As our baby boom generation continues to age, opportunities to find a great career in the healthcare industry are abundant. Health informatics is a field that plays a critical role in keeping everyone's healthcare records organized and accessible. Following is information about what a career in health informatics entails and what you should expect from a health informatics degree program.
What is Health Informatics
Health informatics is a relatively new field that is changing the way we store medical information. The need for a new way to store and access medical records was brought about by the growth of electronic health records (EHR). Basically, this is a science that connects information technology, communication, and the healthcare industry. Health informatics applies theory to real-life applications to collect, store, analyze, retrieve, and present healthcare data in a digital format.
What Does a Job in Health Informatics Require
To work in the health informatics field, you need a minimum of an associate's degree for a technician job. Different job titles and responsibilities can require a bachelor's degree or even a master's degree if you want to go into an upper-level management position. The pay scale increases with more education.
What Should You Look For in a Health Informatics Degree Program
Whether you are looking at an associate, a bachelor, or a master's program, they all should have some common courses as the base. You need to have a basic understanding of medical terminology, medical coding, medical informatics, and community based health information. These basic courses can be fully online or a hybrid of online and courses that you take on a college campus.
In addition to the medical courses, you also need a variety of data analytics and information technology courses that provide a balanced curriculum that will prepare you to step into this new and emerging field of health informatics. The key is to come out of your health informatics degrees program with skills in both healthcare and computers. Advanced degrees will also provide you with core classes that give you the skills to create and develop databases as well as manage large-scale projects from start to finish.
Job Outlook and Salary
The job outlook in the health informatics industry is exceptionally bright for individuals willing to invest the time in a degree program. Employment in this industry is expected to grow twice as fast as employment overall across the country. As with other industries, average salaries increase with the more education you bring to the job. Average salaries can range from $64,000 for technicians up to over $100,000 for professionals in executive positions. In addition, different areas of the country will have different starting and average salaries.
The health informatics field is an exceptionally good career choice with a wide variety of job titles and jobs available at every degree program level. The starting and average salaries are above average across the country. When you are looking at a health informatics degree program, it helps to know what career choice you are interested in specializing in. The core classes include courses in both the medical field and computers. If you invest the time into a health informatics degrees program, it will pay for itself over the life of your career.