Online Health Informatics Degree

As the health care system evolves, many online colleges now typically offer health informatics degrees. The field of health care informatics studies the tech used to code medical records and health data. If you enjoy information science, online learning may be perfect. Online programs in health informatics bring the coursework to you and let you set your own study schedule.

What is an Online Health Informatics Degree?

An online health informatics degree program studies the health care system through its health information systems. Many courses thus draw on computer science and data analysis. To round out your studies, you may take classes in project management, privacy and legal issues. When looking into this field, you may find online health informatics degree programs at all levels. Bachelor’s, master’s and PhDs. At each level, you may grow health information technology skills that apply to the health care industry.

After learning medical terms and delivery systems, you could study medical records and coding. Once you graduate, you may  be ready to seek industry certs and or entry level jobs. Master’s in health informatics typically go deeper. These online programs may help you hone skills through a focal area. Like population health, health care data analytics or cyber security.

Once you graduate, you may have a more defined career path or goal. PhDs in health informatics are typically research focused. The goal is to foster an original idea which you test and write about in a final dissertation. This is one reason why people go for a PhD as is a desire to teach, consult or impact policy.

Bachelor’s Degree in Health Informatics

An online bachelor’s in health informatics (HI) is an entry level degree. Many schools award a Bachelor of Science (BS). But there may be forms of the degree to note. One is a BS Health Information Management, or BS HIM. The other, a Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics, or BS HI.

The courses typically overlap in many ways. These technical programs may deal with health care IT and health data analytics. That means you may take a range of courses from computer science. Areas like data management, cloud computing, and networks. In studying these areas, you may also learn some coding, especially of EHRs.

Accredited HIM programs have the approval of the CAHIIM. CAHIIM is the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. They map curricular standards that line up with industry cert exams.

Additionally you may want to prep for are the CTR, Certified Tumor Registrar. And the Registered Health Info Tech (RHIT). No matter the program, many cover about 120 credit hours. It may take approximately four years to earn your degree. Possibly fewer if you bring in transfer credits.

A high school diploma or its equal (plus transcripts) may be required at the time of application. Some online schools may look at GPA, SAT or ACT scores. Depending on the school, you may need more docs to support your application.

To understand cost, tuition averages were $14,600 for the 2018-2019 academic year if you attend a public college. Otherwise it’s more for private nonprofit schools ($41,100) and for profit schools ($22,700) for the 2018-2019 academic year. If you enroll in an accredited school, you might apply for federal financial aid. Financial aid may be available for those who qualify. Many of the schools may offer scholarships which may offset tuition costs too.

Master’s Degree in Health Informatics

An online master’s in health informatics is an advanced degree. It may appeal to those who want to step into a leader role. Many  schools award a Master of Science (MS). Or, Master of Science in Health Informatics. For short, MS HI.

Online master of science programs are typically less about learning the basics and more about applying IT to help in health administration and patient outcomes. Many of the classes may cover the tech skills needed to design health data systems and tasks. While others may focus on using these things to improve health care delivery, patient care and population health outcomes.

While you study these core areas, your program may come with a choice of tracks. A track is a cluster of courses in one area. A few  examples are cyber security, health care data analytics and health care leadership. Population health is another. If curious about it, many  schools offer a dual degree program with the Master of Public Health (MPH).

Either kind of program may typically entail 30 to 36 credit hours. To complete them may take one to two years, depending on your course load. To apply, you typically require a bachelor’s degree and may be required to send all transcripts. In terms of prerequisites, it may be necessary to have computer skills and a basic grasp of medical language.

Some online schools may look at your undergrad major and GPA as well. Plenty of schools do not ask for the GRE, but some might. Along with these items, you may need to submit other material.  Like reference letter(s), resume and application essay. An admission interview may be required. Tuition is another variable. If you choose a public college, the average cost was  $11,617 for the 2016-2017 academic year.

PhD in Health Informatics

An online PhD in health informatics is a research doctorate. As the highest award in the field, it may appeal to the scholar rather than practitioner. Such online programs may typically focus on emerging trends and influences. And, may engage you in research on your own or under a mentor.

In general, the research aims to advance the theory and practice of health care IT strategy. This may make a PhD appealing to people who want to lead, teach or consult in the field. Apart from research classes, most course may plan to enhance skills around your final dissertation. These tend to look at how to write for science and present info in a clear way.

You may also study various tech. Population based tech like algorithms that predict the spread of disease. And patient facing tech such as apps used to manage one’s health. Some programs also look at personalized medicine. It generally blends biology and chemistry to figure out a treatment based on genomes.

A class in infrastructure may be central too. This area studies data mining and computation. Whatever other classes you take, it may add up to about 90 credit units. To get through them you are likely to need at least 3 years.

When ready to apply, you may need a master’s degree and all transcripts. Many schools do look at your GPA and want to see a writing sample. You might also need to send in resume, references and a goals statement. When discussing your goals, you may often explain your research interests. What they are, and how they fit with active faculty projects. Because they may have a research rotation, not all programs are 100% online. Due to COVID, schools may work around restrictions. But check with each one to know their policy.

What could I do with an Online Health Informatics Degree?

This degree may open the door to a range of higher growth fields. The field of health informatics touches patient care, innovative research, apps and more. The field is generally about advancements in technology. All the tools and platforms it uses to store, get and assess EHRs.

Today, many  health care organizations rely on this health care data. So, there may be jobs for all levels of education. For entry level roles, many information systems jobs call for a bachelor’s degree. Apart from bachelor’s, it may be useful to hold industry credentials. In other kinds of roles, it may be important to have leader and decision skills.

1. Informatics Nurse Specialist 

Informatics nurse specialists help to design and adapt IT used in the nursing field. Depending on their role, they may teach staff how to use this tech to problem solve. As tele-health evolves, some may have a hand in building out these platforms.

2. Medical and Health Services Manager

Medical and health services managers typically run the business side of health care. Doctor’s offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, specific clinical dept’s and the like. In this role, they may plan, direct and oversee staff, projects, and policy.

3. Health Information Technician 

Health information techs record a patient’s medical history, symptoms and test results. They typically  don’t work in direct patient care but do work alongside health care pros. Many employers prefer to hire grads with certifications including the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) cert.

4. IT Project Manager 

Information technology PMs oversee tasks and technical staff. The role often asks you to work with account, strategy, creative, design and tech groups. In doing so, an IT PM takes the lead to ensure a deliverable comes in on time and on budget.

5. Medical Records Clerk 

Medical records clerks report patient data. To do this, they typically use the numerical coding system specific to the health care industry. This process could be vital to the patient, their health insurance and service providers. A wrong code may change billing, repayment and even, treatment. 

6. Information Research Scientist 

Info research scientists are innovators. They are the minds who find new ways to use hardware and software to solve problems. One example is the tele-medicine system which generally enables you to visit your doctor online. To work in this field, it is often necessary to hold a master’s degree.

7. Health Care Chief Information Officer

Health care CIOs are executives who typically oversee IT dept’s. They are the ones who may plan how to handle vast amounts of digital medical information. What systems to invest in and which data to collect for these health information systems. Because many of these jobs require a master’s degree.

8. Clinical Data Managers

Clinical data managers typically design databases for things like biostatistics. In doing so, they analyze things like public health data to spot, track and report trends. They may also work on the design side. For e.g., to build health information technology around technical specs and internal protocols. Many may also train staff to use specific clinical informatics software. This technical role tends to require a master’s degree.

Could an Online Degree in Health Informatics be worth it?

Health informatics may yield flexible skills, prospects and above average earning potential. Jobs in IT (health IT is one) are growing much faster than average. Within the field, there may be opportunities for a range of skills and interests. But some health care professionals could work in technical roles. And others may have more to do with strategy and decisions. So they may work in jobs related to health care administration.

Health information technicians typically have one of the computer focused jobs. They input medical data from nurses and doctors into systems. These pros may also classify electronic health records (EHRs). In fact, the BLS predicts an added 11% of jobs by 2028.

There more are kinds of data to sort including biostatistics to sort, classify, code and interpret. More data boosts the need for other related services. People who can manage databases, for one. And info sec workers who can keep health data secure and health networks private.

With more databases there may be a bigger need for people who can make sense of all the data. And for others who can oversee these projects and drive corporate decisions. Such managers may also be vital at the many new facilities opening up. By 2028, the BLS expects 18% more health services managers to work in this sector.

If a crowded job field worries you, you may boost your resume with a cert. An agency for certs is AHIMA. AHIMA is the American Health Information Management Association.

On average, HI Techs earn a median annual salary of $40,350. The second group are medical and health services managers. On average, this group earned a median annual salary of $100,980 in May 2019.

Health Informatics Degree Jobs & Salary

OccupationMedian Annual WageJobs
Informatics Nurse Specialist$90,92053,400
Health Services Manager $100,98071,600
IT Project Manager $88,55035,700
Health Information Technician $40,35023,100

Top States for Jobs as a Health Informatics

StateJobsAnnual Mean Wage
CA40,900$52,580
TX28,940$43,760
FL22,870$42,350
OH16,500$45,330
NY14,990$52,540

Online Health Informatics Degree Courses

An online health informatics degree typically draws from three main areas. Health care management, systems analysis and medical coding. Some HI programs may feature more computer and health data classes. These topics might explore cloud computing, programming and simple web design. They also look at the networks that send digital health data and info security.

HIM programs may add more in the way of health science and admin. These course plans may touch on the leader skills needed to manage record departments. Side topics may discuss compliance, quality control and workflow. When you pursue a a health informatics degree online you may study these topics and more. But each level of degree is likely to present material in a unique way. Below are some of the classes you may find at the bachelor’s master’s and PhD levels.

Bachelor’s Degree Courses

BS in health informatics classes are typically practical. First, you may learn about medical terms and the US health system. These topics could set up the context for the codes used to classify various data. Along with these, you may study the rules, legal and ethical standards of recording the data.

Many  programs also cover health data systems in depth. These systems generally collect, store, retrieve, send, and communicate. And in doing so, support various org’al ops and clinical decisions. To fill out your study plan, you may also need to complete gen ed classes, a capstone project and practicum. The following classes may also be part of your program:

Management of Healthcare Data

This type of class typically looks at the design and the use of medical databases. Students may learn about business rules and data modeling. Then students may apply them to craft medical information management systems. These could be for allergies, gaps in care and other uses.

Intro to Health Information Technology

A class in Health IT is likely technical. It tends to look at data from all sides. Including modeling and management systems). A key side topic may be data sharing. So you may also study Health Information Exchanges (HIE). And the United States Health Information Infrastructure (NHIN).

Health Care Delivery Systems

This class is typically an  overview of the nature, org, and function of health services used in the United States. Often studied by looking at federal, state and local levels. Topics may include health care costs, access, and ethical issues. Transplants, reproductive tech, end of life decisions and more.

Coding and Classifications Systems

Students could learn how to assign codes using suitable guidelines and norms. In particular, you are likely to study ICD 10 CM and ICD rules. In the second part of this course, you might learn to manage various data sets and data capture tools. For e.g., HEDIS, UHDDS and OASIS.

Graduate Degree Courses

MS in health informatics programs may be advanced. They typically aim to grow both technical, managerial and critical thinking skills. At this level as well, some schools may partner with the HIMSS. HIMSS is the Health Care Information and Management Systems Society.

When so, the classes may weave in key themes that many org’s use to drive outcomes. Things like cost effective measures, data analytics and ways to use health IT to ensure patient safety. These topics may help you understand how to improve the use of IT throughout all facets of healthcare. Including in nursing, pharmacy, clinical care, public health and medical research.

Apart from any core classes you take, many online schools offer a choice of tracks. A track clusters a few classes and may be a useful way to mold a career path. Keep in mind that graduate programs tend to ask you to conduct research. This is especially true for a PhD and brings with it a set of classes. From analytics to research methods and writing. The following classes may also be part of your program:

Health Care Information Management

This class tends to frame all the moving parts in health care informatics. Things like hardware, health care software apps, network architecture, and clinical uses of EHRs. Side topics may bring in the rules and patient privacy standards. Plus, key security and reimbursement issues. 

Information systems Project Management

A class in project mgmt. typically looks at IT workflow in the context of health care orgs (HCOs). Things like scope, time, cost, quality, risks and HR needs. To study these areas, you may have a few hands on exercises, including a software assignment.

Biostatistics

In this type of class, you may gain the skills needed to make sense of health focused statistics. To do this, you are likely to study statistical methods and software. You may also learn how to locate, interpret and assess science lit so some writing may be necessary.

Information Security in Health Care

The goal of this class is to learn how the health care industry keeps its data safe. So, it tends to cover key info sec concepts, uses and various methods. From the regulatory guides and access control to web security and personnel issues. Areas of focus include secure system design and encryption.

How long could it take to earn a Health Informatics Degree online?

The time it takes to earn a health informatics degree online varies. Factors that impact length are degree level, course load and choice of full time or part time format. If pursuing  a bachelor’s in health informatics degree online, it typically takes 4 years. To cut this down, some students may bring in transfer credits from community college.

To earn a master’s degree, some of the shorter online programs may take 18 months or up to two years. After this, it may take at least 3 to 5 more years to earn a PhD in Informatics online. But given there is lots of research, many schools give students up to eight.

University Level of Degree # of Credits Required Starts Per Year Minimum Months to Complete
Southern New Hampshire University Bachelors 120 6 24
Western Governors University Bachelors 36 classes 12 39
King University Bachelors 124 9 16
Temple University Masters 30 3 24
University of San Diego Masters 30 3 24
University of Illinois at Chicago Masters 38 Multiple 24
Capella University PhD 90 quarter credits Multiple 36
Indiana University PhD 90 1 48
Walden University PhD 88 12 30

15 Online Health Informatics Degrees

Many online schools offer health informatics degrees. To help you narrow school search results, here are 15 schools with online degrees in health informatics at all levels.

  1. Southern New Hampshire University
  2. Western Governors University
  3. King University
  4. University of Central Florida
  5. Dakota State University
  6. Temple University
  7. University of San Diego
  8. University of Illinois at Chicago
  9. Purdue University Global
  10. Nova Southeastern University
  11. Capella University
  12. Indiana University
  13. Walden University
  14. American Sentinel University
  15. University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

FIND AN ONLINE HEALTH INFORMATICS DEGREE

Let’s take a closer look at the online health informatics degrees that these 15 schools have to offer.

1


This program entails 120 credits.  It typically explores the tech, terms and practical skills needed for an entry level role. The program may also meet the rules to sit for the RHIA® exam. And, those with HIM certs may be eligible for tuition discounts. Sample courses might include:

  • Coding & Classification
  • Health Care Reimbursement
  • Ethical & Legal

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $31,136
Grad $18,810
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,913

Average Net Price:
$39,743

2

Western Governors University

Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management  

Fully Online


This program entails 36 courses and generally uses a competency model. First topics typically aim to build a solid base in computer info systems and technology. Others help to prep grads to apply for the RHIA® exam. You may also gain the CompTIA Project+ certification as part of your coursework, at no extra cost. Sample courses might include:

  • Health Care Data
  • Business of IT
  • Health Sciences

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $6,670
Grad $7,500
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$4,308

Average Net Price:
$7,785

3

King University

Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics 

Fully Online


This program entails 124 credits. It typically covers a range of IT classes like cloud computing, databases and basic networking. You could also study the decision skills needed in health care including compliance, and ethics. A few managerial themes may show how to reach goals and outcomes. Sample courses might include:

  • Informatics for Health Care Leaders
  • Intro to Health Care Org. & Policy
  • Ethics & Legal Issues

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $30,616
Grad $19,500
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$14,300

Average Net Price:
$22,098


This program entails 120 credits. It typically unites classes in business, systems analysis and medical coding. On the business side, you could study mgmt. of health data and systems as well as quality. After your courses, you may take part in an internship. Sample courses might include:

  • Health Law
  • Health Care Reimbursement
  • Medical Terms

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $22,467
Grad $22,759
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$7,631

Average Net Price:
$11,617


This program entails 126 credits. It typically covers a range of computer and business topics including project mgmt. On the tech side, you could study coding for disease, diagnosis and process. And on the admin side, you may study areas like HIM quality mgmt., leadership and compliance. Sample courses might include:

  • Advanced Health Data Systems
  • Revenue Cycle Mgmt.
  • Basic Medical Terms

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,606
Grad $11,088

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$4,592

Average Net Price:
$17,063

6

Temple University

Master of Science in Health Informatics 

Fully Online


This program entails 30 credits. Course topics typically include health data standards, health IT strategy and mgmt. and database administration. The program may end with a capstone course that simulates go live training for IT in a healthcare setting. For those who want to pursue a  dual degree, there may  also be an MPH – MSHI option. Sample courses might include:

  • Health Information Systems Design
  • Privacy & Security
  • Health Data Analysis

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $29,882
Grad $23,346
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$9,392

Average Net Price:
$17,063

7

University of San Diego

Master of Science in Health Care Informatics 

Fully Online


This program entails 37 credits. The course plan typically weaves together a few themes. Health care technology, clinical analytics, leadership, and business skills. Apart from these core areas, you may select a track for more focus. There are three. Health care informatics (HCI), health care analytics or health care leadership. Sample courses might include:

  • Financial Mgmt. in Health Systems
  • Biostatistics
  • Systems Analysis & Design for HCI

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $51,186
Grad $27,288

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$28,658

Average Net Price:
$35,936

8

University of Illinois at Chicago

Master of Science in Health Informatics 

Fully Online


This program entails 38 credits. It typically covers the tools and practices used to improve the use of information technology in health care. With electives, you may earn a concentration in Health Data Science. HDS classes generally focus on designing solutions that support innovation in health care. Sample courses might include:

  • Health Care Data
  • Social & Org Issues in Health Informatics
  • Biomedical & Health Info Sciences

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $27,566
Grad $23,580
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$11,960

Average Net Price:
$12,322

9

Purdue University Global

Master of Science in Health Informatics  

Fully Online


This program entails 48 quarter credits. It typically  studies the use of IT and info mgmt. concepts to improve the efficiency and quality of health care services. While learning about these areas you may also look financial, ethical and legal issues as well as leadership tactics. Sample courses might include:

  • Health Care Data Analysis
  • Project Management
  • Leadership in Health Care

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $14,358
Grad $9,768
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$5,289

Average Net Price:
N/A

10

Nova Southeastern University

Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics  

Fully Online


This program entails 44 credits and a final practicum project. It typically studies the computer science skills needed to work with medical, clinical and biology data. As such, it may  target the learner who has medical, nursing or pharma experience. That said, it is technical, so you may find classes in databases, info sec, networking and more. Sample courses might include:

  • Computational Informatics
  • Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt
  • Leadership Mgmt.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $32,210
Grad $19,665

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$19,195

Average Net Price:
$24,776

11

Capella University

PhD in Information Technology Management 

Online / Residency


This program entails 90 credits. Typically a fair share may be  research and dissertation classes. But you may also study IT from a business and tactical lens. As a result, there are courses in finance, marketing and strategic mgmt. You could also take a few classes that aim to help mid and senior execs hone leader skills. Sample courses might include:

  • Dissertation Research
  • Leading IT Strategic Planning
  • Guiding IT Policies & Practices

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $14,540
Grad $14,767

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,781

Average Net Price:
$17,368

12

Indiana University

PhD in Health Informatics 

Campus / Online Classes


This program entails 90 credits. Through your studies, you may learn how to use tech to help people understand, manage and improve their health. While studying these areas, the goal typically is to make an impact on research. To do this, you may learn how to blend innovative tech, data analytics and design. Sample courses might include:

  • Human Centered Research Methods
  • Mobile & Pervasive Design
  • Informatics Research Rotation

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $36,512
Grad $31,932

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$11,541

Average Net Price:
$13,036

13

Walden University

PhD in Public Health / Epidemiology 

Online / Residency


This program entails 88 quarter credits. It generally focuses on health informatics from a public health point of view. As a result, the courses may cover global health and issues in disease prevention. A class in surveillance could also cover data base design, storage, security and privacy. Sample courses might include:

  • Public Health Leadership
  • Advanced Biostatistics
  • Health Informatics

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,150
Grad $12,039
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,900

Average Net Price:
N/A

14

American Sentinel University

Doctor of Nursing Practice – Informatics Leadership 

Fully Online / Virtual Residency


This program entails 42 credits and may take about 28 months. It usually comes with two short virtual residencies and is generally geared for master’s prepped nurses. The goal of the classes is to help nurses who aspire to a career such as Chief Nursing Informatics Officer. So, may features topics in leadership, tech and ideas around optimized patient care. Sample courses might include:

  • Nursing Informatics
  • Application of Nursing Informatics
  • Health Services Research

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $10,800
Grad $6,540
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$2,827

Average Net Price:
N/A

15

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

PhD in Biomedical Informatics  

Fully Online


This program entails 93 credits and a dissertation. The goal typically is to expand the scope of biomedical informatics (BI). And, to be able to lead teams from all disciplines in the search for new solutions. Along the way you may study grant writing, high level statistics and health data science. Sample courses might include:

  • Research Design
  • Data Structures in BI
  • Methods in Health Data Science 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $32,235
Grad $30,787
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$5,887

Average Net Price:
N/A

*Unemployment Earnings.  Sources for school stats and data include the NCES and IPEDS.