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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 Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median pay for health information technologists in 2021 was $55,560, while medical records specialists earned an average of $46,660. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition for a master’s degree in the 2020-21 academic year was $12,394 at public universities and $26,621 at private universities. It typically takes about two years of full-time study to complete this degree.

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

Choose your area of study

Since graduates of this degree 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, clinical thinking, management, public health, biostatistics, and 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

After determining your area of study, research what programs are offered and by which schools. Look for programs with specific courses or specializations related to your career path. Along with academic considerations, 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.
  • Is the school accredited? It should be accredited by agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This is important, as it affects not only the quality of education but also your eligibility for financial aid, future acceptance to other postsecondary programs, and job opportunities after graduation. If a program is significantly less expensive than most others, that’s a sign to check its accreditation.
  • 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. Proximity to the school may influence your final decision.
  • What is the learning format? A synchronous curriculum makes it easier to build better relationships with fellow students and teachers, while asynchronous learning gives you much more control over your schedule. Find out if the program is completely synchronous, asynchronous, or a combination of both. Moreover, if you have work or family responsibilities, find out what options are available for part-time study, as not all universities offer this option.

Prepare for tests and applications

Entrance exams aren’t generally needed for this degree, but admissions requirements vary depending on the institution. 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.

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. Then, after you have all your acceptance letters, choose the one that’s highest on the list.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Be sure to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), 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. Financing and pay-as-you-go options may be available from the university.

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.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Health Informatics Programs

Best Master's in Health Informatics Programs 2023
01

Northwestern School of Professional Studies
01

University of Illinois at Chicago
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DePaul University
01

University of New England
01

Indiana University
01

USF Health Morsani College of Medicine
01

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
01

George Mason University
01

Louisiana Tech University
01

University of Scranton
01

University of Washington
01

East Carolina University
01

University of Cincinnati
01

University of Alabama at Birmingham
01

University of Central Florida
01

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
01

The College of St. Scholastica
01

University of Kansas
01

University of Missouri
01

University of Maryland Global Campus
01

Dakota State University
01

Regis University
01

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
01

Michigan Technological University
01

Arizona State University
01

Drexel University
01

Roberts Wesleyan College
01

Chatham University
01

The University of Findlay
01

FIU College of Business
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Southern Illinois University
01

Liberty University
01

George Washington University
01

Umass Lowell
01

Arkansas Tech University
01

Texas State University
01

University of San Diego
01

Boston University
01

Northeastern University
01

Logan University
01

Medical University of South Carolina
01

Kent State University
01

Saint Joseph’s University
01

Nova Southeastern University
01

Sacred Heart University
01

National University
01

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, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. Many of the schools on our list have been accredited by 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 tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student 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 to 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 health care system. This course explores all the basic elements of the American healthcare system, such as structure, providers, financing, public policy, legal issues, regulations, how it compares to systems in other countries, 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, 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. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical and health services managers, including those in health informatics, is projected to grow by 28 percent by 2032, a much faster rate than the average for all occupations. Professionals in this position can expect to earn a median salary of $104,830 annually.

Career paths

Health informatics is a dynamic field at the intersection of healthcare and information technology. It focuses on leveraging data and technology to improve patient care, streamline healthcare processes, and advance medical research. Earning an online master’s degree in health informatics equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to manage and analyze healthcare data, develop health information systems, and drive innovation in the healthcare industry.

A master’s degree in health informatics opens the door to diverse career paths, each contributing to the advancement of healthcare through technology and data-driven solutions. Here are some common career options:

  • EHR implementation specialist — deploys electronic health record systems in healthcare facilities, ensuring they are effectively integrated and user-friendly.
  • Health information security analyst — protects patient data and ensures compliance with privacy laws.
  • Telehealth specialist — facilitates remote patient care by implementing telehealth technologies, ensuring patients can access healthcare from anywhere.
  • Population health analyst — focuses on assessing and improving the health of specific populations by analyzing data and implementing healthcare strategies.
  • Research informatics manager — supports research projects in healthcare and medical institutions, managing data and technology systems to advance research.

Health Informatics Manager

Earning Potential: $82,240-$189,000 annually
Education Required: Master’s degree in health informatics or a related field

A health informatics manager oversees the development and maintenance of health information systems in healthcare organizations. They ensure the secure and efficient management of patient data, electronic health records (EHRs), and other health informatics solutions. Health informatics managers collaborate with IT teams, healthcare providers, and administrators to implement technology solutions that enhance patient care, streamline healthcare processes, and improve data security. They play a critical role in ensuring that healthcare data is accurately captured, stored, and accessible while complying with relevant regulations. Health informatics managers are at the forefront of leveraging technology to drive innovation and efficiency in healthcare delivery.

Clinical Informatics Specialist

Earning Potential: $56,000-$127,000 annually
Education Required: Master’s degree in health informatics or a related field

Clinical informatics specialists bridge the gap between healthcare providers and information technology (IT) professionals. They optimize the use of EHRs and other health informatics tools to enhance patient care and streamline clinical workflows. These specialists collaborate with healthcare staff, offering training on informatics tools, troubleshooting technology-related issues, and ensuring efficient use of IT systems. Clinical informatics specialists focus on improving healthcare quality, patient safety, and data management. They play a pivotal role in facilitating the seamless integration of technology into clinical practice, enhancing patient outcomes and healthcare delivery efficiency.

Health Data Analyst

Earning Potential: $51,000-$94,000 annually
Education Required: Master’s degree in health informatics or a related field

A health data analyst is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting healthcare data to derive valuable insights. They assess data to identify trends, patterns, and anomalies, enabling informed decision-making and the improvement of patient outcomes. Health data analysts work with diverse healthcare datasets, including electronic health records, claims data, and clinical research information. They play a crucial role in measuring healthcare quality, evaluating the effectiveness of medical interventions, and providing data-driven solutions to enhance healthcare delivery. By applying data analytics and statistical methods, health data analysts contribute to improving the healthcare system, helping to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

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 between $20,000 and $30,000, 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.

Graduates with a master’s degree in health informatics are often eligible for leadership positions and jobs that are challenging and lucrative. The average salary for a clinical informatics specialist, for example, is $81,354, according to Salary.com.

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 programs may save time and money since there will be few (if any) transportation costs and no costs for on-campus living expenses. Online students also may have access to a wide range of peers, faculty members, and industry professionals with whom they can network.