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Students who study health informatics in a master’s program learn how to identify and implement IT solutions to solve healthcare challenges and use technology to improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery. Graduates are prepared to work in the healthcare sector as a health informatics specialist or consultant, healthcare IT project manager, clinical informatics specialist, or informatics nurse.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition for a graduate degree is $12,596 at public universities and $28,017 at private universities. It typically takes about two years of full-time study to earn this degree.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Health Informatics Program

Choose your area of study

This degree is typically offered as a Master of Science (MS). Since graduates of this degree program can pursue careers in different areas of the healthcare sector, it is important to consider your desired career path when choosing an area of study.

Programs may offer various concentrations that focus on, for example, cybersecurity, data analytics, management, public health, biostatistics, or human-centered design. Some of these areas involve working more with patients and medical staff, while others are more IT-centered and require more time with data and information systems. Not all universities provide the same concentrations. Also, it’s essential to look at what internship options are offered through the university and if any are available in your area.

Research schools and programs

You should only apply to institutions that have been approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. These organizations evaluate schools to ensure they provide students with a high-quality education. Those who attend a school that isn’t regionally accredited may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

Ideally, your master’s in health informatics program will also be accredited by a respected industry group like the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. This accrediting organization has particularly high standards for health informatics programs.

Here are some other important factors to consider as well:

  • What is the cost of the program? This is likely a major factor in determining which program you choose, so it should be one of the first things considered before you get too far into your research. You should have a general idea of how much you can spend on the degree program, so focus on those that are a good fit financially.
  • Where is the school located? Although you plan to study online, the school’s location may still affect your decision. Some universities offer a hybrid format, where students can or must attend some classes in person. Additionally, there may be student clubs and organizations, university events, career days, meet-and-greets, orientations, and mentorship programs you’d like to participate in that require you to be on campus.

To learn more about any schools that you’re interested in, you can visit the school’s website, contact an admissions counselor, follow the school on social media, or attend an in-person or virtual open house.

Prepare for tests and applications

Entrance exams aren’t generally needed for this degree, but admissions requirements vary depending on the institution and program. Some have rolling admissions, while others require that all materials be submitted by a specific date. This could also be determined by the date the program begins. At some universities, online programs run concurrent with their on-campus counterparts, while others offer several start dates throughout the year. Check these deadlines and submit all required documents on time.

You may be required to submit materials such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Before submitting an application, always contact an admissions counselor to ensure you have the most accurate information regarding requirements and deadlines.

Select your program

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information, it’s time to select a program. Be reasonable in your expectations, and remember that no program will be perfect in every way. Determine what your priorities are — where you’ll compromise and where you won’t — and compile a list, in order of preference, of all the programs you would be interested in attending. Apply to all on your list.

Before making your final decision, review your needs and goals again. Do you plan to attend school full-time or part-time? Are you only interested in 100% online programs, or are you fine with a hybrid program that has a few in-person requirements? Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace, while others only offer synchronous courses, which involve remotely attending lectures and completing assignments at the same time as other students — which of these two online learning formats do you prefer? Your school should accommodate your scheduling needs and learning preferences.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

You should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year, as this determines eligibility for several forms of federal financial aid, including loans, grants, and work-study programs. Check to see if the university or other institutions offer scholarships to the program.

Also, you may be able to transfer credits previously earned from an accredited university and apply them to the degree. Those who spent time in the military often receive special tuition rates. Furthermore, if your schedule allows, you can work part-time to help cover costs. If you already work in the field, see if your employer offers tuition assistance benefits.

Be sure to speak to financial aid counselors at the schools you’re interested in for the most accurate and specific information about program cost.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Health Informatics Programs

Best Master's in Health Informatics Programs 2023

Northwestern School of Professional Studies

University of Illinois at Chicago

DePaul University

University of New England

Indiana University

USF Health Morsani College of Medicine

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

George Mason University

Louisiana Tech University

University of Scranton

University of Washington

East Carolina University

University of Cincinnati

University of Alabama at Birmingham

University of Central Florida

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

The College of St. Scholastica

University of Kansas

University of Missouri

University of Maryland Global Campus

Dakota State University

Regis University

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Michigan Technological University

Arizona State University

Drexel University

Roberts Wesleyan College

Chatham University

The University of Findlay

FIU College of Business

Southern Illinois University

Liberty University

George Washington University

Umass Lowell

Arkansas Tech University

Texas State University

University of San Diego

Boston University

Northeastern University

Logan University

Medical University of South Carolina

Kent State University

Saint Joseph’s University

Nova Southeastern University

Sacred Heart University

National University

University of Wisconsin

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How We Rank Schools

This list features some of the best online master’s in health informatics programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, regionally accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for postsecondary education. Many of the options on our list also have programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education, which assesses the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of health informatics programs.

We evaluated each school’s program on admission, retention, and graduation rates as well as tuition costs, faculty, and the resources provided for online students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online master’s in health informatics programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, such as U.S. News & World Report, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Health Informatics Program?

A master’s program in health informatics provides students with a broad understanding of information systems that healthcare providers use to manage patient records. They learn how data is stored and organized, what software and hardware are used, how data is kept secure, and various interfaces that patients use to communicate with healthcare providers and access their own data. Since many healthcare institutions are migrating their data to the cloud, the curriculum also covers how to establish, secure, and monitor cloud-based systems.

Material for online courses is generally delivered via an online learning platform such as Blackboard, Canvas, or Moodle. A student portal provides access to the course syllabus, assignments, schedules, reading material, audio-video material, lectures, grades, and more. These platforms also offer chats and message boards so students can keep in touch with one another and communicate with instructors. Many programs are available entirely online, while others have a hybrid option.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in health informatics degree program 

  • American healthcare system. This course explores all the basic elements of the American healthcare system, such as structure, providers, financing, public policy, legal issues, regulations, and more. Students see things from both the business side and the consumer side and examine current issues and concerns related to healthcare in the United States.
  • Healthcare database systems. Students learn how to conceptualize and model databases as well as how to use query languages to obtain important information. The principles discussed help students adapt and work with various domains and applications in the health informatics space.
  • Legal, ethical, and social issues. Because the American healthcare system is dynamic and always evolving, legal, ethical, and social issues often intersect in unexpected ways. These challenges are examined in this course, along with the matters of privacy and data security in an ever-changing social and legal landscape.
  • Healthcare project management. In this course, students learn how to manage complex IT systems and work, track, and control an IT project using the basic concepts of agile project management. The course covers scope, time, quality, and cost, and students learn how to work with a team to bring a project to completion.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Health Informatics?

Career outlook

The career outlook for individuals with a master’s degree in health informatics is highly promising. The healthcare industry continues to embrace technology, electronic health records (EHRs), and data-driven decision-making, creating a strong demand for professionals who can manage, secure, and utilize healthcare data effectively.

Indeed, a master’s degree in health informatics opens the door to diverse career paths, each contributing to the advancement of healthcare through technology. Here are some common career options:

  • Health services manager — Manage the operations of a healthcare practice or department.
    • Median annual salary: $104,830
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 28%
    • New job openings projected: 54,700 annually
  • Information systems manager — Assess an organization’s technology needs, plan IT projects, and hire and supervise IT staff.
    • Median annual salary: $164,070
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 15%
    • New job openings projected: 46,900 annually
  • Health information technologist — Evaluate, install, and maintain health information systems.
    • Median annual salary: $58,250
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 16%
    • New job openings projected: 3,100 annually

Online Master’s Degree in Health Informatics Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master's in health informatics degree program?

Most programs require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Depending on the master’s program, your undergraduate degree may or may not have to be in a related field. Transcripts should be submitted along with the application. There is usually a minimum GPA requirement, but this varies by university. For a graduate program, a resume, one or more letters of recommendation, and a personal statement may also be required.

Many universities also require proof of U.S. citizenship or residency, and if English is not the applicant’s first language, test scores proving English proficiency will likely be needed.

Since admission requirements vary, applicants should always speak with an admissions counselor before applying.

How much does an online master's in health informatics degree cost?

A master’s in health informatics usually costs at least $20,000 to $30,000 in total tuition, and there may be additional technology fees for online students. Books and other university services could mean extra costs as well. Whether the student lives in the same state as the university could also affect the cost of the program, though this may not be the case for online students.

How long does it take to earn an online master's in health informatics degree?

At a traditional brick-and-mortar university, this master’s degree takes two to two-and-a-half years to complete for a full-time student. When additional specializations or concentrations are added, this increases the time needed. Conversely, some universities offer accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as 18 months.

Many universities offer both full- and part-time study options, and this also affects how long it takes to earn the degree. The number of credit hours required varies from about 30 to 50, which impacts the time needed to complete the program as well.

Is an online master's in health informatics worth it?

The field of health informatics is dynamic and continuously evolving, offering numerous opportunities for professionals to make a meaningful impact on healthcare delivery, patient care, and the overall quality of the healthcare system. Graduates with a master’s in health informatics have the chance to drive innovation, improve healthcare outcomes, and contribute to the transformation of the healthcare industry through technology and data-driven solutions. Workers with this degree are often eligible for leadership positions and jobs that are both challenging and lucrative.

Online programs offer several benefits over on-campus education. Programs that feature asynchronous courses offer a high level of flexibility, as classes can be attended at a convenient time for the student, wherever there is an internet connection. Online students also may have access to a wide range of peers, faculty members, and industry professionals with whom they can network.

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