BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — Normandale Community College in Bloomington announced a win-win for job seekers Thursday: Course work in a field with jobs that are in demand.

In July, Minnesota lost 19,800 jobs, sending its unemployment rate up slightly to 7.2 percent. Despite these figures, the college found a national shortage of 51,000 Health IT workers.

“Clinics and hospitals are actually scrambling to find people,” says Dr. James Welters from Northwest Family Physicians, “Having someone you can turn to to just do it, allows me and my partners and my staff to get back to work and taking care of patients.”

So, the $500 class crams two years worth of classes related to the field into six months. It’s cheap because of an $800,000 Federal Stimulus Grant, but the school must also enroll 150 people.

Students who graduated last Spring in the school’s first class say the payoff was immediate.

“Demand for this type of work is going to be very high,” said graduate Paul Jorgenson. “Actually, starting Monday I have a consulting job I’m going to do.”

Instructors say it’s open to anyone who either has a background in “working in” or “working with” jobs in Healthcare or IT.

“It’s all via internet, so if you lived outstate, you could take the program. If you live right here, you can take the program,” says Sunny Ainley.

It’s also open to all ages.

“Peers in my class the age range average was 49 or 50 years old,” says Paul Jorgenson. “So, a lot of us were nervous going back to school.”

With a job about to begin, however, Jorgenson’s nerves have turned to excitement.

With doctors’ offices across the country having to be 100 percent digital by 2014, demand for these jobs should only increase.

Comments (7)
  1. M B says:

    I get the impression that this is less about “IT”, or the management/support of Information Technology, and more like “Data Entry,” which is sitting around all day trying to stuff information (medical records) into the system.

    1. CB says:

      Health Information Technology is a developing and growing field. It actually has several components and specialities. So it appeals and requires savvy IT people and savvy clinical practitioners and educators and program managers. It becomes complicated because for some IT people it is too clinical/medical applications and content heavy and for some clinical people it is too IT heavy. For those who can negotiate the cross disciiplinary nature it is golden.

  2. GerryR says:

    I thought that too but there are a lot of people around who need the data entry jobs too .I’d suggest you at least look into it and see if it fits your needs.

  3. Normandale Continuing Education says:

    Visit for more information!

  4. Carolyn Vinup says:

    For more information about the Health Information Technology (HIT) Training at Normandale Community College starting in early October, please visit The MnHIT website has a lot of information about the program. Individuals who qualify have a background in Healthcare or IT. This training is a blending of two career paths. The opportunities in this field are vast and growing. Some people will land jobs in the healthcare industry, others might be contractors for vendors and suppliers, others might take jobs in Rural, MN implementing the government mandates. Lots of options.

  5. Carolyn Vinup says:

    Just a slight clarification about the salary ranges, the market is very wide which means the available workroles are numerous. Salaries can range from $40k all the way up to the low $200s. It all depends on what you bring to the table as far as experience and education and if you have any niche areas of expertise.

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