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Krystal Phillips - Continuing Her Education

Krystal Phillips found her career at Columbus State, and completing her degree at the University of Cincinnati sets her up for more success.

Phillips, 53, received a degree in Health Information Management from Columbus State in 2002, then got a job as a health information coder at Ohio State's Veterinary Medical Center. She then transferred those credits toward a bachelor's degree in Health Information Management from the University of Cincinnati. She graduated from UC in December 2011.

Phillips came to Columbus State in 2000, after her children were grown, in order to find a new career. She read about Health Information Management in the college catalog, and met with instructors Jane Roberts and Lisa Cerrato.

Although returning to school was intimidating, the professors "made it doable," Phillips says. "I found out they have a real passion for teaching."

Their passion was infectious, and Phillips' enthusiasm for Health Information Management is easy to see. Her voice gets animated as she talks about new electronic health record software and the upcoming ICD-10 medical coding system.

Health Information Management is a growing and important field. Most hospitals and doctors' offices, spurred by new federal regulations, are turning to electronic health records to reduce errors and save money. These new jobs require specialized skills, and that's where Columbus State and University of Cincinnati come in.

She found out about the transfer program after meeting a UC recruiter at a health information conference. She saw the same recruiter several years in a row, and every year the recruiter urged her to do it. Phillips worried there was no time or money.

"I ended up just jumping in with both feet," Phillips says.

She started at the University of Cincinnati in 2009, graduating in December 2011. Her bachelor's degree allows her to take another credentialing exam, the Registered Health Information Administrator, which could allow her to move into management or consulting.

Transferring credits was seamless, Phillips says, and all of her University of Cincinnati classes were offered online.

"I only went there for my graduation," Phillips says.

Many of Columbus State's Career & Technical majors transfer to four-year schools: The Health Information Management program also transfers to Franklin University, Ohio State, University of Toledo and Ohio University. Columbus State also offers the Associate of Arts / Associate of Science, a general-purpose transfer degree that represents the first two years of a bachelor's degree.