coder, medical record coder, coder/abstractor, coding specialist, or any of the other common titles. According to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics, they use classification techniques and software programs that group patients into one of many diagnosis-related groups, or DRGs, that will be used to determine how much the hospital will be reimbursed after insurance or Medicare is applied. Coders may also use other coding systems for ambulatory settings, physician offices and home health care settings. Graduates of a medical billing and coding program may also be interested in a career in cancer registry. The BLS describes cancer registrars as technicians who maintain facility, regional and national computer databases of cancer patients and their records. They perform similar coding procedures, except cancer registrars code the diagnosis and treatment of different cancers and certain benign tumors. Registrars also perform annual follow-ups on cancer patients to keep record of treatment, survival and recovery rates for the use of physicians and public health organizations and officials.

Other medical billing and coding workers may find jobs as medical records technicians, who keep track of all patients’ records. From a patient’s symptoms, medical history, surgeries, X-rays to results of examinations, medical records technicians organize and evaluate this information to make sure everything is complete and correct. Medical records technicians also verify that patients’ medical charts are complete and all information is on the computer so that they can easily tabulate and observe data to improve patient care and keep track of all documentations. These medical billing and coding occupations and more can be found on various reliable job sites, such as USA Jobs, the official U.S. Federal Government employment site. Here, you can find numerous Federal medical jobs in all 50 states and in various health care settings.

Qualifications to Enter Temple Health Information Professions Career Pathways Initiative

5. How do I qualify to enter the Health Information Professions Career Pathways Initiative?

  • Interested parties are low-income or TANF (annual income 250% at or below federal poverty line)
  • Have a high school diploma or a GED preferred
  • Satisfactory criminal records (printout of docket sheet required, $3.00 fee, go to the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert Street, Philadelphia)
  • 9th Grade Reading and Math level on the TABE (conducted during orientation)
  • High motivation and interest

6. What happens if I don’t make it into the Career Pathways Initiative?

During the 2-week Health Information Professions Orientation, you will be evaluated in several key areas, including but not limited to your Math and Language skills, attitude, time and attendance, computer skills, and ability to be productive in a team-centered learning environment. If for some reason you are unable to move forward into the HIP Career Pathways Initiative after orientation, we will refer you to one of several services committed to helping you achieve success and develop your skills for future enrollment with HIP or a program of your choosing.

7. What if I have a felony?

At this time, the Health Information Professions Career Pathways Initiative is not able to offer training to anyone with a felony. For more information about what constitutes a felony, please review the following website: Felony Laws

8. Will I have to undergo drug screening?

You will not have to undergo a drug screening to enter the program. However, all employers in the healthcare industry require job candidates to undergo drug screenings. Therefore, you will undergo a drug screening at some point during the program to receive employment services. For example: when obtaining an internship and during the job search process, which will be conducted by the employer.

9. How can I learn more about the HIP Career Pathways Initiative? When and where are orientations being held?

You can email tuhip@temple.edu. Orientations are held three times a year (fall, spring, and summer) on Temple University’s main campus.

Training Program

10. What does the HIP training program include?

View question #2 and #13. Please refer to the HIP FACT SHEET posted for your convenience for more information regarding the various Tiers in the program.

11. Is HIP a self-paced, individualized program?

We realize that everyone works at a different pace and appreciate all of the diverse learning styles of our students. While instructors will always strive to respect and accommodate your particular pace of development, the HIP Career Pathways Initiative has several clearly defined benchmarks that must be achieved for you to progress through the training in the most efficient and rewarding way. These benchmarks will be discussed further during orientation.

12. Where is it located?

Training is conducted in two locations. The first is at:

Temple University
Center for Social Policy and Community Development
1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue
Ritter Hall Annex, 4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA. 19122

The second location is with our partners at:

1199C Training & Upgrading Fund
100 S Broad St # 1000
Philadelphia, PA 19110

13. Where and when does the training take place?

Tier 1 offers a total of four entry level certifications in 26 weeks.

For the first 6 weeks classes are held Monday through Friday from 9:00 am - 3:30 pm at District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund. This segment of the training covers the Electronic Health Records and International Computer Drivers License certifications.

For the next 20 weeks, students are enrolled in a hybrid learning model composed of classroom instruction at Temple’s main campus and online class work through the Temple university Blackboard system. During these consecutive 10-week blocks, students receive instruction for the Nationally Registered Certified Administrative Health Assistant (NR-CAHA) and the Nationally Registered Certified Coding Specialist (NR-CCS). Also, students take the academic skills and professional development classes at the Entertainment and Community Education Center (ECEC) located on Temple’s campus at 15th Street & Cecil B. Moore Avenue. Topics covered in these classes can be viewed in question #2.

Tier 2 is a 7-8 month program, now scheduled to begin in Fall 2011. Students can receive up to three certifications: AHIMA Certified Coding Associate (CCA), AHIMA Certified Coding Specialist (CCS), and the AHIMA Certified Coding Specialist-P (physician based). It is held on Temple’s main campus and is a full-time, day program. Temple is applying to be an accredited AHIMA training provider.

Tier 3 offers support to students in an Health Information Technology Associate’s Degree program. Temple University does not offer an Associate’s degree in this field at this time, therefore, students interested in this degree can research and apply to programs at the following area schools:

  • Bucks County Community College, Newtown, PA, (215) 968-8000
  • Camden County College, Camden, NJ, (856) 338-1817
  • Devry University, Ft Washington Campus, (215) 591-5700
  • Gwynedd Mercy College, Gwynedd Valley, PA (215) 646-7300

To search for more schools you can visit the following sites:

Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)

Apply for support from the Temple HIP program after you are accepted into an Associate’s Degree program and after you have received a financial award package. Your financial aid and admissions documents, as well as academic records, will be needed in order for the Temple HIP program to make a determination of the educational assistance it can provide to you.

Tiers 4 and 5 are held on Temple’s main campus. For information about these programs visit:

Temple University’s HIM Program

14. How is it possible to offer this program free of charge?

The Health Information Professions Career Pathways Initiative is funded by a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families.

Student Financial Support

15. What expenses will I have to cover?

Except during special occasions, you will be responsible for any and all food and beverage purchases during your enrollment. You should attend Orientation with a notebook and writing utensils.

16. What supplies will I be given as part of the program?

We will provide scrap paper, testing materials, textbooks, and additional supplies as needed by your class assignments and instructors.

17. Does this program pay for my education at Temple?

The Health Information Professions Career Pathways Initiative can, in very specific and approved circumstances, offer some financial aid to students that have demonstrated exemplary success and determination as they move through and become involved with the various training Tiers of the program. Funding is available but will be determined on a case-by-case level.

18. Are there incentives offered?

We are fully committed to encouraging our students to succeed in their professional and personal goals. To help facilitate this success, we provide various incentives and supports for ongoing development and education, both as needed and to address a limited number of emergency situations. These incentives include but are not limited to transportation vouchers for enrolled students not already receiving TANF benefits, career counseling from our trained staff, and use of approved Temple University facilities and equipment.

19. Will lunch or other refreshments be provided during orientation and class?

We do not provide lunch and refreshments during orientation. There are many vendors, restaurants, and cafes on and around campus and we encourage students to take advantage of these convenient locations.

Student Program Support

20. Are there tutoring services available?

In addition to the ongoing academic instruction and personal effectiveness workshops that are provided as part of the training curriculum, your career coaches and instructors are committed to providing you with any additional tutoring you may need to achieve success in the program. This tutoring takes many forms, including but not limited to online skill-builder programs and one-on-one sessions with instructors and career coaches.

21. What kind of coaching support will I get during and after the program?

During the training program you will be assigned a career coach that will work closely with you to improve your academic and life skills, address any challenges to your success, and connect you with valuable resources for learning and career development. Career Coaches will be available to students at each tier of training.

22. Am I guaranteed a job after completing training?

While no one can guarantee you a job, we assure you that, upon successful completion of the HIP Career Pathways Initiative program, you will have the specific skills and knowledge necessary to make you a competitive job seeker in the emerging Health Information Professions job market. Even before you graduate from the HIP program, our career coaches and career developer will be working to help you develop, refine, and focus your professional portfolio. You will have the opportunity to build relationships and networks with potential employers and industry experts, and you will have access to the information necessary to make informed decisions about when, where, and how to market yourself.

Participation Expectations and Policies

23. What if I can’t attend orientation and classes every day?

While we fully expect you to maintain exemplary time and attendance with our program, we also realize that sometimes life can complicate our best efforts. Our team of Career Coaches will work with you closely to ensure your success in the program and to help you overcome any barriers that may arise to endanger your completion of the training. Please be aware that, if you enroll with the HIP Career Pathways Initiative through an EARN Center, your time and attendance will be monitored and addressed by your case worker as required—communication with your EARN Center regarding your time and attendance can make the difference between success and failure in the HIP Career Pathways Initiative.

24. Is there a dress code?

Unless stated otherwise, business casual is the standard dress code for all HIP students and staff. Business casual is crisp, neat, and should look appropriate even for a chance meeting with an employer. It should not look like dance club or picnic attire. Avoid tight or baggy clothing; business casual is classic rather than trendy.