Health Informatics Degrees

The Advantages To Earning A Health Informatics Degree

A health informatics degree offers students knowledge within the quickly expanding health care, computer science, and information science industries. Health informatics programs give students the training and knowledge necessary for employment as health informatics professionals. Graduates with health informatics degrees gain skills from educational programs to develop, establish, analyze, and manage the many forms of technology used to store and retrieve health care information. Students within health informatics programs also gain a broad understanding of medical terminology, the information technology industry, the health care system, and means of ensuring medical staff and devices safely meet the needs of and care for patients.

Most colleges and universities have developed innovative online degree programs to extend education beyond campus grounds. As many students manage work and family responsibilities in addition to pursuing a degree, many find online programs one of the most convenient and affordable means of gaining the knowledge necessary to advance educational and professional goals. Most online courses feature virtually the same materials and instruction as traditional on campus courses. Online classes also feature the added benefits of flexible course scheduling, smaller classes with groups of 25 students or less, and 24 hour access to course information. Online courses also offer students one on one interactions with professors and other classmates through Internet chats. Obtaining an online degree is a great first step in securing an educational base necessary for future success.

What Students Learn Within A Health Informatics Degree Program

Students within health informatics degree programs gain a versatile educational background necessary to qualify for a variety of career options. Health informatics degree programs offer students a specialized understanding of the health care system, information science, and technology. The discipline of health informatics teaches students how to use computers and other electronic devices as well as how to understand medical terminology, coding systems, and clinical documents. Additionally, students with health informatics degrees gain the skills necessary to devise, develop, program, and update the technological resources which store health care information and patient records while maintaining information security. Most health informatics degree graduates are required to complete studies within master’s degree programs to qualify for employment. Many students begin studies at an associate level and advance to higher degree programs or employment. Courses at an associate level include: English composition, introduction to philosophy, introduction to biology, college Algebra, introduction to health science, health care delivery and information management, legal aspects of health information and health care statistics, automation of health information, health information practicum, reimbursement methodologies, leadership and quality assessment in health information, medical coding, software applications for health care professionals, anatomy and physiology, diseases of the human body, medical coding, pharmacology and laboratory medicine, health care data security and privacy, health information financial management, health care total quality management, management of health information functions and services, health care statistics and research, legal and regulatory issues in health information, health insurance and reimbursement, medical terminology, and a health information externship. Graduates who complete associate degree programs may advance to entry level employment or continue studies in higher degree programs.

Bachelor level courses give students an expanded knowledge in the field of health informatics as well as an extensive understanding of computer and information technology systems. Courses at a bachelor level include: foundations of college mathematics; communications foundations; language and communication: essay; language and communication: research; language and communication: presentation; analysis and applications of social sciences; health care ecosystems; statistics, probability, and problem solving; introduction to anatomy and physiology; human physiology; medical terminology; information technology fundamentals; pathophysiology/pharmacology; principles of management; database fundamentals; literature, arts, and the humanities; fundamentals of organizational behavior and leadership; reasoning and problem solving; health data management across the continuum; legal and ethical considerations in health care; ICD coding; CPT coding; health care compliance and coding management effectiveness; leadership concepts and applications; health care informatics; financial resource management and health care reimbursement; health care statistics and research; health care systems design and management; quality and performance management methods; and a health care professional practice internship. Graduates with bachelor degrees may advance to employment or master’s degree programs.

Master’s degree programs give students specialized skills necessary to qualify for upper level positions as medical or health care managers. Master’s degree courses generally include: informatics foundations; programming and problem solving; database management systems; introduction to health informatics; applied informatics; information security; clinical decision making; project management; resource management; medical vocabularies and classification systems; systems analysis and design; special topics in health informatics; the American health care system; health informatics; business of health care informatics; creation and application of medical knowledge; database design, access, modeling, and security in health care;data management in health care; organizational behavior, work flow design, and change management; key standards in health informatics; design for usability in health care; emerging technologies in health care; introduction to genomics and bioinformatics; legal and social issues in health informatics; and public health surveillance and informatics. Graduates with master’s degrees generally advance to multiple employment options. Some graduates choose to continue studies in doctoral degree programs.

Doctoral programs in the discipline of health informatics give students the knowledge necessary to be considered experts in the field. Courses generally include: introduction to informatics; foundations of health informatics; informatics research design; professionalism and pedagogy in informatics; laboratory information management systems for health and life sciences; clinical information systems; health informatics standards and terminology; informatics in life sciences and chemistry; introduction to biostatistics; seminar in health informatics; independent study; scientific data management; introduction to complex systems; social foundations of informatics; mathematical foundations; business of health informatics; clinical decision support; natural language processing; usability and evaluative methods in interactive design; psychology of health care informatics; clinical research methods; and clinical trials. Graduates who complete doctoral degrees generally advance to employment as researchers or instructors within facilities and universities.

Prospective Jobs For Health Informatics Degree Graduates

Health informatics degree graduates gain a versatile education based in the quickly expanding health care and information technology industries. The demand for qualified health informatics professionals is expected to increase as facilities update and modernize technologies as well as seek means of increasing efficiency within health care facilities. Health informatics graduates receive training from educational programs necessary to work within multiple medical and health services organizations. Employment prospects are best for graduates who complete advanced degrees, specialize studies, and gain work experience through volunteer programs, internships, and on the job training. Most graduates who complete associate level studies advance to jobs as health care applications developers, health information technicians, medical assistants, medical records technicians, medical transcriptionists, or medical secretaries. Graduates with bachelor degrees often work as information technologists, health informatics specialists, assistant medical services managers, health information technicians, health management policy consultants, or systems application analysts. Master’s degree graduates often advance to careers as medical and health service managers, health information supervisors, information technologies, health management consultants, or senior systems application analysts within hospitals, public health institutions, pharmaceutical organizations, governmental agencies, insurance companies, or even libraries. Some graduates with master’s degrees may also work as instructors within vocational schools with additional training. Graduates with doctoral degrees generally work as consultants within group or self operated health informatics organizations, instructors within colleges or universities, lead executives within health care organizations, and researchers within research facilities.

Salary Range For Health Informatics Degree Graduates

Health informatics degree graduates have varying earnings based upon factors like education level, organization of employment, specialized training, economic factors, and geographic location. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports median salaries for health and medical services managers ranges from $62,170 to $104,120 annually. Earnings for graduates who complete studies in health informatics degree programs are also generally based upon level of responsibility and the size and type of medical facility. Graduates with advanced degrees employed within hospitals and larger group physician’s offices generally have higher earnings and jobs with greater responsibilities than those with less education employed within small physician’s offices. Graduates who complete associate degree programs and go on to entry level employment as medical secretaries have earnings ranging from $29,680 to $36,090 annually. Bachelor degree graduates who work as medical records specialists generally earn $29,680 to $36,090 annually. Graduates who complete master’s degree programs and work as health service managers within physician’s offices, outpatient care centers, medical and surgical hospitals, nursing care organizations, and home health care services generally earn $71,190 to $87,040 annually. Graduates who work as professors at colleges and universities earn $41,600 to $120,170 annually.

Career Outlook and Advancement Opportunities For Graduates With Health Informatics Degrees

Graduates with health informatics degrees are expected to find ample employment opportunities upon gaining the business skills and health care management experiences offered through educational programs and on the job training. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports job growth for qualified health and medical services managers to increase by 16 percent through 2018 at a faster than average rate in comparison to other occupations. As the health care industry expands, diversifies, and improves to better meet patient needs, the demand for health informatics graduates is also expected to increase.

The combinations of technological and medical advances, as well as increased and changing government regulations, are also anticipated to greatly increase employment opportunities for health informatics graduates. Most graduates with undergraduates degrees in health informatics gain entry level positions within small hospitals, health care facilities, and physicians’ offices and advance to positions with greater responsibilities, higher salaries, and larger facilities as assistant administrators, department heads, consultants, or executive officers. Many graduates who complete advanced studies in master’s or doctoral degrees begin employment as department managers and supervisory positions within smaller medical facilities and advance to positions as instructors, consultants, or researchers within colleges, health care management organizations, or larger medical facilities.

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