At the intersection of healthcare, data and computer science is the in-demand field of health informatics.
Due to a combination of federal mandates and private innovation, the healthcare industry is undergoing a major digital transformation, complete with a huge surge in hiring. As a whole, healthcare occupations are expected to grow 18% from 2016 to 2026 — up to three times faster than the average rate – which translates to 2.3 million new jobs.
One of the largest growth areas is in healthcare administration, including for professionals in healthcare informatics and information systems. Medical records occupations will expand 13%, and medical and health service manager jobs will grow 20% (70,000 jobs). While some healthcare roles don’t require a specific degree, competition is fierce and prospects with specific training and credentials will have an advantage.
No surprise, then, that healthcare degrees are among the fastest-growing in the country, with an uptick in online programs for their flexibility and affordability. For your convenience, we’ve ranked the 10 best online bachelor’s degrees in Health Informatics (including programs in Health Information Management and healthcare IT) which can lead to a variety of careers in health records management, coding, and data analysis. Keep reading to find the right bachelor’s for your needs!
1) University of Wisconsin – Extension
University of Wisconsin – Extension is the system’s statewide leader in online and distance education, featuring expert faculty, convenient delivery, and career-oriented instruction. All courses are asynchronous, meaning students course work is self-paced, and material is available 24/7 from your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. With an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio, UW Extension combines the intimacy of liberal arts school with the resources of Tier 1 research institution, as well as individualized instruction, collaborative learning opportunities, and a range of student support services.
UW Extension campuses at Green Bay, La Crosse, Parkside, and Stevens Point each offer two relevant tracks: an online BS in Health Information Management and online BS in Health Information Technology. Each program consists of 61 major credits, and all courses are designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate individual schedules for working professionals, adult learners, and non-traditional students. Each program is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), which allows students to sit for the Registered Health Information Administrator credentialing exam. Graduates will be prepared for a variety of careers, including as a HIM department manager, health data coder/analyst, clinical data manager, compliance coordinator, EHR privacy and security coordinator, and EHR project manager.
- Average Net Price: $22,012
2) Western Governors University
Founded in 1996, Western Governors University, is a global leader in distance and online education. In particular, WGU specializes in flexible, self-paced learning through competency-based credit programs that offer students credit for previous life and work experience, which accelerates completion time, lowers tuition, and waives redundant course work. Fast Company, TIME, NBC, and CNN have recognized WGU’s innovation in educational technology, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded WGU $4.5 million in funding. The university is a multiple winner of the 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning from the United States Distance Learning Association.
Western Governors offers an online BS in Health Information Management that consists of 36 courses, including major requirements in Classification Systems, Healthcare Ecosystems, Health Information Law and Regulations, Pathophysiology, Healthcare Reimbursement, and Healthcare Information Systems, among others. At the beginning of the program, most course work is cohort-based to develop a collaborative environment; at the end of the program, all students complete a capstone project to demonstrate real-world proficiency. Over 70% of students complete the degree in 1-4 years, and on average transfer credits total 33. Accredited by the CAHIIM, graduates will earn CompTIA Project+ certification and eligibility to apply for the RHIA credentialing exam.
- Average Net Price: $12,075
3) Walden University
Founded in 1970, Walden University created one of the first fully online universities and now offers over 140 online degrees, as well as 300 specializations and concentrations. Further, with an enrollment of over 47,000 students, Walden’s diverse student body includes students from all 50 states and over 150 countries. The 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio fosters a collaborative learning community with tailored instruction, combining the resources of a research institution with the intimacy of liberal arts school. Finally, for adult learners and working professionals, the university has numerous affiliations with school districts, healthcare centers, corporations, and nonprofits.
Walden offers an online bachelor’s in Information Technology with a specialization in Healthcare Informatics. Core IT requirements include classes like IT Infrastructure, Networking Fundamentals, Introduction to Programming, and Data Structures. The healthcare specialization is a 20-credit module in Health Informatics, Structure of the Healthcare Industry, Patient Records Practice and Policy, and Healthcare Information Systems Applications. From there, students can customize the degree through a variety of elective options, and complete the program following a capstone project and seminar. Designed for maximum flexibility, students can transfer up to 135 credits, and many students are working professionals and adult learners with previous academic course work (bachelor’s or associate’s tracks). It is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
- Average Net Price: $17,612
4) University of Mississippi Medical Center
Founded in 1955, University of Mississippi Medical Center is the University of Mississippi’s health science campus, located in Jackson. (The School of Pharmacy is in Oxford.) Offering nearly 30 degrees, UMMC’s total enrollment stands just below 3,000, and the 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio helps to maintain small class sizes, tailored instruction, and collaborative learning opportunities.
UMMC offers an online bachelor’s in Health Informatics and Information Management, including a traditional track (61 required hours) and progression track (37 hours). Courses include Health Care Data Structure, Management of Health Information Systems, Health Care Compliance and Documentation Improvement, Coding and Classification Systems for Diagnoses, Health Care Systems Design and Analysis, and Database Applications in Health Information Systems, among others. The traditional track includes additional healthcare course work and a seminar, while the progression track features a practicum and directed study requirement to develop real-world skills and experience. Graduates will be prepared for a variety of healthcare roles in hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, health maintenance organizations, insurance agencies, governmental agencies, educational institutions, and research centers. The program is accredited by the CAHIIM and has earned a 100% satisfaction rating from both employers and graduates.
- Average Net Price: $17,612
5) Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University, founded in 1932, is a global leader in distance education, with over 70,000 students enrolled in online degrees that emphasize practical, career-oriented learning. US News ranks SNHU 1st in the country for innovation, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, Fast Company, and New Hampshire Business Review have all recognized SNHU for ed tech initiatives, as well. The school’s expert faculty have years of online teaching experience, and the 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio promotes an intimate, tight-knit community; more than of classes contain less than 20 students. For students interested in financial aid opportunities, 70% of full-time undergrads receive some form of tuition assistance.
Southern New Hampshire offers an online BS in Healthcare Administration with a concentration in Health Information Management, designed for students pursuing managerial roles. The in-depth curriculum features a balance of business and healthcare IT courses, including Healthcare Economics, Healthcare Quality Management, Organizational Behavior, Communications and Technologies, and Healthcare IT Infrastructure & Network Management, among others. Course material is available 24/7 for maximum convenience, and students with previous academic credits can transfer up to 90 credits into the program, accelerating completion time and lowering tuition. Graduates are prepared to pursue roles in planning, operations, and maintenance at a variety of health centers, including hospitals, physician offices, and care facilities.
- Average Net Price: $17,612
6) The University of Illinois, Chicago
Founded in 1965, University of Illinois—Chicago is a public institution with a total enrollment around 29,000. In addition to Forbes, Washington Monthly, and Times Higher Education, US News ranks UIC among the best universities in the country, with additional high marks for overall value and online bachelor’s degrees (ranked 15th in the nation). With a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio, UIC combines personal instruction with peer-to-peer learning. Over a third of classes have fewer than 20 students, and less than 1 in 5 have 50. For students interested in financial aid, three-quarters of full-time undergrads receive some form of tuition assistance, and the average need met is 62%.
University of Illinois—Chicago offers an online BS in Health Information Management, accredited by the CAHIIM and designed to prepare students to take the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam. The 63-hour major curriculum includes Medical Sciences and Human Pathophysiology, Health Data Structures and Management, Management and Business Practices, Legal Aspects of Health Information Management, Quality Evaluation and Management, and Healthcare Financial Management, among others. All courses are built for maximum flexibility to fit students’ schedules, and a 5-hour practicum helps to develop skills and real-world experience. On accelerated track (with previous transfer credits), students can complete the degree in as little as 2 years. Also of note for experienced professionals: UIC offers a 13-course online Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health Information Management.
- Average Net Price: $26,334
7) King University
King University, founded in 1867, is a private Christian school with a total enrollment of about 2,800. Ranked among the best schools in the South for thirty years, King combines rigorous academics, a liberal arts foundation, and dynamic teaching tools to foster a 21st century learning environment. The 18:1 student-to-faculty supports small class sizes, collaborative opportunities, and individualized instruction. Over 70% of classes have fewer than 20 students and less than 1% have 50. For those pursuing tuition assistance, 85% of full-time undergrads receive some form of financial aid, the average need is 70%.
King’s online bachelor’s in Health Informatics consists of 48 major hours (12 courses), covering topics like healthcare organization, information systems, project management, ethics and legal issues, and quality improvement, as well as effective communication skills, critical thinking, and decision-making. Designed for working professionals and adult learners with previous undergraduate/associate credits, students must have previously earned 45 hours; the accelerated track can be completed in as little as 16 months. Multiple start dates per year allow scheduling flexibility, and all course work is built to accommodate a variety of traditional and non-traditional students. Graduates will be prepared to work in hospitals, clinics, private healthcare companies.
- Average Net Price: $27,276
8) Franklin University
Franklin University, founded in 1902, is a private school designed for adult learners. The average student is in their mid-30s, 90% of students transfer into a program using prior academic credits, and 80% of students take online courses. All programs are designed to accommodate students’ individual schedules, and several accelerated options are available, as well. With a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Franklin’s tight-knit learning community balances collaborative education with personalized instruction. Student support services include online tutoring, academic advising, career services, tech support, enrollment assistance, and more. Prospective online students are encouraged to take a free demo course, and admissions are rolling.
Franklin offers an online bachelor’s in Health Information Management, including 37 hours of major requirements like Healthcare Financial Management, Medical Reimbursement, Health Data, Health Information Systems, and Health Informatics, among others. For those interested, Franklin also offers an elective module that puts students on a fast-track for a master’s in healthcare, with classes in analytics, laws and ethics, delivery systems, and more. Up to 94 credits can be transferred, and all courses are designed for maximum flexibility. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to: establish continuous quality improvement benchmarks and processes; create professional communications using data visualization tools; design health information systems, policies and procedures in compliance with federal, state, and local regulations and standards; and apply essential business skills to healthcare organizations.
- Average Net Price: $11,881
9) Montana Tech of the University of Montana
Founded in 1893, Montana Tech of the University of Montana has a total enrollment of about 2,800. The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post rank Montana Tech among the best colleges in the country for ROI and future salary earnings; US News gives MTUM top 10 rankings on its lists for Best Colleges in the West, Best Value, Best Colleges for Veterans, and Top Public Schools. The university’s 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports a highly collaborative but intimate atmosphere, with over 60% of classes totaling less than 20 students. For those interested in financial aid, half of full-time undergrads receive some form of tuition assistance, with an average need met of 63%.
Montana Tech offers a BS in Health Care Informatics to prepare students for careers in health care, IT, and business. he program includes nine major areas of study – Anatomy and Physiology, Health System Foundations,
Healthcare Informatics Fundamentals, Health Information Technology and Systems, General Education Core, Information Technology Fundamentals, Business and Organizational Behavior, Project Management, and Technical Communication – as well as an internship and practicum. The program is built to fit students’ schedules, and two-year students from Montana community colleges are welcome to apply.
- Average Net Price: $19,984
10) Regis University
Founded by in 1877, Regis University is a private Roman Catholic university in Denver, Colorado, with a total enrollment of 11,500. As a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, Regis is ranked as one of the top 30 universities in the region by US News, with additional high marks for veteran support and overall value. Service and service learning is a major point of emphasis, spearheaded by the Institute on the Common Good and Center for Service Learning, which incorporates community service and volunteering opportunities into individual programs. With a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio, nearly 60% of classes have fewer than 20 students, creating an intimate, collaborative educational setting. Over 90% of full-time undergrads receive financial aid.
Regis’s online bachelor’s in Health Information Management requires 42 major credit hours in Human Disease & Pharmacology, Disease Classification Systems, Data Systems and Structures, Management of eHIM and Information Governance, Health Care Informatics & Information Systems, and Administration of Health Information Management Services, among others. From there, a practicum adds an experiential component to the curriculum, and students choose from minors in Computer Information Systems and Health Care Administration to tailor the degree to career interests. Graduates of the program can pursue a range of healthcare titles, including as a Clinical Informatics Specialist, Medical Practice Manager, Data Integrity Analyst, Compliance Auditor, and Coding Manager. It is accredited by the CAHIIM.
- Average Net Price: $27,326