Oct 19, 2019  
2019-2020 APU Catalog 
2019-2020 APU Catalog

Health Occupations, A.A.S.

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The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Health Occupations provides foundational knowledge and experience in a chosen health occupation, featuring a registered apprenticeship or comparable educational program as central to the degree.  The AAS provides students with a strong liberal arts background that develops prized skills such as effective communication and critical thinking, along with core professional skills in the health care professions, in order to contribute and grow capacity particularly in Alaska’s health care organizations.

In this degree program, the student completes an approved apprenticeship or comparable certificate program as a Concentration in the Major Studies and takes a national certification exam, administered by the National Healthcareer Association, related to the concentration. National certification is not required for employment, but it is a required component of the academic program. Currently approved and registered apprenticeships are offered in conjunction with the Alaska Primary Care Association. They include programs for the following health occupations: Community Health Worker; Billing and Coding  Specialist; Medical Administrative Assistant; Electronic Health Record Specialist; and Clinical Medical Assistant.  Apprenticeships involve required numbers of hours of instruction and mentoring in the job or position (across 1 or 2 years as determined by the apprenticeship requirements) as well as a coordinated didactic component which includes a synchronous online class session each week. 

Students completing the AAS degree can apply for admission to related bachelor’s level degree programs at APU (check with Admissions or the Registrar’s Office for details regarding readmission upon completion of the AAS).  Courses completed at the associate’s level can apply to bachelor’s level requirements.


Learning Outcomes

As a graduate, the student will earn an Associate of Arts degree with foundational-to-integrated proficiency in APU’s Core Competencies:

  1. Effective Communication [EC]:  Demonstrate the ability to get one’s point across in writing, presentations, and organizations in order to share information, teach others, and foster collaboration
  2. Critical Thinking [CT]:  Demonstrate the ability to compute, analyze, make sense of information or data, and reach reasoned conclusions cognizant of possible bias or fallacies
  3. Cultural & Historical Perspective [CH]:  Demonstrate the ability to effectively consider tradition and heritage in relation to decision-making in a world shaped by diverse cultures and abiding histories
  4. Scientific Inquiry [SI]:  Demonstrate the ability to reach verifiable conclusions based on documented observations, findings, and recognized methods in order to know how things work in our world
  5. Ethical Engagement [EE]:  Demonstrate ability to raise needed questions and apply ethical and effective problem-framing and problem-solving to make things better

The degree is designed to meet the following Professional Competencies with foundation-to-integrated proficiency:

  1. Cultural Competency:  Synthesize and integrate knowledge from the natural and behavioral sciences; prioritize relationship-centered care [CH, EC, CT, EE]
  2. Professional Communication and Collaboration:  Integrate principles of communication and collaboration in health care teams and professional settings to promote movement toward optimal levels of health for patients [EC, CH]
  3. Professional Care:  Integrate and synthesize the concepts and principles of critical thinking into the health science professions to facilitate participation in effecting change in the delivery of health care to society; utilize holistic knowledge and refined critical thinking abilities in the provision of safe, effective, evidence-based professional care of communities, families and individuals [CT, SI]
  4. Evidence-Based Assessment:  Integrate leadership and management skills utilizing ethical decision making and evidence-based practice; utilize evidence-based methods, assessments, technologies, and management systems to guide decisions that promote optimal outcomes [SI, CT]
  5. Personal and Social Responsibility:  Develop individualized plan for personal continued learning and professional growth as a method for adjusting to changes occurring within the health care system; apply knowledge of health disparities to lead initiatives that optimize the health of communities, families and individuals; utilize both traditional and academic knowledge to advance the health of Alaska Native, indigenous, and underserved populations [EE, SI, CH]


The general requirements for admission to undergraduate professional studies at APU are found in the Admissions section of the catalog.  In addition, the following is required for admission to the Health Occupations AAS program:

  • If the applicant has not yet completed an approved apprenticeship program  (Major Studies Concentration) or comparable academic program, the applicant must provide documentation of employment showing she/he is currently employed in an approved apprenticeship program. 

Foundational Studies (24-28 credits)

  • EC Written Communication** (WRIT 10100) (4)
  • EC Presentation & Media Literacy (from 10000-20000 level COMM) (3-4)
  • CT Critical Thinking (from 10000-20000 level CRIT) (3-4)
  • CT Computation** (MT 10100, BA 10500, or higher placement) (3-4)
  • CH Cultural & Historical Perspective (various) (3-4)
  • SI Scientific Inquiry (various) (3-4) 
  • EE Social Responsibility (LS 10200) (2)
  • EE Personal Responsibility (various) (1-2)
     [**  Minimum grade of ‘C’ (defined as C+, C, C-) must be earned]
    (Unless otherwise noted, check for courses which satisfy Foundational Studies categories under ‘Associate-level Degree Requirements- Overview’)

Major Studies (24-48 credits)

Students will complete a concentration in one of the approved registered apprenticeships for the Major Studies portion of the degree.  Each apprenticeship involves required hours of on the job training as well as didactic sessions covering the following course content. 

Concentrations & Required Courses

Billing and Coding Specialist (24 credits)
One-year apprenticeship plus online didactic (Session)

  • HLTH 10101 Billing and Coding (3)
  • HLTH 10201 Billing and Coding:  Policy and Ethics (2)
  • HLTH 20101 Billing and Coding:  Skills and Concepts (6)
  • HLTH 20201 Billing and Coding:  Skills and Concepts II (6)
  • HLTH 20301 Billing and Coding: Interpersonal and Organizational Skills (2)
  • HLTH 20401 Billing and Coding: Integrative Assessment (5)

Electronic Health Records Specialist (24 credits)
One-year apprenticeship plus online didactic (Session)

  • HLTH 10102 Electronic Health Records (4)
  • HLTH 10202 Electronic Health Records:  Policy and Ethics (2)
  • HLTH 20102 Electronic Health Records:  Skills and Concepts (5)
  • HLTH 20202 Electronic Health Records:  Skills and Concepts II (2)
  • HLTH 20302 Electronic Health Records:  Interpersonal and Organizational Skills (1) 
  • HLTH 20402 Electronic Health Records:  Integrative Assessment (8)

Medical Administrative Assistant (24 credits)
One-year apprenticeship plus online didactic (Session)

  • HLTH 10103 Medical Administrative: Roles and Contexts (2)
  • HLTH 10203 Medical Administrative: Policy and Ethics (3)
  • HLTH 20103 Medical Administrative: Skills and Concepts (3)
  • HLTH 20203 Medical Administrative: Skills and Concepts II  (8)
  • HLTH 20303 Medical Administrative: Interpersonal and Organizational Skills  (3)
  • HLTH 20403 Medical Administrative: Integrative Assessment (5)

Community Health Worker (24 credits)
One-year apprenticeship plus online didactic (Session)

  • HLTH 10104 Community Health Worker: Roles and Contexts (4)
  • HLTH 10204 Community Health Worker: Policy and Ethics (3)
  • HLTH 20104 Community Health Worker: Skills and Concepts (3)
  • HLTH 20204 Community Health Worker: Skills and Concepts II (2)
  • HLTH 20304 Community Health Worker: Interpersonal and Organizational Skills (5)
  • HLTH 20404 Community Health Worker: Integrative Assessment (7)

Clinical Medical Assistant (41 credits)
Two-year apprenticeship plus online didactic (Session and Summer)

  • HLTH 10105 Clinical Medical Assistant: Roles and Contexts (2)
  • HLTH 10205 Clinical Medical Assistant: Policy and Ethics (2)
  • HLTH 20105a Clinical Medical Assistant:  Skills and Concepts (5)
  • HLTH 20105b Clinical Medical Assistant Skills and Concepts (5)
  • HLTH 20205a Clinical Medical Assistant:  Skills and Concepts II (7)
  • HLTH 20205b Clinical Medical Assistant:  Skills and Concepts II (7)
  • HLTH 20305 Clinical Medical Assistant:  Communication and Organization (3)
  • HLTH 20405a Clinical Medical Assistant: Integrative Assessment (2) 
  • HLTH 20405b Clinical Medical Assistant: Integrative Assessment (8)

Self-Directed Studies (varies)


Self-Determined Studies (varies)

  • Students are encouraged to meet the minimum graduation credit requirement (64 credits) by taking courses that serve as foundation or elective courses for related bachelor’s degrees (e.g., BS in Health Science)
  • Students may also meet additional graduation credit requirements by applying transfer credit, credit-by-exam, credit earned through military training, assessment of prior learning (through the Documenting Experiential Learning [DEL] process), or other approved alternative methods of earning credit.

Minimum Graduation Credit Hour Requirement: 64

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