Health informatics is a growing field that combines important concepts in health care, computer technology, and information science. Students interested in this type of degree program will learn about the research and development behind electronic medical records systems, industry software, and the importance of information science in health care delivery systems. Classes in health care law and ethics, the design of health and human services systems, health economics, medical records management, and health services research are also common curriculum elements.
Why a Master’s Degree?
Students interested in careers in health informatics research or development will likely need an advanced degree, which makes online masters degree programs in health informatics an ideal choice. Graduates are equipped with the credentials and research expertise to work in health care administration, systems development, or academia. These opportunities may be found in both the public and private sectors with hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, schools, and even government agencies. If your goal is to teach at the college level or pursue advanced research positions, a master’s degree may serve as a step towards completing your Ph.D.
Getting Into a Master’s Degree Program
Deciding to pursue a masters in health informatics online can be an important step in achieving your career goals. Below are a few common eligibility requirements to consider when you are preparing to apply:
- Completion of an accredited bachelor’s degree program
- Minimum GPA (as outlined by the school)
- GRE or GMAT test scores (if required)
- Resume or curriculum vitae
- Minimum number of years working experience in a related field (if required)
- Application form and fee
- Personal statement(if required)
- Letters of recommendation (if required)
Inside a Health Informatics Master’s Degree Program
Typically, most master’s programs can be completed in two to three years. Of course, this will all depend on the number of courses you enroll in each semester, whether or not any breaks are taken from the program, and if transfer credits are applied. At this level of study, students will need to conduct advanced research, including field experience components. These can usually be arranged in local areas for online students, and, if you opt to continue working while earning your degree, you may even incorporate everyday workplace experiences into your studies. Other common courses include health care economics, health care service systems, health records management, and information security, to name a few.
Since many master’s programs in this field are looking for applicants with relevant work experience, the ability to continue working full-time is highly desirable for prospective students. Online courses usually run in an asynchronous format. This means students can access the online learning platform at any time that is convenient for them. Interactive features such as discussion boards, chat, web conferencing, and streaming video all help students engage with the material and communicate with their peers and professors.
What’s Next for Health Informatics Master’s Degree Holders?
Graduates are on track to pursue management, research, or development positions. These may be openings with hospitals, clinics, research companies, schools, insurance companies, or government agencies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for medical and health services managers is expected to increase by 22% from 2010 to 2020. This is faster than the average of 14% growth expected for all occupations.
In 2011, the mean annual salary reported for medical and health services managers was $96,030. Those working for insurance and employee benefit funds earned the highest salaries at a mean of $139,400. However, the majority of positions were found at general medical and surgical hospitals. Please note, these statistics are only estimates. Actual salaries and job openings will vary based on your location, level of experience, education, and the specific position.