Health Informatics Discussion Forum

Bachelors Degree vs Masters Degree

Hi Chris or anyone who may assist me,  

I am currently enrolled at Walden University Online Campus earning my Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Informatics, and will be graduating in 2014.  

The question that I have is this, does an individual need a Masters Degree in order to find a job in Healthcare Informatics or could an individual find a job with a Bachelor's Degree?

Please reply,

Jean Whitmer

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Replies

  • Hi Jean,

    Thanks for posting. I don't think that there is a clear answer to this question yet.  My impression is that experience (particularly clinical experience) is more useful than a degree, but that a higher degree might help differentiate you from similar candidates. It's not as straight forward as it is in other careers where there really is a requirement to get a higher degree to progress.

    I talked to some vendors at HIMSS and they are looking for people they can train (i.e. they are not worried about what they may or may not have learned at university). Healthcare providers may put more emphasis on qualifications - particularly clinical qualifications if the role is to act as a liaison between IT/management and a clinical group.

    I think that if the industry find that the quality of undergraduate HI graduates is high, the undergraduate degree will serve as a good baseline recruiting marker, but if the quality is variable, they may require a higher degree or just ignore HI qualifications. At the moment, there aren't enough graduates for the industry to form an opinion.

    There are some good answers to this question on the "masters" vs "certificates" thread as well.

    Hope that helps,

    Chris
    • Hi Chris,
      Thanks for responding to my post it does help me out.  At times I just confused as to whether or not to continue with this degree or move onto something else.  I really like the health care field I have been in it for over 12 years and would like to continue.  

      As I move forward into my core study of informatics, could you please list some of the vendors that you mentioned in your posting that are willing to train on the job?

      Thank you again,
      Jean
      • Hi Jean, I don't think I could accurately say which ones will train and which wouldn't (HIMSS is a big conference and sometimes conversations blur!) but I would say most of the major vendors are likely to have training programs. Chris (in the post below) has listed some of the main ones.
  • An individual could find a job with a bachelor's degree.  Many vendors recruit in schools, and they even take those with degrees in other fields.  Thus, it could be said that you could have a bachelors in MIS and still get a job in healthcare informatics.  But things change with time so who knows what the trend will be in 2014.

    If I were in your shoes though, I would try to get a job as soon as you graduate.  Also, look up vendors, see if any offer internships.

    I wouldn't immediately jump to a master's degree after your bachelors because many employers like candidates with some type of informatics experience under their belt.  But like I said before, maybe the trend changes in 2 years from now, but getting experience in the field is always a good thing to have, nonetheless. And although places like hospitals like to hire 'experienced' individuals, many vendors out there will also hire fresh college graduates because they are very trainable. 

    Edit: For vendors, find a major vendor like Epic,  Cerner, Allscripts, Picis, etc, and see who their competition is. You can do this by going to a finance site, pull up a company name, and then see competitors.   Most of these vendors will hire new college grads, but your job is to do the research, and apply nonetheless.

    Thus my advice to you is, don't concentrate on a specific list of vendors, find as many vendors as you can, and apply. Have no fear and be persistent.

    Took me 6 months to land my first job, and my advantage was being a nurse.  But I have met tons of people who don't have any clinical experience, and they work in healthcare IT.
  • I would say a lot depends on the individual and their background experience, as well as what kind of job you hope to get.  Here is a little bit about the The University of Utah http://medicine.utah.edu/bmi/about/index.htm

    As well, we have a frequently asked questions page.  At the bottom are links to articles that discuss employment in the Healthcare informatics or Biomedical Informatics field.
    http://medicine.utah.edu/bmi/academics_education/Frequently-asked-q...
    • I would like to personally thank all of you who have responded to my posting.  All the advice that was given was nonetheless good advice and I will take them into consideration.  

      Thank you again and stay healthy,
      Jean
  • Going for a Master's Degree would undoubtably give you a world of options. Although I started with a Bachelor's degree years ago when it wasn't as expected to get a Master's there is so much more competition out there in the world today. Give yourself the best options and I'm sure that you will be happy that you did. 
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