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Overview of Graduate Degree Programs in Health Informatics

Majors Overview May 11, 2017

Graduate Programs in Health Informatics Overview

Health informatics program graduates will be prepared for careers in operations analysis, health services management, or consultants. Students need about a year to complete the master’s degree program in this field, but healthcare professionals holding graduate degrees could complete the program sooner. Research skills and knowledge of data collection and management may be gained by master’s program students. Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program perform research and are often allowed to specialize in areas such as consumer behavior or epidemiology. Full-time students need 3-5 years to complete a doctoral program.

Master of Science (M.S.) Programs in Health Informatics

Those seeking health services management positions would benefit from enrolling in a Master of Science (M.S.) degree program. Research, advanced mathematics, and computer skills are available through a typical health informatics program. Professionals use these skills in identifying and resolving management issues regarding health data. A four-year degree is among the requirements for admission to a master’s program in health informatics.

Students who don’t have a background in medical records management learn about electronic records, healthcare organizations, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance, and medical terminology. Those who have a healthcare background can gain knowledge of health services management and statistical analysis.

All graduates gain a grasp of the interaction between information technology and various health professions, knowledge they can apply to the streamlining of healthcare processes and informational awareness.


Program coursework covers advanced mathematics, management, health information, and informatics concepts, along with telemedicine, patient records, public health, programming, and epidemiology.

Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Environmental health
•Event Simulation
•Database management
•Medical decisions
•Healthcare Administration

Job and Wage Outlook

Most medical and health services managers are typically required to hold a master’s degree, but a four-year degree would suffice for most positions. Hospitals mainly hire these professionals to help in transiting toward electronic health records and regulatory compliance. Health employee retention or recruiting will also influence demand. In May 2016, medical and health service managers brought in an average annual wage of $96,540 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Medical and health service managers are expected to see a job growth of 17% over the 2014 – 2024 decade.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Programs in Health Informatics

Students seeking admission to many Ph.D. programs in Health Informatics are required to hold a master’s degree. However, in some, students are only required to hold a four-year degree and to complete prerequisite courses before they begin their doctoral study. Doctoral students are allowed to choose specializations in epidemiology, health systems, consumer behavior, or clinical healthcare. Those who acquire research experience gain a strong grasp of informational awareness, decision-making frameworks, and healthcare delivery evaluation. They can apply the skills learned to research analysis careers.


Program coursework introduces students to different research methods and health informatics, apart from providing an advanced grasp of the functioning of healthcare organizations, sharing of information, and decision making. The curriculum also involves exploration of the interaction of different health professions. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Knowledge management
•Organizational Informatics
•Health consumer studies
•Data storage
•Healthcare economics
•Quantitative Mathematics

Job and Wage Outlook

A graduate degree is necessary for most operations research analyst positions. Analysts are expected to see a 30% growth, over the 2014 – 2024 decade. In 2016, these professionals brought in average annual wages of $79,200, while those employed in technical, scientific, and management consulting services banked $88,430 per annum, on average.

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