The community college program includes 82 community colleges across the country that have received grants to develop or improve non-degree health IT training programs that students can complete in six months or less. The programs are designed for professionals with an IT or healthcare background. The community colleges in the program expect to train more than 10,500 new health IT specialists by 2012.
The HIT professionals exam program is one of four ONC workforce development initiatives funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and intended to address the need for an additional 50,000 health IT professionals nationwide.
The other workforce initiatives are a curriculum development program, a university-based training program, and a community college consortia. Most of the professionals completing the workforce programs are mid-career healthcare or IT professionals who have received specialized health IT training and are now ready for employment in roles crucial to achieving nationwide meaningful use of certified EHRs.
The health IT professionals exams, which are administered at 230 testing centers across the country, opened for individuals on May 20.