Health Informatics Discussion Forum

Certificate versus Masters degree

I am wanting to further my education in health informatics but one of my biggest questions is what is the difference, as far as curriculum, between a certificate program and a masters degree program. I am leaning towards a MBA at Georgia State University mainly because it is a totaly classroom setting. Yet, I've noticed numerous programs that offer a certificate. These programs are of course far less expensive than GSU but they are mainly online programs. Thoughts?

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    • Hi Everyone!!!

      I am currenlty enrolled in a 10x10 program from OHSU. Am really enjoying it although in Botswana we have serious challenges with internet connectivity. The team at OHSU are very supportive and I would really recommend you consider their programs. If I am able to secure funds to pursue a Masters in the US, I definitely would continue with them. 



    • All courses are important in individuals but the masters degree is more advantage compare to other courses because if you have able to have the masters degree, you have great chances for finding the best job that really fits for you.
  • This discussion is very interesting but there could be some confusion of terms, if like me, you are reading it from the UK.  I have taught on an academic Masters programme (by e-learning) which has year 1 equavalent to a post-grad certificate and year-2 a post-gard diploma with the third (project thesis) year making up the Masters. I also taught on an under-grad programme with year 1 having an 'exit award' of a certificate in HI for each module completed and year 2 similarly if you did not amass enough modules for Foundation degree (equivalent to a Higher National Diploma) - from which you could do a project year and gain a full BSc undergraduate degree.

    In addition there are increasing numbers of commercial and in-house short courses from which you can gain a 'certificate' that may or may not gain you some academic credit (against entry into one of the above), or Continuing Professional Development input against a professional registration with, say UK Council for Health Informatics Professions. Courses both academic and vocational can be assured against the UKCHIP standards under the EQAS scheme - which more directly links the contribution of the said course against the professional registration.

    We realise that there will be people whose career has been along an experiential pathway (with or without academic components) and that to work effectively in the health domain, demonstration of domain knowledge / sensitivity and understanding is very important - however that is gleaned.

    So, it appears that both experience and formal coursework can be and are accommodated under the UK way of working - giving opportunities for improved workforce mobility whilst still needing certains skills as demonstrated in the UKCHIP Standards (  and the NHS HI Career Framework (


    Jean R

  • I gave a similar answer in a different thread. For us (and our Certificate program) the applicant is often already working in healthcare and needs to have specific coursework in biomedical informatics to move in their career.  Often our Certificate students move on to the Masters program (about 40%). A Certificate on its own will not open doors in the informatics field, but in conjunction with another degree (MPH, MD, Biology, Nursing etc) it may. Incidentally, we do offer our courses both in person and online for the Certificate.

    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

    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.

    • I am currently enrolled in an online certificate HI course at UC Davis.  I faced similar challenges choosing between cert. and Msc., especially because I already have MD and MPH background.  The bottom line was the need for flexible schedule and affordability as onsite learning in the US is currently not an option.  Certificate classes @ UCD have been very detailed and relevant so far - though like in Botswana, internet connectivity is a challenge.  I hope to be able to transfer credits to an Msc. later, preferably online (not offered at UCD).  Will check the oregon link.

  • Dear Members,

    Department of Health Information Management, School of Allied Health Sciences, pleased to announce the admission for the 2nd batch of M.Sc. Health Informatics.

    For admission related query, you can contact:

    Dr. Rajesh Kumar Sinha

    Program Coordinator & Associate Professor

    Department of Health Information Management

    School of Allied Health Sciences

    Manipal University, Manipal – 576 104

    Karnataka, INDIA

    Phone: +91-820-2922320 (O)

    Fax: +91-820-2571915



    Please note: The last date of admission is: 30/05/2015


    Dr. Rajesh Kumar Sinha
  • Renice,
    University of South Florida has a Healthcare Informatics Master's program. The interesting thing is once you complete the first 4 course, you earn your Certificate. Once you complete all the classes you earn the Masters. I, for one, found it more expensive than most programs. But, if money is no object it can be a way to get the best of both worlds. Good Luck
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