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Best Online Master's in Health Informatics Programs For 2021


Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Health informatics, often referred to as health information systems, relies on information technology to help organize health records and improve outcomes in healthcare services. Online health informatics master’s programs prepare students to be leaders in healthcare technology by teaching methods of retrieving and storing patient data, building communication protocols within healthcare facilities, and identifying ways to facilitate effective communication between healthcare professionals. If you have ever been interested in a career in the healthcare industry and have a particular interest in information technology, you may find that one of the best online master's in health informatics programs for 2021 featured in this article is what you have been looking for. As you continue reading, you will learn what health informatics programs offer to students, how to become a Master of Health Informatics and find information about several programs offering this specialty.


What Exactly Is a Master's in Health Informatics Program?


Master’s in Health Informatics Programs are graduate programs focused on increasing the quality of healthcare services by using information technology to organize and evaluate records. The programs bridge the gap between analytical and nursing sciences and prepare graduates to take on specialized, positions within the healthcare industry.


8 Top Benefits of Master's in Health Informatics Programs


It is only natural for anyone considering a new career move to weigh the pros and cons. Knowing whether a new job or obtaining a degree will be beneficial to you makes it easier to decide if you should move forward. There are several reasons why pursuing a degree from online health informatics master’s programs, like those featured in this article, could be worthwhile.

1. You can step into leadership roles. Graduates of the best health informatics master's programs online often step into positions as managers of health information technology. Whether you work as a health information manager, medical records supervisor, or data security analyst, a master's degree in health informatics will position you for leadership roles.
2. You will develop skills that are in high demand. Health informatics evaluates resources, devices, and methods used to collect, store, grant access to, and protect information related to health and medicine. By meeting standards set by accreditation agencies, such as the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management, accredited health informatics master’s programs online provide high academic standards coupled with instruction from faculty skilled at identifying skills necessary for success.
3. Have access to faculty equipped with current knowledge related to health informatics: Instructors of health informatics programs are responsible for knowing the most recent trends and information related to this specialty. When you enroll in a master's in health informatics program, you will learn from professionals in the industry who will prepare you for your career.
4. You can pursue jobs in a field with high growth potential. Careers in computer and information technology are expected to grow rapidly in the next five years. Having the knowledge that comes by completing one of the best health informatics master’s programs online can give you access to jobs in the pharmaceutical industry, psychology, epidemiology, medical or biological research, clinical medicine, and nursing.
5. Increased Job Security: Achieving a master's in health informatics will prepare you to meet the demand for qualified people capable of advancing in computer and information technology used in healthcare settings. Having these skills will make you an excellent candidate to secure long-term employment.
6. Good Income Earning Potential: Jobs in information technology come with great income earning potential, with beginning salaries averaging over $72,000 per year.
7. Diverse Job Possibilities: A master's in health informatics degree allows graduates to pursue employment in various settings, depending on their preference of work environment. Whether working in a physician's office, medical practice or larger corporations, the opportunities are endless.
8. You will add Value and Security to the Healthcare Industry. After graduating from a health informatics master's program online, you will have the knowledge and skills necessary to add value to the way healthcare systems are used and help improve the security of protected patient information.


How Long Are Online Health Informatics Master's Programs


Online master’s in health informatics programs typically range from eighteen to twenty-four months in length. Some colleges or universities give students the option of part-time or full-time classes, which can be a factor that determines how long it takes to complete a program.

The University of Central Florida has developed a Master's in Health Informatics program that provides detailed instruction on business management and the clinical aspects related to healthcare informatics. The program, which is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management, can be completed in as few as two years.
The University of Chicago at Illinois recognizes industry demands for qualified health informatics specialists. It offers an online Master's in Health Informatics program to help prepare students to meet those demands. The program is 100% online and accepts students from diverse backgrounds and professional experience. Students may choose to enroll part-time and complete the program in three years or full-time and earn their degree in two years.
Recognized by U.S. News and World Reports among the Top 20 Best Graduate Programs, the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers one of the best master's in health informatics online programs available. CAHIIM has reaffirmed the program's accreditation through 2027. The program is designed to be completed in twenty-four months, and 95% of graduates are reported to be employed in Health Informatics positions within six months of graduation.
According to Predictive Analytics Today, the Master's in Health Informatics program at the University of Cincinnati is ranked as the "#1 Data Science School" in the United States. With faculty members who are healthcare experts and nationally known professors. The MHI degree program includes thirty-three credit hours and can be completed in two years.


How Much Do Online Health Informatics Master's Programs Cost?


Planning for tuition and other expenses ahead of time will help relieve stress while earning your degree. The costs of online master's in health informatics programs vary from school to school. The programs featured in this article range from $20,000 to a little over $60,000. When you decide which school(s) you are interested in attending, take the time to talk with financial aid advisors and ask for a breakdown of tuition and possible expenses. If you believe you need help to pay for your degree, be sure to fill a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Information you provide on the FAFSA will be used to determine if you qualify for any federal grants or loans. Other options for funding your education include applying for personal loans or talking with employers about possible employer-sponsored education programs.

School Credits or Courses Needed Per Credit or Course Cost Program Total
George Mason University 39 Credit Hours $835 (includes $35/credit hour for distance learning) $32,565
University of Central Florida 38 Credit Hours $772.69 per credit hr. $29,362.22
University of South Carolina 36 Credit Hours $572.25 (Resident)
$1,240 (Non-Resident) Per credit hr.
$20,601 (Resident)
$44,640 (Non-Resident)
Northwestern University 12 Courses $4,693 per course $57,816
The College of Saint Scholastica 42 Credit Hours $658 $27,636


What Is the Curriculum Like?


The curriculum in accredited master's in health informatics programs online combine clinical expertise and computer technology. This combination helps students develop the skills needed to plan, design, and implement efforts to improve healthcare outcomes by using information technology. The following are examples of coursework required in some of this article’s featured programs.

Boston University offers an Online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems Concentration in Health Informatics designed to give students exposure to electronic health applications and how they are used to collect, process, and store data. The program provides students with a solid knowledge of computer networks, data communication, and biomedical databases. Coursework for the program includes ten classes totaling forty credit hours.

Ten credit hours are earned in core courses:

◦ Business Data communication and Networks
◦ Database Design and Implementation for Business
◦ Information Systems Analysis and Design
◦ IT Strategy and Management
◦ Information Structures with Java, OR Information Structures with Python

Specialty Concentration Course Requirements:

◦ Biomedical Sciences and Health IT
◦ Health Informatics
◦ Health Information Systems
◦ Enterprise Cyber Security
◦ Advanced Health Informatics

Drexel University is home to one of our featured online health informatics master’s programs. Students in Drexel's program complete forty-five quarter credits. Students may transfer up to nine approved credits into the program. The curriculum for the Drexel University program includes the following coursework.

◦ Web Systems and Architecture
◦ Leadership and Stewardship in the Health Professions
◦ Economics of Healthcare Management and Policy
◦ Healthcare Business Practice I, II, and III
◦ Human-Computer Interaction

With retention rates, comprehensive examination pass rates, and employment rates of 100%, The Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management program at East Carolina University is truly one of the best health informatics master’s programs online available. The program includes instruction on technical skills and concepts necessary for a career in health informatics. It also provides an internship designed to develop a skill set that prepares students to succeed as leaders in their careers. The internship gives students the opportunity to experience hands-on training and real-world experiences to promote success in the workplace.

Some courses included in the Master's in health informatics program at East Carolina University are listed below.

◦ Decision Support Systems
◦ Database Systems in Healthcare
◦ Health Information Privacy and Security
◦ Evaluations Methods in Health Informatics
◦ Health Data Structures

National University, home to one of our featured online master's in health informatics programs, is a San Diego-based nonprofit institution that offers year-round enrollment and classes that start monthly. The program provides students with educational experience to prepare them for leadership positions involving the use of information systems and technologies to help improve healthcare.

The curriculum for the Master’s in Health Informatics Program at National University includes the following courses.

◦ Biostatistics
◦ Health Information Exchange
◦ End-User Information Systems
◦ Public Health Informatics
◦ Quality Appraisal and Evaluation


Admission Requirements


While the best health informatics master's programs online may have different admission requirements, most have similar minimum admission criteria. Applicants are expected to be a graduate of a bachelor's program from an accredited institution. They are typically asked to submit official transcripts from post-secondary schools, resume/curriculum vitae, professional letters of reference, and a personal statement of purpose. Some examples of admission requirements for the Master's in Health Informatics programs featured here are listed below.

Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana, offers one of the best online master's in health informatics programs available. Although applicants are not required to submit GRE scores, admission is still competitive. Applicants who meet the following minimum admission criteria are not guaranteed entry into the program. Instead, the admissions department evaluates each applicant and selects candidates based on personal qualifications, performance, and evidence for potential success in the program. All applicants must meet the minimum admission requirements of both the Graduate School and the Department of Health Informatics and Information Management.

Minimum admission criteria include:

◦ Possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college
◦ At least two years' work experience in industries directly related to health informatics such as IT, health information management, consulting, health care, or law
◦ Resume’ highlighting the applicant’s academic and professional experiences
◦ Interview with admission faculty to determine eligibility, the purpose of study, and interests
◦ Personal statement of intent addressing the outcomes and benefits the applicant expects to achieve by completing the program

The University of South Carolina blends a foundation in technical IT with coursework that includes government regulations, healthcare management, and up-to-date clinical trends in its Master's in Health Informatics program. The program, which can be completed in eighteen months of full-time study or twenty-four months of part-time study, consists of thirty-six credit hours.

Applicants must meet the following admission requirements for consideration.

◦ Possess a bachelor's degree with an undergraduate grade-point-average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
◦ GRE Scores- Applicants who have taken the old GRE should have a minimum score of 450 verbal and 550 quantitative; Those who have taken the new GRE need a minimum score of 300, 150 verbal/150 quantitative OR a GMAT score of 500 or higher. Applicants who meet specific criteria may be eligible for GRE or GMAT waivers.
◦ Submit a Career Goal Statement

The Master’s in Health Informatics program at Dakota State University helps students learn to oversee information technology applications and facilitate communication between IT professionals and healthcare providers. The university is Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Approved Education Partner.

Prospective students are required to meet the following admission criteria.

◦ Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school with a minimum 2.7 grade-point-average on a 4.0 grading scale
◦ Minimum composite score of 280 on the GRE (GRE may be waived, at the discretion of the admission faculty, if the applicant meets specific requirements)
◦ Applicants with experience in Information systems, Health Care, or Statistics are preferred. However, the lack of experience does not exclude applicants from admission.

One of the best accredited master's in health informatics programs online featured in this article is found at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The mission of the program is to “prepare students to innovative leaders in health informatics with the ability to use technology and manage information to achieve industry objectives and improve outcomes.” Prospective students should submit application materials by uploading them to the admissions office.

◦ Submit all transcripts from post-secondary education
◦ Completion of an undergraduate or graduate statistics course with a minimum grade of “C”
◦ Completion of a baccalaureate degree with at least a 2.75-grade point average on a 4.0 scale

The University of South Florida was the nation’s first medical school to offer a 100% online Master of Science in Health Informatics program. Students learn from faculty who are information technology experts and healthcare professionals who have clinical work experience. Admission requirements include the following.

◦ Minimum overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from all undergraduate studies, with a minimum 3.0 in the sciences
◦ Statement of Purpose including why you are interested in the Master's in Health Informatics program and highlighting the applicant's view of his/her strengths and weaknesses
◦ Bachelor’s degree in chemical, biological, computer or management information sciences, or other field approved by the program directors


5 Must-Follow Tips to Get into Top Online Health Informatics Master's Programs


Schools that offer the best master's in health informatics online programs consider applicants carefully before offering them admission. If you have decided that getting a Master's in Health Informatics is your next career move, you probably want to know if there are any tips to help you secure placement in one of these programs. Some simple tips can help you get into one of the top online health informatics master's programs.

1. Letters of Recommendation: Most graduate programs require applicants to submit letters of recommendation with their admissions application and other necessary documents. Selecting the right people to prepare these letters is very important. Letters of recommendation are used to support an applicant's ability to be successful in a graduate program and give insight into the applicant's commitment to earning a graduate degree. They should be prepared by professionals, such as current or past employers, administrative staff, and current or past college instructors. When you ask someone to compose a letter of recommendation for you, be sure to tell them why you have chosen to pursue a master's in health informatics and what your plans are. Also, it should go without saying that you should select individuals with whom you have a good professional relationship.
2. Preparing Your Resume: When you apply to online health informatics master’s programs, you will likely be required to submit a resume/curriculum vitae. Keeping your resume updated with current information is of utmost importance. Having inaccurate or missing information on your resume may cause admissions faculty to think you are not as interested as you should be in getting approved, which may cause you to be overlooked. Therefore, verify contact information for any personal or professional reference you list on your resume, and make sure those people have given you permission to list them as a reference. Your resume should reflect an ongoing commitment to professionalism and higher learning. Be sure to highlight all relevant positions and any of your accomplishments in both work and school environments.
3. Statement of Purpose: Like professional letters of recommendation, your statement of purpose can significantly impact how admissions faculty view you. A Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose should be well-written. The statement should outline your academic accomplishments. Additionally, you can include information about your skills and interests and how you believe these could benefit the program and your career goals.
4. Prepare for an Admissions Interview. While every school may not require applicants to participate in an interview before admission, many do. Some of the best online master's in health informatics programs you are interested in may list a "possible admission interview" on their admission criteria checklist. When you see that, you should assume that you will be one of the applicants who will be interviewed. Be prepared to answer questions about your past academic achievements and current academic goals, your work experience, and plans for your future career. If you are chosen to participate in an interview, you will likely be asked why you chose this school and why you feel you are a good candidate for admission.
5. Always Meet Deadlines BEFORE the Deadline: As you begin applying to health informatics online master's programs, be sure you are aware of application deadlines. Some documents or personal information that is submitted may have different deadlines. By gathering and submitting your information in advance, you can avoid delays with the processing of your application. Keep in mind, admissions faculty consider punctuality an essential trait for graduate students. You want to show that getting things done on time is important to you, as well.



FOLLOWING ARE THE 28 BEST ONLINE MASTER'S IN HEALTH INFORMATICS PROGRAMS FOR 2021


1. Boston University - Boston, MA


2. Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA


3. East Carolina University - Greenville, NC


4. George Mason University - Fairfax, VA


5. University of Central Florida - Orlando, FL


6. University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL


7. University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL


8. University of South Carolina - Columbia, SC


9. University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati, OH


10. Louisiana Tech University - Ruston, LA


11. Northwestern University - Evanston, IL


12. Dakota State University - Madison, SD


13. National University - San Diego, CA


14. The College of Saint Scholastica - Duluth, MN


15. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville - Edwardsville, IL


16. University of South Florida - Tampa, FL


17. Regis University - Denver, CO


18. University of Washington - Seattle, WA


19. Logan University - Chesterfield, MO


20. University of Missouri - Columbia, MO


21. DePaul University - Chicago, IL


22. Southwestern Oklahoma State University - Weatherford, OK


23. Harrisburg University of Science and Technology - Harrisburg, PA


24. Medical University of South Carolina - Charleston, SC


25. Florida International University - Miami, FL


26. University of Mississippi Medical Center - Jackson, MS


27. Oregon Health & Science University - Portland, OR


28. Indiana University - Indianapolis, IN


View Ranking Methodology



Career Opportunities Post Completion of This Program


After completing health informatics master’s programs online, graduates can find career opportunities in diverse health care settings such as physician’s offices, consumer health, public health, hospitals, government health agencies, and medical research. Some of the career opportunities you may find after completing this program are listed below.

Informatics Nurse Specialist: Nurses with a master’s in health informatics use their knowledge of healthcare IT and nursing to help develop and modify computerized health systems.
Chief Medical Information Officer: In this position, graduates of master's in health informatics programs are often responsible for setting standards and policies specific to the organizations where they work. In some settings, Chief MIOs supervise operational activities for upper levels of management.
Medical Records Coordinator: Having medical records that are accurate, complete, and compliant with health standards is essential in any healthcare setting. Medical records coordinators ensure the staff who work in medical records departments know healthcare industry rules and how to use coding and other systems necessary to maintain accurate medical records.
Information Security Analyst: Individuals in this position oversee computer network systems and develop measures to prevent security breaches. They maintain systems by making sure software is up-to-date and recommending security measures to management.


Earning Potential Post Completion of This Program


Graduates of master’s in health informatics programs can typically find employment opportunities with salaries beginning around $73,000 annually. With experience, earning potential can increase. Some people with a Master’s in Health Informatics earn over $125,000 yearly.

Per Hour $35.23
Per Month $6,110
Per Year $73,270
(Source: PayScale.com)


Job Outlook Post Completion of This Program


With the increased use of electronic health records (EHRs), the demand for people who understand healthcare IT systems is ever-expanding. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be a 20% rise in job opportunities for well-educated health and medical services managers from 2018-2028. Because graduates of accredited master's in health informatics online programs understand healthcare IT theory and possess the technical skills necessary to manage, organize, and integrate data used by many sectors within the healthcare industry, the job outlook for graduates of this program is favorable.


The Bottomline


If you are interested in information technology and would like to have a role in healthcare without being involved in clinical practice, becoming a Master of Health Informatics could be a great opportunity. The best online master's in health informatics programs for 2021 featured in this article provide excellent opportunities for students to earn a graduate degree that gives them the best of both worlds.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


Can I specialize in a particular area of work after graduating from a Master's in Health Informatics online program?

Health Informatics is a diverse field with the opportunity to specialize in many concentrations. A few examples of specialization options include health service finance, clinical informatics, public health, social informatics, and healthcare information systems.

Do I need to attend a Master’s in Health Informatics online program that is accredited?

Finding a program that is accredited, like the ones featured in the above article, is important. Accreditation of any college program means the learning institution has met minimum standards of quality outlined by the accrediting agency. When you attend an accredited program, you can feel confident that you are being taught the most current information by qualified instructors actively involved in their field.

What skills do I need to be successful in a Master’s in Health Informatics online program?

Several skills can increase your chances of success in these programs. Having good interpersonal skills, such as being able to communicate with others effectively, is essential. Being able to multitask and having strong problem-solving skills are also beneficial to success. Good personal traits such as accountability, flexibility, and conflict resolution are essential, as well.


Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years' experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels.