Health Informatics Degrees

The advancement of technology is impacting the ability of healthcare providers to diagnose and treat patients. New medical devices can help monitor symptoms, cutting-edge techniques can offer relief to patients who were once unable to find it, and the data that healthcare providers collect can help improve healthcare delivery to all.

With sophisticated internal pacemakers and wearable external technology, health information is poised to grow the knowledge base of common medical conditions and reduce their pervasive effects.

Examples of these consumer products include glucose monitors that help diabetic patients consistently monitor their blood sugar without skin pricks, and Apple Watches allow people to watch and share their vital signs, noting when blood oxygen levels, pulse, sleep, and physical activity are present. As healthcare data becomes more precise and plentiful, the field of health informatics is predicted to rise to protect consumers and help people and their loved ones manage chronic health conditions with more ease.

A health informatics degree program teaches students how best to collect, store, retrieve, and analyze complex health data to improve patient outcomes and advocate for the best possible treatment protocols. Because healthcare providers are collecting an increasing amount of data from year to year, the need for health informatics professionals is expected to increase over the next decade.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects details on the health information technician profession (HIT), which correlates closely to those with health informatics degrees. According to the BLS (2021), the need for these types of specialists will increase by 9 percent between 2020 and 2030, adding nearly 37,100 new jobs.

Although it is possible to get an entry-level job in the healthcare informatics field with just an associate degree, the most competitive and best-paying positions will require a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Fortunately, there are many reputable programs available to interested applicants. In addition, both on-campus and online programs are available, making it possible for anyone dedicated to learning to earn their degree and start a career in this growing field.

Read more about this growing data-driven career and on-campus and online health informatics degree and certificate programs.

Health Informatics Degree & Certification Programs

Evaluating health informatics programs can be a challenge because many programs have similar names. Health informatics programs are commonly offered at the bachelor of science (BS) and master of science (MS) levels. Nursing informatics is also a widely offered degree available to those already licensed as registered nurses (RNs).

Associate degree programs with similar curriculums but not the same depth as health informatics programs are typically described as health information management (HIM) or health information technology degrees. While these associate-level programs can undoubtedly lead to fulfilling careers, they do not constitute an education in health informatics.

Applicants should also be advised that a BS in health informatics usually requires a significant internship or practical component, which is necessary to gain the clinical hours to be a certified health information technician.

For students interested in management or more advanced health information technology specialties, a master’s degree program is available from several well-known schools. Although this degree program does not always require an internship, it may only be available for students with significant healthcare experience. Following is a selection of on-campus health informatics programs available to students in the US.


On-Campus Health Informatics Programs

Oregon Health & Science University (Graduate Certificate, MS, PhD in Clinical Informatics)

At Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, students in the Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology can choose from two graduate-level informatics programs. The 24-credit graduate certificate is designed for clinicians and healthcare administration professionals to learn about biomedical informatics and how professionals can apply it to patient health.

The 55-credit program has held accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) since 2012. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of both healthcare professionals who want further training in informatics and non-healthcare professionals who wish to pursue a deeper understanding of how information technology impacts healthcare delivery.

  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Duration: Two years
  • Tuition: $713 per credit (residents); $852 per credit (non-residents)
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)

Temple University (MS in Health Informatics)

Temple University, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a very notable school that offers thorough training in health information management and health informatics. This 30-credit master of science (MS) program offers a concentration in healthcare data analytics to teach students techniques in identifying and reporting patient information.

Temple University also offers a dual degree program awarding an MS in health informatics (MSHI) and master of public health (MPH), which can be completed in three to four years on-campus, online, or in a hybrid format.

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Tuition: $1,020 per credit (residents); $1,398 (non-residents)
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)

University of Central Florida (BS in Health Informatics and Information Management)

The University of Central Florida, located in Orlando, is a flexible option for students who want to complete most of their degrees online. However, internships with UCF-affiliated partners are required to graduate from this program. Out of the 19 required HIT courses, 13 of them are offered as online courses.

In the academic year 2019-2020, the graduation rate was 100 percent, and 86 percent of graduates found employment within one year of completing the program. In addition, a fully online MS in healthcare informatics program is available.

  • Location: Orlando, FL
  • Duration: Four years
  • Tuition: $105.07 per credit
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)

University of Michigan (MS, Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics)

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is a highly-ranked school that offers a two-year, 52-credit master in health informatics (MHI) program. This MHI program includes an intensive internship portion that gives students the ability to see health informatics in use and apply what they have learned in real-world scenarios.

Students enrolled in another graduate program can also complete an 18-credit graduate certificate in health informatics concurrent with their master’s program. In addition, self-initiated dual degree programs are available to students who want to pursue courses of study covering two related health informatics disciplines.

  • Location: Ann Arbor, MI
  • Duration: One to two years
  • Tuition: $1,730 per credit (residents); $3,132 per credit (non-residents)
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

University of San Francisco (MS in Digital Health Informatics)

The School of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of San Francisco offers a master of science in digital health informatics. This program emphasizes mobile health, digital therapeutics, telehealth, and advanced analytics for healthcare. Global health is a critical element.

Students in this program take courses in health data ontologies, security and privacy of health data, electronic medical records (EMRs), and user-centered design (UCD). Graduates from this program have a 95 job placement rate.

  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Tuition: $1,150 per credit
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (MS in Health Informatics)

The School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas offers a master’s of health informatics geared toward clinicians, IT professionals, and computer and data scientists.

The curriculum follows the ten domains set forth by the American Medical Informatics Association and includes courses in clinical thinking, the U.S. healthcare system, and data analytics. Students can complete the program in two years full-time or 2.5 years part-time. In addition, a capstone research experience is required to gain field experience applying academic knowledge to existing problems in healthcare informatics.

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Duration: Two years
  • Tuition: $12,341 per year (residents); $19,811 per year (non-residents)
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

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List of Health Informatics Schools

Filter by state :
School City State Website grads (2018)
University of South Florida-Main Campus Tampa Florida www.usf.edu 81
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Houston Texas www.uth.edu 63
Duke University Durham North Carolina www.duke.edu 60
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor Michigan www.umich.edu 48
University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati Ohio www.uc.edu 47
Stony Brook University Stony Brook New York www.stonybrook.edu 44
Northwestern University Evanston Illinois www.northwestern.edu 41
University of Missouri-Columbia Columbia Missouri missouri.edu 36
Sacred Heart University Fairfield Connecticut www.sacredheart.edu 32
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis Indianapolis Indiana www.iupui.edu 29
Stanford University Stanford California www.stanford.edu 27
University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte North Carolina www.uncc.edu 25
University of San Diego San Diego California www.sandiego.edu 25
Medical University of South Carolina Charleston South Carolina web.musc.edu 23
University of Utah Salt Lake City Utah www.utah.edu 23
Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale Florida www.nova.edu 19
SUNY Downstate Medical Center Brooklyn New York www.downstate.edu 19
University of San Francisco San Francisco California www.usfca.edu 18
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Milwaukee Wisconsin uwm.edu 18
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Lubbock Texas www.ttuhsc.edu 17
University of Miami Coral Gables Florida welcome.miami.edu 15
University of Washington-Seattle Campus Seattle Washington www.washington.edu 14
Drexel University Philadelphia Pennsylvania www.drexel.edu 13
Harvard University Cambridge Massachusetts www.harvard.edu 13
Lane Community College Eugene Oregon www.lanecc.edu 12
Lipscomb University Nashville Tennessee www.lipscomb.edu 12
Montana Technological University Butte Montana www.mtech.edu 11
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill North Carolina www.unc.edu 11
University of South Alabama Mobile Alabama www.southalabama.edu 10
Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham Campus Madison New Jersey www.fdu.edu 9
Saint Louis University Saint Louis Missouri www.slu.edu 9
Western Michigan University Kalamazoo Michigan wmich.edu 9
Marshall University Huntington West Virginia www.marshall.edu 8
Texas Woman's University Denton Texas www.twu.edu 8
Columbia State Community College Columbia Tennessee www.columbiastate.edu 7
Trocaire College Buffalo New York trocaire.edu 6
Harrisburg Area Community College Harrisburg Pennsylvania www.hacc.edu 6
North Idaho College Coeur d'Alene Idaho www.nic.edu 6
CUNY Brooklyn College Brooklyn New York www.brooklyn.cuny.edu 5
University of Iowa Iowa City Iowa www.uiowa.edu 5
Vanderbilt University Nashville Tennessee www.vanderbilt.edu 4
Volunteer State Community College Gallatin Tennessee www.volstate.edu 4
Western Kentucky University Bowling Green Kentucky www.wku.edu 4
Georgia State University Atlanta Georgia www.gsu.edu 3
Rogue Community College Grants Pass Oregon www.roguecc.edu 3
University of California-Davis Davis California www.ucdavis.edu 3
Metropolitan State University of Denver Denver Colorado www.msudenver.edu 2
Pierce College-Fort Steilacoom Lakewood Washington www.pierce.ctc.edu 2
Simmons University Boston Massachusetts www.simmons.edu 2
University of Massachusetts-Boston Boston Massachusetts www.umb.edu 2
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia Pennsylvania www.upenn.edu 2
Columbus State University Columbus Georgia www.columbusstate.edu 1
CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College New York New York www.bmcc.cuny.edu 1
Eastern Iowa Community College District Davenport Iowa www.eicc.edu 1
Kent State University at Kent Kent Ohio www.kent.edu 1
Loyola University Chicago Chicago Illinois www.luc.edu 1
Medical College of Wisconsin Milwaukee Wisconsin www.mcw.edu 1
Milwaukee School of Engineering Milwaukee Wisconsin www.msoe.edu 1
Northeastern University Boston Massachusetts www.northeastern.edu 1
Roane State Community College Harriman Tennessee www.roanestate.edu 1
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester New York www.rit.edu 1
SUNY College at Oswego Oswego New York www.oswego.edu 1
University at Buffalo Buffalo New York www.buffalo.edu 1
Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine Kalamazoo Michigan med.wmich.edu 1
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Hybrid & Online Health Informatics Programs

Since health informatics is a technology-driven degree, there are many options for students offered entirely online. The availability of online and hybrid programs depends on the level of education being pursued, with master’s level programs being much more common in the online or hybrid format.

Below is a selection of health informatics programs that have been accredited by the CAHIIM, which may be required for specific certifications. The CAHIIM program directory has a list of all online learning programs that are accredited.

Kent State University (MS, Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics)

Kent State Online offers a fully online master’s degree and a graduate certificate in health informatics. Students in these programs learn from award-winning faculty and can complete the program in less than a year.

The 18-credit certificate includes seven-week courses taken in sequence and small class sizes and leads to careers in healthcare, educational services, and technology. The 36-credit master’s program can be completed in as few as 24 months. The GRE is not required for admission to either program.

  • Location: Kent, OH
  • Duration: 12 to 24 months
  • Tuition: $725 per credit (residents); $735 (non-residents)
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Louisiana Tech University (MS in Health Informatics)

Louisiana Tech University in Ruston offers an online master of science in health informatics through its college of applied and natural sciences. Although the school notes that admission is competitive, the GRE is not required for this program.

However, students should have completed a bachelor’s degree in health information management or a related field to apply. Graduates from this program have a 100 percent job placement rate within six months of graduation.

  • Location: Ruston, LA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Tuition: $714 per credit
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)

Oregon Institute of Technology (BS in Health Informatics)

Oregon Tech, also known as the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT), offers a fully online bachelor of science at two campuses in Klamath Falls or Portland. Students in this program take courses in database design, computer networks, systems analysis, and healthcare information technology (IT).

This program has a 95 percent job placement rate for graduates. Students are prepared to design, implement, and support computer systems in healthcare, including information management, patient monitoring and reporting, and medical education and research.

  • Location: Klamath Falls & Portland, OR
  • Duration: Four years
  • Tuition: $9,572 per year
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

University of Illinois at Chicago (MS in Health Informatics)

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Public Health, Nursing, and Computer programs are some of the best in the nation. This school is noted for its flexibility, offering a 100 percent online MS option and a hybrid research degree option.

In addition, this is a CAHIIM-approved program, meaning that graduates are eligible to take the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The 38-credit program offers three concentrations in consumer and mobile health, health data science, and leadership.

  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Duration: Two years
  • Tuition: $750 per credit
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)

University of Maryland Global Campus (MS in Health Informatics Administration)

The University of Maryland Global Campus is an affordable option with local prestige. The program comprises 36 credits that allow students to gain experience in information science and health care administration. Students must have three years of professional healthcare experience or information tech in a healthcare setting to apply.

This program is an approved education partner of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and graduates are eligible to sit for the CAHIMS/CPHIMS certification exams.

  • Location: Largo, MD
  • Duration: two years
  • Tuition: $694 per credit
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)

University of Mississippi Medical Center (BS in Health Informatics and Information Management)

The University of Mississippi Medical Centers offers online delivery for four health informatics and information (HIIM) programs. The bachelor’s programs are divided into traditional and progression. The traditional program allows students new to the health informatics field to earn a bachelor’s degree online. In contrast, the progression program is designed for those who already hold the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential.

Both programs feature online coursework and have been accredited by the CAHIIM. The master’s degree program offers two tracks: health informatics (HI) and health information management (HIM), both of which require 36 credits for graduation. The post-baccalaureate certificate in health informatics can be completed in three semesters and requires 10 hours of courses with a grade of “B” or higher.

  • Location: Jackson, MS
  • Duration: 1.5 to four years
  • Tuition: $13,092 for three semesters
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
School City State Website grads (2018)
Capella University Minneapolis Minnesota www.capella.edu 153
Western Governors University Salt Lake City Utah www.wgu.edu 64
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Houston Texas www.uth.edu 63
University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati Ohio www.uc.edu 47
Northeastern University Lifelong Learning Network Boston Massachusetts www.northeastern.edu/learnforlife 42
Northwestern University Evanston Illinois www.northwestern.edu 41
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis Indianapolis Indiana www.iupui.edu 29
Stanford University Stanford California www.stanford.edu 27
Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights Kentucky www.nku.edu 26
The University of Findlay Findlay Ohio www.findlay.edu 26
University of San Diego San Diego California www.sandiego.edu 25
Rutgers University-New Brunswick New Brunswick New Jersey newbrunswick.rutgers.edu 23
University of Utah Salt Lake City Utah www.utah.edu 23
Community College of Baltimore County Baltimore Maryland www.ccbcmd.edu 19
National University La Jolla California www.nu.edu 19
George Mason University Fairfax Virginia www.gmu.edu 18
Brandeis University Waltham Massachusetts www.brandeis.edu 17
Regis University Denver Colorado www.regis.edu 16
University of Miami Coral Gables Florida welcome.miami.edu 15
East Carolina University Greenville North Carolina www.ecu.edu 15
Drexel University Philadelphia Pennsylvania www.drexel.edu 13
King University Bristol Tennessee www.king.edu 13
Loma Linda University Loma Linda California home.llu.edu 12
University of New England Biddeford Maine www.une.edu 12
Montana Technological University Butte Montana www.mtech.edu 11
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill North Carolina www.unc.edu 11
Champlain College Burlington Vermont www.champlain.edu 10
University of South Carolina-Upstate Spartanburg South Carolina www.uscupstate.edu 9
Southern New Hampshire University Manchester New Hampshire www.snhu.edu 8
Southwestern Oklahoma State University Weatherford Oklahoma www.swosu.edu 7
DePaul University Chicago Illinois www.depaul.edu 5
Misericordia University Dallas Pennsylvania www.misericordia.edu 5
The College of Health Care Professions-Northwest Houston Texas www.chcp.edu 5
Michigan Technological University Houghton Michigan www.mtu.edu 4
Tennessee Technological University Cookeville Tennessee www.tntech.edu 4
University of Scranton Scranton Pennsylvania www.scranton.edu 4
Logan University Chesterfield Missouri www.logan.edu 3
University of Kansas Lawrence Kansas ku.edu 3
Highlands College of Montana Tech Butte Montana www.mtech.edu 2
The College of Saint Scholastica Duluth Minnesota www.css.edu 2
Dakota State University Madison South Dakota dsu.edu 1
New England College Henniker New Hampshire www.nec.edu 1
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Lancaster Pennsylvania www.pacollege.edu 1
University of Mary Bismarck North Dakota www.umary.edu 1
Xavier University Cincinnati Ohio www.xavier.edu 1
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Health Informatics Core & Elective Courses

Besides core courses like English, math, and science, each health informatics program has vital components.

  • Health data management – Students learn the structure and use of health information and advanced healthcare record management in this course. Topics covered include electronic health record-keeping, documentation guidelines, and regulatory compliance. Essential data collection tools and methodologies will also be discussed.
  • Health information communication technology – Students in this course will learn the function of computer systems for healthcare operations and medical vocabulary, and the infrastructure of the National Healthcare Information System.
  • Health information systems – This course teaches students the many clinical, administrative, and specialty options available to Healthcare Informatics Specialists, including bioinformatics, organizational informatics, and clinical informatics. Students will apply data mining concepts and techniques, learn data storage and retrieval strategies, and overcome common data security problems.
  • Quality management & performance improvement – In this course, students gain an advanced understanding of applying quality improvement tools and evaluating documentation to ensure that it meets quality standards. This course will also cover risk management for medical information, credentialing, and how to create facility-wide quality assurance programs.
  • Capstone or practicum – A practicum, capstone, or internship is vital for many program requirements. This may mean a research paper or a set of replacement courses for online programs, while for on-campus programs, the practicum element may require up to 400 hours of professional, on-site clinical work.

Health Informatics Program Accreditation - CAHIIM

To obtain a job as a health informatics specialist, it is not necessary to complete a program accredited explicitly by a programmatic accrediting body. However, most mid-level and top-level positions will be filled by those credentialed by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

To receive the individual AHIMA credential of Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) or Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT), students will need to complete a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

CAHIIM accredits health information manager (HIM) and health informatics (HI) programs, including undergraduate and graduate-level programs. The process is specific to each level of education, although the targeted primary program outcomes are the same. Programs that CAHIIM has approved focus on a curriculum that appropriately teaches the information systems, social-technical aspects of information-sharing, and the technology involved in managing healthcare information.

In addition to curriculum overview, all approved health informatics degree programs must undergo several on-site evaluations to ensure that the educators, curriculum, and technology components are up to national standards. The CAHIIM also provides that each program element will successfully prepare students to sit for the AHIMA exams.

Not only must a college be accredited by CAHIIM, but a regional or national accrediting body must also accredit it. For example, distance education courses should be accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). In addition, on-campus programs must be accredited by an organization approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Career Outlook

The career outlook for healthcare information specialists is good – growing steadily at the national average rate of growth of all occupations in the U.S. Healthcare informatics jobs are projected to increase by 9 percent between 2020 and 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021).

One of the primary reasons for this increased need for healthcare information specialists is the rising complexity of caring for and managing medical records. In addition, as the healthcare industry gets closer to adopting ICD-10 and increased insurance regulations lead to more specified healthcare information, informatics is becoming a very unwieldy system that requires specialization.

In addition, there will be more need for healthcare services of all kinds over the next decade, mainly due to the rising aging population. The Baby Boomer generation, one of the largest demographics in America, requires more and more healthcare services. This means that all healthcare careers will be invaluable over the coming years.

Education is a massive element to the potential earning power of a health informatics degree. Entry-level positions may only require an associate degree but usually require an additional post-secondary certificate or a bachelor’s degree. The degree earned significantly impacts the earnings a professional in this field can make, with the lowest-earners annual salary at $28,800 and the average at $48,270 (BLS May 2020).

Students who complete a post-graduate certificate or Master’s Degree in Healthcare Informatics Administration or Research can potentially earn even more. Specialists, such as Bioinformatics Specialists, Public Health Informatics Specialists, and Clinical Informatics Specialists can also expect to see higher-than-average pay.

Career Facts Health Informatics
Related CareersComputer and Information Systems Manager, Nursing Information Systems Coordinator
Common Job TitlesClinical Informatics Director, Clinical Informatics Strategist, Director of Health Information Management, Director of Health Information Technology, Health Information Director
Technology & EquipmentMedical Imaging Database Systems, Medical Software, Medical Picture Archiving Systems, Computers
Sourced from BLS, September 2021

Health Informatics Licensing & Certification

Although it is not strictly required to be licensed or certified to become a healthcare informatics specialist, students who complete certification requirements will be much more competitive in the field.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is the most prestigious and well-known licensing body for healthcare informatics professionals. They provide students with a standardized test to demonstrate their mastery of the field.

The Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential requires that students pass an exam to earn the designation of Registered Health Information Technician. Students must complete a qualifying program from a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) to sit for this exam. Usually, this means at least a two-year investment towards a healthcare informatics degree, either at a US college or a foreign school that meets the CAHIIM reciprocity agreement.

For students who pursue a bachelor’s degree in health informatics, there is a higher level of certification available through AHIMA. These students are eligible to sit for the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam, which is necessary for top-level management positions. This certification is also only available to those who have completed programs approved by CAHIIM.

Rachel Drummond
Rachel Drummond Writer

Rachel Drummond is a freelance writer, educator, and yogini from Oregon. She’s taught English to international university students in the United States and Japan for more than a decade and has a master’s degree in education from the University of Oregon. A dedicated Ashtanga yoga practitioner, Rachel is interested in exploring the nuanced philosophical aspects of contemplative physical practices and how they apply in daily life. She writes about this topic among others on her blog (Instagram: @racheldrummondyoga).