How Much Will You Earn With a Master's in Health Informatics?
October 14, 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.
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 2019 to 2029, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of medical health and service managers to grow by 32 percent. That's more than six 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—usually a Master of Science in Health Informatics.
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 PayScale, the average salary for a health informatics specialist—a career that's fairly representative of the field—is slightly over $68,000 per year. But, this 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. Per PayScale numbers, the top ten percent of health IT project managers earn nearly $140,000 per year. According to Salary.com, the highest health informatics director salaries are over $200,000 annually.
The best salaries usually come with executive-level positions. In 2019, the average New York hospital CEO earned over a million dollars per year, plus additional compensations. This job may require multiple graduate degrees, such as an MBA in healthcare or a doctoral program. These numbers go to show how profitable healthcare can be—for those in the right positions.
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 $28,000, according to the BLS. Qualifying for these jobs requires far less education and experience.
What to expect in a health informatics starting salary
A bachelor's degree is the typical requirement for an entry-level informatics job. 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
- Data analyst
- IT coordinator
- Project manager
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.
There are many entry points to the field of health informatics; you may decide to accrue experience in a related job before making the jump. It's common for registered nurses (RN) to spend a few years in general practice before transitioning to informatics—either through a graduate or certificate program. In 2020, 37 percent of RNs with four years or less of informatics experience earned between $61,000 and $85,000. The next largest sector (24 percent) earned between $86,000 and $100,000, according to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).
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
How much do health informatics professionals make with 10+ years of experience?
According to the AHIMA survey, professionals with between 11 and 20 years of experience earned $70,080. Those with 21 to 30 years earned $81,510, and those with 30 or more years of experience earned $86,390.
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 both.
While averages are a good starting point for salary estimates, there are typically significant differences between jobs.
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 just over $61,000 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
- Data integrity specialist
- Health Information Specialist
- Information management coordinator
- Medical records technician
How much do you make with a master's in health informatics?
According to PayScale, the average annual salary for those with a master's in health informatics hovers around $73,000.
Jobs with a master's in health informatics
- Clinical informatics specialist
- Director of health informatics
- Health data scientist
- Health informatics consultant
- Health IT project manager
How much do health informatics PhDs make?
Those with a PhD in health informatics earn an average of over $123,000 per year, according to PayScale.
Jobs with a health informatics PhD
Most health informatics PhD programs are academics-focused. Popular careers include:
- Government advising
- Public health administration
- 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 $80,630 in 2018.
Earning informatics credentials is another way to increase your salary; those with four certifications earned nearly $115,000 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 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—more experience usually leads to higher earnings.
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?
There is a high demand for quality healthcare professionals—the BLS projects a 15 percent increase from 2019 through 2029. During the same period, the number of medical records and health information technology professionals is set to grow by eight percent, and medical health and service managers by 32 percent.
The most in-depth study of healthcare jobs was conducted by Burning Glass Technology in 2014. The study found that employers struggled to find talent for high-level positions like:
- Clinical analyst
- Health information manager or director
- Medical coder clinical application developer
- Medical records and coding supervisor
These roles usually went unfilled for over 40 days.
Top states for health informatics jobs
Each state has a different standard of health informatics salary, according to BLS data. Beyond that, urban professionals typically earn higher wages than those in rural areas.
Listed below are the best-paying states and metro areas for health informatics jobs, in alphabetical order.
States with the highest employment level
- New York
States with the highest concentration of jobs
- West Virginia
States with the highest salaries
- Alaska ($58,620)
- District of Columbia ($60,530)
- Minnesota ($55,450)
- Massachusetts ($56,650)
- Washington ($56,890)
Metropolitan areas with the highest employment level
- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
Metropolitan areas with the highest salaries
- Corvallis, OR ($64,770)
- Kennewick-Richland, WA ($67,560)
- Kokomo, IN ($71,470)
- Trenton, NJ ($70,430)
- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($65,080)
Does health informatics pay well?
It depends. The mean annual income for a data entry clerk is in the low $30,000-range. For upper-level professionals, the salary can be more than ten times that. People who live and work in large metropolitan areas and have years of experience and a graduate degree can earn high salaries. If you are starting, live in a rural area, and have an associate's degree, you'll likely be at the low end of the spectrum.
Salary also depends on who you work for. The private healthcare industry is lucrative—very lucrative—especially for upper management. But those who work for federal agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), can also earn six figures, provided they have enough experience and education. Government employees typically also receive a comprehensive benefits package.
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
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