Best Online Bachelor’s in Health Informatics Programs

Badge (Online) with 2-Line TitleBachelor'sin Health Informatics2017
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Students who earn a health informatics bachelor degree online will learn to engage with new and evolving technologies that are critical to the healthcare industry. This interdisciplinary field intersects with several aspects of medical data collection and organization, allowing you to craft your niche within the medical field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 15% growth in health informatics careers by 2024. Professionals need a progressive and comprehensive online program with updated technological resources and training methods to succeed.

Choosing a health informatics online degree program that fits your particular academic interests is important. An online degree can be tailored to fit your personal career aspirations. Common core courses for many online programs focus on the business and administrative side of the healthcare industry. Project management, economics in the healthcare field, marketing, and human resource management are topics frequently taught in core curricula. You will also have the opportunity to pick a number of elective courses that fit your interests.

A degree in health informatics can prepare you for a variety of fulfilling careers in the healthcare industry. Many graduates seek positions such as medical records managers, office directors, informatics analysts, clinical informatics specialists, healthcare consultants, and nursing home administrators. There will be time throughout your coursework to hone your skills and develop your specialties.

Most health informatics online degrees require a final project and a batch of courses based on the skills you’ve learned throughout the program, often referred to as a capstone project and capstone courses. These two components of your training help define your specialty in the health informatics field. Specializing helps students learn their strengths and find the job that best fits their expertise.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Clarkson College 68.33 4/5 71% Omaha, NE

Clarkson College offers a flexible and affordable BS in health information administration completely online. This online health informatics degree program can be completed on a part or full-time basis. Students who choose to attend full-time can complete their bachelor’s degree in 10 semesters, completing 128 credits. Clarkson accepts up to 70 transfer credits from an accredited college, enabling students with some college education to complete their health informatics degree online. Students will also be required to complete designated service courses, focusing on providing compassionate, ethical healthcare.

The program accepts applications on a rolling basis, and students can choose to start classes in August, January, or May each year. The program is generally designed for students who are seeking certification as a registered health information administrator (RHIA) and have no prior undergraduate degree.

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2 Western Governors University 65.00 3/5 27% Salt Lake City, UT

The career-oriented curriculum of Western Governors University's BS in health information management is designed for those who have a background in healthcare, IT, or business and want to further their knowledge of health information management. For this online degree, having some prior exposure to health informatics is beneficial.

Unlike most colleges, this program does not require students to submit entrance exam scores, such as the SAT or ACT. The school -- which has been around for 15 years -- also differentiates itself from other universities through their tuition and fees policies. WGU charges students a flat tuition rate every six months, incentivising students to complete their degrees quickly. Students with no prior college credits typically complete this online degree in health informatics program in four to five years.

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3 Oregon Institute of Technology 64.58 3/5 48% Klamath Falls, OR

The health informatics online degree program at Oregon Institute of Technology is the only degree of its kind offered through a public university in the state of Oregon. The curriculum includes classes in communication, humanities, math, and information technology courses. Tuition costs $227 per credit hour for online classes regardless of one’s location, making the program an affordable option for in- and out-of-state students.

This health informatics degree online program is designed to fit into the lives of adults who are balancing work and family commitments. The course loads for this degree can be increased or decreased from quarter to quarter depending on one’s current schedule. It should be noted that despite the flexibility in the number of credits a student can take per quarter, these web-based courses are not offered asynchronously; students must complete their online courses in accordance to the online academic calendar.

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4 Southern New Hampshire University 56.67 4/5 59% Manchester, NH

This affordable online health informatics degree program offered through Southern New Hampshire University is built for students who have little to no prior experience working with health information. The curriculum caters to both industry-specific courses as well as general undergraduate courses in order to prepare students for the workforce. The BS in health information management offered at this university has led students to pursue careers as clinical information specialists, public health information analysts, and health information managers, among other titles.

Tuition and fees are equivalent for both in- and out-of-state students in this health informatics degree online program at $320 per credit hour. In addition, Southern New Hampshire University gives active duty military and their spouses a substantial discount on tuition, charging only $225 per credit hour. The program is not available to residents of Kentucky.

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5 King University 53.33 3/5 49% Bristol, TN

King University’s online health informatics degree program can be completed in as little as 16 months, making their bachelor of science in health informatics particularly appealing to students who want to quickly earn their undergraduate degree remotely. The program is comprised of 124 total semester hours, 48 of which are specific to the health informatics curriculum. The school allows students to transfer credits from other institutions, providing options for those with some undergraduate education already completed.

Students will take classes not just about health informatics, but also on subjects such as healthcare organization, information systems, project management, legal issues, and ethics. Those who commit to this program will pay $300 per credit hour and have a wide variety of career opportunities upon graduation in various fields such as: hospitals, clinics, and private practices.

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6 University of New England 45.83 4/5 58% Biddeford, ME

The BS in health informatics offered through the University of New England’s web-based system is structured by a unique approach to education called Competency-Based Education. This learning style prioritizes mastering content over time spent in class, which allows students who master the content quickly to advance through their studies at an accelerated pace. The undergraduate online health informatics degree can be completed in varying lengths of time, depending on the pace of the student’s mastery of course content.

The program at the University of New England consists of 120 "competencies" which are the equivalent of one-half credit hour each. The coursework is geared toward students who are in various places in their undergraduate education: those who have already completed their associate degree, have some college credits, or have a bachelor’s degree and would like to complete a second undergraduate degree. Students can transfer up to 60 credits to the Competency-Based Education structure of this program.

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Each health informatics online degree will reflect the objectives and character of the institution. Details pertaining to the kinds of training you will receive will vary from program to program. Looking at the core curriculum can give you a better understanding of the material you’ll be working with. These sections will often include elective courses taught in previous years, giving you an idea of how the degree can be customized.

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR’S IN HEALTH INFORMATICS

Courses taught through an accredited program will prepare students to enter the field. Below is a sample curriculum of what you can expect to encounter during your instruction.

Healthcare Delivery Systems: This course teaches you the cultural, economic, and political aspects of healthcare. Students explore health care costs and accessibility of services at the federal, state, and local levels.

Ethical and Legal Considerations: In these types of courses you will learn about the U.S. legal system and ethical procedures within the field. In your career you will deal with a variety of scenarios where your knowledge of applicable laws and legal restrictions will set you apart from your peers.

Professional Practice and Experience: Some health informatics online degrees offer on-the-job learning experience. Here, you will apply and refine the skills you have learned in other courses.

Healthcare Capstone: Most online programs require you to complete a series of capstone courses and execute a final project. Here, you will demonstrate the skills you have mastered and how you will apply them in the field.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE BACHELOR’S IN HEALTH INFORMATICS?

Full-time students can expect to finish their online degree in health informatics in four years. Most programs require approximately 120-140 course credits.

The length of your program might vary depending on if you have transfer credit available from another school or enroll in an accelerated program. The flexibility of online learning is helpful for those students that have outside work, familial, and personal obligations. Part-time students can expect to take longer than four years to complete their bachelor’s degree.

When looking at health informatics online degrees, be sure to review the school’s accreditation standing. Accredited schools have been evaluated by educational authorities who ensure that programs are in good academic standing. There are two kinds of accreditation: regional and national. Regionally accredited schools, while sometimes more expensive, allow students to easily transfer their credits; 98% of regionally accredited schools are degree-granting, nonprofit institutions. In comparison to schools with national accreditation, 65% are non-degree granting institutions and are often vocational or trade schools. Nationally accredited schools might not present the same opportunities to transfer credits to other schools and sometimes receive less outside funding opportunities.

Various positions in healthcare require state licensure. Be sure that your earned credentials will be recognized by the state and help you advance to your desired career position. The website for the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) is a valuable resource.

The United States Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education (CHEA) oversee and approve accreditors. The DOE is responsible for establishing the standards and criteria necessary to be considered for accreditation. The CHEA is an association of approximately 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities that acts as quality control for educational standards. CHEA is also actively working to improve the quality of education by strengthening its accreditation review principles. More information can be found on the websites for the DOE and the CHEA.

JOB PLACEMENT

By 2024, more than 56,000 new positions are expected to open in health informatics, health services management, and other related fields. This projection indicates a 15-17% increase in jobs, a faster growth rate than in many other occupations. The aging population and the increase of upgraded electronic recordkeeping systems in hospitals accounts for this projection. Earning your health informatics degree online can help secure your place among the next generation of professionals.

BACHELOR’S IN HEALTH INFORMATICS SALARY

The salaries indicated below speak to the variety of positions in health informatics. The table indicates that all salaries will increase with experience. The median pay for medical records and health information technicians in May 2016 was $37,040, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Medical Records Manager $44,224 $38,000 $37,000 $42,000
Medical Biller $35,877 $30,000 $34,000 $36,000
Medical Assistant $30,448 $28,000 $31,000 $35,000
Medical Office Manager $48,388 $39,000 $48,000 $50,000
Clinical Informatics Specialist $72,932 $65,000 $74,000 $81,000

BACHELOR’S IN HEALTH INFORMATICS CAREERS

Professionals in health informatics work in various roles that combine technology and healthcare. Professionals must be familiar with current practices in data collection, storage, and access. You must be able and willing to adapt to technological upgrades, including advancements in software and hardware, in order to provide the best access, storage, and maintenance of medical records and pertinent patient information. Having an eye for detail and appreciation for consistent, methodological workflow is essential. Below is a list of health informatics careers and their duties.

  • Informatics Specialist: Specialists optimize the use and function of medical records for patient care. They often serve as the liaison among the clinical staff and the software or computer vendors. Specialists often oversee software updates and ensure that all information collection and storage is sufficient for the needs of the location.
  • Medical Transcriptionist: Transcriptionists listen to voice recordings made by healthcare workers and physicians and convert them into written text. They often review and edit reports, utilize voice recognition software, and posses an expansive knowledge of medical terms and abbreviations.
  • Medical Records Manager: Managers assist in fiscal operations, including budgets and financial reports. They supervise the release of patient information to various medical agencies and ensure that all of those interactions are carried out according to state and federal regulations.
  • Medical Records Director: Directors compile, process, and maintain medical records in hospitals and clinics. They follow the standards for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in order to protect patient privacy and confidential records.
  • Information Clerks: Clerks are responsible for maintaining a variety of records and collecting data. In some scenarios, they may be required to work directly with patients and customers.
Position Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate
Medical Records Technician $44,224 15%
Medical Biller $35,877 15%
Medical Assistant $30,488 23%
Medical Office Manager $48,388 17%
Clinical Information Specialist $72,932 15%

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Being involved with professional organizations related to your field can be a way to accelerate and establish your career. If you join any research and academic societies, membership often includes access to valuable online resources, including available job postings, relevant news and blogs, and annual conferences and exhibitions. Most professionals become active members of more than one association to build a social and professional network in each community.

American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA): AMIA is a community of informaticians committed to collecting, analyzing, and applying data that will increase the quality of healthcare. They provide their members with professional networking and growth opportunities in an effort to advance the field.

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS): As one of the global leaders in organization of healthcare informaticians, the HIMISS annual conference is the industry’s largest health information technology educational program. This regular exhibition provides an opportunity for members to experience the latest innovations in healthcare informatics.

American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA): ANIA gives members access to a variety of resources, including certification review courses, continuing education courses, and exam preparation. In addition to hosting an annual conference, the ANIA has regional chapter websites where members can gather for virtual meet and greets and network with professionals in their geographic area.

Identify and explore all of the financial aid resources available to make your education affordable. Complete and submit a FAFSA application to be considered for federal loans. The sooner this is completed the better, since funds are delegated on a rolling basis. Additional sources of funding, such as work-study programs and scholarships, may be acquired through private colleges and universities. Some private organizations reserve funds for various racial, religious, and cultural communities.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

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

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the 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 several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE 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 SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree. 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.