What Can You Expect From a Master’s in Health Informatics Program?

Hoping to enter the medical field but not as a doctor or nurse? A master's degree in health informatics can elevate your career and the healthcare system.
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  • Earning a master's in health informatics can increase your earning potential.
  • Positions in this field offer a wide salary range, depending on your specialty.
  • The healthcare field is continuing to grow, and so is the need for educated professionals.

Even if you don't have the stomach to become a doctor, you can still help patients behind the scenes. With all the sensitive information that needs to get stored, there must be a way to organize and maintain it. And that's where health informatics comes in.

While it may not be a career many people know about, health informatics is vital in maintaining accurate health records and improving medical outcomes. It also relies on computer science knowledge you can gain through a master's degree in health informatics.

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Ready to Start Your Journey?

What Is Health Informatics?

Before deciding whether to pursue a degree in health informatics, it's important to understand the ins and outs of the field.

First: Health informatics makes up an important piece of healthcare administration. It uses computer science, information science, and healthcare to streamline and maintain health records. Accurate information is key when it comes to someone's health. And all of that information should be easy to retrieve and well-organized.

Second: If you go into this field, you should be organized and have computer science knowledge and attention to detail. You should also excel in problem-solving and work well within existing structures.

Third: In this role, you'll review and organize data, maintain patient confidentiality, and use classification codes for insurance. Your main goal is to assist patients by maintaining accurate health records to help healthcare professionals access and retrieve information quickly.

What Do You Need to Know About a Master's in Health Informatics Degree?

If this career appeals to you, there are some things you should know about getting a master's in health informatics. You'll need a bachelor's degree, which takes about four years to finish, and then another two years to complete a master's program.

Degree Focus

The master's degree teaches you how to use information technology and data to improve healthcare outcomes. Health informatics students learn to master the resources and devices used to store and retrieve health data.

Some programs offer concentrations such as clinical informatics and health technology. Other options include healthcare information security and privacy, health administration, and imaging informatics.

Program Length

Master's programs in health informatics usually take about two years to complete if you study full time. Plus, some schools offer accelerated programs, which could reduce the total time to 18 months.

But program length ultimately depends on the number of required credit hours, which could be anywhere from 30-50 credits. Completion times also depend on how much time you can devote to your studies.

For example, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's master's program in biomedical and health informatics requires 35 credits. You can complete the program in one year, 1.5 years, or 2-4 years, depending on the study track you choose.

Average Cost

Master's degrees can be expensive, but you have some options to help offset the cost. A master's degree at a public institution cost an average of $12,934 in the 2019-2020 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

The cost changes depending on the school and whether you attend from out of state. To make your degree more affordable, you can consider applying for scholarships or checking if your employer has a tuition reimbursement program.

Health Informatics Concentrations

Depending on the concentration you choose for your master's in health informatics, your course requirements may differ as well. Schools often provide a few specialization options to choose from, including data science and general health informatics. You may also specialize in healthcare supervision and management, and registered health information administration.

General Health Informatics

Many programs require general degree requirements. These include foundation courses like human resources and talent management, as well as classes on privacy, law, security, and ethical issues.

You may also take classes in programming and project management, which can overlap with other concentrations, too.

Data Science

If you choose a concentration in data science, you'll learn about pattern identification, risk assessment, and database management. Coursework also covers data decision-making.

This concentration teaches you how a patient's information and data can help diagnose a condition. And if you want to become a registered health information administrator, you'll need to understand data analysis and medical ethics.

Healthcare Supervision and Management

If you want to start a position in supervision or management in health informatics, you'll need to take extra courses. In this concentration, your classes may focus on leadership and management techniques.

You'll need to be comfortable managing others and offering direction. But you'll also need to understand the healthcare side of the field, so you can assist where needed.

Bottom Line

A master's in health informatics is a worthwhile venture if you want to expand your career opportunities in healthcare. Plus, it's a great way to gain knowledge and focus on the areas you're most interested in.

If you're an organized person who wants to help others, health informatics covers both. It focuses on different areas of data science and improving the healthcare system along the way.

You can also earn more money with your advanced degree and open up new possibilities in the field for yourself. It may take a couple of years to get there, but you can speed up the process with accelerated options and help offset the cost with scholarships.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Health Informatics Programs

Are health informatics jobs in demand?

Yes, health informatics jobs are in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in this field is projected to increase by 7% between 2021 and 2031. The ability to store and retrieve medical records is invaluable to the field, so the area may continue to grow to compensate for this.

Is a master's in health informatics worth it?

Yes. Given the growth potential and demand for qualified workers, a master's in health informatics is worth it. According to the BLS, medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of $101,340 in May 2021. And these high-level positions often require a master's degree or equal experience.

How much will you make with a master's in health informatics?

If you're interested in high-level positions, you can make over $100,000 annually. For jobs such as registered health information technician, the median annual salary was $47,000 in May 2021, as per the BLS.

It all comes down to what you want to do and the skills required for your position. If you're hoping to manage people, you can earn a higher salary. But other positions in this field may offer a wide range of pay.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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