Earning a degree in health informatics will provide you with a high level of education in healthcare and information science. You will understand the best ways to acquire, store, protect and retrieve information about health and medicine. With these skills, you will be able to qualify for many high-paying positions in the healthcare administrative and informatics fields.
How high will your salary be? That is always a major question when choosing any degree and career. To get a good idea about salary level for a health informatics degree, it is important to analyze the following factors:
- The level of health informatics degree
- The type of health informatics or health administration career you choose
- How many years of experience you have
- The type of health care facility or work environment
With this information in hand, you can make a reasonable estimate of what your salary will be.
Level of Health Informatics Degree
There has been much research done over the last few decades that suggests earning a master’s degree will generally result in a higher salary in your career. For example, a 2015 Georgetown University study found that bachelor’s degree holders earned an average salary of $61,000, while those with a master’s degree earned an average salary of $78,000. This is an increase of $17,000. But what about earning a health informatics master’s? Will this lead to a higher salary?
For an answer, we can look the the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. One of the most common occupations for a health informatics degree holder is medical and health services manager. BLS has found that the median salary for a professional in this field with a bachelor’s degree is $70,000. With a master’s degree, the median annual salary is $90,000, for a $20,000 increase in salary.
Salary.com also provides some helpful insights on this question. For the role of health informatics director, a master’s degree can earn you a salary in the range of $145,000 to $153,000. A bachelor’s degree has a salary range of $122,709 to $131,000.
Is A Health Informatics Career for You?
If you are considering a health informatics degree, here are some questions to help you decide if this a career for you:
- Do you want to enhance the quality of patient care? Health informatics professionals do not work directly with patients, but they still are an important part of the team that improves the care level of patients. They provide doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals with more efficient access to patient information. Working in this field can have a major impact on outcomes for large numbers of patients. You may also train healthcare staff on how to use new technology and systems to better track patient care.
- Do you want a less stressful work life? This is a question for those who are thinking of making the transition from clinical care to health informatics. This can be a great career fit for the experienced clinician who wants to earn a new degree to transition into a new field. The work environment for health informatics workers is usually much less stressful than that of doctors and nurses.
- Do you have an interest in healthcare and technology? This is a highly specialized healthcare and technical field that features both technology and healthcare. You will likely take courses in college that involve both medicine and technology, so interest and a background in both or either is helpful.
- Do you want a career with many job options? Health informatics workers have many job options that go well beyond jobs in hospitals. There are many job possibilities for people to work in government universities and other healthcare facilities.
Types of Informatics Careers
Another factor in the salary with a health informatics degree is the exact occupation you choose. Below are some of the most common occupations for this type of degree, and the salary you may expect in each:
Medical and health services manager
This position also may be referred to as healthcare executive or healthcare administrator, or health information manager. This professional is responsible for the planning, directing and coordinating of medical and health services. They may be responsible for managing the entire health facility, a certain clinical department or a group of doctors in an office.
For a health information manager, you will be responsible for the security and maintenance of all patient data and records. It also is critical to stay up to date with IT technology and any laws about health information systems, including trends in how to effectively manage large amounts of data.
This position earned a median salary of $96,500 in 2016, with a range between $56,900 and $172,200. Salaries varied based upon industry as follows:
- Hospitals: $104,300
- Government: $104,100
- Outpatient care center: $89,400
- Office of doctors: $87,500
- Nursing and residential care facilities: $80,300
This job also can have very different salaries if you work in these different environments:
- Computer systems design and related work: $146,000
- Drugs and drug merchant wholesaler: $136,000
- Data processing: $134,000
- Medical and diagnostic laboratories: $105,000
- Home healthcare services: $88,600
- Substance abuse hospitals: $95,300
Health informatics specialist
A health informatics specialist is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of technology in a hospital, nursing home or other healthcare facility. You could be responsible for the training of healthcare staff and creating educational materials for procedures and computer systems. Also you will be in charge of assisting staff and troubleshooting when any issues arise. You also must be up to date on state and federal compliance and regulatory standards regarding electronic health records or EHRs: $61,200.
Clinical informatics specialist
A clinical informatics specialist works with computer systems that are used to digitize patient and medical records. You will be responsible for devising processes and enhancing procedures and also documenting them for the medical staff. Also, you must oversee the transition of paper documents to digital systems, and ensure that this process is done smoothly: $68,600.
A clinical analyst is responsible for evaluating healthcare and patient data to enhance workflow and to improve the healthcare facility’s overall clinical information systems. One of the major focuses is to create database systems for the healthcare facility. As healthcare IT involves the handling of confidential data, you must be able to effectively balance efficiency and new federal standards on the handling of electronic health records: $65,900.
Clinical informatics manager
A clinical informatics manager is responsible for the oversight of daily operations of the clinical information systems in many types of healthcare facilities. As a clinical informatics manager, you must be able to effectively manage and train staff, perform monitoring of budgets, direct clinical staff, and make sure that all systems are in full compliance with relevant state, federal and other regulatory standards: $91,009.
The level of experience you have in the health informatics field will influence your salary as well. For example, a health information management director with fewer than five years of experience will have a median salary of $48,000, while the same professional with 5-10 years of experience will have a $61,000 salary. For 10-20 years of experience, the salary is $70,000, and $82,000 for those with more than 20 years of experience.
A clinical informatics manager with fewer than five years of experience will have an average salary of $86,000, while the same manager with 5-10 years of experience will have an $85,000 salary, which is actually a decrease. But once you have 10-20 years of experience, your salary will rise to $108,000. For those with more than 20 years of experience, the salary is only $92,000. This data suggests that for this particular job title, the starting salary is high, but wage growth is more stagnant that related job titles.
A health information manager with fewer than five years of experience will earn an average salary of $42,000, while the same manager with 5-10 years of experience will earn a salary of $48,000. A health information manager with 10-20 years of experience will earn a $51,000 salary, and one with more than 20 years of experience will earn a salary of $55,000. The wage growth for experience in this occupation also is fairly limited.
4 Facts About Health Informatics Careers
- Major job growth expected: BLS reports that there will be 20% or higher growth in health informatics and healthcare management fields through 2026.
- Many subcategories in this field: You can tailor your health informatics career based upon your skills and interests. You may be able to work in nursing informatics, public health informatics, health information management and bioinformatics.
- Health informatics combines three fields: This occupation is a combination of healthcare, technology and business. You will work on the technical parts of healthcare and help to reduce medical errors and increase efficiency.
- Help to reduce costs: As much as 50% of healthcare dollars are currently wasted due to inefficiency. Your work can help to increase efficiency and reduce society’s healthcare costs.
Type of Healthcare Facility or Work Environment
The type of facility in which you work will have a strong influence on your salary in health informatics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median salary for medical and health services managers will vary depending upon working in these industries:
- Hospitals: $104,300
- Government: $104,100
- Outpatient care centers: $89,400
- Offices of healthcare professionals: $87,500
- Nursing homes: $80,300
Obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree in health informatics will provide you with many lucrative job opportunities in a rapidly growing field. Consider the above information about salaries in the health informatics profession so that you can make the best money-making choices for your career.
- Should I Get a Master’s Degree? (2015). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm#
- Medical and Health Services Managers. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm
- Health Informatics Jobs. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/health-informatics-jobs
- 4 Facts To Know About Health Informatics. (2013). Retrieved from https://www.wgu.edu/blogpost/4-facts-know-about-health-informatics