Become an Informatics Nurse Specialist: Education and Career Roadmap

Health care systems rely more and more on information technology. A career in nursing informatics combines healthcare and computer sciences with information technology. Informatics nurse specialists play key roles in areas like documentation and maintenance of health care records. View article »

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Video Transcript

Informatics Nurse Specialist

Informatics nurse specialists are registered nurses who have completed graduate courses in nursing informatics. Their dual training enables them to design, manage, and apply technology to meet the needs of the healthcare industry. Often, they are found in administrative positions rather than working directly with patients.

Typically, nurses might have to work shifts that cover any part of the 24-hour day, but administrators often work a more traditional daytime schedule. However, they may still come in contact with people carrying infectious diseases and might still have to do a degree of lifting, standing, and stretching.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) plus a specialized master's or doctoral program in Information Technology
Licensure and Certification Must be licensed as an RN (registered nurse) by the state in which they practice.
Median Salary (2016)* $67,490 per year (for registered nurses) $70,008 (for informatics nurses)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (May, 2015), * (January 2016)

Steps to Become an Informatics Nurse

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is generally required for informatics nurse specialists. The coursework takes four years to complete. Students who hold a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing and registered nurses (RN) with an associate degree in nursing (ADN) can complete accelerated programs in 12-18 months. BSN courses focus on patient care, anatomy, chemistry, health assessment, psychology and pharmacology. Clinical experience in a supervised medical setting is an integral part of nursing programs.

Step 2: Obtain an RN License

Individuals who graduate from an approved nursing school with a BSN or an ADN are qualified to take a national examination to become a registered nurse, the NCLEX-RN. Additional licensing requirements may be applicable in some states.

Step 3: Acquire Additional Education

An informatics nursing degree can be earned through a specialized master's or doctoral program. Coursework trains nurses to adapt technology to facilitate healthcare goals and standards. Nurses study database management, computer system analysis, and software design. They learn to use technology to support clinical decisions, maintain the quality and security standards of patient records, and manage government regulatory requirements.

Step 4: Consider Certification for Career Advancement

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers an informatics certification that signifies industry competency. To be eligible to take the ANCC certification test, RNs must hold a BSN and complete two years of nursing practice. Continuing education credits in informatics must be earned. Nurses must also hold a graduate degree in informatics or have completed at least 2,000 hours of practice as informatics nurses.

In summary, informatics nurse specialists need a bachelor's degree in nursing, a graduate degree in nursing informatics, and registered nursing licensing. Additionally, informatics certification is also available. According to 2016 data from, informatics nurses earned a median annual salary of just over $70,000.

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