Nursing Informatics Schools

Nurses with informatics knowledge are responsible for managing and analyzing medical data and using it to improve patient care and outcomes. Nurses interested in understanding how technology and analytics now drive healthcare delivery systems can earn a master’s, post-master’s certificate, or doctoral degree in nursing informatics (NI).

According to the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), this field aims to promote overall health and improve healthcare outcomes, stating that health informatics is “the key to accelerating the current goals of healthcare reform.” Nursing informatics integrates nursing and science with communication technologies and information management.

Numerous graduate-level nursing informatics programs provide the necessary training to work in this growing field. Graduates from MSN, post-master’s certificate, and DNP programs in nursing informatics pursue careers as nursing informatics specialists, clinical terminologists, clinical informatics nurses, and chief nursing informatics officers (CNIO).

Before beginning a career in nursing informatics, it is essential to understand what the role entails. Students entering nursing informatics programs are licensed registered nurses (RNs) with a graduate degree or certificate in nursing informatics. Nursing informatics programs teach students how to manage information technology and evaluate the effectiveness of multiple systems.

Graduates from nursing informatics programs work in numerous settings, from ambulatory clinics to acute care or long-term care settings, and in occupations such as clinical analysts and informatics nurses. In addition, having a nursing informatics degree or certificate program can lead to professional certification.

Read on for a comprehensive guide to nursing informatics schools, including admissions requirements, featured on-campus, hybrid, and online programs, accreditation, and certifications.

Admissions Requirements for Nursing Informatics

Admission requirements can vary by school, but admissions requirements for nursing informatics programs often include the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing
  • Criminal background check
  • Current and unencumbered RN license
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Physical and mental health exams to attest to overall health
  • Prerequisite courses in statistics or mathematics
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of immunizations
  • Statement of purpose

Nursing Informatics Degrees & Certificates

Most professionals pursuing an education in nursing informatics need to complete a master’s degree, although some bachelor’s of science degrees in nursing programs offer nursing informatics tracks.

Most nursing informatics program offerings include one of the following:

  • Master’s of science in nursing (MSN) degree with a specialty in nursing informatics
  • Post-master’s certificate with a nursing informatics specialization
  • Doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) degree with a specialization in nursing informatics

On-Campus Nursing Informatics Programs

Here are some on-campus programs featuring nursing informatics degrees and post-master’s certificates.

Adelphi University

The 39-credit hour master of science (MS) health informatics (HI) program offered through the College of Nursing and Public Health helps prepare students for management and leadership roles. The program is designed for working professionals, allowing students enrolled part-time to take courses in the evening and be able to complete the program in three years.

In addition, so that students gain more practical knowledge, the program features a field experience course and a capstone research course. The school also offers a healthcare informatics certificate program.

  • Location: Garden City, NY
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $1,490 per credit

University of Utah

Students can complete the MS in nursing informatics degree available at the University of Utah online or on-campus, full or part-time. Students will collaborate on informatics projects with highly-regarded faculty.

This program is one of the first in the United States. It provides students with clinical learning opportunities to prepare for future work as nurse informaticists and other clinical leadership positions. A 15-credit hour interdisciplinary informatics certificate program is also available.

  • Location: Salt Lake City, UT
  • Duration: Two to three years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $971 per credit (residents); $3,459 per credit (non-residents)

University of San Diego

The Hahn School of Nursing offers an on-campus MSN in nursing informatics. The 45-credit degree includes courses in financial management in healthcare systems, evidence-based practice: role of theory and research, and biostatistics. The program is recognized as an approved educational partner by the Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS), and graduates from this program are eligible to pursue HIMSS and ANCC certification.

  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,690 per credit

Hybrid & Online Nursing Informatics Programs

Grand Canyon University

Due to the nature of the content and course structure, many nursing informatics programs are well-suited to online delivery. In addition, online learning opportunities make it much easier and more convenient for working RNs to pursue this specialized education.

The following is a selection of accredited online nursing informatics programs.

University of Maryland

Students enrolled in the 40-credit online master’s degree in nursing informatics can complete this program either part-time or full-time. The curriculum is broken into three essential areas: nursing core courses and electives, leadership management courses, and nursing informatics courses. The nursing informatics section is the largest, comprising seven courses, including healthcare database systems and human-technology interaction in healthcare.

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $873 per credit (residents); $1,549 per credit (non-residents)

Duke University

The hybrid 38-credit hour program available through Duke University school can be completed part-time or full-time and almost entirely through distance learning. Students are required to complete two weekend sessions on campus in Durham, North Carolina, throughout the program. The program includes four core courses, totaling 12 credits, which explore learning about population health in a global society and advanced nursing practice.

Before graduation, students must complete an intensive individualized practice at a healthcare organization for at least 224 hours. In addition, students should be prepared to sit for the certification exam offered through The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) generalist exam for nursing informatics. A health informatics certificate is also available.

  • Location: Durham, NC
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $12,896 per semester

Texas Tech University

Based in Lubbock, Texas, Texas Tech University offers a hybrid master’s of science in nursing informatics (NI) degree online. Occasional trips to the Lubbock campus are required for field experiences or to complete competencies-related immersion work.

The degree comprises 36 semester-hour credits and should allow students to sit for ANCC certification and the HIMSS Certified Professional in Health Information Management (CPHIMS) exams. The school also offers a post-master’s nursing informatics certificate for those with an MSN degree.

  • Location: Lubbock, TX
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $50 per credit (residents); $470 per credit (non-residents)

Post University

The online MSN degree in nursing informatics at Post University features asynchronous classes that students can complete at any time with no face-to-face virtual visits. The American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Science grants the specialization.

This 36-credit program features elective courses in healthcare informatics, information security and privacy in healthcare environments, and project management. Students in this program complete a capstone project and can choose from one of two schedules to complete this program in two years or less.

  • Location: Waterbury, CT
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $599 per credit

Thomas Jefferson University

The online DNP degree program available through Sidney Kimmel Medical College is designed for nurses with MSN degrees. It includes a 36-credit post-master’s DNP core curriculum exploring topics such as epidemiology in the health professions and health policy, legal issues, and the ethics of practice. The degree also includes a course in health informatics. Students can complete this program full-time in two years or part-time in up to five years.

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Duration: 2-5 years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,224 per credit

University of Pittsburgh

The School of Nursing at the University of Pittsburgh offers three nursing informatics options: a major, a minor, and a post-professional certificate. The minor is available to graduate students pursuing an MSN or DNP degree and can be completed part- or full-time online. The minor curriculum includes 11 course credits and covers an introduction to health informatics, database management, clinical information systems, and information technology project management. In addition to the minor, the University offers an online MSN degree with a specialty in nursing informatics.

  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Duration: Two to three terms
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,190 per credit

Queen’s University of Charlotte

Located in North Carolina, Queens University of Charlotte offers an online MSN with a nursing informatics track. This 37-credit program has no campus residency requirements and provides an asynchronous online curriculum so nurses can complete their coursework on their schedules while remaining employed. In addition, the program includes 225 clinical hours at a location of the student’s choosing to gain hands-on practical experience.

  • Location: Charlotte, NC
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $630 per credit

Rutgers University

The Rutgers School of Nursing offers a hybrid MSN in nursing informatics that can be completed full-time in two years or part-time in four years. The 37-credit program includes online courses in information systems principles, nursing systems development lifecycle, and consumer healthcare informatics. The program consists of 225 clinical hours with an approved preceptor in New Jersey to empower students to improve health outcomes using information technology and data-driven communication.

  • Location: Newark, New Brunswick, & Blackwood, NJ
  • Duration: Two to four years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,000 per credit (residents); $1,464 per credit (non-residents)

Although nursing informatics courses in the programs above are offered online, many have in-person requirements to earn a specific number of hours of in-person practical, clinic-based experiences. Therefore, applicants should verify the requirements for preceptorship placements and where they will need to complete their practicum hours.

Nursing Informatics Core & Elective Courses

Nursing informatics degrees prepare nurses to become experts in healthcare delivery by implementing and using information technology to improve outcomes and patient care. Many programs first feature introductory courses, often the foundation of an MSN degree, followed by specialty track courses in nursing informatics.

These courses vary somewhat in name but commonly go by titles such as:

Core Courses

  • Health promotion and population health
  • Biostatistics for evidence-based practice
  • Professional transitions: advanced nursing practice

Informatics Courses

  • Consumer healthcare informatics
  • Healthcare database systems
  • Health information exchange standards, methods, and models
  • Informatics of clinical practice
  • Information technology project management
  • Systems analysis and design

Practicums are often needed to complete many nursing informatics degrees, but the actual requirements and hours may vary by school and program. Some nursing informatics programs may also have students involved in project management experiences.

Nursing Informatics Accreditation

There are two types of accreditation: programmatic and regional.

Programmatic Accreditation

Like other nursing programs, many nursing informatics programs are accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The U.S. Department of Education recognizes the CCNE agency for its ability to accredit programs and help assure the quality of bachelor’s, graduate-level, and residency nursing programs. A search page on the CCNE website allows students to search for accredited programs by filtering by level of education and state.

Another institution accrediting nursing programs is the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN). The ACEN closely ties its accreditation process of certificate, diploma, and degree programs to state exam and licensing procedures. In addition, the ACEN has a search page on its website, allowing students to search for programs based on degree level and state.

The entire accreditation process is available for review on the respective organizations' websites. Institutions must apply for candidacy first, followed by thorough self-evaluation and at least one site visit from designated professionals, typically nurses.

Institutional Accreditation

In addition to programmatic accreditation through the CCNE or ACEN, schools should have institutional accreditation that applies to all programs.

Institutional accreditation is the US Department of Education’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which recognizes the following six regional accreditation bodies:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Career Outlook

The BLS does not track data specific to nursing informatics specialists. Instead, nursing informatics careers are tracked under the occupational titles of health information technologists or medical and health services managers. The BLS (2022) estimates demand for these jobs will grow by 17 and 28 percent, respectively, from 2022 to 2032. This growth is predicted to add 7,000 health information technologist jobs and 136,200 medical and health services management positions.

It is also helpful to look at occupational growth predictions for registered nurses to further extrapolate the nursing informatics career growth. According to BLS data, the demand for registered nurses is expected to grow 6 percent between 2020 and 2031 (BLS 2022), adding 195,400 new positions.

Moreover, the demand for master’s- and doctoral-degree-prepared nurse practitioners is predicted to skyrocket, growing at 40 percent from 2022 to 2032 and adding 118,600 new positions. While most of these positions will be clinically focused, there is a growing demand for nurses to hold graduate and doctoral degrees, which can put them on track to earn an informatics specialization.

Nurse Informatics Salary

In terms of salary, registered nurses statistically earn well above the national average of $61,900, with the average salary for a registered nurse (RN) in the US standing at $89,010 (BLS May 2022). Since informatics is a specialized field, higher education and credentials can equate to wages toward the higher end of the pay spectrum. Here are the salary profiles for registered nurses (BLS May 2022):

  • 10th percentile: $61,250 per year
  • 25th percentile: $66,680
  • 50th percentile (median): $89,010
  • 75th percentile: $101,100
  • 90th percentile: $129,400

Nursing Informatics Licensing & Certification

As of March 2023, there are no state-level licensing requirements for nursing informatics professionals. However, registered nurses (RNs) must maintain a current and unencumbered registered nursing license through their state board of nursing to work legally.

However, there are credentials that nursing informatics professionals can seek to demonstrate their expertise and further their careers. Here are some credentials available to nurse informatics professionals.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) offers three certifications:

  • Certified Associate in Healthcare Information & Management Systems (CAHIMS): for those with less than five years of experience
  • Certified Professional in Healthcare Information & Management Systems (CPHIMS): for those with more than five years of experience
  • Certified Professional in Digital Health Transformation Strategy (CPDHTS): for those who work in digital health transformation strategy

HIMSS is a global organization active in healthcare informatics in North America, Europe, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. HIMSS celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2021 with a membership base exceeding 120,000 individuals.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) also offers board certification in nursing informatics. This certification is good for five years and allows nurses to use the RN-BC (registered nurse board certified) credential. The computer-based exam for this credential is 3.5 hours long and includes 175 questions. The RN-BC certification must be renewed every five years.

Additionally, graduates of nursing informatics programs may be eligible for the American Health Information Management Association’s (AHIMA) Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credential. To qualify for this credential, applicants must have graduated from a health information management program accredited or approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

Rachel Drummond, MEd
Rachel Drummond, MEd Writer

Rachel Drummond has contributed insightful articles to MedicalTechnologySchools.com since 2019, where she offers valuable advice and guidance for those pursuing careers in the healthcare field, combining her passion for education with her understanding of the critical role that healthcare professionals play in promoting physical and mental well-being.

Rachel is a writer, educator, and coach from Oregon. She has a master’s degree in education (MEd) and has over 15 years of experience teaching English, public speaking, and mindfulness to international audiences in the United States, Japan, and Spain. She writes about the mind-body benefits of contemplative movement practices like yoga on her blog, inviting people to prioritize their unique version of well-being and empowering everyone to live healthier and more balanced lives.