Health Informatics & Sciences

How Much Will You Earn With a Master’s in Health Informatics?

How Much Will You Earn With a Master’s in Health Informatics?
According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a health informatics professional is slightly over $103,000 per year. Image from Unsplash
Lucien Formichella profile
Lucien Formichella February 16, 2021

Earning a master's in health informatics can qualify you for well-paying, essential jobs, but it's not the only salary determinant you need to consider.

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Health informatics—an interdisciplinary medical field that relies heavily on information technology (IT), information systems, and data science—is continuously improving the way healthcare organizations approach patient care. Advances like electronic health records (EHR) and medical data analytics allow healthcare professionals to provide faster, more accurate services. Informatics applications exist for:

  • Government agencies
  • Individual healthcare professionals
  • Insurance companies
  • Private companies
  • Public health organizations

As aging baby boomers strain the current healthcare system, the need for effective health informatics grows. From 2021 to 2031, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of medical health and service managers to grow by 28 percent. That’s more than five times the rate at which the overall job market will expand for the same period.

Informatics management positions can deliver large salaries, but they require a high level of experience and education. A Master of Science in Health Informatics can provide both.

So, how much will you earn with a master’s in health informatics? To address that question, this guide discusses:

  • How much do health informatics professionals make?
  • How much will you make with a health informatics degree?
  • What are the highest-paying health informatics jobs?
  • Top states for health informatics jobs (and salaries)
  • Does health informatics pay well?
  • Top master’s in health informatics programs
  • Top online master’s in health informatics programs

How much do health informatics professionals make?

Health informatics salaries can vary significantly—from under $20 per hour to more than six figures annually, plus benefits. What you’ll earn can depend heavily on your level of education, location, and experience.

What’s the average salary for health informatics careers?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for a health informatics professional is slightly over $80,000 per year. But that only tells part of the story.

What’s the highest/lowest average salary for health informatics professionals?

Salaries for top health informatics jobs comfortably reach the six-figure range. PayScale reports that the top ten percent of health IT project managers earn at least $100,000 per year. According to Salary.com, the highest health informatics director salaries exceed $185,000. Add in bonus and incentive pay and you clear $200,000 by a comfortable margin.

The best salaries usually come with executive-level positions. In 2019, the average New York hospital CEO earned over a million dollars per year. This job may require multiple graduate degrees, such as an MBA in healthcare or a doctorate.

Low-level health informatics salaries are eye-catching in a different way. The bottom ten percent of medical records and health information technicians earn a median annual wage of under $31,710, according to the BLS. Qualifying for these jobs requires far less education and experience.

What to expect in a health informatics starting salary

Entry-level informatics jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree at minimum. Your chosen major can have a large impact on your starting salary. According to a 2019 human resources survey, new health and science graduates earned around $52,000—among the highest in the class.

Business and computer science students also qualify for informatics jobs. Those with a business degree earned roughly the same as health and science graduates in 2019, but computer science students earned even more: $71,411. Predictably, those without a degree earned much less.

A health informatics degree may prepare you for an IT position such as:

  • Database Manager: In the context of health informatics, a Database Manager oversees the development and maintenance of databases within healthcare settings. They ensure the integrity, security, and availability of large amounts of health data, often working to optimize database performance and accommodate the specific needs of healthcare applications.
  • Data analyst: A Data Analyst in health informatics focuses on analyzing complex health data sets to extract meaningful insights. They use statistical tools and software to interpret data related to patient outcomes, treatment efficacy, healthcare costs, and more, supporting informed decision-making in healthcare settings.
  • IT coordinator: An IT Coordinator in health informatics manages the information technology needs within a healthcare organization. This includes overseeing the implementation and maintenance of health informatics systems, ensuring they meet clinical requirements, and coordinating between healthcare professionals and IT staff.
  • Project manager: In health informatics, a Project Manager leads projects related to the implementation and optimization of health information systems. This role involves planning, executing, and overseeing projects to ensure they align with the strategic goals of the healthcare organization, often requiring coordination among different departments and stakeholders.

What’s the average entry-level salary for health informatics professionals?

According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the average salary for healthcare information management professionals with a year or less of experience was $44,530 in 2019.

The field of health informatics offers many entry points. You may decide to build experience in a related job before making the jump. Registered nurses (RN) frequently transition to informatics (either through a graduate or certificate program) after spending a few years in general practice. In 2020, almost half of all nurse informaticists reported salaries exceeding $100,000.

What are entry-level health informatics jobs?

Entry-level jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree or proper certification, which can be completed as part of a bachelor’s program. According to AHIMA, entry-level jobs include:

  • Collections specialist
  • Insurance claims specialist
  • Medical biller
  • Patient care coordinator
  • Patient registrar
  • Release of information specialist
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“I'm Interested in Health Informatics!”

Health informatics careers are growing faster than average as more healthcare systems switch to cloud storage databases to sort, organize, and analyze patient data. The job outlook is strong for health informatics professionals, as are salaries, particularly at the management level and above. Approximately 34,300 jobs in the health informatics medical records and health information openings will open each year from 2020 through 2030. (source) (source)

A Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) broadens your skill set and, as a result, your career options. An advanced degree in this field can offer even more opportunities to make your mark in this growing industry. (source)

University and Program Name Learn More

How much will you make with a health informatics degree?

As a rule, more education corresponds to a better health informatics salary. Master’s degree-holders can expect better salaries than bachelor’s degree-holders, and those with a PhD earn more than either.

How much do health informatics professionals with a bachelor’s make?

According to PayScale, the average salary for those with a bachelor’s in health informatics is around $75,000 per year.

Jobs in health informatics with a bachelor’s degree

According to University of Central Florida, graduates of the school’s Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management qualify for roles like:

  • Database Administrator: A Database Administrator in health informatics manages and maintains databases that store healthcare information. Their responsibilities include ensuring database security, performance, and reliability, and often involve working with confidential patient data, requiring compliance with healthcare regulations like HIPAA.
  • Data Integrity Specialist: This professional focuses on maintaining the accuracy and consistency of health data across various systems. They implement procedures to ensure data quality, validate data entry, and resolve discrepancies, which is crucial for reliable healthcare analytics and decision-making.
  • Health Information Specialist: A Health Information Specialist manages and organizes patient health information, ensuring it’s accurate, accessible, and secure. They may also be involved in coding diagnoses and procedures for billing and analyze health data for research or quality improvement purposes.
  • Information Management Coordinator: In this role, the coordinator oversees the flow and processing of health information within a healthcare organization. They ensure that all systems for managing health data (like Electronic Health Records) are functioning efficiently and effectively, and comply with legal and ethical standards.
  • Medical Records Technician: A Medical Records Technician focuses on handling, maintaining, and organizing medical records in healthcare settings. They ensure that all patient records are accurate, up-to-date, and securely stored, and may also assist in coding and billing processes.

How much do you make with a master’s in health informatics?

According to PayScale, a clinical informatics specialist earns an average annual income of just over $80,000, with opportunities for significant incentive bonuses. A senior business analyst earns an average base salary of around $90,000 plus incentives.

Jobs with a master’s in health informatics

Positions include:

  • Clinical Informatics Specialist: A professional who applies informatics and IT expertise in a clinical setting. They work to optimize the use of information systems in clinical practices, enhancing the quality of patient care by improving clinical processes and health outcomes through technology.
  • Director of Health Informatics: This is a leadership role responsible for overseeing the health informatics strategy within a healthcare organization. The Director of Health Informatics ensures that the IT systems effectively support clinical and administrative functions, focusing on system implementation, data management, and compliance with health information regulations.
  • Health Data Scientist: A Health Data Scientist analyzes complex healthcare data to derive insights that inform medical and health policy decisions. They use skills in statistics, machine learning, and data analysis to understand patterns in health data, contributing to areas such as disease prediction, treatment efficacy, and health system performance.
  • Health Informatics Consultant: This role involves advising healthcare organizations on the effective use of health informatics technology. Consultants assess needs, recommend systems or improvements, and assist with the implementation and optimization of health IT solutions to meet clinical and business objectives.
  • Health IT Project Manager: A Project Manager in Health IT leads projects related to the implementation and management of healthcare information systems. They plan, execute, and close projects, ensuring they meet objectives, stay within budget, and are completed on time, often coordinating between technical teams and healthcare professionals.

How much do health informatics PhDs make?

Those with a PhD in health informatics earn an average of over $119,000 per year, according to PayScale.

Jobs with a health informatics PhD

Most health informatics PhD programs are academics-focused. Popular careers include:

  • Consulting
  • Government advising
  • Public health administration
  • Research
  • Teaching (as a professor)

What’s the average salary for all health informatics degrees?

According to University of Wisconsin Extension, the average salary for all Registered Health Information Administrator RHIA professionals was $91,450 in 2019.

Earning informatics credentials is another way to increase your salary. Those with four certifications earned nearly $145,000 on average, while those with none earned around $66,000, according to AHIMA. University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Campus offers health informatics master’s students four credential opportunities.

What are the highest-paying health informatics jobs?

Chief medical information officer (CMIO) is the top-paying health informatics position. According to a 2019 Association of Medical Directors (AMDIS) study, 47 percent of responding CMIOs earned between $251,000 and $350,000 base salary—and 33 percent had salaries between $351,000 and $450,000. Reaching this position without experience as a medical doctor is unlikely.

Experienced informatics nurses earn a lot as well. According to HIMSS, 24 percent with 11 or more years of experience earned over $150,000, similar to IT managers.

How do salaries vary across health informatics fields?

Because health informatics is such a broad designation, it’s important to understand how salaries differ within each sector. According to AHIMA, salaries (in ascending order) are:

  • Home health: $56,070
  • Long-term care, hospice, or nursing facility: $56,850
  • Clinic or physician practice: $63,500
  • Behavioral/mental health: $64,010
  • Ambulatory care: $66,100
  • Public health: $74,020
  • Hospital, multi-hospital system, integrated delivery: $77,800
  • Government: $78,680
  • Educational institution: $79,000
  • Health insurance, payor, managed care: $83,940
  • Consulting firm: $88,820
  • Laboratory or research: $95,00
  • Vendor company: $95,660
  • Association or professional society: $100,250
  • Life sciences: $106,000

What are the most in-demand health informatics jobs?

The demand for quality healthcare professionals is high. The healthcare job market should grow by 13 percent between 2021 and 2031. During the same period, the number of medical records and health information technology professionals is set to grow by 17 percent.

An in-depth study of healthcare jobs conducted by Burning Glass Technology in 2014 found that employers struggled to find talent for high-level positions that include:

  • Clinical Analyst: A clinical analyst works within healthcare settings, utilizing data to improve clinical practices and patient care. They analyze clinical data, implement electronic health records systems, and make recommendations to improve efficiency and effectiveness in healthcare delivery.
  • Health Information Manager or Director: This role involves overseeing the operations of health information management within a healthcare organization. They ensure that patient records are accurate, secure, and accessible, and comply with legal and ethical standards. They may also be responsible for strategic planning and management of health information systems.
  • Medical Coder Clinical Application Developer: This unique role combines the expertise of medical coding with software development. Professionals in this field develop and maintain applications that assist in medical coding and billing processes, ensuring these tools are efficient, accurate, and compliant with healthcare regulations.
  • Medical Records and Coding Supervisor: This supervisory position oversees the staff responsible for medical records and coding in a healthcare facility. They ensure that patient records are accurately coded for billing and compliance purposes, and manage the maintenance and organization of medical records.

These roles usually went unfilled for over 40 days.

Top master’s in health informatics programs

Though there’s no such thing as the “best” health informatics program—it depends heavily on personal fit—but great schools include:

  • Duke University
  • Harvard University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • University of California – Davis
  • University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • University of Pittsburgh

Top online master’s in health informatics programs

You’ll find excellent online health informatics master’s programs at:

  • Drexel University
  • George Washington University
  • Northwestern University
  • Stanford University
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of San Diego

(Updated on January 10, 2024)

Questions or feedback? Email editor@noodle.com

About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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