Health Informatics Jobs and Salary Expectations
What kind of salary does a health information administrator make?
Allied health information management professionals who work in the field of health informatics have the potential to make significantly more than the average salary for all occupations nationwide. The average national health information management salary for administrators and health information managers is $73,000 per year, which is 7% higher than the nationwide average salary for all occupations. However, actual wages vary widely depending on location, occupational specialty, the type of facility worked in, and level of education and experience. Health information administrators with top credentials, including advanced health informatics degrees and several years of experience in the field, have the potential to make well over $100,000 a year.
Where do health information administrators work?
Health information management jobs for administrators and managers can be found in a variety of institutions, facilities, offices, and agencies. Where a health information administrator works is, to a large extent, dependent on his or her area of specialization within the larger field of health information management. For instance, health information administrators who specialize in clinical informatics generally work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare institutions where medical practitioners diagnose and provide direct treatment to patients. Likewise, administrators who concentrate in dental informatics generally work in medical practices or in medical facilities where hands-on dentistry is performed. On the other hand, health information administrators in the field of bioinformatics spend most of their time in research laboratories operated by hospitals and academic universities. Pharmaceutical informaticists often work in research laboratories run by pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies. Health information administrators who go into the field of public health informatics often work for the government in agencies devoted to public health and welfare, such as the CDC (Centers for Disease Prevention and Control) and the NIH (National Institute of Health).
What is the employment outlook for health informatics professionals?
Employment prospects in the field of health information management are excellent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for medical and health services managers, a category that includes health information administrators, will increase up to 16 percent in the ten-year period ending in 2018. Demand for health information administrators in medical facilities and in private practice settings will be driven by the need to control healthcare costs and increase the efficiency of healthcare delivery; the continuing transition to electronic medical records; and an increase in the administration of medical procedures and diagnostic tests due to the ongoing aging of the general population. In research settings, the need for health information administrators will be intensified by the need for new drugs, treatments, and medical methodologies. Competition between companies, academic ins titutions, and other facilities that host research labs, as well as an increasing political and public concern with issues related to public health and healthcare policy, will also drive this demand.
How does a graduate with a medical informatics degree become certified as a health information administrator?
AHIMA (The American Health Information Management Association) offers graduates with a health informatics degree the opportunity to become certified as a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA). Although certification or registration is generally not required to work as a health information administrator and is usually not a prerequisite imposed by employers, certification offers proof that a health information administrator has met certain benchmarks with respect to informatics knowledge and technological proficiency. Status as a Registered Health Information Administrator can enhance an employment application by demonstrating the applicant’s level of competency and degree of professional commitment and engagement. Registered Health Information Administrators are experts in information and medical record management, data analysis, and computer information technology.
In order to be eligible for certification as a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA), candidates must have completed at least a bachelor’s degree in health informatics granted by a program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIM). Eligible candidates submit applications to AHIMA, along with an application fee, which is $229 for AHIMA members and $299 for non-members. Once the application is approved, candidates may take AHIMA’s certification examination, which is a four-hour long multiple choice test with 180 distinct questions.