Grad School Hub - Most Affordable Online Programs-01

The online Master’s in Healthcare Informatics is an incredible opportunity for any student who is hoping to enter into the field. With technology and medicine becoming intertwined at an exponential rate, it’s important that professionals with an understanding of how electronic health records and the technologies that use them work. Now, with the inclusion of healthcare informatics graduate degrees in virtual education, students can continue working while earning an advanced degree in this exciting field.

The demand for healthcare informatics graduates has never been higher. As health data is translated into electronic records, apps in use for both consumers and medical professionals, and a variety of other advancements, it makes sense for schools to provide online offerings. That is why this ranking was created.

Getting an online degree in healthcare informatics shouldn’t be expensive, as this ranking shows. With information pulled from the National Center for Education Statistics, an initial pool of 50 affordable and high-quality programs was created. From there, the final 10 were decided upon and ranked by in-state graduate tuition costs.

Ranking Low-cost Online Health Informatics Master’s

10. Northern Kentucky University

Highland Heights, Kentucky

Online Master of Science in Health Informatics

Website

Tuition: $10,584

Northern Kentucky University confers an online Master’s in Health Informatics that is completely delivered online; there are no residency requirements, enabling students to focus on their education and not on traveling back and forth to campus. Courses are taught in an asynchronous format by professors who have work experience in the field. Students will learn about the research methods and data analysis techniques that drive this field, as well as how best to implement, analyze, troubleshoot, and improve healthcare outcomes. Students can expect to complete 33 credit hours of coursework, a research project, a capstone project, and an electronic portfolio. Sample courses include Technical Foundations of Health Informatics, Systems Analysis and Design, and Information Technology Project Management.

9. Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

Edwardsville, Illinois

Online Master of Healthcare Informatics

Website

Tuition: $10,326

Students can earn a Master’s in Health Informatics online that is based on experiential learning. It provides the foundation every professional need to understand the technology that is currently in use in the healthcare field as well as how to adapt to any advancements that may be coming in the future. Students will be offered a comprehensive education on technology, computer science, healthcare, and more, all of which is necessary for them to be proficient leaders in the field. The program requires successful completion of 36 credit hours of coursework, a research project, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Interdisciplinary Healthcare Informatics, Managing Quality and Safety in Healthcare, and Project Management Standard Process.

8. Logan University

Chesterfield, Missouri

Online Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics

Website

Tuition: $10,060

The online Master’s in Healthcare Informatics offered by Logan University focuses on the professional education and experiences that students will need to learn in order to advance in their career in the field. This program has no GRE requirements and is offered 100 percent online; it is also open to students who do not have any previous experience in the field. Students will be offered the opportunity to do project management projects as well as their own research in this degree program and will find an up-to-date faculty that teaches them what is necessary to know in the field now and in the future. This degree requires 33 credit hours of coursework, a research project, and a capstone project. Sample courses include Legal and Ethical Issues in Health Informatics, Data Management in Healthcare, and Leadership Skills for Health Informatics Professionals.

7. University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Houston, Texas

Online Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics

Website

Tuition: $8,954

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has the distinction of being one of a handful of schools that are approved by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. It confers an online Master of Science in Biodmedical Informatics that comes with two tracks: traditional research and applied biomedical informatics tracks. This program is unique in that students who successfully complete this degree may transfer their semester credit hours to the doctoral program, opening the door to them completing a terminal degree in the field. The program offers students from both tracks to spend time researching and applying different systems while still in the program; this culminates in a practicum that takes place in a student’s community. Students from either track can expect to complete 39 credit hours of coursework as well as a capstone project; comprehensive exams are also required. Sample courses include The United States Healthcare System, Research Design and Evaluation in Biomedical Informatics, and Statistical Methods in Biomedical Informatics.

6. East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina

Online Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management

Website

Tuition: $8,604

Students interested in a comprehensive health informatics master’s online degree should look no further than East Carolina University. The school offers students a Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education-accredited program that is offered 100 percent online. Because this is a comprehensive degree, it is recommended that only medical professionals and those with healthcare informatics experience apply for this program. The program was built with two options: Health Informatics and Thesis. These options offer students the chance to either pursue a professional education or an academic track that leads them into research. The degree requires 39 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. Students in the Health Informatics option will be required to complete an internship while those in the Thesis option will complete a thesis. Sample courses include Decision Support in Healthcare, eHealth Care Information Systems, and Foundations of Health Information Technologies.

5. University of Mississippi

University, Mississippi

Online Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management

Website

Tuition: $8,190

The University of Mississippi offers a 100 percent online program that focuses students on one of two tracks: Health Informatics and Health Information Management Track. The Health Informatics track focuses on the design and development of technological and information systems and is an applied program, meaning it was created specifically for students intending to enter the field as a professional. Certifications are available within this degree, but it does depend on a graduate’s previous work experience as well as their intended career path. Courses are delivered asynchronously and are taught by health informatics professionals, providing students with the chance to earn a degree that will prepare them for the workforce. This degree requires 36 credit hours, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam; it can be completed in as little as 18 months with full-time study. Sample courses include Management and Leadership in Health Informatics, Health Care Delivery and Policy, and Privacy and Security for Health Informatics.

4. Harrisburg University

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics

Website

Tuition: $7,200

Harrisburg University confers an online Master’s in Health Informatics that is unique in its approach to the translational and interpersonal skills that are critical in this field. The program, which is offered 100 percent online, makes this a large core of their curriculum, underscoring the necessity to have health informatics professionals who both know the technology and how to communicate it to others. This program also takes the time to familiarize students with the management of information systems, human-machine interfaces, and optimization tools that are currently being used in the field. This program was designed specifically for professionals who have previous experience in the field; however, conditional acceptance of non-professionals is up to the department. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a comprehensive exam, and either an applied project or a thesis. Sample courses include Digital and Global Organizations, Data Mining and Engineering, and Healthcare Economics: Fundamentals for Providers and Biotech Professionals.

3. Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Weatherford, Oklahoma

Online Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics and Information Management

Website

Tuition: $6,981

Southwestern Oklahoma State University offers an online Master’s in Health Informatics that is currently seeking accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education and is one of the most affordable programs of its kind. This is a 100 percent online program that is perfect for professionals who are interested in moving towards advancing their career in this field. All students will be expected to complete 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. They may also choose between completing a thesis or completing an applied capstone project and a practicum to complete the degree requirements. Sample courses include Legal and Privacy Issues in Health Informatics, IT Ethics and Security, and Healthcare Strategic Planning.

2. University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida

Online Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics

Website

Tuition: $6,916

An online aster’s in Health Informatics can be found at the University of Central Florida. This is a cohort-based program, with students working through the program of study along with a set group of students and faculty. This program, which offers easy scheduling for synchronous courses, also enables online students to participate in national conferences and conventions so they can benefit from seeing how the field works in real life. An internship in the final semester of this two-year program is also required for this position and can be completed in a student’s community. Students can expect to complete 38 credit hours of coursework, an internship, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Project Management in Health Care Informatics, Systems Analysis and Design, and Biostatistics and Decision Analysis.

1. Dakota State University

Madison, South Dakota

Online Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management

Website

Tuition: $6,530

Dakota State University delivers a cheap online Master’s in Health Informatics that is approved by the Health Informatics and Management Systems Society. Students should note that due to state regulations, this degree may not be available online in their community. It is a practice-based degree; students should expect to complete a research and a capstone project for graduation. This degree is offered asynchronously and can be completed in as little as two years with full-time study. Program requirements include 33 credit hours and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Healthcare Informatics, Information Systems and Technology, Data Analytics in Healthcare, and Project and Change Management.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Online Master’s in Health Informatics Degree?

Health informatics is a growing field; recent healthcare reform has mandated that all health records must become electronic. This means that there is an influx of career options for professionals who hold a graduate degree in health informatics. Here are just a few of the positions currently available to those with a degree in the field:

  • Chief Information Officer
  • Health Informatics Director
  • Analyst
  • IT Systems Analyst
  • Researcher
  • Electronic Medical Record Keeper
  • Health Information Technology Project Manager
  • Healthcare Systems Analyst
  • IT Administrator
  • Health Informatics Consultant

Because health informatics is rapidly changing both inside the field and the fields that it informs, it’s possible that there a variety of other career options available. Positions like freelance health informatics writer, consultants, journalist, and author are viable as a career path going forward.

Many professionals in health informatics also have a background in another profession. The most common is nursing, which has led to the rise in demand for nursing informatics specialists. This is a highly specialized field that continues to grow, enabling more nurses to branch out from clinical work and move into health informatics.

Another thing to keep in mind is that business professionals, engineers, and computer science professionals also can find specialized positions for themselves in health informatics. This often takes on a hybrid role, enabling professionals to combine two fields into one position. Sample positions in this field include Chief Medical Officer, Chief Information Officer, and as a director in a healthcare system.

Whatever path a student chooses, it’s best to have it figured out while in graduate school. This enables a student to earn a concentration or even a certificate in that particular field, giving them a better shot at finding employment in their dream career. While the possibilities are endless, it’s advised that students choose one particular track in health informatics and find career paths suited to that track.

How Much Can You Earn in this Field?

As with most graduate degrees, health informatics salaries vary wildly. This is due to the immense amount of career options available to them with an online Master’s in Health Informatics. Currently, however, the average salary range for this degree is from $80,000 to $200,000.

The most common position for health informatics professionals is that of a manager or consultant. They generally make a starting salary of $80,000. Health informatics directors, which is a career path that is also open to professionals, often make between $80,000 to $100,000 within a few years of working in the field.

On the higher end of the spectrum, it is possible for ambitious health informatics professionals to become chief medical information officers. These professionals make between $100,000 to $200,000 with added bonuses and other forms of compensation.

As with all salaries, certifications, previous work experience, and accredited programs all play a role in salary negotiations; this also goes for cost-of-living and demand for these professionals in their area. A student will find that they will be able to make enough money no matter where in the country they reside.

What are the Various Disciplines of Health Informatics?

Health informatics is, by nature, an interdisciplinary field. It is a cross between business, healthcare, computer science, engineering, and information technology. These main disciplines inform many of the other disciplines that play a role in the field.

Other disciplines also play a role, including psychology, sociology, and nursing. In fact, many nurses earn a degree in health informatics in order to advance their career goals. Psychology and sociology also play a role because of the interpersonal and translational aspects of the field; health informatics professionals are often relaying information to providers, project managers, administrators, and executives. It’s important they understand how to communicate effectively.

Health informatics professionals also work with the discipline of engineering. Because most of their work includes analyzing and solving problems in the architecture of the information management systems that they are responsible for, a foundation in engineering has proven to be very useful in the field. It’s also integral for those who have the job of actually creating the systems that the healthcare industry uses on a day-to-day basis.

Is Certification Available for Health Informatics Professionals?

Yes, health informatics certifications are available for professionals in the field. These are obtained through the field’s top associations and societies, which include:

  • HIMSS
  • CAHIMS
  • AHIMA

Certifications are earned by submitting proof that a student has successfully completed an accredited graduate program. They are then tasked with completing the exam, which varies on subject and format from organization to organization. Once they earn certification, they will need to retake the test every two years in order to keep their certification in good standing.

A word of note to professionals: earning a certificate while in school for health informatics is not the same thing as earning certification. Certification is obtained after a student has successfully completed their degree through an exam; certificates are offered by schools in partnership with the above organizations. Earning a certificate does offer a pathway to certification, but it is not guaranteed. Therefore, students should focus on earning both in order to benefit from the distinctions that these provide.

While students do not need to earn certification in order to be a professional in health informatics, it is highly encouraged. This is because the specialization certification allows them to be eligible for different careers and may even advance them to mid-level administrative positions. Certification can also lead to networking opportunities as professionals become members of the organization that conferred the distinction.

Is Accreditation Necessary for this Degree?

Accreditation is not necessary for an online Master’s in Health Informatics, but it is highly encouraged, especially by potential employers in the workforce. Companies prefer students who have accredited degrees for numerous reasons. The biggest reason is that students that graduate from accredited programs tends to have a better understanding of how the field actually works.

Attending an accredited program is beneficial for professionals. This is because HIMSS and CAHIIM accreditation can lead to certification options, which can be useful for professionals when interviewing for positions. The certificates, which are voluntary, are a mark of distinction among professionals and are most often already part of the curriculum in online programs.

The most important reason for earning an accredited degree is the fact that students will have a high-quality education that benefits their entire careers. Programs of this nature often reevaluate their programs on an annual basis and update courses as needed while retiring others that no longer serve the field. This is perhaps the best reason why every student should be focused on finding an accredited online degree in the field of health informatics.

Healthcare informatics remains one of the strongest advancements in the field of healthcare. Professionals who are interested in the field will find that while many career options are available at the undergraduate education level, those options increase with a Master’s in Health Informatics.

GSH Staff
July 2018

This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Most Affordable Master’s in Health Informatics Online for 2018.