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Health Informatics Schools and Programs

Health information is becoming one of the most vital components of the health care field. In turn, individuals with training in health informatics could be at the forefront of an employment surge.

How to Become a Health Informatics Technician

Currently the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) refers to those working in the field of health care informatics as medical records and health information technicians. Day-to-day responsibilities include building and maintaining patient records and making sure the data contained in them is secure. Another facet of health care informatics is coding procedures so that service providers can be paid by patients' insurance companies or by Medicare or Medicaid. Health care informatics workers do not provide patient care, except as a customer service function.

Health Informatics Career Outlook

Health care informatics is a career with growth potential. Between 2006 and 2016, the number of health informatics workers is expected to increase by 20 percent, well above average for all occupations. Federal mandates for electronic records management is one driver of the expected growth; and an aging population is another.

Health Informatics Education Requirements

Most health care informatics workers hold associate's degrees. You can improve your chances of being hired by becoming certified as a Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT), a certified coder, or a Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR). In 2008 there were more than 200 schools that offered certification programs, usually in concert with earning an associate degree.

Compensation in the Health Informatics Career Field

As of May 2008, there were approximately 168,650 medical records and health care information technicians working in the U.S. Their median annual wage (meaning half earned more, half earned less) was $30,610. The top 10 percent earned a median annual wage of $50.060, while the bottom 10 percent earned $20,440. Pharmaceutical companies pay the highest wages ($56,320) but only 90 workers were reported working for them. The Federal government which employed about 5,000 medical informatics workers also pays well above the median at $43, 380. Over 61,300 jobs were with general medical and surgical hospitals where you can expect to earn an annual median wage of $34,910. The five top paying states were in order from high to low: New Jersey, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, and Alaska. The range was $44,470 to $38,280.