The current job market for healthcare informatics is growing twice as fast as overall employment ― 22% by 2022 ― yet the U.S. is already seeing a shortage of qualified workers. A large reason is due to the lack of individuals possessing both medical and technical knowledge to properly innovate in the field.
Fortunately, a number of higher learning institutions have widened their healthcare informatics curricula to meet the demand for specialized but versatile individuals. However, many program applications require prior or concurrent health or computer related work experience. In order to allow for more flexibility in students’ personal and professional lives, online healthcare informatics master’s programs are becoming more popular. Below we’ve ranked the best online health informatics master’s programs in the country.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||Stanford University||Stanford||$$$$$|| |
Stanford, CA 94305
Stanford University’s center for professional development accommodates working adults by delivering courses online, at work sites and international locations, and on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto, California. The university’s master’s of science in biomedical informatics is suitable for students with a strong interest in bioinformatics and clinical and public health informatics. Whereas clinical health informatics addresses methods of patient care, public health informatics focuses on overarching health care systems.
This online master’s in health informatics requires training in core biomedical informatics and classes in computer science, statistics, mathematics, and engineering. In addition, learners are required to complete coursework in social and ethical issues. The program teaches students to analyze and understand biomedical data with the goal of improving health care. It generally takes three to five years to complete this program, and applicants should have a strong background in calculus, statistics, linear algebra, and physiology. Moreover, all enrollees must remain employed full-time during their studies.
|2||The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston||Houston||$$$$$||7000 Fannin|
Houston, TX 77030
Students looking to pursue a master’s in health informatics online can do so at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. This program is generally completed within five semesters by full-time students and within five years by part-time students. The university offers two tracks in its master’s of science in biomedical informatics program: a traditional research track, which examines how to process health and biomedical data to support clinical decision making, and an applied biomedical informatics track, which teaches students how to oversee electronic health records and related systems.
Both concentrations require 39 credit hours. The research track offers coursework in classes such as statistical methods and scientific writing, while the applied biomedical track focuses on classes like security of health information systems and quality and outcome improvement in health care. Learners must complete a practicum in both tracks, which provides experiential learning in a professional setting under the guidance of a professional in the field.
|3||Northwestern University||Evanston||$$$$$||633 Clark St|
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University’s school of professional studies is a leader among continuing education programs; this school has been in operation for 80 years. Among its many offerings is its master’s in health informatics program.
Students pursuing a health informatics master’s online at Northwestern select from one of three program specialties, each of which requires 12 courses: clinical informatics, health administration informatics, or health technology informatics. The clinical informatics specialty teaches individuals information that has been specified by the American Medical Association. This specialty also prepares students for board certification in medical informatics. Health technology informatics graduates leave school prepared for careers in technology supply, information technology project management, and web development. The health administration informatics specialty is suited for those seeking a career in health care business, administration, or management. All learners must complete a leadership course and a capstone project or thesis.
|4||Oregon Health & Science University||Portland||$$$$$||3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd|
Portland, OR 97239-3098
Oregon Health & Science University offers a master’s in health informatics online through its department of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology. Its master’s of biomedical informatics prepares individuals for careers as health care information systems developers and managers. This degree program is one of the largest of its type in the world and has graduated more than 1,300 students since its inception in 1996.
Coursework covers health care, computer science, evaluative sciences, clinical informatics, organization behavior, and project management. A total of 55 credits are required for graduation. Students earn 12 of these credits through thesis work. Full-time students generally complete all program requirements in two years, although part-time students can take up to six years to graduate. Graduates from this program can expect to find positions in healthcare, research,and government institutions.
|5||Loma Linda University||Loma Linda||$$$$$||11139 Anderson Street|
Loma Linda, CA 92350
A Seventh-day Adventist institution, Loma Linda University is committed to mission-focused learning that adheres to high ethical standards. The university’s master’s of science in health informatics combines studies in leadership, data management, and technology to prepare learners to successfully guide health care organizations and improve patient care.
This online master’s in health informatics is suited for professionals who are looking to pursue a variety of careers, including electronic health record system specialists, database administrators, and clinical documentation experts. Learners complete coursework in topics such as health care financial management, health care project management, and biostatistics. Students must also complete a capstone project or a professional practicum. Graduates build competencies in analyzing, designing, implementing, and managing information systems. They also strengthen their knowledge about computer networks and security and programming.
|6||The College of Saint Scholastica||Duluth||$$$$$||1200 Kenwood Ave|
Duluth, MN 55811-4199
With a community of more than 4,000 learners and traditions that date back over a century, the College of Saint Scholastica is a Catholic Benedictine institution that offers online degree programs that accommodate working professionals. These include its master’s of science in health informatics program, which provides a two-year pathway to advanced positions in healthcare settings and prepares graduates to sit for the certified professional in health informatics exam during their final semester of study.
Offered as a fully-online master’s in health informatics, this program teaches students the skills needed to work within the nation’s health care delivery system by effectively and efficiently leveraging health information. Coursework includes studies in project management and healthcare data analytics, preparing students to enter careers in ambulatory care, public health, academic, and research settings.
Brandeis University offers part-time, online master’s degree programs for working professionals seeking to continue their education. The university’s master’s of science in health and medical informatics teaches students how to use information technology to improve healthcare outcomes for patients. Learners graduate with a deep understanding of medical data regulations, an ability to leverage data for decision-making, and the skills needed to implement effective information technology solutions for health care.
This program allows students to earn a health informatics master’s online by completing coursework in health/medical information systems security and advanced healthcare data analytics. Since this program launched in 2010, its graduates have gone on to hold positions as health system specialists and life sciences analysts at a variety of companies including AstraZeneca, the Bayer Corporation, and Millennium Pharmaceuticals.
|8||University of South Carolina||Columbia||$$$$$||Columbia-Campus|
Columbia, SC 29208
The University of South Carolina - Columbia offers a master’s of health information technology degree, which blends the fields of health care and information technology. This program prepares students to be health care professionals who can analyze, implement, and maintain data systems for health vendors, government agencies, and patients.
Distance learners have the opportunity to obtain this master’s in health informatics online. Students learn to manage large-scale health information systems to support clinical decision-making. This program also provides hands-on learning experiences in the form of a 16-week internship, ensuring that students gain real-world experience before they graduate. Classes are offered in an eight-week accelerated format, and it generally takes full-time students 18 to 24 months to complete this program. Tuition is the same for both in-state and out-of-state residents.
|9||University of Central Florida||Orlando||$$$$$||4000 Central Florida Blvd|
Orlando, FL 32816
The University of Central Florida offers more than 80 degrees and certificates. Among its degree programs is its professional science master’s degree in health care informatics, which teaches a combination of the clinical, management, and business components of the health informatics field. Delivered entirely online through a cohort model, this program is well-suited for working professionals.
Those who enroll in the master’s in health informatics online program at UCF typically possess previous experience in the healthcare sector, but students from any academic background are welcome to apply. This program does not have any explicit prerequisites, but UCF does recommend that applicants have experience with statistics and writing. Required courses in this program include biostatistics and decision analysis as well as project management in healthcare informatics. Upon graduation, students can pursue a variety of careers such clinical researchers, medical records administrators, and nursing informatics specialists. UCF accepts applications and admits students into this program at the beginning of the fall and spring terms.
|10||University of South Florida||Tampa||$$$$$||4202 East Fowler Ave|
Tampa, FL 33620-9951
The master’s of science in health informatics at the University of South Florida is a fully-online degree program. It prepares students to acquire, store, retrieve, and utilize health care information to support patients’ needs while reducing costs and improving health outcomes.
Taught through USF’s college of medicine, this is the only master’s of science in health informatics degree that is offered entirely online by a medical school. The program requires students to complete a blend of coursework, research, and clinical experiences. It is especially designed for physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and information technology specialists who want to either advance their current career in health informatics or transition into the profession. Previous graduates have entered the workforce as health informatics directors, information technology consultants, compliance officers, and clinical data analysts.
|11||Loyola University Chicago||Chicago||$$$$$||1032 W. Sheridan Rd|
Chicago, IL 60660
The school of nursing at Loyola University of Chicago offers a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) in health systems management. Rooted in the Jesuit Catholic tradition, this program teaches MSN graduates to function as leaders in ethical and critical decision-making. It also prepares students to critically assess health care technologies to ensure high-quality patient care.
This online master’s in health informatics teaches students to translate and understand health care data, design accurate systems for resource allotment, and develop databases to archive the nursing practice outcomes. The MSN in health systems management requires 38 to 41 semester hours of online coursework. The university also helps distance learners arrange clinical placements near their homes. Students must also possess 2,000 hours of recent clinical nursing experience prior to their first program practicum. Career options after graduation include positions in health care service companies, consulting firms, and assisted-living facilities.
|12||Louisiana Tech University||Ruston||$$$$$||305 Wisteria|
Ruston, LA 71272
Louisiana Tech University offers a health informatics master’s online. This degree helps students acquire the knowledge needed to identify and utilize various information systems to enhance health care practices in a myriad of settings.
While this program is open to students with various academic backgrounds, the university reserves the right to determine whether additional courses are necessary for applicants who do not hold a bachelor’s degree in health information management. Additionally, at least two years of work experience in an industry that directly translates to health informatics, such as information technology, healthcare, or law, is required to apply. This is a fully-online program. Students use various forms of communication, including online lectures, e-mail, and electronic bulletin boards, to complete coursework. Distance learners are also provided with experiential learning opportunities.
|13||Nova Southeastern University||Fort Lauderdale||$$$$$||3301 College Ave|
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
The master’s of science in biomedical informatics at Nova Southeastern University couples computer science and clinical applications to improve the delivery of health care to populations nationwide. Course topics include project management and system design. Students must also complete a health informatics practicum. Graduates of this program are prepared to sit for several certification exams, including Lean Six Sigma.
Offered through NSU’s college of osteopathic medicine, this health informatics master's online program is flexible and well-suited for working professionals who need to balance academic and career demands. Students will learn how health informatics can support wellness and disease prevention, reduce morbidity and mortality, and promote cost-effective health care. Moreover, students will learn to use a variety of health information technologies and build the collaboration, analytical, and problem-solving competencies needed for career success.
|14||Adelphi University||Garden City||$$$$$||South Ave|
Garden City, NC 11530-0701
Adelphi University’s master’s of science in health care informatics can be pursued by students who are already employed in the healthcare industry as well as by non-clinical professionals, such as information technology and business experts. This program offers an interdisciplinary approach that integrates concepts in business, health informatics, information systems, organizational and project management, and data security and analysis—all within a healthcare framework.
This fully-online program does not require distance learners to spend any time on campus. The university offers various types of support to its online students, including access to a learning center, a writing center, and one-on-one faculty interactions. Tuition is the same for students who reside in New York, where Adelphi’s main campus is located, and out-of-state students. Distance learners can complete this program in as few as 28 months.
|15||Drexel University||Philadelphia||$$$$$||3141 Chestnut St|
Philadelphia, PA 19104
The master’s of science in health informatics at Drexel University prepares students to create efficient health care environments. The program graduates highly-skilled professionals who understand the critical intersection between health care and information systems. It focuses on attracting health care professionals who are looking to improve their organization’s use of data and information technology.
Students who pursue this master’s in health informatics online can do so either part-time or full-time, engaging in curricula that focus on informatics systems and the psycho-social aspects of the healthcare sector. Required coursework includes introduction to database management, human-computer interaction, and planning and evaluation health care informatics. Degrees can be further customized by choosing from a wide range of elections, including biostatisics and leadership and stewardship in health professions. Classes are offered in four, 10-week quarters each year. Special tuition rates may be available for alumni, military, and members of the university’s partner organizations.
|16||Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville||Edwardsville||$$$$$||Il State Rte 157|
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1259
The online master’s in health informatics at Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville combines computer technology skills and clinical expertise to teach students how to organize, analyze, and apply these competencies for data-driven decision-making. Graduates of this program will be prepared to help health care providers transition to electronic health records and operate the computerized systems that manage the flow of information, evaluate health care quality, and guide providers in their diagnoses and recommended treatments.
SIUE delivers this degree program in a fully-online format. It also maintains a corporate partnership with BJC Health Care, which provides students with the opportunity to work on real-world projects within the organization. In addition, BJC may pay for a student’s tuition. The program curriculum consists of courses that focus on database design, ethical issues, project management, and organizational development. Students must also complete a capstone experience.
|17||Michigan Technological University||Houghton||$$$$$||1400 Townsend Drive|
Houghton, MI 49931-1295
The master’s of science in medical informatics at Michigan Technological University can be completed entirely online. This program prepares graduates for professions that require a deep understanding of disease management, evidence-based medicine, and health care security. A convenient program for working professionals, it provides instruction about the resources, devices, and methods needed to acquire, archive, retrieve, and use information in the fields of health care and biomedicine.
Coursework includes topics in decision support systems, ethics, global health informatics, and home care. Learners select from one of three degree options: a thesis option that requires in-depth research, a practicum option that requires an independent study project, or a coursework option that requires earning at least 30 credits through classes. Graduates are prepared to enter careers in a variety of fields including information security firms, public health organizations, and hospitals.
|18||East Carolina University||Greenville||$$$$$||East 5th Street|
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
Located in Greenville, North Carolina, East Carolina University has provided distance education opportunities for more than 60 years; the school has offered more than 75 degrees and certificates online throughout its history in an effort to serve nontraditional students. Among these programs is its master’s of science in health informatics and information management. This 48-semester-hour program includes both core and elective courses. Enrollees can opt to pursue a non-thesis, thesis, or registered health information administrator (RHIA) track that prepares them to sit for the RHIA exam.
Applicants must have completed prerequisite coursework in computer programming and statistics at the undergraduate level within the past five years. In addition, prospective students must submit GRE scores and have earned a grade point average of 3.0 or above in their previous degree program.
|19||Misericordia University||Dallas||$$$$$||301 Lake St|
Dallas, PA 18612-1098
Misericordia University’s center for adult and continuing education offers degree programs online to accommodate working professionals. Among its many graduate degree options is a master’s degree in health informatics. This is a part-time program that prepares students to become leaders in information management. The program may be particularly attractive to health care and information technology professionals who want to learn how to better utilize data to ensure favorable health care outcomes for patients.
Coursework in this online master’s in health informatics includes project management, health systems analysis and design, and health informatics proficiencies. In addition to asynchronous online lectures, distance learners can schedule weekly meetings to virtually-interact with their teachers. Students can choose to pursue a degree track that includes a thesis or one that requires a professional contribution (i.e., writing and presenting a paper at a professional conference or leading an informatics project at a health care organization).
|20||Kent State University||Kent||$$$$$||Executive Office, 2nd Floor Library|
Kent, OH 44242-0001
Kent State University’s master’s of science in health informatics is a fully-online degree program that can be completed in two years. Graduates are prepared for careers in managerial, analytical, consultative, and executive roles working with healthcare systems and clinicians. Offered through the university’s school of library and information science, this program accepts and admits applicants three times a year. Students have the option of taking traditional courses, or they can enroll in compressed seven-week classes.
Course topics include information architecture and knowledge management, legal issues in health information management, change management, and clinical decision-making. Students must complete an internship, lead a special graduate-level project, or write a thesis in order to graduate. The university also partners with the Northern Ohio Health Informatics Management and Systems Society to deliver HI Pulse webinars, which are a monthly series of lectures that cover a variety of health-related topics.
|21||Arkansas Tech University||Russellville||$$$$$||Administration Bldg 200; 1509 N Boulder Ave|
Russellville, AR 72801-2222
Arkansas Tech University is located in Russellville, Arkansas and was founded in 1909. Its master’s of science in health informatics program exposes learners to interdisciplinary curricula and teaches them about health care information security, leadership and policy in health care settings, and innovations in the field of health care technology. This program can be completed online.
To graduate from this degree program, students must earn a minimum of 35 semester hours; 29 of these hours are core requirements and six are advanced electives. Core classes discuss topics such as health care policy, advance biostatistics, and database systems, while elective courses include decision support systems and emerging trends in information technology. Online classes are accessible through the Blackboard learning management system. Students must complete all degree requirements within a period of four years.
|22||National University||La Jolla||$$$$$||11255 North Torrey Pines Road|
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
The master’s of science in health informatics at National University teaches students how to integrate new information and communication technologies to improve health care delivery and the well-being of patients. This online master’s in health informatics prepares graduates to assume mid-level and leadership roles in health care organizations, technology companies, and consulting firms due to their ability to develop, implement, and maintain information systems to improve the safety, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of health care.
This 54-quarter-unit program covers topics such as public health research methods, biostatistics, and electronic health records. The program also includes coursework that is provided through the university's engineering and business schools. Prior to graduation, students must complete a two-month capstone project that is focused on a relevant problem in health informatics.
|23||The University of Findlay||Findlay||$$$$$||1000 North Main Street|
Findlay, OH 45840-3653
The University of Findlay’s master’s of science in health informatics program teaches students to capture, transmit, and leverage health information to provide improved patient health care. This program integrates concepts related to information systems and technology as well as informatics. Students can choose from a variety of speciality areas, including patient safety, management engineering principles, and management science.
Distance learners in this program can complete their degree in two years. Classes are delivered in accelerated eight-week blocks. Students can also opt to take some on-campus classes if they would like to blend online and in-person instruction. This program admits applicants at the beginning of the fall and spring terms. Upon completion of the program, graduates can enter careers in clinical informatics, telemedicine, and public health/population informatics.
|24||Northeastern University||Boston||$$$$$||360 Huntington Ave|
Boston, MA 02115-5005
Northeastern University offers a master’s of science in health informatics, which is designed to help working professionals. Graduates of this program learn how to combine their technical understanding, experiences with business processes, and a familiarity with clinical processes and workflows to improve the health care system.
Students can opt to enroll in the technical career track, where they complete courses such as epidemiology and biostatistics in public health, or the business management track, where coursework can include project management and improving the patient experience through informatics. All students must also complete a capstone project. Learners who enroll full-time can finish the program in two years, while part-time students typically earn their degree in 2.5 to four years. Upon graduation, students are prepared to enter professional roles at hospital systems, health companies, government agencies, and consulting firms.
|25||Regis University||Denver||$$$$$||3333 Regis Blvd|
Denver, CO 80221-1099
Regis University offers a master’s of science in health care informatics and information management for professionals who are already working in the field but want to increase their knowledge of systems planning and implementation, security management, and electronic health management. Students who earn this health informatics master’s online can pursue careers as diagnostic technologists and electronic health record managers, among others.
This online degree blends health informatics (which explores the design, development, and maintenance of systems and processes) with health information management (which focuses on the maintenance and organization of patient data). In addition to information technology, students learn project management, leadership skills, and ethics from a health care perspective. Each course is eight-weeks longs, and full-time students can earn their degree in as few as 24 months.
As healthcare information technology work begins to ramp up, so do the seemingly endless career paths for health informatics degree holders. Here is a list of current careers that encompass the bulk of the MS Health Informatics degree market:
- Informatics nurse
- Medical coder
- Health information manager
- Healthcare Chief Information Officer
- Health informatics specialist
- Clinical analyst
- Clinical informatics specialist
- Clinical informatics manager
Even broader is the range of industries that health informatics professionals can positively impact. Examples include but are not limited to hospitals, government, academia, pharmaceuticals, IT security, pharmaceuticals, telemedicine and eHealth. Salaries range from $47,000 to $95,000 per year and will most likely see an increase with the health informatics job market.
Once enrolled in an online program it is of utmost importance to maintain healthcare or IT-related employment to complement the educational portion with real-time experience. It would also behoove students to establish a connection with professors and other students in order to best enhance their experience, learn from others, and provide support. Upon graduation, universities encourage students to speak with faculty and career counselors to find the right path for their needs and qualifications.