Best Online Master’s in Health Informatics Programs

Health informatics is one of the most rapidly growing career pathways in the country. As the software and platforms used in informatics continue to evolve, qualified professionals who can adapt to the latest technologies are highly valued in the job market. An online master’s degree in health informatics can help you further distinguish yourself from other job candidates and advance in your career at a speedier rate.

More than 56,000 new jobs in medical and health services management are estimated to be created through 2024.

The best master’s in health informatics degree programs equip you with a wide range of tech-related skills and extensive knowledge of the healthcare industry. Many programs culminate in a master’s thesis or capstone project, allowing you to demonstrate everything you have learned over the course of your studies. Others require an internship or practicum course, where you will receive supervised hands-on training from industry experts.

Learn more about what you can do with a master’s in health informatics and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WHAT IS HEALTH INFORMATICS?

Health informatics is an interdisciplinary field that combines technology and healthcare; informatics refers to the process of obtaining, categorizing, and storing medical records and data. Health informatics has improved the healthcare industry by providing greater access to/management of patients’ medical records and other important information.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN HEALTH INFORMATICS PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Students who enroll in health informatics master’s programs will spend roughly two years learning about the latest trends and developments in healthcare information technology. Courses cover the various ways that physicians and healthcare providers manage existing medical records, and how emerging technology can reshape healthcare delivery in the years to come. Internships also prepare you for the workforce through practical training.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN HEALTH INFORMATICS WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online master’s in health informatics programs are a flexible education option that cater to students who must balance their schoolwork with other commitments, such as employment or childcare. The online platform allows you to access course materials, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with their professors at your own convenience. Current technology also allows you to complete coursework away from your personal computer using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other device with Wi-Fi capabilities. Students can usually work with school officials to arrange internships that are close to home, as well.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER’S IN HEALTH INFORMATICS?

Students who earn a master’s in health informatics online leave school prepared to enter the workforce in most entry-level roles, as well as some managerial positions normally reserved for applicants with an advanced degree. A bachelor’s degree is considered the minimum requirement for many health informatics careers, leaving master’s-holders well-positioned in the job market. However, it’s important to note that certification is often required for employees in this field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), commonly accepted certification credentials include the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) credentials.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN HEALTH INFORMATICS PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best masters in health informatics programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering an online master’s in health informatics, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Enrolled Online Location Description
1

Stanford University

82.713/55%Stanford, CA

campus-Stanford

Founded in 1891, this Palo Alto institution is today considered one of the country's premier academic destinations. Stanford has become an innovative leader in virtual learning, thanks to a sweeping online education initiative launched in 2012 that expanded the school's web-based degree offerings. The university has also been recognized for its successful alumni; according to a 2012 study, Stanford graduates collectively generate $3 trillion in income each year and have created roughy 5.4 million jobs.

Stanford's part-time online master's in biomedical informatics is reserved for students who are employed full-time; the ideal candidate plans to pursue a post degree career outside of academia. The program covers both clinical and public health informatics, giving students a detailed background in the methods used for patient care and health systems management. The 45-credit curriculum for this online master's degree includes at least 15 credits in core informatics coursework; 18 units in computer science, statistics, mathematics and engineering; and four credits dedicated to social and ethical issues. Unrestricted electives may be used to complete the remaining course requirements. Most students complete this program after three years of part-time enrollment. In addition to the traditional master's track, Stanford also offers an online certificate in biomedical informatics. Students seeking the certificate must select three courses from the five following modules: 'Modeling Biomedical Systems'; 'Representations and Algorithms for Computational Molecular Biology'; 'Data Driven Medicine'; 'Translational Bioinformatics'; and 'Computational Methods for Biomedical Image Analysis'.

Distances learners access online courses using the Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD). Instructors often create their own websites within Stanford's coursework system, which includes access to course materials. Classes consist of streaming videos that are posted to the internet two hours after the completion of the live class on campus. Recorded lectures are available until the end of the quarter. Online students are generally held to the same deadlines as students in traditional classes.

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2

Northwestern University

78.544/57%IL

campus-northwestern-university

Northwestern was established in 1851 to serve as an educational center for visitors to the Northwest Territory (today the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota). The university offers a total of 16 web-based master's degrees and graduate certificates through its College of Professional Studies, including an online master's in health informatics that spans a total of 12 courses. This M.S. pathway is available in cooperation with Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

Three specializations are available for master's in health informatics online program: clinical informatics; health administration informatics; and health technology informatics. The curriculum includes core coursework in leadership, American health care, principles of health informatics and legal, ethical and social issues related to health care administration. Students must also complete three specialization electives; for their final term, they must choose between a capstone presentation or a thesis research project. This comprehensive curriculum equips students with the skills and knowledge to handle clinical, technical, operational and financial tasks in health informatics. They also leave school prepared to address legal, ethical and social challenges related to healthcare administration and delivery. Additionally, those who follow the clinical informatics track will receive training for post degree certification exams.

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3

Brandeis University

67.794/56%Waltham, MA

campus-Brandeis-University

Originally created to serve members of Boston's Jewish community, Brandeis University first opened its doors to students in 1948. The institution's distance learning division currently serves more than 800 students from 44 U.S. states and 13 different nations. The school's online programs are led by the same faculty that teach on-campus, and the curricula integrates applied technology and industrial competencies to ensure students are prepared for the demands and challenges of their profession.

Brandeis offers two programs for an online master's degree in informatics. The first option is an online M.S. in bioinformatics. This program features six core courses rooted in biological sequence analysis, mathematical modeling, statistical analysis and other fundamental principles of bioinformatics. Additional electives in this pathway include studies in molecular biology, drug development and other related fields. Students who successfully complete this program will be prepared for careers in the biotechnical and pharmaceutical industries. Brandeis' second program is an online M.S. in health and medical informatics that follows a more clinical curriculum. The core courses tackle topics like electronic health records (EHRs) and information systems security, as well as legal, ethical and financial issues related to health informatics. Both online informatics master's programs at Brandeis are 30 credits in length.

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4

University of Central Florida

67.713/551%Orlando, FL

campus_university_of_central_florida2

Established in 1963, the University of Central Florida today boasts the largest overall enrollment among all universities in the United States: more than 63,000 students, according to the latest estimate from U.S. News & World Report. Considered a national leader in distance-based education, UCF earned a top-20 spot on the 'Most Innovative School' ranking published by U.S. News in 2016. The university's Center for Distributed Learning has been studying the benefits and challenges of online education since the mid-1990s as part of the Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness.

UCF features a master's in healthcare informatics online degree that spans a total of 38 credits in length. Students enter the program as part of a cohort, and will learn alongside the same group for the duration of their studies. Students who do not have relevant professional or academic experience must complete prerequisite courses in health care administration, health information systems and medical terminology. The core coursework includes studies in areas like health care data architecture and database management, biostatistics, epidemiology and informatics security. A capstone course is also required, as well as a clinical internship where students receive supervised onsite training from experienced informaticists.

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5

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

65.843/54%Houston, TX

campus-uthealth

Texas' medical school, UTHealth, was established in 1972 and is today the seventh largest medical school in the United States by total student enrollment. The School of Biomedical Informatics at UTHealth is the first and only school of its kind, and faculty members have developed a robust online curriculum for distance learners at all degree levels.

UTHealth offers an MS in biomedical informatics delivered in an entirely online format. Students choose from one of two learning pathways for this degree program. The 'traditional research' track covers the fundamentals of biomedical informatics, as well as the primary methods used to collect, interpret and process health and medical data; students also learn how this data can influence clinical management and health care administration. Alternatively, the 'applied medical bioinformatics' track is rooted in real-world workplace training, particularly the implementation and evaluation of electronic health records (EHRs) and other health care information systems. Courses cover U.S. health care systems, legislation, standards and protocols, as well as data analytics and project management. Both programs feature a practicum requirement, which allows students to apply the knowledge and skills they have gained to a functional workplace setting. The applied medical bioinformatics track also culminates in a capstone research project.

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6

Oregon Health & Science University

64.843/522%Portland, OR

Founded in 1974, Oregon Health & Science University occupies a large main campus in downtown Portland that includes two working hospitals. In addition to a School of Medicine (one of two in the state of Oregon), OHSU also features schools dedicated to nursing and dentistry. The university's Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology offers multiple learning tracks for aspiring informaticists, including a master's in biomedical informatics with a clinical track that is available online, on-campus or in a blended format.

Accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM), the master's program emphasizes the complexities of U.S. health care delivery and the applications of information technology in this cutting-edge field. The program spans a total of 55 credits in length. The core coursework covers five fundamental areas: clinical informatics; evaluative sciences; health care; organizational behavior and project management; and computer science. In addition to 43 credits of coursework, students must also complete 12 credits of thesis research. Students leave this program with solid foundational knowledge in biomedical informatics administration, medical technology and research methodology. OHSU offers five graduate fellowships for informatics students who are able to commute to the university's campus and travel to other training sites.

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7

Northeastern University Global Network

63.874/566%Boston, MA

Boston-based Northeastern University began serving students in 1898, and is today recognized as a RI Institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education; this status denotes the highest level of doctoral research activity. Northeastern University Global Network -- the school's distance education arm -- has produced more than 200,000 alumni and formed academic partnerships with thousands of employers across the globe. The network strives to provide 'Industry-Aligned Degree Programs Grounded in Experiential Learning'

The Global Network's online Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Informatics was created to address the critical shortage of health informatics professionals in the nation and provide a flexible academic outlet for working professionals seeking a graduate degree. Core coursework includes studies in database management, information systems design, project management and systems/network administration. A capstone project is also required. Additionally, three optional concentrations are available with this online master's degree: information security management; geographic information systems; and leading and managing technical projects. Each concentration carries an 18-course requirement. This master's track spans 45 to 47 credits, depending on the chosen concentration; because Northeastern follows a quarterly schedule, most students can complete the program after two years of full-time enrollment.

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8

University of South Carolina – Columbia

63.073/53%Columbia, SC

One of the oldest learning institutions on our list, the University of South Carolina first opened its doors in 1801 and today serves more than 33,000 students. The university has garnered a stellar reputation for online graduate-level education, as well as degree programs concentrated in health professions studies. For its 2016 rankings, U.S. News & World Report placed South Carolina among the top providers of education programs in health care management and public health; the university also placed first among the 'Best Online Master's in Nursing Programs'.

South Carolina's online master's in health information technology program teaches students how to help healthcare organizations streamline their processes and keep patient data secure. The core coursework is concentrated in the economics and finances of health care, as well as methods for implementing and maintaining efficient health information systems. The curriculum includes a 16-week health information technology internship to be conducted at a functional worksite; other than the internship, all courses in this program span eight weeks in length. A total of 36 course credits are required, allowing most students to complete the program and earn their degree within 18 to 24 months. Students with at least three years of professional experience may be eligible for a GRE waiver.

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9

University of South Florida

61.573/544%Tampa, FL

Considered the fourth-largest university in the state of Florida, this Tampa-based institution currently serves roughly 42,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university has been recognized for its academic research by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which named it as a top-tier school; USF also ranked ninth in a 2015 ranking of national public universities with the most patents granted.

USF's M.S. in health informatics online program is offered through the Morsani College of Medicine. This pathway spans 32 credits in length. The curriculum includes 26 credits of core coursework in areas like electronic medical records (EMRs), health data management, legal and ethical issues related to health information management, 'e-medicine business models' and managerial communication. Additionally, students must complete six to seven elective credits. Three elective courses are available: health care project management; medical terminology; and a one-credit independent study course in health informatics. All courses are delivered fully online for added convenience and taught by the same faculty members that teach these subjects on the USF campus. Six videos posted on the USF website highlight the strengths of the school's online health information programs, as well as the significant impact of this cutting-edge field on the healthcare industry.

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10

Nova Southeastern University

60.014/554%Fort Lauderdale, FL

Nova Southeastern University is the largest private, not-for-profit institution in the country that meets the U.S. Department of Education's criteria as a Hispanic-serving Institution. Roughly one-third of the school's 23,236 students identify as Hispanic. Additionally, female students make up nearly 70% of the current student body. The school's distance learning programs can be accessed from anywhere in the world, and NSU is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus consortium.

The university offers two learning tracks for aspiring informaticists through the College of Osteopathic Medicine. The online MS in biomedical informatics combines information technology and applied clinical training to prepare students for work in hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities, as well as insurance providers and pharmaceutical companies. This program follows an intensive, skills-based online curriculum; distance learners are required to complete a health informatics practicum in order to graduate. The 43-credit curriculum features 31 credits of core coursework and nearly two dozen elective options, including the opportunity for paid internships at an NSU clinic. The second online master's option at NSU is a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Informatics. This program is rooted in information management, data analysis, healthcare leadership and clinical decision support. A practicum course is required in this pathway, as well. The program covers a total of 36 course credits, and most students earn their master's degree after six semesters of part-time study.

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11

University of Illinois at Chicago

54.603/518%Chicago, IL

With more than 29,000 enrolled students, this branch of the University of Illinois system is the largest higher learning institution in the city of Chicago. UIC is also home to the largest medical school in the country; over the last two years, medical research investment of roughly $2 million has generated more than $500 million in total awards for a return-on-investment of 225:1. UIC currently offers a dozen online bachelor's and master's programs, including multiple options for grad students seeking a degree in informatics.

An online M.S. in Health Informatics is available through UIC's College of Applied Health Sciences. The curriculum for this program features 32 core courses, including a capstone project. Those who opt for the 'project and thesis research' track must complete up to 25 credits in additional coursework. GRE waivers are offered for students with at least two years of informatics-related employment; inexperienced candidates may be required to take prerequisite foundational courses in medical terminology and health information management. Most students complete this track within two and a half years. The second UIC program is an online Master of Public Health (MPH) with a public health informatics concentration. This 45-credit pathway explores the importance of health and medical data within the scope of public health. A field experience and capstone project are both required for the MPH public health informatics concentration.

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12

Loyola University Chicago

54.134/510%Chicago, IL

Established by Jesuit leaders in 1870, Loyola University is currently one of the largest Catholic universities in the country with an overall enrollment of more than 16,000 students. Despite its size, Loyola maintains an intimate campus setting that emphasizes individualized education; the student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1, and roughly 45% of all courses taught at the university have fewer than 20 students. The university's distance education branch features a wide range of religious and secular learning pathways, including two tracks concentrated in health informatics studies.

Loyola's online M.S. in Health Systems Management with a healthcare informatics concentration is Available through the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Students enrolled in this program will learn how to organize medical data, create electronic patient records, develop health databases and design efficient information systems. This program features a required clinical practicum. A graduate certificate in healthcare informatics is also available completely online through Loyola. This pathway is designed for a wide range of health care professionals, including BSN-holding nurses, physicians, dietitians and occupational therapists. The certificate program consists of 12 course credits that can be completed in one to two semesters; a baccalaureate degree is required for students in this pathway.

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13

Louisiana Tech University

53.802/519%LA

Founded in 1894, Louisiana Tech is the only institution in the University of Louisiana system to earn a Tier One classification from U.S. News & World Report. The university has also been recognized for its scientific and medical research contributions, as well as academic partnerships with organizations like NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security. Distance learning programs at Louisiana Tech are delivered through the Global Campus online platform.

Louisiana Tech's web-based graduate programs include an online master's degree in health informatics. This pathway is geared toward students who have earned a bachelor's degree in health information management or a related field; those who have not completed their undergraduate studies will be required to take prerequisite courses. At least two years of work experience in an informatics-oriented occupation is also required. The master's program is 45 credits in length. The curriculum includes core coursework in informatics and health information systems, as well as related fields like project management, data architecture and leadership in healthcare. GRE scores are not required for admission, though applicants who choose not to send their score report must complete an application essay. This online master's pathway has proven popular with Louisiana Tech students; according to a graduate survey, 91.6% say the program "enabled them to think critically, solve problems, and develop appropriate action steps".

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14

Loma Linda University

53.573/514%Loma Linda, CA

Seventh-Day Adventists founded this health sciences institution in 1905 and named it after the California town where the campus was built. Today nearly 4,500 students are enrolled at Loma Linda, and the university is home to a full medical center that serves roughly 30,000 patients on an annual basis. The school currently offers a total of 24 online degree programs through five academic departments.

The university's online M.S. in health informatics is available through the Department of Allied Health Professions. Like other Loma Linda degree programs, the informatics master's pathway follows a curriculum rooted in ethics, health care law and the SDA faith. The program is 45 credits in length, and designed for part-time students; most earn their degree within two years. First-year coursework includes foundational studies in biostatistics, U.S. healthcare systems and data management, as well as a course in writing for health professionals. The second year tackles more complex areas of the field, such as data analytics, healthcare financial management and healthcare vendor processes. A required religion course is included, as well. The program culminates in a portfolio presentation and final project; for the latter, students choose between a capstone course or on site practicum training.

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15

Michigan Technological University

52.493/54%Houghton, MI

The first postsecondary institution to be established in Michigan's scenic Upper Peninsula, MTU opened its doors in 1885 and today serves more than 7,000 students. The university has been touted for its impressive student outcomes; MTU students enjoy a 93% post graduation employment rate, and the university ranks seventh among all U.S. public schools for alumni starting salaries.

MTU's online master's in medical informatics degree can be earned entirely online; at this time, only U.S. students are accepted into this program. This multidisciplinary track focuses on four key areas of the informatics field: complex medical decisions; evidence-based medicine; disease management; and population health management. Core coursework includes introductory studies in areas like application programming, information system analysis and design, clinical decision support and data organization. Upper-level courses delve into advanced areas of network security, population health management and digital forensics. Students can choose three tracks for their program: a master's thesis pertaining to the informatics field; an independent study project that culminates in a presentation; or a full coursework option. Regardless of the student's track, this online master's in informatics degree spans 30 total credits in length. Applicants who have earned another graduate degree and/or have at least five years of healthcare work experience will not be required to submit GRE scores.

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16

The College of Saint Scholastica

51.693/538%Duluth, MN

Established by Benedictine missionaries in 1912, the College of Saint Scholastica is headquartered in the far north city of Duluth, Minnesota. In 1935, the college became the first higher learning institution in the country to offer a health information management program. Saint Scholastica currently serves roughly 4,400 students and maintains an intimate educational setting; the student-to-faculty ratio is 15:1, and more than half of all courses taught have fewer than 20 students. The school earned additional recognition from U.S. News & World Report in 2016, placing within the top 50 for the 'Regional Universities Midwest' and 'Best Colleges for Veterans' rankings.

The college's online master's in health informatics degree program is delivered completely online and spans 42 credits in length; a foundational statistics course is also listed as a program prerequisite. The 11 required courses include studies in advanced biostatistics and health analytics, systems and software development, health information security and methodology for monitoring, evaluating and researching healthcare topics. Courses utilize clinical data and real patient information to create an authentic learning environment that mirrors real-world workplace settings. The pathway culminates in an applied final project, as well as a graduate seminar course. Saint Scholastica follows a rolling matriculation schedule, and students may choose from five different start dates throughout the academic year.

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17

East Carolina University

51.293/539%Greenville, NC

Headquartered in the city of Greenville, this public South Carolina institution has been enrolling students since 1907; the school's main campus includes the Health Sciences Campus and a private, nonprofit hospital. According to U.S. News & World Report, 'health professions and related fields' and 'biological and biomedical sciences' are among the most popular areas of study for ECU students; roughly half the student body is enrolled in either a STEM or healthcare-oriented program. ECU has also has been recognized as a military-friendly school, and has earned the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award for five consecutive years.

ECU's online programs include an online master's in health informatics and information management. This pathway spans 39 credits in length. The core coursework comprises 30 credits; these include studies in electronic health records (EHRs), health data privacy and security, social and organizational issues in informatics and healthcare management. Students can choose between two tracks for the nine remaining credits: a 'health informatics' option that includes two additional courses and an internship; or a 'thesis option' that features two courses and a research-based project course. Full-time students are able to complete all program requirements within two to two and a half years, including summer terms.

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18

Drexel University

50.105/536%Philadelphia, PA

Named for its philanthropist founder, Philadelphia's Drexel University was established in 1891. The school has long been considered a leader and innovator in the field of online distance education. Drexel launched its first online courses in 1996, and online students currently comprise more than one-fifth of the overall student body. The university has been recognized for other technological contributions as well; Drexel's main campus became the first in the country to become fully wireless in 2000, and two years later it launched the first mobile web-based portal for students.

As a charter member of the American Medical Informatics Association Academic Forum, Drexel offers an online master's in health informatics program targeted at current healthcare professionals who would like to integrate informatics and health information systems into their current organization. The program can be completed full-time or part-time, and is offered entirely online. The 45-credit curriculum focuses on both the fundamentals of informatics and the 'psycho-social aspects' of healthcare delivery in the United States. A total of 27 credits of core coursework are required; areas of focus include foundations of health informatics and information management, as well as related topics like 'Human-Computer Interaction' and 'Information Assurance'. Approved and free electives comprise the remaining courses.

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19

The University of Findlay

45.994/523%Findlay, OH

Founded in affiliation with the Churches of God General Conference, this university is named for the small Ohio town where its campus was established in 1882. Findlay is classified as a Top Tier school by U.S. News & World Report, and ranked among the top 'Regional Universities Midwest' in 2016'. The university's distance learning division features five online degree programs, including an online M.S. in health informatics pathway.

According to the program's website, the curriculum for this degree is "centered on the science behind electronic health records" and "based on the importance of suc­cessful and productive living, supported through the meaningful work done by well-trained health informaticians". The program consists of 33 total credits, including nine core courses in informatics law, healthcare data systems, health information security and other fundamental areas of the field. Students must complete a both a field practicum experience and an informatics capstone project. There is no GRE or work experience requirement for students who apply to this program. In addition to the standard master's track, an online certificate in health informatics is also available through Findlay. This 17-credit program also includes a practicum requirement, and most students earn their certification after one year of study.

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20

Regis University

43.714/550%Denver, CO

This private Denver-based institution was founded by Jesuits in 1877, and these Catholic roots continue to shape the school to this day. Regis is home to the Rueckert-Hartman College of Health Professions, which offers premier degree programs in fields like nursing, physical therapy and healthcare ethics. U.S. News & World Report classifies Regis as a Top Tier school, and the university earned top-25 placement among the best 'Regional Midwest Universities' of 2016.

An online master's in healthcare informatics and information management program is available online at the university. The curriculum spans 36 credits in length. Core coursework covers fundamental areas of informatics and health information systems, as well as niche field areas like data mining for healthcare support and electronic health record management. The program culminates in a capstone course, in which students must write and present an applied research project. All courses are delivered exclusively online in eight-week modules, allowing students to complete all requirements and earn their master's degree after 24 months of study. Regis follows a rolling matriculation calendar, and students may begin taking these eight-week courses during the fall, spring or summer terms. Regis offers a reduced tuition rate to all active-duty military servicemembers pursuing a graduate-level degree.

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21

Adelphi University

43.665/513%Garden City, NY

Originally founded as a prep school in 1896, this Long Island institution serves more than 7,000 students on an annual basis; roughly 2,400 members of the current student body are pursuing a graduate degree. Adelphi has been recognized for the return-on-investment (ROI) of its degree programs; the university has been named a 'Best Buy' school by the Fiske Guide to Colleges for the last 10 consecutive years, and it was the only institution in the New York City metro area to earn a spot on the list in 2016.

Adelphi's online master's in health informatics program is targeted toward experienced healthcare professionals, as well as individuals with a non-clinical background in fields like business or information technology. The curriculum takes a multidisciplinary approach to the informatics field, supplementing foundational studies in informatics and health information management with coursework in areas like business, computer science, project management and organizational development. Students may complete all course requirements and earn their degree within 28 months of study. Program applicants do not necessarily need work experience in healthcare-related fields, and will not be required to submit scores for the GRE, GMAT and other graduate entrance exams; however, prerequisite courses in statistical methods and mathematics in management are included in the core curriculum.

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22

Northern Kentucky University

42.552/535%Highland Heights, KY

Established as a University of Kentucky extension campus in 1968, Northern Kentucky University is located roughly seven miles from Cincinnati in the town of Newport. In 2006, the university opened the College Informatics; at the time, this was one of the first learning centers of its kind. Since that time, the College of Informatics has launched 15 different degree programs and served nearly 2,300 students; 509 degrees in informatics were awarded to NKU students in 2015 alone.

Two master's degrees in informatics are available online at NKU. The first is an online M.S. in health informatics. This pathway is geared toward two types of students: healthcare professionals seeking an education in information technology, and IT professionals pursuing careers in the healthcare industry. The curriculum consists of 33 total credits, including 24 credits of core coursework and a three-credit capstone project assignment. The remaining credits can be used for specialization or general electives; currently, specializations are available in healthcare data analytics, healthcare process management and healthcare security. The second online NKU program for informaticists is an M.S. in business informatics degree. This 30-credit track 21 credit hours of core coursework, and also requires a capstone project. Four specializations are offered with the business informatics master's: information technology entrepreneurship; enterprise resource planning (ERP); business data analytics; and corporate information security.

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23

National University

41.904/575%La Jolla, CA

Established in 1971, National University today maintains a primary campus in downtown San Diego and more than two dozen satellite campuses throughout California and Nevada. National University specializes in degree programs for working adult students; most courses are available in accelerated four-week formats, and more than 130 online degree and certificate pathways are available for students who prefer to take courses from home. The university also ranks as one of the nation's top 10 providers of master's degrees for female students.

An online master's in health informatics is delivered through National University's School of Health and Human Services. The curriculum focuses on three core disciplines: design, implementation and analysis of information systems; database administration, computer programming, network security and other areas of information technology; and the fundamentals of informatics and health information management. A total of 11 core courses are featured, including a capstone research project. An internship is also available as part of the program electives. NU's experiential learning components -- including case studies, research, and simulations -- prepare students for the demands and challenges of real-world workplace settings. This degree pathway spans 54 credits in length; due to the university's quarterly system and accelerated course format, many students complete all course requirements and earn their degree in less than two years.

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24

Dakota State University

41.803/550%Madison, SD

Headquartered in the town of Madison, this private South Dakota institution first opened its doors to students in 1881. The university's policies emphasize the importance of technology in contemporary learning environments; students are required to bring laptops or tablet devices to class, and all undergraduates must complete foundational coursework in computer science and programming. The school's distance education branch, Online@DSU, features fully online degree programs that can be completed from anywhere in the United States, as well as some remote options for overseas learners.

These options include an online M.S. in health informatics. Although this program can be completed entirely online, a hybrid format is offered to help distance learners network and collaborate with brick-and-mortar students while enjoying the flexible schedule of an online curriculum. Regardless of format, this master's program spans 33 credits in length; the curriculum includes 30 credits of core coursework, as well as a three-credit capstone project and a comprehensive exam for students who are about to graduate. Most full-time students complete all required courses and earn their master's within four or five semesters, although the program is also open to students who plan to enroll part-time. This program is designed for students who have earned a degree or completed coursework in an informatics-related field, or have work experience in the healthcare industry.

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25

Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville

38.823/59%Edwardsville, IL

Located roughly 20 miles north of St. Louis, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville was established in 1957 to address the lack of higher education opportunities that arose during the post-WWII economic boom. The university's distance learning branch includes a total of seven online undergraduate and graduate degree programs -- all concentrated in health professions studies.

The online master's in health informatics offered through SIUE is delivered in a fully online format. The curriculum features 30 credits of core coursework; areas of focus include foundations of informatics and health information systems, as well as studies in project management, epidemiology, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and quality and safety management in healthcare. The program culminates in two course: a seminar in information security; and a capstone course that allows students to design and implement an information system based on the knowledge and skills they have gained through their studies. Students must present the capstone as part of their final project, along with a portfolio of their best work. Students who successfully complete the online informatics master's at SIUE will be prepared to create clinical standards and guidelines, provide advice on diagnoses and treatments and thoroughly evaluate the quality and efficiency of different healthcare services.

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How Long Is an Online Master’s in Health Informatics Program?
18 months to 2 years
Program Costs
$15,000 to $30,000
Concentrations
Registered Health Information Administration, Health Information Management, Applied Informatics, Health Systems Analysis, Healthcare Information Technology
Accreditation
Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)

Job Placement: Master’s vs Bachelor’s in Health Informatics

There are several reasons behind the recent boom in the health informatics industry. One is an increasing number of Americans seeking medical treatment; millions of previously uninsured adults and children now have health coverage under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the aging baby boomer population has also added to this uptick. Additionally, many hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities have adopted electronic recordkeeping systems in recent years. As Americans continue to receive medical care at a higher rate and more institutions maintain software-based records, the demand for health informatics professionals is consistently high.

A recent survey by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) noted that AHIMA members with a master’s degree enjoyed more favorable job placement rates than their counterparts with lesser credentials. The survey also found that the employment rates for AHIMA members with a PhD or doctoral degree in informatics were not significantly better than those for master’s-holding candidates. The table below features unemployment data from the AHIMA survey.

Educational Attainment Number of AHIMA Members Who Are ‘Currently Not Working’
High school graduate 48.3%
Associate degree 16.2%
Bachelor’s degree 12.9%
Master’s degree 12.9%
Doctor of Law (JD) 9.1%
Doctor of Medicine (MD) 8.8%
Doctorate degree 7.7%

Source: Climbing Higher: Bridging the Gap to Advanced Degrees in HIM

The BLS notes that the projected growth rates for jobs related to health informatics are much higher than the estimated rates for all industries. Jobs for medical and health services managers are estimated to rise 17% — more than 56,000 positions — between 2014 and 2024. Similarly, technician roles in medical records and health information are projected to grow 15% — or 29,000 jobs — during the same timeframe.

Earning a Living

Master of health informatics salary expectations are significantly higher than the projected earnings of those with bachelor’s and/or associate degrees. AHIMA notes that the average AHIMA member with a master’s degree earns an annual salary of $86,187; by comparison, bachelor’s-holders bring in $66,064 on an annual basis, while associate degree-holders make $49,769 per year.

However, annual salaries for informatics professionals will increase incrementally over the course of their careers. Using data from PayScale, the following table features salary expectations for different informatics professionals at four stages of their career.

Profession Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Health Informatics Specialist $58,963 $76,970 $73,697 $70,780
Health Information Manager $54,334 $73,336 $74,820 $80,183
Registered Health Information Technician $35,325 $38,593 $40,968 $45,974
Clinical Informatics Specialist $64,687 $74,240 $78,306 $82,535
Information Security Manager $81,842 $99,097 $109,287 $117,525

Among the five careers listed on the table above, information security managers earned the highest annual salaries at each benchmark. However, health information managers reported the highest career salary gain with 48% between the entry-level and late-career marks.

Career Opportunities

Depending on their specialization and related work experience, graduates of health informatics programs will be eligible for dozens of positions within the industry. The most common career pathways for master’s-holding informatics professionals include the following three roles.

EHR Implementation Specialist: Implantation specialists offer technical support during the creation of health management and record systems in a variety of clinical settings. Their tasks include implementing project plans and hardware; configuring and maintaining software to meet service requirements; and acting as liaison between the hospital and vendor staff. While the skills required of a specialist may vary depending on the system being implemented, a solid background in clinical technology and health information management are usually required.

Clinical Informatics Coordinator: Coordinators are charged with planning, implementing, and evaluating the information systems used in a particular hospital or healthcare facility. They often manage a network of professionals who work to optimize storage and retrieval of information in order to guarantee that medical personnel have effective access to patient data. They also work to improve upon existing health information systems and therefore must stay on the forefront of related news and innovations.

Information Security Manager: Security managers work to ensure that information within a healthcare organization, whether it be an individual patient or the facility’s entire business, are kept safe and available in accordance with the organization’s security policies and procedures. Knowledge of information security and access procedures as well as federal and state security, privacy, and regulatory law are often required.

Professional Field Median Annual Salary
EHR Implementation Specialist $62,062
Clinical Informatics Coordinator $84,058
Information Security Manager $73,962

Source: HiCareers.com

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to health informatics is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for health informatics professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA): A national program that connects health informatics professionals and students, AMIA offers individual and professional memberships. The organization holds yearly conferences and provides fellowship opportunities, as well as online courses and webinars covering different topics related to medical informatics.
  • American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA): This organization is recognized nationally as the premier hub for professional health information management (HIM) education and training. The AHIMA website features information on certification and career options.
  • Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS): An international organization with a branch in North America, HIMSS works to provide training and professional development for members. The HIMSS website features a vast online resource library, links to professional development opportunities and an events calendar.
Despite the relative affordability of online master’s in health informatics programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Best Online Master's in Health Informatics Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Stanford University Stanford, CA
2 Oregon Health & Science University Portland, OR
3 Northeastern University Boston, MA
4 Brandeis University Waltham, MA
5 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
6 Regis University Denver, CO
7 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
8 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
9 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
10 Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL
11 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY
12 The University of Findlay Findlay, OH
13 Kent State University Kent, OH
14 National University La Jolla, CA
15 Stevens-Henager College - Murray Murray, UT

Best Online Master's in Health Informatics Programs of 2015
Rank Name Location
1 Brandeis University Waltham, MA
2 Northeastern University Boston, MA
3 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
4 The College of Saint Scholastica Duluth, MN
5 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
6 Regis University Denver, CO
7 University of Findlay Findlay, OH
8 Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL
9 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY
10 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
11 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
12 Kent State University Kent, OH
13 National University La Jolla, CA
14 Stevens-Henager College-Murray Murray, UT
15 Oregon Health & Science University Portland, OR