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.

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 Graduation Rate Location Description
1

Stanford University

 5/594.6%Stanford, CA

campus-Stanford

Stanford University offers one of the best online master's in health informatics for students interested in non-academic careers. The MS in Biomedical Informatics is an Honors Cooperative Program (HCP), also known as a professional master's degree. Standards for this degree are the same as those in the academic-oriented program. Rather than complete a research component, students work in a biomedical informatics field. Online students who live close to Stanford may enroll in on-campus classes, though all courses can be taken online.. Students must fulfill several math- and science-based prerequisite requirements before beginning the program.

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

Oregon Health & Science University

 4/5N/APortland, OR

campus_oregon_health_science_university_school_of_medicine

OHSU's Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program has several options for postgrads interested in this rapidly developing field. The Master of Science program has three degree tracks: clinical informatics, bioinformatics & computational biology and health information management. The 52-credit HIM track is offered both wholly online or in a traditional campus-based program. Its curriculum includes the specialized study of information governance, clinical classification and reimbursement systems, biomedical ethics and professional practice management.

A number of educational technology solutions are in use at OHSU. Generally, course content is managed through the Sakai learning management system. With this LMS, instructors deliver course materials, lecture notes, syllabi and assignments. Students use the same interface to complete assignments and group projects, as well as collaborate in chat rooms, discussion threads and blogs. Sakai is supplemented by the use of Adobe Connect, Turnitin and the iClicker audience response system.

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3

Northeastern University

 4/581.62%Boston, MA

campus-Northeastern-University

Healthcare administration professionals aspiring to finish a graduate degree while working will find an appealing option in Northeastern's online Master of Science in Health Informatics. The curriculum comprises eight core courses covering healthcare systems, management and information technology, supplemented by two elective courses and a capstone research project. Clinical workflows, business processes and advanced technological skills will all be covered during 33-credit-hour program.

Online courses are delivered via the BlackBoard online learning management system, where syllabi, detailed homework assignments, grading scales and faculty contact information are provided for each course. Course content is delivered via podcasts, videos, PowerPoint or interactive multimedia, while discussion forums and wiki tools are used to facilitate collaboration. Coursework is asynchronous with weekly assignment due-dates.

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4

Brandeis University

 5/590.85%Waltham, MA

campus-Brandeis-University

The online M.S. in Health & Medical Informatics at Brandeis is a 30 credit-hour graduate program designed to create leaders in healthcare delivery management. The curriculum emphasizes knowledge of regulations, strategic decision-making and familiarity with technological solutions. Six core classes and four electives are required to complete the degree.

Online courses at Brandeis are delivered via the LATTE course management system. LATTE is based on the popular platform, Moodle, and supports multimedia course content in PowerPoint, HTML, QuickTime audio and video, PDF and .doc text files. Students complete assignments via BlackBoard Collaborate, email and discussion forums. Additional support is provided by the university's comprehensive library and technology services.

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5

Nova Southeastern University

 1/546.11%Fort Lauderdale, FL

campus_Nova_Southeastern_University

NSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine offers aspiring healthcare professionals the opportunity to earn a Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics exclusively online. This program's 43-hour curriculum places technological and business knowledge within the framework of the healthcare system. Core class work includes the study of information systems in healthcare, information security, database systems, system design and analysis, clinical decision support systems and more. A practicum experience at an approved local facility is required; paid internships may also be available to interested students.

All coursework is administered through the BlackBoard learning management platform, while assignments and group projects are completed using Collaborate software. Classes are mostly asynchronous, though some professors may require an occasional time-sensitive login. Online students at NSU are supported by dedicated assistance in career development, counseling, financial aid and technical support, as well as complete access to the digital content of the Health Professions Division library.

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6

Regis University

 5/559.05%Denver, CO

The College of Computer and Information Sciences at Regis offers a fully online Master of Science in Health Care Informatics and Information Management geared toward practicing IT professionals. Healthcare administrative professionals interested in career growth within IT may also apply. The curriculum in this 36-hour program explores the technological side of healthcare records management and equips its graduates for leadership roles.

Regis deploys its online courses through the WorldClass distance education platform. All material is asynchronous and delivered in sequential 8-week sessions. Admissions are rolling and students may begin classes at one of three start dates. Average completion time is two years.

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7

East Carolina University

 2/558.63%Greenville, NC

East Carolina University's Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management is offered in either a traditional, wholly online or hybrid format. The 48-credit-hour program culminates with a research thesis or practical internship, depending on a student's study track. Alternatively, students who opt to specialize in registered health information administration take courses to prepare for professional licensure.

Online classes are administered through the BlackBoard learning management system. All coursework is asynchronous, meaning that students access assignments and discussions when it's most convenient. Due dates occur on a weekly basis and some tests may require synchronous logins. The Respondus LockDown browser is used for testing in some classes.

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8

Drexel University

 5/567.36%Philadelphia, PA

Drexel's College of Computing and Informatics and its College of Nursing and Health Professionals have teamed up to develop the online Master of Science in Health Informatics. Healthcare practitioners and IT specialists alike can further their career growth through this program. Graduates of the 45-hour degree use data and technology to improve patient health outcomes. Students may choose full- or part-time study and have seven years to complete the coursework.

Online courses are deployed on the BlackBoard learning management platform. Recorded lectures are supplemented with multimedia presentations and reading material. Collaboration takes place in email, threaded discussions, blogs and group projects. Classes are entirely asynchronous, allowing students to complete coursework when it is most convenient. Candidates with no prior clinical experience are required to complete an internship; while classes are held online, the internship must be completed at an approved local facility.

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9

Michigan Technological University

 3/563.63%Houghton, MI

The wholly online Master of Science in Medical Informatics at Michigan Tech is targeted toward healthcare administrators and IT professionals. Students in this multidisciplinary program explore topics like telemedicine, medical ethics, consumer health, healthcare systems, global health informatics, home care and research. The 30 credit-hours can be completed with either a thesis, practicum or supplemental coursework.

Online classes are deployed on the Canvas learning management system, where instructors stream live lectures and post pre-recorded videos. A network of electronic tools allows for virtual completion of assignments. Students in this program also may complete lab work via a virtual laboratory.

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10

Loyola University Chicago

 5/573.35%Chicago, IL

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Health Systems Management is an entirely online graduate degree program at Loyola University's Niehoff School of Nursing offering a concentration in healthcare informatics. These students explore clinical decision-making via data, electronic patient records, patient outcome design, resource and care allocation design and outcomes database development.

Loyola uses the Sakai electronic learning platform for its distance courses; content in Sakai is supplemented by Adobe Connect webinars. Most coursework in this 41 credit-hour program is asynchronous; however, a few time-sensitive log-in requirements are not unusual. While all classes are held online, degree candidates must perform a practicum at an approved local facility.

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11

Northern Kentucky University

 2/536.18%Highland Heights, KY

Northern Kentucky's Master of Science in Health Informatics program is aimed toward healthcare professionals aspiring to advance in the growing field of health IT. The 36 credit-hour program is offered wholly online and can be completed in 24 months. Core courses examine health informatics, management theory and foundations, project management, database management and research methods.

BlackBoard is the university's online education platform of choice. Distance students are granted full access to the university library with dedicated librarian support, career services, a writing center and advising. While all classes are online, students are required to complete a two-semester capstone at an approved local facility.

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12

The University of Findlay

 1/554.63%Findlay, OH

The Master of Science in Health Informatics at Findlay is offered entirely online. The multidisciplinary curriculum includes courses on computer technology, patient safety, information science, management science, management engineering, healthcare delivery and public health. The 33-credit-hour program is designed to be completed in two years.

Findlay uses BlackBoard Learn and Moodle platforms to administer its online classes. Coursework is asynchronous, allowing for maximum scheduling flexibility. All classes are 8 weeks in length and delivered sequentially.

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13

Kent State University

 2/555.05%Kent, OH

The Master of Science: Health Informatics degree is a wholly online program from the School of Library and Information Science at Kent State designed to meet the needs of this growing specialty. In the core curriculum, candidates explore health informatics management, health records management, health IT systems and legal issues related to the field. The 36-hour program can be completed in two years.

Kent State uses BlackBoard Learn to manage its distance education offerings. All course content, assignment submission and peer collaboration takes place on this platform. Classes are seven weeks in length and delivered sequentially; generally, students take two courses at a time. Students may choose to complete their program with an online thesis project or an internship at a local facility.

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14

National University

 3/540%La Jolla, CA

National University is a large private school in southern California dedicated to educating minority students, working adults and alternative learners. Its Master of Science in Health Informatics is an exclusively online degree option drawing on the resources of its Center for Technology & Health Sciences, the School of Health & Human Services, School of Engineering & Technology and School of Business & Management. The 12-course program delivers advanced knowledge in healthcare information systems, technological tools and the use of informatics in decision-making and problem-solving.

Online classes are conducted on the eCollege learning management platform. All syllabi, course outlines, discussion forums, multimedia content, software applications and exams take place within this system. Most classes are structured into accelerated 4-week sessions with asynchronous coursework. All distance learners enjoy 24/7 access to a Student Concierge providing access to admissions, advising and career planning services.

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15

Stevens-Henager College-Murray

 4/528.77%Murray, UT

Stevens-Henager College is a private career college located in Utah offering an online Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics tailored to the needs of working adults. Aspiring healthcare professionals examine concepts crucial to success in this new field, including data management, socio-legal issues, data security, predictive analysis, outcomes assessment and strategic management. This accelerated 60 credit-hour program can be completed in 15 months.

Distance education is managed by Stevens-Henager's partner institution, Independence University. All courses are delivered on a user-friendly learning management system. Content is asynchronous, allowing the working student to schedule study time when it's most convenient. Electronic textbooks are included with each course, and supplemental texts may be rented from the online bookstore.

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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

   
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.

Methodology

The methodology behind our rankings is grounded in statistical data and a few consistently applied guiding principles. Our 2017 rankings reflect the most recent data compiled from IPEDS and the College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. Our goal is to objectively assess relative quality based on academic outcomes, affordability, and the breadth and depth of online learning opportunities. The following criteria was used to make these assessments:

Minimum Requirements

  • Each school must be an accredited public or private, not-for-profit institution.
  • Must offer an online master’s in Health Informatics degree program
  • Must submit an annual report to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Ranking Factors

All eligible institutions are ranked on a 100 point scale. A perfect score of 100 is earned by ranking #1 for all ranking factors.

ACADEMIC QUALITY – 50% OF TOTAL SCORE

  • Admissions Rate – 25%
  • Enrollment Rates – 15%
  • Retention Rate – 15%
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate – 25%
  • Number of Master’s Health Informatics Graduates – 20%

AFFORDABILITY – 25% OF TOTAL SCORE

  • Average Net Price – 40%
  • Percentage of Enrolled Students Taking Federal Loans – 20%
  • Loan Default Rate – 40%

ONLINE PROGRAMMING – 25% OF TOTAL SCORE

  • Percentage of Graduate Programs Offered Online – 40%
  • Graduate School Enrollment – 40%
  • Percentage of Programs Offered at the Graduate level – 20%