Earning a Ph.D. in Health Informatics Online

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Health informatics is a rapidly growing field that incorporates skills from the computer science and healthcare fields. As medicine and patient care become increasingly dependent upon technology, digitally streamlined healthcare systems can add value in any medical setting. With this emerging technology comes a need for professionals who can incorporate and maintain it.

According to PayScale, a professional with a Ph.D. in health informatics earns an average salary of $118,000 each year, while an individual with a master's in this field makes an average of $76,000 annually. A career in healthcare informatics is intellectually and emotionally rewarding, and the field has become increasingly lucrative.

Why Get a Ph.D. in Health Informatics Online?

Pursue Deeper Knowledge and Specialization

Earning a Ph.D. in health informatics online allows you to develop a stronger understanding of the field and what it takes to be an innovative professional. A student who earns a Ph.D. can specialize their career into an in-demand, relevant area. By concentrating their Ph.D. studies, students can create a niche in the workplace that is not always available with only a master's.

Career Advancement Opportunities

A professional with a bachelor's or master's degree in health informatics can prepare for entry-level positions in the field. Due to the complexity of healthcare informatics, job seekers are required to be the best of the best. By earning a Ph.D. in this field, professionals immediately enter the workforce with the experience needed for more advanced positions and higher salaries.

Online Learning Technology

Students who pursue online degrees can reap the benefits of coursework and gain an understanding of the technology used on the job. By developing a comfort and savviness with online learning tools, students can smoothly transition into a tech-central professional role.

Prerequisites for Ph.D. in Health Informatics Online Programs

As with any advanced degree, you will need to complete a prerequisite checklist before applying to any online Ph.D. in health informatics program. These requirements are often more extensive than what you may have encountered in applying to undergraduate or graduate school. The list below details several of the most common prerequisites.

    • Master's Degree from an Accredited College or University To apply to any Ph.D. in health informatics program, you must have earned a master's degree in a relevant field from an accredited institution. Many online colleges will require a minimum GPA, though the score varies. Candidates must submit official transcripts from all previously attended institutions with their applications.
    • Statement of Purpose A student seeking a Ph.D. in health informatics online must write a statement of purpose explaining how they plan to apply their doctorates in this field. It should include research from peer-reviewed journals and summarize the applicant's experience with digital systems and healthcare.
    • GRE/GMAT/MCAT/DAT Test Scores A student without a master's degree in a relevant field may still apply to many health informatics Ph.D. programs around the country. If you are looking to obtain your doctorate with only a bachelor's in a relevant or STEM field, applicants must also submit test scores from the GMAT, GRE, MCAT, or DAT. It is worth noting that your scores on these tests must be higher than those required of applicants who already hold master's degrees.
    • Work Experience While not always required, many schools encourage applicants to a Ph.D. program to have work experience in a related area. For example, a student seeking a doctorate in health informatics may have shadowed professionals in this field or worked elsewhere in computer science. Work experience could be an independent job, a shadowing role, or clinical hours.
    • Oral Examination Before graduating with your Ph.D. in health informatics from an online school, students may need to present their research projects. Many schools ask online students to present their findings in a formal setting as a graduation requirement.

How Much Can I Make With a Ph.D. in Health Informatics Degree?

Different education levels can make for a great range in earning potential for health informatics professionals. Many employers in this field will hire individuals with only a bachelor's degree in health informatics, but earning a master's or Ph.D. in this field will boost a candidate's marketability and earning potential.

A professional with an online degree in health informatics can possess a deeper understanding of both healthcare and the emerging digital systems in the field. By earning a Ph.D. in health informatics, students can become experts in specialized areas of the industry. Marketability in a niche area of such a competitive field is invaluable when it comes to increasing a job seeker's earning potential.

Potential Careers

Careers Stats Description

Chief Medical Information Officer

Average Salary: $292,261

CMOs are responsible for the oversight of all medical professionals and their tasks within a healthcare facility. These professionals develop and orchestrate initiatives to improve medical care and patient satisfaction at every stage of the process. CMOs research health and patient care trends to keep their operations running smoothly.

Health Informatics Consultant

Average Salary: $76,960

These consultants work with clients to solve digital and physical systems errors. Professionals in this role undertake a significant amount of research due to the many interconnected technologies at play in healthcare facilities. Private healthcare institutions primarily employ these consultants to improve an organization's best practices.

Health Services Managers

Average Salary: $99,730

Health services managers are responsible for implementing and maintaining digital medical record systems. These professionals are typically employed by medical centers of all sizes, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and psychiatric centers. Health services managers also onboard other medical staff, teaching them to appropriately utilize new systems.

Paying for a Ph.D. in Health Informatics Program

Paying for college can be tricky, but there are ways to make the experience less challenging. Online tuition is often more affordable than traditional brick-and-mortar learning, especially for students who opt for accelerated programs. While tuition may be the same, accelerated degrees can be more affordable due to quicker completion times.

Schools, foundations, and professional organizations are known for providing degree-specific or even concentration-specific funds to students in need. All learners should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and explore all available scholarship opportunities.

Scholarships

Students in need have the option of applying for various scholarship opportunities. Many foundations provide scholarship money to students pursuing degrees in their areas of interest. Scholarships from professional organizations may even offer specialized funding opportunities to a student pursuing a Ph.D. in a concentrated area of the field. The scholarships below are several of the more common opportunities available to health informatics Ph.D. candidates.

What to Expect From a Ph.D. in Health Informatics Online Program

Full-time students are usually able to graduate with their online doctorates in health informatics in 2-3 years. Some online learners opt for part-time enrollment, and many schools allow distance learners to take up to ten years to complete their degrees.

Programs that utilize asynchronous delivery methods provide all course materials to students and do not require any specified login times. Alternatively, some schools will opt for synchronous program delivery and mandate that students attend scheduled classes through video streaming. Before selecting a program, make sure to determine what kind of online education would work best for your schedule.

Major Milestones

Each student will encounter challenging and rewarding milestones as they complete an online Ph.D. in health informatics. Below are some important events that you will likely encounter in this degree.

  1. Qualifying Examination

    This milestone marks one of the first important events in a Ph.D. student's time in higher education. While there are likely many tests to come, securing admission with a qualifying exam sets learners on their desired paths from the start.

  2. Internships and Job Shadowing

    Some students are required to complete work in their given industries through internships or by shadowing professionals in the field. Often, experience gained in these encounters can help students shape their future capstone or dissertation projects.

  3. Dissertation Proposal

    Creating a dissertation is a two-part process. First, each student must conceive of an idea and have it approved by faculty. Enrollees must create a unique proposal and be prepared to defend it.

  4. Dissertation Defense

    Once a dissertation topic is approved by professors or faculty members, students must complete the project itself. Upon collecting all of the necessary information, enrollees must formulate presentations to showcase their work and explain its importance to a panel of faculty.

  5. Completion of Ethics Modules

    In many fields, professionals are required to possess a deep understanding of ethics. A background in ethics is especially important for professionals working in healthcare. Many Ph.D. courses require students to complete ethics-related modules and courses to graduate.

  6. Publish a Scientific Paper or Article

    While not always required, most Ph.D. in healthcare informatics programs encourage students to have their work published in scientific journals, which adds credibility to a learner's research.

Coursework

At the doctorate level, students have more freedom in choosing their classes. However, students can expect to encounter some common courses in pursuing this degree. The list below includes some classes that may appear in many online Ph.D. in health informatics programs.

Introduction to
Health Informatics

This class focuses on providing students with background information on the field at large and the importance of utilizing informatics and data in healthcare. Enrollees can learn the basic methodology of retrieval, storage, and utilization of data.

Data Management

In this course, learners can explore how to analyze large data sets. These classes tend to focus on topics such as database management and integration, data mining, and healthcare systems.

Health Information
Technology

This class incorporates the study of advanced computing methods and typical uses of technology in the healthcare field. Faculty members emphasize an understanding of digital programs and how they can be used by hospital staff to provide better care to patients.

Professional Organizations and Resources

In most fields, the work does not end by earning a bachelor's, master's, or even a doctoral degree. Students need to continue their educations to stay up-to-date with the latest findings and information in their fields. It is also crucial to build professional networks and facilitate good relationships with colleagues. Professional organizations are extremely helpful for professionals at all levels, but especially for those nearing graduation or recently graduated. Read on for some of the most popular organizations in the industry.

  • American Health Information Management Association: AHIMA, established in 1928, boasts more than 103,000 members across the world. As one of the oldest professional organizations in healthcare informatics, this organization offers continuing education opportunities, seminars, and networking events to its members. AHIMA is one of only four professional organizations in this field that creates a governing ideology on an international level.
  • American Nursing Informatics Association: ANIA was established in 1992 to unite nurses and associates within the informatics field, ensuring all members have access to continuing education opportunities. With nursing as its focus, this group emphasizes the utilization of informatics to improve patient care.
  • American Medical Informatics Association: AMIA was created through merging three other medical informatics associations in 1988. This association aims to advance the field of informatics by ensuring that its members have access to continuing education and research opportunities. This organization hosts conferences throughout the year to detail the latest research in public health informatics and consumer health informatics.
  • Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society: HIMSS is devoted to serving professionals in healthcare informatics from all over the world. With more than 68,000 members in its North American chapter alone, this organization is devoted to ensuring professionals understand and utilize healthcare informatics best practices.
  • International Medical Informatics Association: Known to health information professionals as the "association of associations," IMIA combines national and international health informatics organizations. IMIA is famous for its annual production of the MedInfo conference as well as its periodicals and educational documents.