Healthcare and nursing informaticists are in high demand, as the healthcare system gradually transitions to electronic record-keeping. For working nurses and healthcare professionals, that means getting an online master’s degree in nursing informatics or health informatics can be the key to advancement, promotion, and significant pay raises. With an online degree, busy nurses and health managers can earn their master’s degree around their own schedule, without having to sacrifice their current career.
With the number of online nursing informatics MSN programs and other online programs, employers are becoming more accepting of online education programs. Students are held to high standards and are taking just as challenging of courses as their peers who attend a brick-and-mortar school. Employers are recognizing this. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) revealed 79 percent of participants hired an individual with an online degree over the course of a 12-month period. This proves employers are realizing individuals work hard for an online degree.
Our Method: Ranking the Best Online Nursing Informatics Programs
Best Health Degrees is built for healthcare professionals. Because working nurses and health professionals need to see a real return on their educational investment, BHD editors ranked the best online nursing and health informatics programs based on real, practical considerations that matter to a working adult. The five crucial criteria are Cost, Graduation Rate, Job Placement, Reputation, and Salary Expectations, with data from IPEDS, Niche, and College Scorecard.
1. Ohio State University
Ohio State University’s Master of Healthcare Innovation online program is designed for students at the entry or mid-career levels. It features nine courses, which include such topics as healthcare policies and technology, communication, organizational culture, and leadership, making it one of the best online nursing informatics programs. To be admitted into the program, students should have an aggregate undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or more on a scale of 4.0. Students who do not meet this requirement are required to present their GRE scores.
Ohio State University is a public institution that was established in 1870. The institution has an acceptance rate of about 48%. Ohio State University students also benefit from a 60-acre arboretum, 10 museums, and a four-acre park dedicated to cancer survivors. Ohio State’s healthcare innovation is designed for people who are passionate about advancing healthcare practices and policies and realizing value-added change within the organization they work in. On completing the program, students will have skills that will enable them to become healthcare leaders in technology, administration, and patient care.
Favorite Facts: Ohio State is renowned for its premier cancer hospital as well as its academic medical research center.
Degree: Master of Healthcare Innovation
2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers one of the best online nursing informatics programs, which include a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Biomedical and Health Informatics. Students have the option of taking the course either on-campus or online. Students undertaking this course can choose one of the four disciplines, which include health analyst, health information privacy, programmer or software engineer, or health information management. The course focuses on imparting necessary health information and management skills that enable students to become professional-level analysts or managers.
Founded in 1789, the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of the oldest learning institutions in the country. The university enrolled its first students in 1795. UNC-Chapel Hill has a long history of advocating for innovative programs. The quality of the programs offered in the institution is comparable to that offered in Ivy League institutions. The institution is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Favorite Facts: Aspiring students have the option of fast-tracking their studies by signing up for a 16-months full-time study.
Degree: PSM in Biomedical and Health Informatics
3. Rutgers University
The master’s health informatics program is offered at Rutgers School of Health Professions. Students have the choice of taking the course either on-campus or online. This flexibility is rather appealing to prospective students. People who have a background in the healthcare industry can undertake the course whose coursework involves such topics as data interpretation, project management, business intelligence, and visual analytics, and Python. Students can undertake the 36-credit master’s program in 18 months only. The program consists of two stages: Core course requirement of 21 credits and elective requirements of 15 credits.
Rutgers University was founded in 1766, which means the institution existed before the American Revolution. The university’s school of nursing was rated among 2019’s 20 Best Graduate Nursing Schools. It is also among the highest-ranked research universities in the U.S. and is a Public Ivy.
Favorite Facts: As one of the best online nursing informatics programs, students can specialize in consumer or patient care informatics, nanomedicine, healthcare management informatics, and bioinformatics.
Degree: MS in Health Informatics
4. University of Washington
The University of Washington offers an Online Master of Science Degree in Clinical Informatics & Patient-Centered Technologies program. It is designed for healthcare providers who want to gain more information on information technology at their disposal to improve patient care. The 49-credit program covers such topics as clinical effectiveness, telehealth, database concepts, project management, and computing concepts. To be admitted into the 15-months full-time program, aspiring students must possess a bachelor’s degree along with at least one year of experience in the healthcare industry.
The institution is an approved partner of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). The University of Washington was founded in 1861. Apart from being one of the oldest public institutions on the West Coast, it is the University of Washington system’s flagship. Admission to the University of Washington is rather competitive as it has an acceptance rate of 46%. The main campus is located in Seattle, while its other two campuses are located in Tacoma and Bothell, Washington.
Favorite Facts: Students can take advantage of the “live” sessions with fellow students and faculty members, making it one of the best online nursing informatics programs.
Degree: Master of Science Degree in Clinical Informatics & Patient-Centered Technologies
5. University of South Florida (USF Health)
The University of South Florida’s online health informatics program comes from one of the highest-ranked medical schools in the nation. This is one of the best online health informatics programs for people in the healthcare industry who want to advance their data science and application skills. As a fully online program, the health informatics program from USF Health allows working persons to advance their careers without having to leave their jobs. As one of the best online nursing informatics programs, the 32-credit program covers such topics as healthcare analytics, data management, statistics, and legal aspects of healthcare data systems. Students also have to complete case studies.
Having been established in 1956, USF is one of the youngest but fastest-growing research universities. Inter-professional education, clinical activities, and research facilities are some of the few features that make the institution stand out.
Favorite Facts: USF Health’s Morsani College of Medicine is one of America’s top medical schools, according to the U.S. News & World Report.
Degree: MS in Health Informatics
6. University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Alabama’s MSN Nursing Informatics is a program that pairs information, computer, and data science with nursing. The program is meant to prepare learners for careers in leadership and analysis. The 40-credit program combines clinical experience with classroom theory. Before graduating, students have to complete 210 hours of direct contact with patients. The MSN nursing informatics programs focus on four key areas, which are nurse practitioner, nursing education, nursing informatics, and nursing and healthcare management systems. The program takes a minimum of two years. The institution also offers one of the best online nursing informatics programs. Apart from technical information on how to design software, maintain information systems, and database maintenance, students are trained in healthcare advocacy, development, and leadership. The program is accredited by CAHIIM (Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education), which means that it’s one of the best online nursing informatics programs.
The University of Alabama first started as the Birmingham Extension Center in 1936. By 1966, it had become a fully-fledged university. The institution has gone on to become Alabama’s only Carnegie Classification R1 Research Center. The institution owns UBA Health System, which is the state’s leading medical center and the biggest employer.
Favorite Facts: The program has two specializations: User Experience and Data Analytics. These two courses are fully online, making them suitable for people with full-time jobs or family obligations.
Degree: MSN Nursing Informatics, MS in Health Informatics
7. Arizona State University
The Masters of Advanced Study (MAS) in Health Informatics at Arizona State University is a 30-credit program were students need to undergo a total of 10 classes. Students can take the program either full-time or part-time. Such depth in topics covered makes it one of the best online health informatics programs. To be admitted, students are required to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in healthcare, computer science, information technology, or biology-related field. They are also required to submit a resume, statement of purpose, official transcripts, and two letters of recommendation.
Arizona State University is a public institution with five campuses in Phoenix’s metropolitan area, as well as four regional learning centers across Arizona. The institution’s College of Health Solutions partners with renowned institutions such as Barrow Neurological Institute, HonorHealth, and Mayo Clinic.
Favorite Facts: The program covers such topics as workflow analysis, evidence-based medicine, database modeling, population health management and analytics, and health information analytics in clinical environments.
Degree: MAS in Health Informatics
8. University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Illinois-Chicago’s master’s program in health informatics includes an optional specialization in Health Data Science. UIC’s online master’s program requires learners to complete 28-42 credits, depending on whether you are taking the regular or specialized course. The program’s coursework includes such issues as healthcare transformation through predictive analytics and B.I., project management, and general health management. Prospective students have to show a minimum of 3.0 GPA and present undergraduate college transcripts. Students who have not already undertaken a healthcare-related degree must first take a proficiency exam to establish their level of comprehension.
The University of Illinois-Chicago is a leading research institution with 15 colleges across Chicago. UIC is not only accredited by HLC but is also a member of AMIA. The institution has a somewhat competitive acceptance rate, which stands at 77%. Popular majors at the institution include Biology, Psychology, and Nursing.
Favorite Facts: UIC’s informatics program is CAHIIM accredited.
Degree: MS in Health Informatics
9. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center offers an MSN nursing informatics program that is CCNE-accredited. Students who wish to undertake the program must be registered nurses and possess at least an associate degree in nursing. This is one of the best online nursing informatics programs for nurses who want to advance their careers by learning leadership and high-level management skills. All coursework is delivered online and includes such topics as I.T., finance, and budgeting, nursing informatics theory and practice, statistics in healthcare. Students can interact with classmates and instructors through chat and discussion boards.
TTU was established in 1923, and its Health Sciences Center School of Nursing earned the first DNP in 2008. As the name suggests, the institution was initially designed for practical professions such as engineering, agriculture, home economics, and applied sciences.
Favorite Facts: Texas Tech’s roots in technology and engineering make it an ideal location for informatics.
Degree: MSN Nursing Informatics
10. University of Scranton
The online master’s program in health informatics from the University of Scranton is designed for people without a background in computer science or healthcare. Considered one of the best online health informatics programs, it includes a few foundational classes which help students gain insights and necessary skills in both of these fields. The eight-week, 33-credit M.S. Health Informatics degree program involves such courses as hospital administration, health informatics in public policy, and information technology for healthcare professionals.
The University of Scranton is a Catholic research university that was established in 1888. The institution also earned the 18th position on the USNR’s Best Value Schools in 2018. It is also Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) accredited.
Favorite Facts: U.S. News & World Report now ranks the University of Scranton sixth among the best regional schools in the North.
Degree: MS in Health Informatics
11. University of Central Florida
University of Central Florida’s Professional Science Master’s degree program in informatics is widely considered as one of the best online health informatics programs available today. As opposed to focusing on information technology and computer science, the university’s program aims at grounding students in clinical and business aspects. The 38-credit master’s program is completed in 10 subsequent courses and a capstone project. To be eligible for the program, students must be bachelor degree holders from accredited institutions.
The University of Central Florida, formerly known as Florida Technological University, was founded in 1963. It was originally designed to train managers and engineers for NASA’s Space Coast. With time, it has evolved to become one of the most innovative and among the best research-oriented learning institutions.
Favorite Facts: As UCF’s degree focuses on real-world training, program graduates come out well prepared to take up careers in health informatics as well as leadership positions in the healthcare industry.
Degree: PSM in Healthcare Informatics
12. University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus’s MSN healthcare informatics program is designed for registered nurses who have active licenses. The course, which is CCNE accredited, includes such topics as health systems and policies, healthcare informatics, theoretical and philosophical nursing, advanced practice, and information research methods. The program’s coursework is fully online, and students can arrange their practical sessions in a clinical setting from wherever they are. Such flexibility in learning has propelled this program to one of the best online health informatics programs in the U.S. Students can complete the coursework within two years through a full-time program.
Founded in 1912, the University of Colorado Denver has become one of the renowned research centers across Colorado. The U.S. News & World Report ranks it at #207 on their list of best national universities and #112 among the top public schools.
Favorite Facts: Apart from the Anschutz Medical Campus, CU Denver boasts of two teaching hospitals and the U.C. Health Sciences Center.
Degree: MSN Health Care Informatics
13. University of Missouri
The University of Missouri offers a master’s degree program in health informatics through the institution’s Health Management Department in its School of Medicine. Prospective students need to have an undergraduate degree and three years of experience in a healthcare setting. Considered one of the best online health informatics programs, the 2-year program covers such topics as enterprise information architecture, data security, evaluation, and policy, data warehousing and mining, and health information technology. The students are also required to undertake a research project before they graduate.
The University of Missouri is a public university in Columbia, Missouri, which was established in 1839. It was the first public university in the west of the Mississippi River. The institution is accredited by HLC.
Favorite Facts: Between the first and second years of the program, students should fulfill their internship experience. The internship is a 12-week program that allows students to gain practical knowledge in a healthcare facility.
Degree: MS in Health Informatics
14. Duke University
Duke University’s School of Nursing has one of the best online health informatics programs in the country. This MSN program is available online but requires one on-campus session every semester. Students learn clinical information systems skills, project management skills, and strategic planning. The program prepares students to be able to plan systems lifecycles and implement IT systems for healthcare organizations. There is a practicum required for completion of the program.
Duke University is changing the health care work through its impact on clinical practice and community health and through excellence in education and research. Duke University School of Nursing’s (DUSON’s) alumni family is 6000 members strong, and many members are engaged in efforts to improve health information technology in order to provide higher-quality care and keep patients safe. DUSON offers global immersion experiences to students enrolled in its Master of Science in Nursing programs.
Favorite Facts: Most students work full-time while enrolled and find that they can fit the program into their busy schedules.
Degree: MSN Nursing Informatics
15. Medical University of South Carolina
The Department of Healthcare Leadership and Management at the Medical University of South Carolina offers a Master of Science in Health Informatics. This program is designed to appeal to working professionals in the health care field who want to specialize in data management and information systems for healthcare. The program teaches students how to evaluate, implement, and use IT systems to manage electronic health records and other healthcare-related data.
The College of Health Professions at the Medical University of South Carolina is a leader in both education and research. The school embraces diversity and is constantly reevaluating its programs to provide the best quality education possible for its students. Its programs make extensive use of the latest technology, and many of them are ranked among the top programs in the nation.
Favorite Facts: The health informatics program is online but requires one on-campus session each semester, which typically lasts four days.
Degree: MS in Health Informatics
16. University of Miami
The Master of Science in Health Informatics at the University of Miami Online is one of the best online health informatics programs for busy adults. The program is 22 months long and is taught by expert instructors. The program gets students ready to serve as administrators of record systems in the healthcare industry. It is a great fit for professionals who already work in either IT or healthcare and wish to combine the two fields and specialize in IT for healthcare.
The University of Miami Online offers flexible degree programs that are taught by the same faculty that teach the school’s on-campus programs. Students can choose from multiple start dates and programs are designed to accommodate a full-time work schedule.
Favorite Facts: The health informatics program requires a capstone practicum that prepares students for situations they will encounter in the real world after graduation.
Degree: MS in Health Informatics
17. Florida International University
The College of Business at Florida International University offers an MS in Health Informatics & Analytics that helps prepare students for a career in healthcare information systems and support. The program is completely online and encourages the development of strong peer relationships that will help you as you embark on your new career. This is a cohort-based program that is limited to 40 students.
Florida International University’s College of Business is among the top 5% of AACSB-accredited schools worldwide. The school’s programs are highly rated, and its students are encouraged to develop a lifelong love of learning that will serve them throughout their careers. The school provides a technology-driven curriculum. Its students often take the top prizes in competitions, and graduates are actively recruited. Faculty members are actively engaged in research and actively work to bring about positive changes in public policy.
Favorite Facts: The fast track allows students to complete the program in just 14 months.
Degree: MS in Health Informatics and Analytics
18. University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati offers a Master of Health Informatics online degree gives students expertise in both IT and healthcare. It is designed to prepare students for a health informatics career even if they have no previous experience or training in either healthcare or information technology. Graduates will be able to serve either on the IT side—developing and improving health informatics systems—or on the healthcare side, ensuring the completeness and accuracy of each patient’s data.
The University of Cincinnati Online offers online programs that help working professionals advance in their careers through higher education. All students receive support from a student success team that helps ensure success. The school’s programs are flexible enough the accommodate any schedule—even active duty members of the military can find success through UC Online.
Favorite Facts: The program is available 100% online and offers flexible schedules for busy professionals.
Degree: Master of Health Informatics
19. Chamberlain College of Nursing
Chamberlain College of Nursing is another school to consider if you are looking for the best online nursing informatics programs. Chamberlain’s online Master of Science in Nursing has a nursing informatics track that teaches students how to combine information systems with nursing. Students learn how to implement new healthcare IT systems and optimize existing systems in order to reduce costs and improve care.
Care is what makes the Chamberlain College of Nursing stand out. Chamberlain Care® means caring for students, patients, healthcare partners, and the community. Chamberlain makes an effort to help students achieve their educational career goals and works with them to ensure their success.
Favorite Facts: The nursing informatics track includes the completion of a practicum, during which students collaborate closely with a mentor and faculty members.
Degree: MSN Informatics Specialty Track
20. George Washington University
The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University offers an MS in Management of Health Informatics and Analytics online. The program can be completed in 24 months and is intended for professionals with at least two years of experience in the healthcare field or three years of experience in another industry. It covers healthcare information technology, health information management, machine learning, predictive analysis, and the Internet of Medical Things.
George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health is one of the top-rated public health schools in the country. George Washington is located in Washington, DC, and due to its location, its faculty members are well-versed in public policy and actively working as experts in the field of public health in the DC area.
Favorite Facts: The program includes two on-campus immersion experiences and culminates in a capstone course that involves developing a practical solution to a real healthcare information problem.
Degree: MS in Management of Health Informatics and Analytics
21. Vanderbilt University
The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing offers one of the best online nursing informatics programs. The school’s master’s program in nursing informatics teaches students to use today’s healthcare technology to enhance workflow and improve the delivery of care. Students learn how to create healthcare IT systems that work. Nurse informatics graduates can use their skills to collect and manage data in the healthcare organizations where they work. The program includes the use of mobile, virtual reality, and telehealth technologies, as well as project management, evidence-based practice, and more.
The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing offers everything students need to be successful—including online courses with flexible scheduling. The school’s mission statement includes a section on informatics: to promote excellence and innovation through efficient informatics solutions that produce measurable results.
Favorite Facts: Faculty members hold doctoral degrees and have real-world experience, which enables them to guide students and help them reach their goals.
Degree: MSN Nursing informatics
22. Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Division of Health Sciences Informatics offers an online Master of Science in Applied Health Sciences Informatics. This program takes 15-36 months to complete and prepares students for leadership positions in health informatics. Students learn to develop new ways to apply information technology to systems that provide solutions for clinical, biological, and public health challenges. Students must already possess a master’s or doctorate in a related field or have a bachelor’s degree and either five years of relevant work experience or an acceptable score on the GRE.
The Division of Health Sciences Informatics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine offers quality education and research. The school seeks to make valued contributions to the body of knowledge in the areas of public health and informatics. Johns Hopkins programs are interdisciplinary and are run in partnership with the School of Nursing, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and other divisions within the Johns Hopkins system.
Favorite Facts: The faculty at Johns Hopkins conduct research that enlarges the body of knowledge in many disciplines, including radiology, pediatrics, nursing practice, and pathology.
Degree: MS Applied Health Sciences Informatics
23. Stanford University
Stanford Medicine’s Professional/Honors Cooperative Program (HCP) MS in Biomedical Informatics is a part-time distance education program that is identical to the academic program except that the research component is replaced with a work experience requirement. The academic program is geared toward students who wish to pursue a career in research, while the professional/HCP program is for professionals who wish to work in the field in a non-research setting.
Stanford Medicine has a long history of groundbreaking research and innovative teaching techniques. The school has cooperative relationships with the other divisions of Stanford, including the Schools of Law, Engineering, Business, and the School of Humanities and Sciences.
Favorite Facts: The school’s relationship with its affiliated hospitals give it the ability to quickly implement new knowledge and put it into practice in clinical settings.
Degree: MS in Biomedical Informatics
24. UMass Lowell
UMass Lowell’s Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences offers an MS in Health Informatics and Management that prepares students for a lucrative career in the field. Graduates can earn upwards of $90k per year with a master’s in health informatics. In this program, students learn how to analyze and use health data to improve the quality of patient care. The curriculum was developed with the input and guidance of many industry experts.
The Zuckerberg College is committed to finding ways to improve the health of the community, the country, and the world through community programs, research, and hands-on learning. UMass Lowell has close relationships with many healthcare providers throughout New England, including Massachusetts General Hospital, UMass Memorial Medical Center, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Favorite Facts: The Health Informatics and Management degree is delivered 100% online to accommodate working professionals with busy lives.
Degree: MS in Health Informatics
25. Regis University
The College of Computer & Information Systems at Regis University offers an MS in Health Informatics that trains students to understand and manage diagnostic technologies, provider order systems, electronic health records, and more. Students learn to design and implement systems that handle a variety of healthcare information. This program helps students develop strong technical, analytical, and communication skills, as well as an ethical mindset.
In addition to teaching technical skills, Regis University’s College of Computer and Information Systems helps students understand the impact of technology on real life. Regis was founded on Jesuit values and challenges students to aspire to be leaders. The school’s vision is to use technology to promote the common good and make society a better place for everyone. The school’s values of integrity, perseverance, knowledge, passion, and communication are grounded in a foundation of community, family, health, and security.
Favorite Facts: This flexible online program is divided into eight-week courses and can be completed in as little as 24 months.
Degree: MS in Health Informatics
Why Should I Choose an Online Master’s in Health or Nursing Informatics?
Nursing informatics combines information management and nursing. This specialty in healthcare assists with the communication process in the nursing field. You may earn positions as a system administrator, clinic nursing informatics specialist, nursing informatics consultant, or nursing informatics educator. The jobs available with this degree have a high salary. For instance, the average salary for a nurse informatics specialist is $82,014 per year. However, the HIMSS 2017 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey indicated nearly 50 percent of participants earned more than $100,000 per year.
There’s a high demand for individuals who earn an informatics online degree. In fact, the American Medical Information Association noted up to 70,000 specialists and analysts may be needed in nursing informatics over the course of the next five years. The need for individuals in this field will grow as a result of the change over to electronic medical records (EMR) as well as the growth of information technology. Places that hire individuals with an informatics online degree include nursing homes, research laboratories, health insurance agencies, hospitals, and health firms.
Will Employers Trust an Online Informatics Degree?
If you earn an online master of health informatics, you may worry that a prospective employer may not trust your online degree to get a health informatics job. However, unless you volunteer information stating that you gained your degree from online, potential employers won’t know. Mainly, your prospective employer is looking to see if you completed an online master of health informatics from a reputable school. For this reason, when you start looking at online nursing informatics MSN programs, you want to select a school that has a solid reputation for either their online program or their reputation in general, so you can gain employment.
How Do I Become a Nurse Informaticist?
If you’re searching online for “how to become a nurse informatics professional,” the first step is to earn your bachelor’s degree. Generally, you want to have at least a bachelor of science in nursing, also referred to as a BSN. You may also fulfill the prerequisite for how to become a nurse informatics professional if you earn your master of science in nursing and then continue on to earn your nurse informatics certification. Once you have your nursing degree, you’ll need to obtain your licensure to practice in nursing. This test is known as the NCLEX-RN. If you have a higher degree, you’ll need to complete the appropriate test. You must practice as a nurse for at least two years full time to qualify to become a nurse informaticist.
You may consider earning either a certificate in nursing informatics or a master’s or doctorate. Once you complete your necessary education, you’ll need to complete a test to demonstrate your competency as a nurse informaticist. You’ll need to renew your credential every five years. Keep in mind, these qualifications vary slightly from state to state, so make sure you review the specifics for your area.
What Will I Learn in a Nursing Informatics Program?
You learn the skills necessary to compete in the world of nursing information technology, such as strategic planning and project management. You also learn about a variety of technologies commonly used in nursing. As part of the nursing informatics degree requirements, you gain valuable knowledge and skills regarding information systems and strategic planning. Basically, you learn how to create and design medical data. Additionally, you receive education about the implementation of the data. Part of your education focuses on the storage and presentation since these may impact the delivery of patient care.
You learn skills that are required to thrive outside of a clinical setting because patient care doesn’t just include what happens inside of an exam room. The individuals who perform informatic duties make all the difference in the level of care patients receive.
Part of the nursing informatics degree requirements may also be comprised of advanced practice nursing courses. Plus, depending on the school of your choosing, you may have courses that specifically teach you about informatics in nursing.