The Best Online MSN in Health Informatics Programs

February 21, 2022 , Modified on June 24, 2022 · 5 Min Read

Interested in working as an informaticist, researcher, or data analyst? Then earning an MSN with an emphasis on healthcare informatics might be the right option for you.

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The Best Online MSN in Health Informatics Programs
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If you are passionate about healthcare and love data and analytics, you might enjoy a career as an informatics nurse. Informatics nurses use patient, hospital, medical, and often community data to identify problems or opportunities for improvement and find solutions.

This guide explores the best online nursing informatics programs, along with how to choose and apply to a program. We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best online MSN in health informatics programs, making it easier for you to choose the right option. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more, or go straight to our list of the best online MSN in health informatics programs.

Featured Online MSN Programs

The Best Online MSN in Health Informatics Programs

What Can You Do With an MSN in Health Informatics?

A master of science in nursing (MSN) in health informatics is one of a few MSN degrees that let you apply your nursing expertise to areas beyond direct patient care. An MSN informatics program prepares candidates to collect and prepare data for analysis, identify the right analytics tools to use for different situations, and communicate results to leadership, administrators, and other healthcare staff.

Graduates with an online nursing informatics MSN work in hospital and healthcare systems, private practices, research companies, insurance firms, and government offices. According to Payscale data from December 2021, the median annual salary for an informatics nurse is $85,000.

Nurse Informaticist

MSN required

Nurse informaticists identify and collect data, run analyses, design reports, and explain the results. They must effectively collaborate with administrators, IT specialists, researchers, and other nurses. They should also be good at identifying patterns, solving problems, and performing statistical analysis.

Learn more about nurse informatics careers

Clinical Informaticist

MSN required

A clinical informaticist performs many of the same duties as a nurse informaticist, but works with a wider variety of data and on a broader spectrum of issues. The essential skills of problem identification, data management, analytics, and communication are the same, as is the need to collaborate effectively across the organization.

Learn more about clinical informatics careers

Chief Medical Information Officer

MSN required

A chief medical information officer is responsible for all medical data and analytics. They often work with upper-level executives, including chief information officers and chief technology officers. They must demonstrate strong leadership skills, identify problems and opportunities for improvement, and drive change in the organization.

Learn more about nurse executive careers

What To Look For in an Online MSN in Health Informatics Program

The best online nursing informatics program for you depends on your interests, academic background, and career goals, along with program format and cost. Many programs include group projects and tasks, so you should be sure that you understand or can learn your program's team collaboration tools.

Admission requirements suggest how likely you are to be admitted to an MSN informatics program, and how challenging the coursework may be. These guidelines also indicate what the school values in its students. An online nursing informatics program's curriculum details what students learn and how they complete coursework. Classes should be accessible, and should provide you with the skills you need to excel in your future career. Do the clinical requirements use a format that fits your lifestyle and schedule? Online MSN informatics programs often let students fulfill their practicum requirements virtually. If you must complete your practicum in person, can you find a placement in your community? Most employers prefer to hire graduates of accredited programs, and accredited schools rarely accept transfer credits from unaccredited programs. Attending an unaccredited online nursing informatics program can severely restrict your career prospects and financial aid opportunities. Most MSN informatics programs require two years of full-time study, or up to four years for part-time students. If you hold an informatics certification from an accredited program, you may be able to apply the credits to your online nursing informatics program and graduate sooner. A school's NCLEX pass rate hints at how well-prepared students are for their nursing careers. A high pass rate suggests that students receive a solid education, while a low pass rate may be a warning sign. Overall graduation rates are another indicator of school quality. A low graduation rate suggests that instruction is poor, or that students lack the right amount of academic support. An MSN informatics program's format should suit your learning style and schedule, especially if you plan to work full time while studying. Some formats offer more structure and support, while others feature flexible or self-paced schedules.

Applying to an Online MSN in Health Informatics Program

While applying to an MSN informatics program might seem daunting, early preparation can help you succeed and make the process less stressful. Discuss the program with your mentors and be sure your references are ready to speak to your strengths.

Admission Materials

Undergraduate transcripts; resume or CV; standardized test scores (such as GRE); at least two references; application with personal statement or essay

GPA Requirements

Most online nursing informatics programs require a 3.0 GPA or higher. However, relevant work experience, strong analytical skills, or positive references might make up for a borderline GPA. Talk to the admission department if you have questions about your GPA.

Other Requirements

Programs often require or look for undergraduate coursework in analytics or other evidence of relevant skills or talents. If you didn't complete undergraduate coursework in the field, some schools offer certificate programs that may later be applied to a full program.

Why Is Online MSN Program Accreditation Important?

Accreditation is an independent evaluation used to determine a program's quality. An accrediting body, or official group of professionals and academics, examines the program to see if it effectively prepares students for the workforce. Accreditation is vital to your success because:

  • Most employers strongly prefer to hire graduates of accredited programs.
  • Most accredited schools only accept transfer credits from other accredited programs.
  • Students must attend an accredited institution to receive federal financial aid.
  • Attending an unaccredited program may raise questions in employers' minds about your abilities.

Paying for Online MSN in Health Informatics Programs

Distance learners can use the same financial aid options to pay for an online nursing informatics program as on-campus students. Most schools offer scholarships and loans to help pay for your nursing degree. You can also get scholarships and grants from government programs, nonprofit associations, corporations, and foundations.

Some candidates choose to take out private loans, or apply for federal student loans. Your employer may also cover some of your program costs; often if you agree to work for them for a certain period after graduation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online MSN in Health Informatics Programs

How much does someone with an MSN in informatics make?

Informatics jobs pay well, offering a median annual salary of $85,000. An online MSN informatics program can prepare you for an even more lucrative informatics job, such as chief medical information officer or consultant.

What can I do with an MSN in informatics?

You can use your degree to work for a hospital or health system, identifying ways to improve the organization's efficiency and efficacy. Some graduates find jobs in public healthcare policy, at insurance companies, or with healthcare organizations.

What is an MSN in health informatics?

Students pursuing an MSN in informatics learn to analyze and apply health data to improve patient outcomes. They gain the skills needed to gather, clean, analyze, and report on nursing data and make recommendations based on their combined nursing and analytics expertise.

Are nurse informaticists in demand?

Nurse informaticists are in demand at hospitals and health systems, insurance companies, consultancies, nurse temporary agencies, and government offices. Demand for nurse informaticists is likely to grow as organizations seek to improve safety, efficiency, and patient outcomes.

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