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.
“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:
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:
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.
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