The reality about nursing informatics salaries

The popular questions people have about nursing informatics are:

“What’s the salary for this field?”


The salary ranges vary according to experience, specialty, location, and other factors. The range goes from $45,000 to a six salary figure.

If

“Does a clinical analyst get paid the same as a nursing informatics analyst?”

Yes, a nursing informatics analyst, or a clinical analyst, gets paid on the same scale, assuming that all the factors are kept the same.

And “Is it true that salaries start at 90k?”

If you’re starting out in the informatics field, no, most likely your salary won’t start at 90k.  There are exceptions, but most entry level jobs don’t start at 90k.

Take a look at my informatics salaries across the country post to get a more realistic idea of what type of salary to expect.

98k Average Salary?

The HIMSS blog recently published a nursing informatics salary survey, and according to the survey, salaries in the field are on the rise: “the best news is that salaries are substantially higher in the 2011 survey, with the average salary reported at $98,703, a 16% increase since 2007 and a 42% increase since 2004.”

 

An average salary of close to $99,000? Really? Simply dumbfounding. My next logical question is: who was interviewed in this survey? Epic consultants?

Shockingly, the survey goes on to say:
“Less than half of the survey respondents (48 percent) reported that their primary workplace is a hospital while an additional 20 percent reported that they work at the corporate offices of a healthcare system. Nine percent work in an academic setting and five percent work for a consulting firm or a vendor.”

To see salaries by state, click on the corresponding abbreviations:
AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI
ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI
MN MS MO MT NE NH NJ NM NY NC ND
OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT
VA WA WV WI WY

Nursing Informatics Salaries State by State 2013

Nursing Informatics Salary In The Real World

The difference in salaries is because one job listing is for a hospital “Senior” analyst, while the other one is for a consultant position, which usually pays more.

More like 70k

48 percent reported that they work for a hospital? Really? When I speak to recruiters, most hospital jobs for an experienced analyst seem to start in the 70k range and sometimes even lower.

I have even seen jobs starting in the mid 50k range, and no, these jobs were not out in rural areas, but in some decent sized towns. As a matter of fact, out of curiosity, I went to a job board and typed in the hottest commodity in the market right now: “Epic analyst”.

Real Life Snapshots

On the first page, there were about 5 job listings within the same salary range. I took a screenshot of two that listed the salary just to show what pattern I noticed in the past and continue to notice nowadays:

Advertised salaries for nursing informatics positions

Advertised salaries for nursing informatics positions

As can be seen, these jobs don’t start in the 80k or 90k range, but in the mid 50k range.

Also, notice how the job listing requires experienced candidates and one top salary appears to be 75k.

Yet, the average reported salary in the survey is $98,703?

Who did they interview for this survey?

This is not to say that there are no jobs out there in that salary range, but in the hospital these high paying jobs are hard to find.

Entry Level Ranges

Now, this blog is mainly geared toward entry level candidates, and from what I have seen out in the field, it would be fair to inform those interested that salaries for entry level jobs tend to start in the mid 50s/upper 60s. However, if you’re already working for a hospital where you have a good salary and you happen to be offered an analyst position, then most likely you also get to keep your salary, while being trained in the position.

Vendors vs. Hospitals

Also, another main question I get is, do vendors like Cerner, Meditech, or Epic pay better salaries than hospitals? And my answer to that is always, that depends on your negotiating skills. Vendors could actually pay higher than hospitals, but most entry level candidates are so happy to get a job offer from any of these vendors, that they settle for the salary being offered by the vendor.

Just a quick example, a close friend of mine who is also a nurse applied for a job with a vendor. She had zero experience implementing the system or using the system, and her job offer came at 55k. I personally believe she could have negotiated a better salary but she was afraid of negotiating and just took the job. But there are several nurses out there, including me, who don’t settle for the offered salary, and vendors have matched my request or gone just a bit lower. But like any other employer, vendors will try to get away with the lowest salary they can possibly offer you, unless you negotiate with them.

Of course, there are many factors that play a role in determining a salary, but my main message is that if you’re an entry level candidate, most likely you won’t be making 100k your first year, unless you live in a high cost of living place, or you get a job with a vendor and you already have some skills using their system; but even then, it is very unlikely that you’ll get a salary of 100k starting out, as many entering the nursing informatics field seem to believe. Nonetheless, once you get experience in the field and you show you’re good at what you do, getting a high salary in the six salary figures can eventually happen.

Other topics you might be interested in:

What is nursing informatics?
What do informatics nurses do?
Nursing Informatics interview questions

Chris (25 Posts)

Chris Smith works as a clinical analyst consultant with 9 years of experience working in the nursing informatics field. He started this blog to help others learn more about nursing informatics because he got tired of reading a lot of misinformation about this field on the web. You can connect with Chris on Google+


120 Responses to The reality about nursing informatics salaries

  • Ryan says:

    I agree with your post. Most of the NI jobs out there are not as high as HIMSS has reported. If I remember correctly, most NI out in the workforce are 10-16 yrs + experience and older. I’m 27, in a 40 bed small rural hospital who to the initiative to help out with anything computer/EHR when we went live, thus getting the newly created position of “Clinical Informatics Nurse.” I pull 160hrs/M-F 645-315. No weekends/holidays, a bunch of time off, flexible schedule if I need, and gross 43500/yr. Not bad with only a few years experience and in the Midwest. But nowhere near 50k a year or 90k! That would be nice!

    • admin says:

      Thanks for your comment, and you make a good point about rural hospitals.

      I can tell you that I have worked with ‘college new grads’ who work for vendors like cerner or epic, and these ‘kids’ have no clinical experience and their starting salary is in the 45k range. And if they came out with good grades from a good school, it can even go up to 50k. Also, I know of several colleagues in the 26-30 year old range making at least 70k with 2, 3 years of experience in the field. So if you were to leave your rural hospital and you worked in a city hospital, I’m sure your salary would go up significantly, but even then, don’t think it will be in the 99k range (maybe in NYC or SF?) as pointed out in the HIMSSarticle, unless you go for a consulting job, and those start in the 45/hour range, depending on application, location, and role.

      • blackzhem says:

        Hi,

        Thanks for the blog and lots of useful info. However, my case is rather unique in a way that it strays away from a clear cut combination of experience and education that one need to get into the field of clinical/health informatics.

        I am a dentist from abroad with over 10 years of clinical experience and US-based graduate degree in health care administration. I also have a graduate degree in public health from an American University abroad. I love computers and have strong Microsoft Office and math skills so I figure given my medical background, breaking into health/clinical informatics field would be a logical next step. Still, as I see it, there are few problems along the way. First, I don’t have any relevant certificate of degree. Second, dentistry is considered very specialized field of medicine and doesn’t have much to offer in terms of GENERAL clinical experience. On the bright side, I am a fast learner with 4 years of general medical education and strong computer skills, including database management. What would be your advice?

        • admin says:

          Apply to vendors, and also check out the dental informatics field; see which companies in the dental field are out implementing software; hospitals tend to be harder to break in because most of the gatekeepers in there are nurses, and they have the flawed mentality that only nurses or clinicians can do the job; obviously these nurses have not worked for vendors. I have also emailed you.

    • Sam says:

      to the person writing this article.. What exactly are your qualifications? I have a Masters in Health informatics and some of the comments you made are way off base and unfounded? Most of the Nurse Informatics graduates in my class make 85,000 – 95,000 per year.

      • admin says:

        My qualifications as in degrees? Read the about me section. As far as experience, I’m a consultant and I work with hospitals across the USA, Europe and Latin America and for some of these consulting jobs, I have helped interviewed candidates for specific roles, and therefore, I have seen all types of salary ranges. Also, a few readers of the blog have written me telling about their job offers, so there is a wide range of salaries out there, depending on factors like experience, location, vendor, etc. And finally, I have friends working across the country who are directors, managers or simply consultants like me, and we get to compare salaries, experiences, or anything related to the field.

        But if you have specific comments you find to be unfounded or way off base, feel free to point them out and I can take a look and clarify myself.

  • Jan says:

    so what exactly is the benefits of getting an infomatics degree? I was looking at it because I do so much more computer work and chart auditing and hardly any patient work, yet am still paid the same as every other staff nurse. I figured that if I can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and that I would finally get the extra pay for the extra work if I backed it up with a degree. But it sounds to me as if the infomatics nurses make the same.

    And I haven’t figured out how to get more money for my extra work because the answer is always no. I quit my last job because of it and now I put myself in the almost the same boat again. I am sure that I am not the only one out there in this position.

    • admin says:

      Hi Jan,

      Thanks for reading the blog.
      so what exactly is the benefits of getting an infomatics degree? I was looking at it because I do so much more computer work and chart auditing and hardly any patient work

      One of the benefits (I believe) of an informatics degree is giving a person a better chance of getting an entry level job in nursing informatics. From personal experience I can’t say it will prepare you for a job, as I don’t have an informatics degree, but it might give you the basics…

      First and foremost though—what specific computer work are you doing now? Informatics nurses are mainly involved with configuring the applications you use, training users, etc.

      yet am still paid the same as every other staff nurse. I figured that if I can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and that I would finally get the extra pay for the extra work if I backed it up with a degree. But it sounds to me as if the infomatics nurses make the same.

      For an entry level candidate, the pay varies, and it could either match your current pay, or maybe just a bit lower but not significantly lower; but salary does go up with experience and based on how good you are. I have known some nurses that become informatics nurses and they cannot hold a job because they are not good so hospitals get rid of them. On the other hand, there are plenty of nurses who are really good at what they do and they can make good money; but once you have experience, and you’re comfortable with what you do,then you can even become a consultant and make good money. Again, pay also depends in the region you’re working in and your experience and level of expertise!

      And I haven’t figured out how to get more money for my extra work because the answer is always no. I quit my last job because of it and now I put myself in the almost the same boat again. I am sure that I am not the only one out there in this position.

      Again, let me know what the extra work is, and then maybe we can figure out if nursing informatics is the right path for you. If you enjoy working with computers, then looking at this field might be something that you might be interested in.

  • aa says:

    Hi. I am interested in nursing informatics. I am a new nurse working as a unit manager in a subacute facility. I do a lot of paperwork which I thought these could be done in the computer. I give report on acuity and start plan of care.

  • morgan says:

    I am looking at getting a nurse informatics degree because although we have a good computer charting system where I work, I think there’s still a lot more areas for improvement. Furthermore, hospitals are making requirements for promotion more difficult. I will probably make about $150k this year doing bedside nursing. It doesn’t look like an informatics degree will get me more money than what I’m getting now but I figured I will still have a higher degree for promotion. Hopefully, in two years, things will change as far as salaries for informatics nurses go.

    • admin says:

      Hi Morgan,

      Thanks for reading the blog. I like your optimism about salaries. :D About 2 years ago some colleagues of mine were expecting salaries to radically increase because of ARRA and meaningful use. 2 years have come and gone, and there has been an increase maybe in the number of jobs as more hospitals go electronically, but we really didn’t see a radical jump or increase in salaries; and as any other profession, many times the only way to get a significant salary increase, is to quit the current job and get a new one, but even then, I have friends who did this, and is not like their salary jumped so significantly; of course, if you work as a consultant, you can make a 6 figure salary easily. But you can only do that after you have experience and if you’re really good, then, the sky is the limit. What I can guarantee you will significantly go up in 2 years is gas prices, and I bet salaries won’t keep up with that inflation number. :D

  • Caroline says:

    A suggestion may also be to look at a government based position in Nursing Informatics. I was so blessed as in the middle of my pursuit of an MSN in informatics, I was privileged to obtain a Department of Defense position…RN…training in EHR/
    EMRs for $91000.

    They asked me if that was enough…I almost fell of the chair but managed to smile and say: “That would be fine.” ‘Course, DoD positions are civilian contractors and those positions may disappear at anytime and are usually limited by 1 to 2 yr contract.

    I LOVE my job….and travel in the US quite a bit.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for your insight, and indeed, that’s another venue; question that readers of this blog would have is—how does an entry level candidate go around getting this type of job? I know in my own past experience I came across one of these jobs through a recruiter friend of mine, but as I already have experience in the field, getting job opportunities is not as difficult as it is when you’re an entry level candidate. And don’t think any DoD position is going to disappear any time soon. :D

  • Valerie says:

    Do you have a informatics program you would recommend?

    • admin says:

      I personally have never attended a nursing informatics program, and most likely never will. I’ve looked at the curriculum of a few and they all seem to be ok. The 2 courses that are critical in an informatics program would be project management and a database class, as this is what you will mainly use in real life; but really, a database class is critical. Most programs seem to offer these two courses, so the next factor I would look at is cost of the program. Also, does the school offer any type of help with job search? That would be a nice feature for a school to have, specially if you have zero implementation experience. But in the grand scheme of life, the name of the school doesn’t matter when all you want is a job in the field; but if later on you’re looking to do research and get a Ph.D, then I suppose the reputation of the school counts. Otherwise, I would just look for the most cost efficient school.

  • FF says:

    There is a University in the Midwest that offers Masters of Science and Health Informatics and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health Information Management. What are the differences between them? Salary, responsibilities etc.. Aside from: one is a Masters degree and Certificate the other.

    • admin says:

      To answer your question you must first understand that there is a difference between Informatics and Health Information Management. Briefly, informatics has to do with the implementation of electronical records in a medical setting, whereas HIM or Health Informatics Management deals with organizing, tracking and maintaining paperwork for patients in clinics, doctors’ offices and hospitals.

      As far as the difference in responsibilities, health informatics is a broader degree in the sense that you can work in a hospital implementing a system, or work as a trainer, or work as a consultant for a vendor, or even in biomedical research depending on the specifics of the degree. The degree allows you a wider variety of choices out there, so is kind of hard to say, if you get this degree, you’ll have the following responsibilities because the jobs vary. Is like getting a degree in business and trying to figure out what your responsibilities will be after you graduate. As you know, too many jobs fall under the ‘business degree’ label, and there are simply too many jobs out there that also fall under the health informatics umbrella.

      The health informatics management degree on the other hand, is a bit more specific in dealing with medical records. For example, there are jobs where you specifically assign “values” to the diagnosis when you go see a doctor or when you go to a hospital. Depending on these values, doctors and hospitals get reimbursed. This is definitely not my subject area because I’m in the informatics field and not in the health information management field, so for further details about that, you might want to look on this site:http://www.ahima.org/

      Maybe if I know a bit more about your background I can tell you what might be best for you

  • Lindsay says:

    I am an RN,BSN and have been involved with helping 3 hospitals go live with EPIC. I specialize in the OR, and am mostly involved with Physician support with the Go-Lives. They are also planning on sending to other hospitals for support. Without relocating what would be the best places to start looking for jobs that want clinical background but also focus on the informatics? Any suggestions?

    • admin says:

      Thanks for reading the blog!

      To answer your question, great news is, you have incredible experience to get a job in the field. It is just a matter of having the right resume and basically applying for the jobs. Best places to look for the job is to go to http://www.indeed.com.
      Also, you can go to the hospitals in your area, go to their website, look on their job board, and see if they are hiring.

      Best of luck,

      Chris

  • TJ says:

    Excellent blog and participation- compels me to post some observations and questions about this field.

    I have recently begun to look (seriously) into health informatics. I came across this blog as many of you might have by researching HI salaries.
    Two separate accounts I will convey may serve to reenforce what is posted here or open up further discussions.

    1st- What initially piqued my curiosity was the plight of my coworkers’ wife. He and I have been working together for about 7 years. His wife was working as a pharm tech at a local Walmart and then at a rural hospital for about 5 of those. She has a few college classes under her belt but not much else. She networked her way into a newly established informatics job at the local hospital. For about two years in that position she was making around 50K. On at least two occasions that I can recall, my coworker spoke of job offers his wife had received following conferences she had attended. One of these was about a year into her stint and was in TN. We live out West and they were not willing to move but the salary she was offered was significantly more (maybe 80K+).

    He retired a few months ago(kids were out of house by this time) and she began submitting her HI credentials to headhunting sites with the intention of relocating for the right job. They moved to a larger city following an offer for over 90K as an HI coordinator for an orthopedic surgery team. She will also be consulting on the side. My friend will play golf ;)

    Questions-
    Was she just lucky to find herself in the right place at the right time? Is this salary common for HI with a little experience? Is HI vastly different from NI?

    2nd-
    I am a veteran (civilian for about 10 yrs) who is disgruntled and stagnant in my current career field(not healthcare). I have a BS in Public Health and am about 1/2 way to my MA in Health Studies. I am looking into changing to an MS in Informatics based on this-

    I have been speaking to a military recruiter about a direct commission back in to the service. I originally applied for an epidemiology-type tract due to my past experiences and interest. While speaking to the recruiter (who is a Captain and prior enlisted as I was)he turned me on to informatics and other options a an officer.

    I regaled him with the story of my coworkers wife. He is in the healthcare management/HR side of things and promptly topped my account with a few of his own. It seems he has also been looking into that option. As a healthcare manager, when one commissions into that tract you can explore a few specialties before settling on a specific concentration.
    He talked of a former classmate of his who (reluctantly)took an assignment as a health informatics officer. They were in the same cohort group meaning( for non-military types) that they would promote and could resign their commissions at the same time. Headhunters know this schedule and seek to lure eligible officers back to the civilian dark side when the time arises. He said that she was having a dilemma because she had just received an offer from a national chain store to run the informatics program for their pharmacy. The initial offer was 130K. This was with just a BS and whatever informatics training the Army provided.

    This recruiter had said that he was also in contact with some headhunters. He was not going to commit until he was eligible for retirement in 5 years. A high -tenured officer makes a pretty decent sum and he should make Major next selection cycle (130K-ish).
    He was concentrating on the supply side of things by taking comptroller classed and earning certifications. He told me that I was doing things right by finishing my Masters and going back in. He also strongly suggested to pick up a few more certifications whether I chose the informatics route or not. He said that many of his officer buddies were earning Six Sigma and program mngr credentials then combining them with their military experiences and secret clearances for very lucrative positions. One landed a government contractor manger spot for 180K in DC. Even in DC that a decent living.

    My brother in law is a vice president for a research based contractor based on the East coast. He confirmed that those positions and salary do exist but to what degree and what selection criteria he could not say.

    Questions- I know some of you aren’t veterans and may not have knowledge of the military but…
    With the education and credentials I mentioned and the experience of someone in the positions as military officer(high degree of responsibility); would those salaries/positions seem reasonable?

    For those of you in the field, have you found a civilian equivalency?

    Also, what is the background of your supervisors or those in positions to which you aspire?

    I know, extremely long post but I am hoping to glean some more info from you folks or maybe open up some additional topics.

    Thanx

  • Denrick says:

    Good day! Im a nurse for almost 7 years and looking into how informatics could enhance the delivery of nursing care.Could you please recommend any sites/people/resources which could help me understand and better decide in pursuing health informatics?thank you very much.

  • Chris says:

    I have a background managing technology related projects – not as an IT guy, but from the business side working closely with IT guys (11 years). Before that an Army Captain focused on medical logistics, Recently a Bachelors in Nursing worked only briefly as an RN.

    How competitive would that be compared to these certifications?

    Could you also send me the sites that you sent to Denrick above? Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Thanks for reading the blog…
      Given your background, I think you’re ahead of the game in terms of experience and what you can bring to an informatics role.
      Now, I’m not sure I understand your first question:
      How competitive would that be compared to these certifications?
      You mean, how competitive is your experience compared to having any of these informatics certifications?
      if that’s the question then those certifications are not much help, unfortunately.
      I can tell you that we have reviewed many resumes and when managers/directors see those certifications and no experience, they don’t even consider the candidate because most managers/directors don’t seem to be familiar with what these certifications are. Maybe in a few months/years they will be familiar with them? And I’m talking about those certifications that universities/colleges are offering to supposedly help you get a foot in the door to get a job in informatics.

      Also, I have received emails from readers who got these certifications and they can’t even land a job interview and that’s because nowadays employers are looking for some type of experience in the field. No surprise to hear that as I have been on the other end of the table reviewing resumes.

      However, If the place that is offering the certification is also offering job placement assistance then I would jump into that type of opportunity. That doesn’t seem to be the case, and with your specific background, I would spend the money on a professional resume.

  • Kim Earle says:

    Hello! Thank you for starting this blog!!
    Earlier you pointed out that nurses were able to obtain entry-level positions as informatics nurses with little to no experience. I have my BSN in nursing and have worked as a Traveler/Agency nurse in many different ERs. I love learning the different EMRs and think this may be a good fit for me. I have not been able to find any jobs that involve assisting with EMR implementation. So, I took a job at a church that requires me to assemble slide shows, work with Microsoft office suite and organize volunteers so I can gain some experience with certain software and include something on my resume other than nursing. I am also taking a computer studies certificate at UMUC. I should also add that I am currently in Germany and am asking the following questions to prepare for a return to the states in 1 year.
    My questions are:
    Where are these entry-level jobs?
    Where are the headhunters?
    Are there internships for NI/HI nurses?
    Any sugestions/links?
    Thank you!

    • admin says:

      Thanks for reading the blog.

      First thing, the informatics field has become ultra competitive and it looks like entry level positions aren’t as easy to get as they used to be. I’m not going to say is impossible, but you do have to have excellent networking skills, great perseverance, and very good interviewing skills.

      Also, I have been in the other side of the table choosing and interviewing entry level candidates and most entry level candidates that have little or no experience in the field just don’t sell their skills the right way so their resumes are never selected for interview. And the lucky souls with little experience or no experience who get selected tend to do poorly on interviews when compared to more experienced candidates.
      To answer your questions:

      Where are these entry-level jobs?

      Great question. Entry level jobs are advertised in many hospitals but you won’t see them as, “entry level informatics jobs.” More likely they will have a keyword like “willing to train.” Also, I have seen hospitals post jobs where they will consider entry level candidate, but they don’t say anything about hiring entry-level candidates supposedly because they are expecting to get experienced candidates.

      Thus you need to apply to all jobs, and hope for the best. That’s how I ever got my first job.

      Where are the headhunters?

      Headhunters you can find on linkedin as healthcare IT recruiters or if you post your resume with relevant experience to job boards, they find you!

      Are there internships for NI/HI nurses?

      Not that I know of….

      Any sugestions/links?

      Joining the church is a great idea. If you could do their website, even better. My other suggestion is to possibly learn something about databases (microsoft access is a start), become decent with excel, learn about project management and about the implementation cycle of software. Anything in mind specific for the links?

  • Kevin W says:

    Nice blog!! Great information. Looking at a rural hospital that has implemented a EHR a couple of years ago and is having difficulties due to the fact that there is no one actually leading this initiative who does not already have 5 other hats on at the same time. There is also the issue of no formal training for the clinical staff, etc….
    I am a RN with 18 years of experience to include developing home grown databases with user interfaces for small facilities, some of which are still in use. I also have training in Legal / Medical consulting and am keenly aware of final product issues concerning the medical record. I also have experience in management and supervision with a good track record.
    I am very excited about this new and growing field as it is actually exactly what I have been doing for many years anyway!
    What are your thoughts about combining a RN Informatics position with a RN Educator position for a very small rural hospital? I see it as a good combo in the fact that so much of what is needed soon for this hospital is standardized training in all areas … to include the EHR.
    I will stop there and await any comments.

    Thank you!

  • KLA says:

    Love your blog!

    I’m an RN with over 20+ yrs experience in acute care, Managed Care/Insurance, UR, QM, and legal consulting. Currently I’m working as an appeals/denials coordinator for a large metropolitan hospital. I’m interested in obtaining a certification in NI and am considering applying for a newly created position here as a surgical registry coordinator responsible for coordinating data abstraction and reporting functions including data collection, data submission, regular reporting issues and analysis pertaining to the procedural and outcomes data that is required for the project.

    In your opinion, does this sound like it would be a good place to start to become more acclimated to the NI field?

    • admin says:

      Hi,
      Unless that specific job requires a certificate in NI, I wouldn’t run out the door to get one. Best thing to do is ask the person hiring what are the requirements for the job. If they mention a certificate, then go for it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend it right now because they aren’t so popular with hiring managers. Best of luck.

  • Ms Rhodes says:

    Good evening! I am an RN/BSN with 3 1/2 years experience in ER and have been a travel nurse for 1 year now. I have worked with multiple computer systems at hospitals including EPIC and Meditech, and I was thinking about going into the nursing health informatics field to help improve the quality of nursing care with these systems…do you have any suggestions where to start?… Do I actually need a degree in this field or is a BSN sufficient?….

    • admin says:

      Hello. To fully answer your question, I would specifically need to know what experience do you have with the different computer systems you have. Have you helped out in the implementation of any of these computer systems that you have worked with? However, I only have a BSN and I’m in the field. I have met many others in the same boat as me, and they are doing well in the field. I must tell you though that the field is very competitive now so a degree might give you an extra edge, in getting an interview, but if you some experience in the field, that’s even better than having a specialized degree. Now, if you want to go on and be a manager/director or do some teaching in the future, the masters in informatics is good idea.

  • Bernard Muthoni says:

    Which schools offer Nursing informatics in Georgia, am an RN interested in pursuing my education in this area of nursing.

  • Jojo Jandayran says:

    I am currently a programmer for 20+ years in various platforms with a Masters Degree in Information Systems. I am currently in my last stretch looking forward to graduating with an Associate Degree in Nursing. If I pass the Nclex Exam and given my experience with databases, implemetation of systems, etc, do you think that my current experience will credit into the Informatics Field?

    • admin says:

      Yes, definitely, your experience is great for the informatics field. However, you might want to get more clinical nursing experience if you’re going specifically for “nursing informatics” jobs. As I discussed in my clinical informatics post, other jobs in the informatics field don’t require specific nursing experience, but you might find that employers might say, you’ll be more valuable to us if you had actual nursing clinical experience. Best of luck.

  • Dustin says:

    Hi,
    I have 3.5 years of experience as an ICU nurse as well as working as a “super-user” for the unit to help out other nurses with EPIC. I was also a computer engineering major at UC Irvine but did not finish as I decided to enter nursing. I am currently working in the ER working with Cerner. I live in Southern California and have been considering applying for the MSN Nursing Informatics program at USD (University of San Diego). Given my strong background in both computers, nursing, and computer charting, what type of suggestions could you provide to get my “feet wet”? Where would I be able to obtain certifications without having to go back to school for the “MSN informatics” or would obtaining that MSN degree probably be the better choice?
    Thanks for any advice!

    • admin says:

      Good news, is you already have your feet wet since you have the epic super user experience. That’s really what you need. Since you already have that, then apply for jobs right now. Obviously, first make a relevant resume which emphasizes your super user experience, and then apply for jobs.

      And because you have the super user experience, before you apply for the masters program, I would first try a job search and if that doesn’t turn out anything, then get your masters. But I would first try putting myself out in the job market and see how that goes.

      I’m not so keen of certificates because from personal experience I can tell you hiring managers/directors don’t really value them so much (at least right now), but in your specific case, maybe the certificate could be helpful; again though, the super user experience should be enough to consider you for a job interview so the certificate really is irrelevant, unless you have the money to waste on it or the school offering it is doing job placement.

  • Lana says:

    You have a wonderful website; thank you so much for replying and helping all of us!

    I have a BS in Information Technology and have worked for over 10 years in the health care industry installing computer systems, networks, and providing training. I have recently been thinking about returning to school to pursue an RN.

    Would I need an additional degree, specifically in Informatics once I obtain an RN, or would my BS in Information Technology and an AAS in Nursing suffice? I’m assuming, based on your response to a similar poster that I should have several years of clinical experience, but I wanted to see if I should be looking at different degree options.

    Thank you so much for this resource!

    • admin says:

      Thanks for your kind words about the blog. Glad it provides help.

      To answer your question, given your experience, no, you don’t need an additional RN degree, unless you specifically want to apply for informatics jobs that specifically require you to be a nurse. Given your background, I would do a relevant resume and I would start applying for jobs, and I wouldn’t waste my time or money getting another degree. I do have to say that the field is very competitive now, but you have a very big advantage and that’s the fact that you have already worked in healthcare industry. Thus, I would first exhaust all my resources in applying for jobs before signing up for another degree. Also, if you’re planning on going into teaching or becoming a director in informatics, then for sure getting a nursing degree could help; then again, you can just get a health management degree too….

      And to clarify…you don’t need years of clinical experience. I believe I said that to those who have just graduated with a nursing degree and that’s because hospitals want candidates who have some type of clinical nursing experience, but 6 months to a year might be good enough, not years of clinical experience. Of course, nothing is absolute either, and I know of some people who got hired right out of nursing school, but those were mainly programming jobs that didn’t require interaction with the clinical staff.

  • James says:

    Hi, thanks for a lot of great information.

    I am a nurse with about 6 months experience as an RN and about 1.5 years of clinical experience working with the same EMR product. At what point would you recommend I consider trying to break into the field? Would you recommend a certain number of years of clinical experience?

    • admin says:

      Hi. And your clinical experience of 1.5 year—what type of experience is it? One year of experience is good to try to get a job in the field, but many hospitals might want more. But I have seen enough entry level candidates trying to get a job with one year of clinical experience and some of them make it.

  • Claudia says:

    I just wanted to thank you-this blog has certainly given me some answers and directions!

  • Lori says:

    Hi. I have been a nicu nurse (BSN) for 7 years now. I am thinking of pursuing another degree to advance my career. At first, i was thinking of taking the CRNA or NP program. But when my friend told me about nursing informatics, i got really interested because i have always liked computers, & research. Before i became a nurse, i worked in telecommunications, and i was picked as a member of a support group when we changed our computer system/database, and i really liked it! This year, our hospital converted to computer charting.

    Now, i am considering getting an MS in nursing informatics. My only concern is, i have read that finding a job is hard, and the salary is not as good. Any thoughts?

    Thanks.

    • admin says:

      Yes, right now you have a lot of candidates with super user experiece, and many hiring managers give preference to these entry level candidates over those who have no experiene at all; and many times you have people with masters degrees, but no experience in the field. My advice would be to become a super, try to get a job, and then once you have a job in informatics, go for your master’s degree, if you’d like. And yea, entry level salaries are definitely not the highest, but they tend to go up with experience, job position, and obviously if you’re good at what you do. Thus, my advice would be, don’t rush for the masters, but instead, get experience as a superuser, and then apply for jobs and see how it goes. Best of luck, Chris.

  • mic says:

    I’m happy that I happened upon your blog. Thank you for taking the time to provide so much helpful information. I’m an ICU RN who now works for a medical device company – I teach docs and RN’s how to utilize the equipment they purchased from us. I am also teaching our part of the interface with the EDS the hospitals purchase. After doing this for 14 years, I’m looking at getting a masters in hospital informatics. I’m a bit discouraged, because I can’t get the kind of in-house experience you write about, and I think a masters is my only option. Would you agree? You mentioned how important project management is, and I am not finding programs that include that in their curriculum. Any suggestions? Thanks, and happy holidays!!

    • admin says:

      Hi,

      Glad you found the blog, and happier you took the time to comment on it. :)

      Given the experience you have training docs and nurses, have you applied to any informatics positions in the past?

      About the masters…every person’s experience is unique. In your case I would venture and say that yea, a master’s might help you land a job because you have plenty of experience training people in the field of medical devices, which can be easily equated as training others using a software application. After all, many devices run on a software interface that can be quite daunting, specially in the ICU.

      Thus, for somebody with your background, I think the master’s degree could solidify your case in getting a job in informatics. However, because of your experience, I’m of the opinion that you’re better off making a “relevant” resume, and applying for as many jobs as you can before getting a master’s.

      Now, if you have applied and you have not landed any jobs, then for sure, go for the master’s. But if you haven’t…well, apply, apply apply!

      And about project management, most schools have one class on their curriculum, and even if they don’t have it, you will learn it once you get a job.

      Anyway, my question as I stated before—have you applied to informatics jobs already? Based on that, I would then give a better opinion on your specific situation, but I wouldn’t rush to get a master’s if you haven’t exhausted every possibility out there of applying for jobs.

  • Ali says:

    Thanks for the blog, it’s interesting information that has not been easy to find. For a few years I’ve hoped to get my foot in the door with nursing informatics. I have recently had the opportunity to do so, with a starting salary of 70K. This was lower than the other jobs I’ve been offered, but it was worth the salary cut just to get this experience. I’m looking forward to growing in this area.

  • Zach says:

    Thanks a lot for the blog and contributed comments.

    I am wondering if there is any other sub-field of Health Informatics with higher pay I can use my Health Informatics Certificate towards; I also recently got admitted to a Master of Health Informatics program and plan to pursue it.

    The problem is I am currently a senior IT Architecture staff and my salary is $130k. Switching to health informatics starting job would be a substantial pay cut. Is there any other job option where I can use the combine knowledge to perhaps help design CDS and EHR systems?

    Also, to discover career option with this new knowledge do you recommend taking a fellowship job at Kaiser, Sutter…etc. to explore? This is a also a paycut.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for reading the blog. First and foremost, not sure what CDS stands for in your case—is it collection development specialist? Clinical Documentation Specialist? Given that I don’t know your specific background I can’t really make a good opinion, but one field in any informatics branch that you’ll be making over 6 salary figures is consulting. Also, anything managerial related (depends on location obviously), and if you got killer skills, maybe even data reporting.
      Again though, not knowing your specific background or skills, can’t really say where you can immediately jump to and make a good salary as you’re making now.
      Now, about career options—if the fellowship is going to expose you to a big vendor like epic, then I would recommend it; obviously, not sure what the paycut will be or for that matter how many years the fellowship will be for, but if it’s one year, then paycut might be worth it.

  • Scda says:

    I have been working as a clinical data analyst for 12 years with just LPN license. Year 1 -salary $20,900 Year 12- $113,000 experience trumps a degree hands down.

  • CL says:

    I am a LPN with a Bachelor of Health Services Administration. I have been a LPN for about 6 months and I am very interested in Health Informatics (I don’t have any informatics experience). I am considering a Master of Health Informatics. Will I be more competitve in the job market if I bridge over to a RN program and earn a degree in Nursing Informatics?

    • admin says:

      Hi,

      Before you shell out any money for a master’s degree, I would HIGHLY suggest you get some type of experience in informatics and that you get at least a year of clinical experience. That’s the best way to be competitive in the job market. If you come out of your master’s degree program with no real informatics experience, you will have a challenging time finding a job, and this is mainly because many employers are looking to hire candidates that have some type of experience in the field working with an informatics project; however, if you’re adamant about the master’s degree, make sure that the university that you go to offers job placement or that at least they guide you through the job hunting process, specially if you have no experience in the field. Hope that answers your question.

      • CL says:

        Thank you so much for the response; it definitely answered my question. It was a much needed reality check. I had a difficult time finding suitable work after completing my undergraduate degree (due to lack of experience)…I definitely don’t want to go down that road again. Thank you for creating this blog!

  • RW says:

    Hi,
    I am so thankful for this blog! I am an allied health practitioner who has been involved on two EPIC implementations, one of which I was a super-user. I having been pushing to get into the health informatics field for about 4 months now but am having a hard time understanding the best place for me to go. I’ve applied for quite a few EPIC positions with hospitals in the area that use it and am still being told they are giving preference to internal candidates or those with EPI C certifications.Presently, I have made it to the third round of a interviews for an analyst position with a very large consulting firm that not only wants to certify me immediately, they want me to move cross country for a year and a half for an install. I just don’t know enough about the field and its opportunities to decide if I should jump on this possible offer and endure the move. Are consulting firms a good way to go in terms of career advancement and the ability to make more money? And what about the EPIC certification itself, does that put me in a higher pay bracket?

    • admin says:

      Briefly…Yes, a lot of employers give preference to their internal candidates for various reasons. You’re doing it right. Keep on applying and applying til you find something.

      About the possible job offer you have, take it. You typically work at a consulting firm after you’re skilled with an application. Of course, always exceptions, but typically you work as a consultant because of the significant higher pay. Some might offer you to train you in a higher role, but usually as a consultant your goal is to be “highly” billable.

      Because of the way the company Epic does their implementations, an Epic certification ALLOWS you to get a job working with epic applications. A higher pay bracket is achieved as you gain more experience, or you acquire more skills.

  • Joe G says:

    Awesome blog! I am looking at a M.S. in HealthCare Infomatics program but I have zero clinical experience. Do you think I should go in debt for the 30,000 bucks it cost for the program or would that be more of a waste because it would be nearly impossible to get hired anywhere without any clinical experience?? Any thoughts would be very much appreciated thanks

    • admin says:

      Hello, definitely not a black and white question to answer. The reality is that there many people in the field who have no clinical experience at all and yet they are out there implementing healthcare IT applications. The other reality is that right now hiring managers/directors have gotten extremely picking about who they hire. Thus, if I were to got a masters with no clinical experience, I would make sure that the school I’m investing my money in, offers some type of job finding assistance program. However, from what others have told me through this blog, many leave you out in the cold, so I wouldn’t even consider those schools. Ask before you pay what will the school do for you. I have written you an email also, with a more detailed response.

  • SG says:

    This is a great blog, a lot of information provided in reference to the field!
    I am a nurse with 81/2 years of bedside experience, I was always assigned/trained to be the “superuser” when the hospital went live with Cerner or any other new technology.
    Currently I work as a Clinical Liasion with a different hospital, sales/marketing is part of my job as well. I recently was approached about NI, researched as much as I could, and it is appealing to me.
    I have my MSN already, looking to pursue a post graduate certification for HI.
    Questions: 1. Does the certification provide better self marketing?
    2. Are there NI positions that are “work from home” based?
    3. I was told there are companies that will hire you to work twice a week, is
    this true?
    Thank you again for the blog and your time to respond to my questions,
    Have a Great night!
    SG

    • admin says:

      1. In your case it might, but remember, many people out there got jobs without certificates or a master’s degree in informatics. What guarantees you better chances at getting a job is your experience as a super user.

      2. Yes there are, but not so many. Some employers do let you work from home after so many months in the job, but that might be work from home 1-2 days in a week. Some consulting jobs also might allow you to work from home.

      3. Never heard of this concept. I have replied via email for a longer response.

  • aminat says:

    I have a quick question. What is the difference between getting a Master’s degree in Healthcare/Nursing Informatics versus Information Technology? I currently hold a BSN, but want to pursue a career in the Informatics realm. I am trying to decide which degree to pursue, and which would encompass a broad range of fields. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    • admin says:

      The difference in a healthcare informatics program and a nursing informatics program is that one or two classes might be specific to nursing.

      For example, a university which offers a healthcare informatics degree might have a class titled, impact of informatics on healthcare.

      A nursing informatics program will have a class titled, impact of informatics in nursing.

      That’s just a theoretical example, but what I’m trying to illustrate is that both programs have similar classes. They both teach project management, databases, and maybe introduction to networks.

      But the healthcare informatics program tends to be more generic as it is covering healthcare as a whole. Nursing informatics is more specialized, but if you compare the classes, both programs have really similar classes.

      Also, in a nursing informatics program, all your classmates will have a nursing background. In a healthcare informatics program, you will find doctors, nurses, physical therapists, etc.

      Both degrees are equally good. Best thing is to compare which classes sound more appealing to you, but in terms of which one will prepare you best, they will dot he same. Is like saying, will a BSN prepare me better than an ADN to be a clinical nurse? Personally, I don’t see the difference when I’m out working on the floors.

      When we hire candidates we are actually more interested in who has past experience working in a project, and we haven’t said, “oh look, this person has a nursing informatics degree. They are definitely better prepared than this other candidate who has a healthcare informatics degree.” However, we do say, “oh look, this person has already experience in xyz. Let’s interview them.”

      Also, information technology degrees are geared for those with technical experience or who have a computer degree already.

  • MURSE says:

    I was actually interested in this field. Being an RN with only 3 years of clinical experience and 5 months of using epic. I was offered a applications specialist I position for a starting salary of 87k with promise to increase to 95k (pending my ability to pass the Epic certification process) after a six month review to keep me in line with my colleagues. I live in Los Angeles and work for a well known hospital. I will be transferring from bed side nursing to the IT department on the 23rd. I do know that many of my colleagues earn a salary for the same position in the 100k + range.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for sharing that info. Also, it is interesting to see candidates from Cali move out to other states and they ask for salaries in the 100k+ range. One of my friends working in Colorado was interested in a candidate from Cali, but this candidate was asking for a (hospital) salary of at least 150k. My friend who is a manager said, “I’m not even making that type of money.” I wonder if that Cali guy ever found a hospital job with that salary requirement.

      That’s why I always factor out the cost of living when comparing salaries in different cities. 100k in New York City for example, is definitely not the same as 100k in a city like Tulsa, Oklahoma, or even Dallas, Texas.

  • Stacie says:

    I am a Quality Management Nurse (2 years) with Meditech implementation and CPOE experience. I have to audit patient charts on Meditech so I got involved when we converted to EMR. I sit in on the development calls and review CPOE orders and screens as they are being created.

    I also worked in the QM & IT fields for a student loan company for eight years. My primary duties were meeting with departments to develop screens for application use. Development calls, UAT, Go Live, training associates, travel to different centers around the country to improve application processes and I also worked trouble tickets after our bi yearly upgrades. Now that I am a nurse I would like to combine my experience but I am not sure what positions to apply for. I was a Med/Surg nurse for two years prior to going into Quality Management. I see positions for Clinical Application Analyst, Nursing Informatics, Application Interface Analyst. Given my background, what should I be applying for?

    • admin says:

      Given your past background, you want to apply for clinical analyst roles. There are no standard job titles out there, so it is best to check the job description of each role, but typically, a clinical analyst role, or informatics analyst or even clinical systems analyst is a generic role which lets you do a lot of stuff. Interface analyst is a bit more technically oriented, in the sense that you might have to write scripts to get some tasks done. I have emailed you with a more detailed response.

  • Marie says:

    A couple of comments that may help to encourage others…. I was hired in a RN informatics/trainer position when I was only halfway through a MSN Informatics degree…starting at 91000. Now, a year after graduation, my salary is up to 93000 and my original school loan of $40,000 (ouch) is down to 9800. I did have many, many years in a variety of nursing and leadership positions, but this was my first foray into the informatics field. I do not live in a major metropolitan area, but do travel a lot across the country for 2 to 3 weeks at a time. And, no, I do not work with Epic, Cerner, etc…

  • chm says:

    Hi, thank you so much for creaing this blog and all the useful information you’ve included. I recently graduated from nursing school this past December with my BSN. Upon graduation I had the opportunity to join an Epic implementation project as a trainer on the ambulatory side. This is a temp job and was just supposed to be a source of income for me until I could get a new grad nursing job (hard to come by, btw). Wel it turns out, that I LOVE this job and my employer is contracting to implement Epic inpatient as well. They will be hiring a bunch more analysts, which presents the opportunity for Epic Certification. I feel like I am at crossroads here because I want to stay with the project, but feel I may be putting myself at a disadvantage if I don’t get some actual nursing experience in. Simultaneously, I am concerned another opportunity to get certified may not come up as easily if I decide to leave and get more clinical experience and then later attempt to return to the realm of informatics. I’ve already gone through a large scale implmentation project. So my question is, if I want to make a career in clinical informatics, is it better for me to forego an opportunity to get certified now and get that strong clinical background first… or will my implementation experience and degree be sufficient? I’ll appreciate any thoughts and opinions. Thank you!

    • admin says:

      Given that you like the employer and the job, if I were you, I would pursuit the epic job. Some would tell you that clinical experience is highly important in an informatics job, but truly, companies like Epic or Cerner hire individuals with no clinical experience to go out and implement their system.

      If you are planning to be the nursing informatics director in your future though, the job requirement might want you to have clinical experience, but even then, you can pursue plenty of other roles where such restrictions don’t exit. I have emailed you a more detailed response, but in short, I would go for the epic job since those nowadays are very very competitive to get.

  • Susan says:

    My advice is get your masters sooner than later.
    I am an RN with 18 years of clinical experience and 12 years in IT with a vendor. I have done it all and make 120K now.

    I have to get out of the 100% travel schedule and am looking for another job. I live in a large city and unfortunately can only get entry level jobs at hospitals with out an advanced degree.

    I am now trying to find the fastest and most cost effective way to get a masters in informatics while working. There are jobs out there and if you want to advance your career, you will need an advanced degree in something.

    • admin says:

      Interesting comment. I personally have not encountered problems getting hospital positions that are higher than entry level without a master’s degree. The only positions I can’t really apply for are managerial/director type of positions as those do require a master’s degree, but those positions don’t interest me at this time. Also, many of my friends who worked for a vendor transition to hospital positions that were higher than entry level without having a master’s degree.

      What I experienced though, was a drop in salary from going from a vendor position to a hospital position, and obviously, this depends on the region of the country you live in. And now that I have worked with hospitals and have helped in the interview process, I have seen candidates with master’s degrees asking for salaries that are out of the budget for many hospitals. And with the increased number of candidates out there, hospitals are pretty much sitting around waiting for the perfect candidate.

      But indeed, if your goal is to eventually move up in the ladder from analyst to management, a master’s degree is now required in many hospitals, unless you’re already working there, and the place is promoting you within.

  • Lola says:

    I have a masters in Information Systems (IS) and an undergraduate degree in Information and Communication Technology, and I am interested in a healthcare position. I did an internship as a system support technician in a medical center for about 3 months, other than that, I really don’t have any experience working in a hospital. My main reason for this career path is due to the fascination I have for understanding the human anatomy and secondly, the flexibility in the works hours. I initially considered going for nursing, but I was made aware of Physician Assistant course that I could take. I recently also heard about EHR. I am getting overwhelmed with all the choices and need advice. I love the flexible hours, and I am hoping my masters in IS would help with moving up the ranks, but the question is what is the best area to go into?
    Nursing?
    Nursing Informatics?
    Physician Assistant Program?
    Healthcare Informatics?
    Electronic Health Records training?
    By the way, I am moving to south Texas this summer, so I will appreciate leads in that area of the country.

    • admin says:

      Hello,

      You can only go into nursing informatics if you have a nursing degree.
      If you have a masters in IS, have you had any jobs using your degree? What experience do you have?
      Given your IT background, healthcare informatics might be the way to go.
      Or electronic health records training.
      And I’m not in the texas area, but what you can do is look at the hospitals of the city you’re moving in, and check out the jobs they have.

  • Kristina says:

    I am very grateful for your site as well. I am really looking into the MSN in Informatics as well, and I want to do as much homework on the topic as well. I have been a nurse for 15 years. I worked 9 in the hospital and 6 in a hospital based surgeon’s practice. We use Centricity now but I am going for Epic training on Monday. I am already scheduled for two super user training classes in May. I graduate in June with my BSN and I am seriously considering going on for my MSN in Informatics. I make 75K now. I am so burnt out on school, and my kids miss me, but I am motivated to keep going if the higher salary is there and will secure me from going back to the hospital to do patient care someday. Here are my questions:

    1. When you say experience, will I have obtained the experience that you are referring to with my nursing background, EMR experience, and EPIC super user training? I was curious to know if when you say experience, you mean as in an actual informatics position or is my experience the type you are referring to?

    2. Do you think that employers look down on MSN in informatics that are obtained online? If not, do you recommend any?

    3. I am worried about the salary like everyone else. I hate to go in debt another $25K to make so much less money, but if I graduate with a MSN in Informatics and have three years of EPIC super user training, will that likely only get me an entry level position?

    Thank you again for your guidance.

    • admin says:

      1. Yes, experience you had as a superuser and your clinical background is what I’m referring to.
      2. For online degrees, make sure you do an online for reviews from other students. Some online universities are scams. Always best if the program has also a physical presence.
      3. I get emails from some telling me they got an increase, others stayed with the same salary, and a few who got a salary demotion. You could most likely keep the same salary or make more, but eventually you could make more, depending on how good your skills are. And yes, the experience you mention is enough to go out there and get an entry level job without having to do a master’s degree.

      I have also written a longer email with more details.

  • James says:

    Thanks for this website, awesome information and a great dialogue. Here’s my question; I’m an associated degree RN with 3 yrs of nursing in the emergency department. I’m currently working on my BSN. What should I being doing now to make myself a better canidate for employment when i receive my MSN?

    Thanks for your help.

  • Andrew says:

    I have been an ICU nurse for 4.5 yrs and am now looking to broaden my horizons away from the bedside. I have been a travel nurse for 2 yrs and am wondering how i can get my foot in the door in nursing informatics. i have worked with multiple EHRs. I am good with computers. Should I just apply to a vendor like epic or cerner? Should I get my certification or just go right into a master’s program? i was wondering what your advoce would be?
    Thanks,
    Andrew

    • admin says:

      Applying for jobs with vendors would be the first option. If that doesn’t work out then, maybe going for a master’s degree is the 2nd option, but that’s the longest, most expensive route, and many others have gotten jobs in the field without a masters. As always, I encourage people to get involved with their informatics department so that they get some type of experience, which can then be parlayed into a job.

      • I think coming here and talking to you is one of the best things they can do!

        Worked for :)

        Oh, and being passionate. I love technology and using it for the betterment of patient care. Being able to express that clearly and with charisma made a big difference for me.

        I also had to relocate. But it did come with a big raise!

  • Rick says:

    So, after reading this article as well as all of the comments, I figured I would bring up the opposite of what has already been discussed. What advice would you give a rising college freshman who’s intended major is a BSN? For years I had planned on majoring in computer engineering or computer science, but I felt that it was a bit dull for my tastes, but hopefully I will one day be able to jointly work in healthcare and technology fields. The comments on here offer a lot of things to take into consideration and it seems that there is not a lack of experience here, so I would just like to see what you guys could suggest regarding my major, or any internships/summer jobs/certifications I could take part in to improve my odds of getting a job out of college. Or should I write back in 4 years after I get my BSN? Thanks, I look forward to hearing from you.

    • admin says:

      This is a tough question to answer in one paragraph or two, so I have emailed you a detailed response, but basically, if you’re going to nursing school, you need clinical experience to get into the field. So best thing you can do is, get your license, start working in a clinical setting, get involved with informatics, and then apply for jobs once you have at least a year of clinical experience. However, if you don’t go for nursing, you can get a MIS or CS degree, graduate from school, and apply to vendors. But again, check your email.

  • Zachary says:

    Hello, Thank you for this wonderful blog as it looks like a great resource of information. As an LPN working in assisted living, about complete an associate degree in nursing, I’m stuck contemplating my next educational move. Informatics nursing sounds interesting but I’m still confused on what level of degree that is needed?
    Instead of automatically jumping into a BSN program after I get my RN, would it be wise to attain an associates in Health Information Systems offered at the community college? Also, I have computer experience creating presentations and videos and really enjoy it, would that be a task assigned to a NI?
    Finally, before I entered the nursing field I was studying graphic design/ visual communications and plan on finishing that degree. Is there a career, possibly in informatics, that marries the two? Designing advertisements and educational materials
    Thank you for taking the time to help, Have a Great Day

  • Thinkinghard says:

    I am in a metro Atlanta, GA area and I wanted to know is 54000 a good offer for a Clinical informatics job. no experience mid way in a nursing informatics masters program?

    • admin says:

      I would say that’s in the lower scale of entry level salary, but it could be that you might be at a smaller hospital, and those tend to pay less. I would have to know more details to give you a better response.

  • JAY says:

    Hi admin, anyway can an independent license Optician in NY with a BS from NYU under finance become an epic consultant? I am not employ by any hospitals. Can I get certified by Epic without a sponsor institution? What are some of the steps to do that? Thanks.

    • admin says:

      No, you cannot get certified by Epic without a “sponsor.” That’s not how Epic wants things to work; otherwise, a lot of nurses would be out getting certified by Epic right now.

      You have to understand that Epic certifications are typically given to employees who work with Epic.
      These employees are sent by their employers to get trained and certified with Epic.
      Furthermore, Epic itself only certifies those people who are sent by these employers to be trained on Epic.

      For example, I cannot just call Epic and say, “hey, I”m a nurse, I have clinical background, can I get certified in one of your applications?”
      That doesn’t work.

  • Jessica says:

    THank you for your time on this blog. I am in the position to look at other options for my future. I have been a Level 1 Trauma ER Nurse for over 3 years. I became an EPIC credentialed Trainer for our hospitals implimentation of the system and have stayed on to do our 2 smaller hospitals. I am not a builder with the system, however, would like to go more into this route. While I was in the Army, for 10 years I worked on radios, satelites and computers.

    Enough background. Does it make sense to go for my masters degree in informatics cost to benifit wise, or is it possible to be obtaining hands on training and be able to be hired into better paying positions? Also is 3 years experience in such a large facility enough as a Nurse to be beneficial?

    • admin says:

      Your question doesn’t have enough details to give you a good response, but if you have some training background, I would say maybe look for jobs now. A master’s degree doesn’t hurt, but again, why not look for jobs now? And 3 years of clinical experience is more than enough clinical experience to look for informatics jobs. I’ve also sent you an email.

  • Joseph says:

    I’ve enjoyed this blog regarding nursing informatics. My question to you is regarding an update on salaries and more importantly starting salaries. I’m a nurse with around 8 years of ICU experience at large city hospitals. I’ve been verbally offered a position in nursing informatics at a rural hospital around my hometown in West Virginia. They are just implementing EMR and wanting someone with experience to help them set this up. At this point salaries haven’t been discussed. So as mentioned finding decent salary information is difficult. As of now…end of 2012…what are typical starting salaries for nursing informatics jobs? I don’t want to be either to eager to accept a decent offer or insulted by a low one. So anyone who has recent experience with starting salaries would be very helpful in my upcoming negotiations.

    • admin says:

      Hi,

      Salaries vary because of many factors such as location, system being implemented, years of experience, etc. From my own travels and experience, I think rural hospitals pay the lowest compared to lets say a city hospital. I did write you an email with more details.

  • Tommy says:

    Wow! Lots of great info on this forum. I am a former military service Nurse with a BSN and have RN experience. I am familiar with Cerner and Epic products as well. Landed a job in the Seattle area and as an entry level, and I am starting out in the mid 80′s. I got a Masters Degree and I saw a flyer for a 2 qtr certificate in informatics at a local technical college and nearly killed myself for dropping almost 3 yrs and X ammont of dollars going into a Masters program. Is there a difference as far as pay and skill go? Will an RN who gets a 2 qtr certificate be on the same level as me? Did I waste my time and money and suffer the uneeded stress of putting a thesis together when I could have gotten away with an informatics degree at a technical college instead of a university? Just wondering and thanks for your time.

    • admin says:

      There are many in the field who got in it without a masters degree,so yes, there is the possibility that you could have gotten a job without the un-needed stress. But the master’s opens the door to many opportunities and jobs that might not be available, if you don’t have one. For example, many managerial roles require at least a master’s degree, so in the long run, you’re better off without it. I have replied via email with more details.

  • DC says:

    Greetings! I’ve been an RN since 09. I am currently a Team Leader on a neuro unit at an Adventist hospital. We had the 100% “big bang” last April with Cerner where I assisted with the training of the staff as well as on the unit Super- User. Just last month we went live with the new Cerner Care Compass. In December I started PRN at a cancer center that is also going live with certain aspects of the Cerner system (including IView and Care Compass). I was quickly recruited to join the Nursing Informatics team and am currently practicing in that role PRN. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the entire process. It has been amazing to see how helpful EMR is to nurses as well as the improvement in the safer delivery of patient care. I have no children and would like to consider assisting other hospitals with their go-live process. I have applied to a few companies, and am ready to become a “road warrior”… can you suggest what types of terminology I should use in my resume to get hits and or interviews? I still am the “go to gal” on our unit for physicians as well as nurses in all aspects of the Cerner applications including CPOE, POC meds/specimens etc…

    • admin says:

      i wrote you an email, but the main idea is to have the implementation cycle integrated as much as you can in your resume.

  • Nurse zoe says:

    Hi, I have been a nurse for 13 years. I will be graduating at the end of the summer with my masters in nursing informatics. What is the less amount I can expect to make without any previous informatics experience? Will receiving my degree on line hinder my starting salary?

    • admin says:

      Hi,
      For salary….I cannot say this enough—it varies by region, application, if you get hired by a vendor, hospital, small hospital, etc. Also, receiving your degree online really doesn’t matter much, except if you apply to a hospital where a nursing manager/director has decided they won’t hire anybody from specific schools. There are some schools out there that are money and degree churning machines and I’ve met some hiring directors who absolutely won’t hire anybody with a degree from there. Obviously, once you have experience, schooling doesn’t matter. But this is specifically if you were to come out of an online school with no prior informatics experience. I also sent you an email with more details to your questions.

  • JackieO says:

    Hi, I’m interested in NI. I have a BS in Human Ecology, Child and Family Studies, and AS in nursing. So, I’m an RN and have a bachelors, but not in nursing. Can I still pursue this career or do I need a bachelors in nursing? I have 6 years ICU experience. Thank you!

    • admin says:

      No, you don’t need your BSN to get a job in informatics. As I always say, what you need is involvement with your informatics team in your hospital. Experience, experience speaks louder than your BSN. Plenty of LVN’s working in the field and that should tell you that as long as you got clinical experience, you should be ok in finding a job, specially if you have super user experience.

  • Ginger says:

    I have been a nurse for 27 years, a charge nurse in the Outpatient Surgery Department for 8 years. My experience has been in ICU (20 years ago, so not recent) and Outpatient Surgery. We have recently went live with all phases of our computer charting. I have been a super user for all phases and have learned alot. I am finishing my BSN this year and am looking for a change. I love the computer charting, not always the system we use. I am not interesting in traveling for a job but wonder what my opportunities would be in informatics. Is getting a job as a nurse analyst the first step if I want to move into the informatics field? I want to be able to increase my salary too of 50-60K per year. I live in the North Western area of Ohio. What do you suggest?

    • admin says:

      An informatics analyst is just another job in the informatics field. It doesn’t have to be your first job to get in the field, but many hospitals or vendors typically advertise this type of job.

      As a super-user, you typically train others on how to use the application, and you might possibly help with testing, but you are not really behind the scenes configuring the application or coming up with workflows to solve a clinical pathway and implement it electronically. That’s typically the job of the analyst, but some hospitals are willing to train nurses on how to configure the application.

      But to answer your question, really, the first thing to do, is prepare your resume and gear it towards an informatics position, and you do that, by emphasizing your super-user experience that you have recently done.

      Then you look for local hospitals and apply for jobs. That is really the easiest way to try to get an interview for a job.

  • S. says:

    Hi, thank you so much for taking the time to answer all of our questions and sharing valuable information with us. I am a telemetry nurse with only one year of acute care experience with an ADN degree. I will be starting my BSN classes in a couple of months and hope to finish in 18 months at the longest. I’ve looked at job descriptions and find myself a little discouraged because they are mostly asking for Bachelor degrees and 3-5 years of acute care experience. What else can I do to make myself more competitive? I already plan to obtain the certification after my BSN but I still feel like I’m in a tough spot. Do you have favorite start up books for informatics that you can recommend? I can ask my hospital if I can be a super user but I prefer to do it at another hospital. Truth be told, I’m a little embarrassed and shy to ask my hospital …. afraid that I will get looked down for not wanting to stick out with floor nursing for another 10 years. I also feel underqualified to be a super user with my 1 year experience. Thank you for your time.

  • ZB_RN says:

    Great resource for information. I currently have a BSN (a few yrs clinical experience), work as a clinical analyst in an ambulatory setting, and have two Epic certifications. Do you think there is any benefit to me going for the informatics degree? Im still pretty young, and want to gain as much knowledge as I can in the field and advance when possible.

    • admin says:

      If you’re young, and you have the time, and your goal is to advance into management or a director’s position, indeed, get your master’s degree now.

      But if you want to make money, with your two epic certifications, then consulting would be the other way to go, and your rates won’t be determined by the number of master’s degrees you have.

      But again, if your goal is to advance into management, yea, I would definitely recommend the master’s degree.

  • VJ says:

    Hi,

    I enjoyed reading your blog.

    I am looking for an innovative career or project to market my unique skills.

    I enjoy doing workflow and screen designs. Just luv it!

    Currently, I am a registered respiratory therapist with degrees in computer science.
    In the past, I also worked as a clinical systems analyst for the ancillary departments ( i.e. Radiology, P.T., O.T. , and Respiratory services & etc.).

    Currently, I enrolled in Healthcare Informatics classes to improve my skills.
    I am finishing my Informatics certificate and then an Informatics degree soon this year.

    I applied for several Epic team positions at my 1000 bed hospital. It seems that these positions were given to nurses without any programming skills being required. Go figure!

    I would appreciate your information on how to market my unique skills for my next project.

  • irene says:

    Have my masters in Leadership and organizational management in nursing. Currently have an assistant directors position but skeptical about taking the Directors position. Have received this call from a vendor about a validation/process RN for cerner. They want someone with management experience which i do to oversee the nurses during the pre go live in their hospital. This is a 100% travel position contract for 6 months. Do you think it is adviseable for someone like me to sign up for such a position. The money is good and i think the experience might open up more doors for me.This also means i may have to give up my Assistant directors position, i do intend to drop it eventually but not sure if this is the right way to go about it. I feel like taking the directors position at the moment may tie me down completely before i test the waters out there to see greener pastures. Their offer is too good to be turned down to but my current job is pretty close in reimbursement thats why the huge dillemma
    irene recently posted..Can an LPN become an informatics nurse without a BSN or MSN?

    • admin says:

      Personally, I would take the job. I had some questions about your comment as I wasn’t clear on some points, so I wrote you an email about it.

  • LM says:

    Thank you so much for this blog, I have gathered so much info just from reading the blog.
    I have been a nurse for 3years (BSN) and have been working in an acute care hospital concurrent with working in a sub acute rehab facility. They both have EMR system and I am one of the super users in the sub acute facility. I also have a master in Public Health which has been useless (have not been able to find a job with it). If I knew what I know now I wouldn’t have done a masters in public health. I currently live in Michigan making $75K.
    I guess my questions are, I am looking at doing a Healthcare informatics cert program, is this necessary? I also just applied for a PhD in Nursing with a concentration in Informatics. Can I use this degree to do clinical research focusing on informatics systems? and Do I really need to get a cert in Healthcare informatics?
    Also do you know any professional sites that can help me with my resume. I haven’t applied for any Nursing informatics jobs yet but getting ready to do so.
    Thank you very much

    • admin says:

      The certificate is not really necessary. Sure, you can do your PhD in the subject of what you’re an expert in. Try ANIA.

  • Sandra says:

    Thanks for your service in providing so much information about nursing informatics. I’ve been a geriatric certified case manager for 10 years in long term care insurance field-much computer systems work, some project management experience. Want to transition into Informatics-have tried to translate my work experience into “informatics language”-looking at entry-level hospital jobs, but wondering if there’s a way to combine the case management and informatics areas? Thx

  • Nikki says:

    I currently work for Cerner as a Registered Nurse in a occupational health clinic. I am very much so interested in Nursing Informatics and have began at Kaplan University to receive my BSN and thereafter MSN in informatics. I plan to complete it by the end of 2015. Will I have a good chance of receiving a good salary if I change roles at Cerner? I am currently working with one of their products at the clinic and have been asked to help critique it.

  • steven willia,s says:

    I am a CNA with over 11 years clinical experience, I have 5 months until I graduate with my BS in health care administration. Do you think it will be hard to find an entry level position? I have been working with EPIC for two plus years since my organization went live, I also recently obtained some EPIC certification by training as a HUC dealing with inpatient matters. In your opinion do you think I am headed in the right direction? Or should I seek additional education in the form of my Masters with a speciality in health informatics?

    • admin says:

      If you have an epic certification, you should have no problem finding a job. What specific experience do you have in Epic? Configuring applications? Training others on the application? Testing the application?

      Epic is one of those hot commodities out there so my guess that is just a matter of having a decent resume, applying for jobs and you should find a job in no time.

      A master’s degree given your experience, is overkill for getting a job in the field.

  • Mel says:

    I don’t have a degree in nursing informatics or computers but have 8 years of application analyst experience (6 with Meditech & 2 with Epic) with multiple Epic certifications. I am looking at a senior level position in an Epic hospital (requires 5 years analyst experience) but I’m not sure what salary to start negotiations. Any advice?

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