Study Informatics: Certificates, Courses & Online Degree Info

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What kind of job can you get with a certificate in informatics? Find out program requirements, online options and info on courses and informatics programs.
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Certificates and Courses in Informatics at a Glance

Informatics certificate programs are generally offered for students in technical or business fields. Studying this field can help students learn information management and related technologies, generally within the context of the healthcare industry. Fields of specialization include clinical science, public health, healthcare, nursing, environmental health, biomedicine and more.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected growth for informatics-related careers from 2010-2020. For example, all medical and health services managers should see a 22% growth over that decade, which is considered faster than the national average.

Certificate Courses
Who is this program for? Individuals interested in further developing their careers in medical and technology fields through a greater understanding of the role of information management Individuals who would like to focus on a specific informatics topic
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) - Business technology analyst ($66,000)*
- Database administrator ($75,000 - this salary is more common for people with 1-5 years of experience)**
- Computer systems analyst ($79,000)**
- Medical and health services manager ($86,000 - this salary is more common for people with at least a bachelor's degree)**
- Medical records and health information technician ($33,000)**
- Same as certificate, depending on other expertise and education
Time to Completion 1-2 years full time Depends on course
Common Graduation Requirements Roughly 5-12 courses Varies by course
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree in medical or technology field Varies by course
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *Payscale.com (March 2013 figure), **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Certificate in Informatics

Informatics certificate programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. These programs can prepare healthcare managers, informatics analysts, software developers and public health officials to tackle healthcare problem-solving through the development and application of information technology. Programs may be designed for professionals who already hold a bachelor's degree or higher in a technological or biomedical field.

Although the approaches of informatics may be applied across many fields, certificate programs generally focus specifically on the fields of health and medicine. Medical informatics certificate programs are common, but interested students may also find more targeted clinical, medical imaging, nursing, and public health informatics programs as well. These programs usually consist of at least two semesters.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Informatics merges two strong employment fields, information technology and healthcare
  • Certificate programs do not generally take as long to complete as full graduate programs
  • Programs are often tailored to specific professional groups

Cons

  • Career options will vary based on the previous training of the student
  • As in any field experiencing rapid technological change, you will need to work to keep abreast of the latest developments and industry standards
  • A certificate program may not help you qualify for industry credentials, such as the Certified Professional in Healthcare & Management Systems (CPHIMS) designation

Courses and Requirements

Informatics certificate programs include courses on basic informatics, as well as possibly project management, database management, systems analysis, epidemiology, statistics, advanced math, computer programming and medical ethics. These certificate programs are designed to enhance skills developed in undergraduate and graduate programs, allowing them to be applied more effectively in the medical field. Courses will likely cover such topics as:

  • Applied informatics in healthcare
  • Healthcare data: practice and theory
  • Information technology as a change agent in healthcare
  • Managing healthcare knowledge
  • Modeling and abstraction of health data

Online Certificate Options

Students seeking a certificate in healthcare informatics may be able to find options available online to meet their needs. These online programs, offered remotely and often asynchronously, can be of benefit to the working professional with a busy schedule. Although the educational requirements of such online informatics programs are equivalent to a face-to-face program, students can work and attend class when it is convenient, rather than being tied to a traditional class schedule.

Stand Out with This Degree

As health informatics is an applied and cross-disciplinary area of study, if you are looking to stand out with this degree, you may want to seek out either an internship or relevant work experience within your current employment. You might aim to develop proficiency with industry-standard technologies and computer applications to make certain that your training is as relevant as possible to future employers. Another option is professional certification, such as in informatics nursing or imaging informatics. The requirements for pursuing these credentials vary and typically include experience and/or a degree.

Courses and Training in Informatics

For health information management specialists who want to stay sharp and current in their field, one option for training is that done through the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS). Another option is to take courses in informatics certificate or degree-granting programs. These options can be useful for those who find themselves employed in the field, but lacking in specific skills to tackle the challenges they are facing. Unlike certificate or degree programs, these individual courses may not provide a well-rounded approach to the field, instead targeting specific areas.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Taking individual courses is less expensive and time-consuming than enrolling in complete programs
  • Training provided by these courses can keep your informatics technology skills current
  • Individual courses may later be transferred to certificate or graduate programs

Cons

  • Compared to certificates or graduate programs, these individual courses may not be as useful in applying for promotion opportunities
  • Taking individual courses, while providing technical knowledge, may make developing mentor relationships with professors more difficult
  • These courses alone, without requisite skills to build on, are unlikely to help develop a career

Courses and Requirements

Two types of courses may be pursued in seeking training in informatics. Professional-development courses are likely to be non-credit classes aimed at keeping skills current. Alternatively, you may want to pursue individual credit courses through a college or university. Those courses are likely to be similar to those for certificate programs, covering topics from basic informatics to theoretical approaches for analyzing and utilizing medical data. HIMSS offers training through online delivery for professionals looking to sharpen their core skills.

Online Course Options

Individual courses sought for college credit may be available online through some programs. You may need to seek a non-matriculated status with the college before enrolling in a course, and in some cases also need to seek the permission of the instructor. For courses that have prerequisites, you may need to provide evidence that you will be able to fulfill course objectives.

Getting Ahead with This Training

If you are already working in the medical informatics field, and find that there are certain gaps in your knowledge, you may want to pursue courses to target specific missing areas of knowledge. For example, a software developer or database administrator might find that an informatics course on techniques for abstracting data could be useful in designing a new database. As with studying at the certificate-level, you may also consider applying your course studies to pursuing credentials in the informatics field. Requirements vary, and organizations like HIMSS may require you to demonstrate experience and/or have a related degree.

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Featured Schools

Lincoln Tech

  • Automotive Technology
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What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Film Production
  • MS - Entertainment Business (Campus)
  • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
  • Bachelor of Science - Software Development

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University Global

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
  • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
  • AASBA in Business
  • Medical Assisting Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Independence University

  • Information Systems (MS)
  • Accounting (BS)
  • Medical Assisting (AOS)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Liberty University

  • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Elementary Education (Online)
  • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction Middle Grades Education (Online)
  • MA: Communication
  • MED: Curriculum and Instruction: Urban Education

What is your highest level of education?

Walden University

  • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
  • MS in Education - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment (Grades K-12)
  • BS in Psychology - MS AIM Track

What is your highest level of education completed?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?