Students interested in studying health informatics should expect a curriculum that combines fundamental concepts in health care, information science, and technology. Classes will typically include topics in health care systems, medical records management, health care law and ethics, health information systems, and organizational management. Strong computer skills are also necessary for modern health care administration. Therefore, instruction in general computer technology and commonly used industry software is included in most curriculums.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
While certificate and associate programs are available for those interested in careers as health information technicians, a bachelors degree in health informatics can prepare graduates for careers in management, research, or development. This usually requires four years of full-time study, including a well-rounded general education curriculum in addition to major-specific courses. Please note, if you are interested in the research or development of side of the health informatics field, you may need to continue on to a master’s or even a doctoral degree program after completing your undergraduate education. Career opportunities can be found with hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, or schools.
Getting Into a Bachelor’s Degree Program
Both students enrolling in college immediately after high school and those returning after a few years off need to thoroughly research the admissions process. A few common requirements are listed below:
- High school transcripts or proof of GED completion
- Any relevant college transcripts
- Minimum GPA (as outlined by the school)
- SAT or ACT test scores (if required)
- Application form and fee
- Application essay (if required)
- Letters of recommendation (if required)
Inside a Health Informatics Bachelor’s Degree Program
Most online bachelors degree programs in health informatics are meant to be completed in four years. However, this will vary based on your level of enrollment, any breaks from the program, and applicable transfer credits. As with all programs, students will need to complete a comprehensive general education curriculum before fully diving into their major course work. This includes instruction in composition, mathematics, natural science, humanities, and social science. Major courses commonly cover medical terminology, human anatomy and physiology, health care administration, health care ethics and law, management, health economics, medical records systems, computer information technology, and classification systems, among others.
Online programs will deliver their courses through a virtual learning platform. This allows students to log in, work on assignments, access course readings and materials, participate in discussion posts, and read instructor feedback at any time and from any location with internet access. This is ideal for working adults or other non-traditional students with time and travel constraints. Despite the lack of face-to-face instruction and peer interaction, web conferencing, steaming video, and chat technology all help to keep classes interactive and engaging.
What’s Next for Health Informatics Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Students who complete an undergraduate degree in health informatics can fill administrative and management positions at hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ offices. They may find jobs as medical and health services managers or other related positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for workers in this occupation is expected to increase by 22% over the projection period of 2010 to 2020. This is faster than the 14% growth expected for jobs over all.
In terms of pay, medical and health services managers reported a mean annual wage of $96,030 in 2011. Please note, however, these statistics may not reflect actual job availability and starting pay in your area. Other factors such as education, professional background, and the specific type of employer will also play a role.