Health informatics is the scientific field that works with the storing, retrieval, and evaluation of electronic medical records in various medical fields to improve patient health. The connection between technology and the healthcare industry is the career of health informatics.
Health informatics is one of the fastest-growing areas in the healthcare industry, and universities nationwide are taking note. A master’s in health informatics is now available in many different forms, including online and in-person programs. The master’s in health informatics program is ideal for professionals who wish to transition into careers in the healthcare field or healthcare professionals looking to further their careers. Read about the best health informatics master’s programs below to ensure that you find an accredited university that is up to the standards of healthcare employers.
Health Informatics Master’s Programs Admission Requirements
To pursue a master’s in health informatics, students must have a bachelor’s degree in health informatics or a related field such as health information technologies or health care administration. GRE test scores may also be required depending on the university. Previous experience in the healthcare industry is not typically required, but it may be helpful while completing the degree.
Any program or school search will undoubtedly lead you to the famous Harvard Medical School. Regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, the school features a Master of Biomedical Informatics that offers two different tracks: a 48-credit full-time track and a part-time 36-credit accelerated path. The full-time track accepts students with bachelor’s degrees who wish to enter the industry with informatics-related healthcare positions. The part-time option is designed for MDs who want to qualify for clinical informatics specialties or postdoctoral students who want to incorporate informatics into their research. A structure in computational skills, biomedical foundations, and precision medicine are a few of the courses that make up the program. Students will also be required to complete capstone research projects.
Founded in 1924, Duke University is home to one of the top nursing schools in the country. The school of nursing offers a health informatics major within a Master of Science in Nursing degree. This 28-credit master’s program is a combination of both in-person and online education. The course is generally online, with only one on-campus required session a year. Clinical information systems, strategic planning, project management, and data analytics are all covered in the health informatics program. Additionally, students will be required to complete an in-field experience. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s generalist exam.
Stanford Medical School is an institution of great renown. The biomedical data science offerings of the program include a 45-credit Master of Science in Health Informatics. The curriculum offers three tracks: a full-time research route, a part-time online professional path, and a co-terminal program designed for Stanford undergraduates. The full-time academic master’s can be completed in two years and involves a significant research project. The part-time track does not have a considerable research project, but it does include a work requirement in the healthcare field. Lastly, the co-terminal masters allow undergraduates to immediately start working towards a master’s after completing 120 credits.
School search results will surely point students toward the University of California Davis. The UC Davis School of Medicine, named the sixth most competitive school in the nation, offers a Master’s in Health Informatics. The 43-credit thesis-track program teaches the students with the ultimate goal of having the information published. Coursework includes clinical data acquisition and analysis, computer security in health informatics, and applied programming in health informatics. Additionally, students at UC Davis can network and research alongside working professionals in the healthcare industry.
One of the oldest public universities in the US, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill features an MS in Biomedical and Health Informatics. Founded in 1975, the “public Ivy” university is home to one of the recently named top public health programs, the Gillings School of Global Public Health. The program features a 12 or 16-month fast track route where students can choose to specialize in clinical informatics or public health informatics. Students will also need to complete a required practicum or internship. Past students have had the opportunity to intern for UNC Health Care and the Laboratory of Applied Informatics Research.
The University of Michigan is known as one of the best research universities in the United States. Additionally, according to US News & World Report, the university’s Public Health Department ranks number four in the nation. Founded in 1941, the School of Public Health offers an MS in Health Informatics. This master’s program is broken down into four categories: core health informatics; health system and organizational studies; human and social behavior methods; and information management. Furthermore, all students are required to complete an internship either as they complete the program or once the designated coursework is complete.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is a triple treat with its three main campuses: the main campus, a center city campus, and the Charlotte Research Institute Campus. The UNC Charlotte University that enrolls 5,200 graduate students each year offers a myriad of programs, including an MS in Health Informatics and a Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics. The overall program can be part-time or full-time but consists of 35 credit hours or twelve classes. Additionally, a unique feature is that UNC Charlotte offers dual degree programs—by completing a few more courses, students can earn a Health Administration and Health Informatics MHA/MA dual degree or a Public Health and Health Informatics MPH/MS dual degree.
This private research institution offers a master’s degree in health informatics. Located in Baltimore, Maryland, the John Hopkins School of Medicine was named the third best medical school in the United States. The Master’s in Applied Health Science Informatics is a 12-month full-time program that features a variety of courses, including 27 credits of electives. A few of these courses are Health Systems in Low and Middle-Income Countries, Data Management Methods in Health Research Studies, and Health Science Informatics: Knowledge Engineering. Additionally, the university offers a part-time online program for those who need more flexibility and cannot complete a full-time curriculum.
Master’s in Health Informatics Coursework
Health informatics programs are typically divided into two sections: the core curriculum and then elective courses. The core curriculum focuses on technical and business-related aspects of the medical field, while elective classes tackle niche areas, such as emerging technology. Additionally, an internship or practicum may be considered an elective at some universities.
Capstone projects are also typically required for a master’s degree program in health informatics. These projects usually address real-world issues through research.
What Can You Do with an Online Master’s in Health Informatics?
Health informatics master’s degrees open doors to a variety of careers in the health industry, including administrative or managerial positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare jobs are expected to grow by 14 percent from 2018 to 2028. Here are a few positions where having a master’s degree would be advantageous.
Health Information Management Director
This position oversees the medical and health records division of a healthcare establishment. The average salary for this role is around $71,949 annually.
Clinical Informatics Manager
This role is responsible for administering informatics tools and platforms. The average salary for a clinical informatics manager is $93,228 annually.
Clinical analysts are responsible for improving the efficiency of healthcare through optimizing patient health information systems. The average salary for this career is around $69,652 a year.
Clinical Applications Specialist
These professionals implement new technologies by working with equipment manufacturers. The average annual salary for this position is $72,597.
Nursing Informatics Specialist
Nursing informatics specialists provide data, health information, and medical knowledge to patients and healthcare providers. The average annual salary is $83,404.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare jobs are expected to grow by 14 percent from 2018 to 2028. Salaries for graduates of master’s in health informatics degrees vary depending on their position and experience. Factors that influence the salary are geographical location, employer, and certification, among others.
The length of a master’s program in health informatics varies depending on the university and whether it is full or part-time. Typically, students who pursue the degree full-time take two and a half years to complete the 30 to 50 credits. Whereas accelerated programs can be completed in as little as 18 months, dual programs may take five years or more.
How Much Does an Online Master’s in Health Informatics Cost?
The cost of a master’s degree depends on several factors, including whether the student is based in the same state as the university. Career compensation does not influence a university’s master program tuition. However, the investment will be worth it in the long run. Lower tuition will be extended to students that live in the same state as the university.
Online programs may cost the same as in-state tuition, depending on the university. Some colleges have a flat fee for online education programs. Per-credit costs for a master’s degree can vary from $700 to $4,000. Students should expect to pay $20,000-$30,000 for their entire program or possibly more. While not as likely, students of health informatics master’s programs may have to pay up as much as $74,000 for their complete higher education.
There are schools that offer scholarships, grants, or loans. Make sure to research the financial aid available before applying to a specific program. Be careful as some sites are supported by ads and only show schools that are advertisers. Research is always encouraged after finding a school on these sites.
Resources and Professional Associations
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
This society, founded in 1961, has almost 70,000 members and represents more than 450 nonprofit organizations. The society provides online courses, digital publications, certifications, and recorded conference sessions.
American Health Information Management Association
Certificate practice tests, study guides, online discussion groups, and workshops are all resources for members of AHIMA. Students can join this association for only $49 a year, while recent graduates must pay $79.
American Nursing Informatics Association
Representing 18 regional chapters across the country, this association holds annual conferences and provides a quarterly publication to all members.
Career Karma’s school rankings resource guides are an excellent tool for students looking to attend a master’s program. They feature programs and school rankings that can aid you in your search. The guides only include accredited schools that are at the top of their respective fields. All guides published on this site are filled with helpful information such as admission requirements, career outcomes, and general salary data.