Knowing what work experience is beneficial prior to a Master's in Health Informatics can mean the difference of getting into a competitive top-notch program or having to choose a less reputable program or school. Admission and job experience requirements vary from school to school, but most programs prefer, if not require, some sort of relevant work experience. Some examples of what experience a health informatics student might have include research or job experience in computing, clinical or information technology. Many students who were sure of their goals long before entering the master's program get the experience early in their academic careers.
What is Health Informatics?
Health informatics is a rapidly growing field that combines health care with information technology in an attempt to provide patients with the very best care. Health informatics allows healthcare providers to enter, store, retrieve, edit and send patient information on the healthcare system so that other qualified providers have access to the information. This allows for faster diagnosis, faster treatment and better all-around patient care.
Most Beneficial Experience for a Master's in Health Informatics
Getting the right kind of experience prior to the Master's in Health Informatics can benefit students in more ways than just helping them get into better programs. It also provides them with hands-on training that is beneficial during the program and once they begin their careers. Because this is a professional program, it's important that the candidate obtain as much professional experience as possible. Many of the healthcare graduate programs require students have from two to three years of experience working as a prerequisite.
It's not unusual for a student to work while earning an undergraduate degree, which provides the student with most of the required experience. Health informatics students would obviously most benefit from working in a healthcare setting, but that's not always the case. For example, a student who wishes to work in the administrative role may use previous work he or she did in an administrative or office setting even if it wasn't in healthcare. The important part is to get the job experience in the area that closest matches the student's career goals.
Career Outlook for Health Informatics
The career outlook for health informatics specialists is very good for several reasons. With the Affordable Healthcare Act requiring the addition of electronic health records, there are many new jobs opening up in the area of health informatics. This field offers various job opportunities, such as clinical informatics managers; medical and health service managers; health information administrators; medical records and health information technicians; systems data analysts; and informatics nurse specialists.
Every healthcare facility uses health informatics in one way or another. Because this field is so highly in demand, the U.S. News & World Report states that graduates don't typically have to look for jobs for long. Wages for medical and health services managers ranged from $58,000 to $176,000 with the average annual wage at $111,580, according to a 2017 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Earning the health informatics graduate degree qualifies students for various career opportunities in the area of both IT and healthcare. Completing beneficial work experience prior to the Master's in Health Informatics gives students an even bigger edge because it can play a role in getting into a high-quality program and providing much-needed experience.