How to Become a Health Data Analyst: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Find out how to become a health data analyst. Research the education requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in health data analysis.

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Becoming a Health Data Analyst

Health data analysts develop, analyze, model and document healthcare information related to insurance claims and costs. They use software and statistics to provide data support, perform research, and improve information quality and accuracy. Many of these workers spend a great deal of time sitting and viewing computer monitors. Jobs are typically full-time, and some evening or weekend hours may be needed.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree preferred
Degree Field Health informatics, health information management
Experience 2-5 years of related experience
Licensure and Certification Certification is available through AHIMA but is optional
Key Skills Ability to work independently, strong organizational skills, computer skills, analytical, mathematics and communication skills
Median Salary (2015)* $37,110 (Median salary for medical records and health information technicians)

Sources: Job postings from multiple employers (January 2013), American Health Information Management Association, *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Now let's go over some of the steps to entering this field in more detail:

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree program in health information management or health informatics can help prepare students for a career in health data analysis. Some schools offer programs that combine health information management and informatics. These programs may include coursework in anatomy and physiology, healthcare laws and ethics, medical terminology, database design, electronic medical records, coding procedures, and health information technology. Most schools require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED to enroll.

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

Most health data analysts need at least two years of healthcare-related work experience. A position in medical economics, health information technology, medical office administration, or managed care finance can provide the software and data management skills necessary for a health data analysis position. Once candidates have the required experience, they can seek employment as health data analysts at health benefits or data information companies, as well as state public health centers.

Step 3: Get Certified

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers a certified health data analyst (CHDA) exam that provides distinction and proof of competency in the field. Requirements vary, but include having a bachelor's degree combined with 3 years of professional experience. Applicants must pass a written exam to become certified. Gaining certification can advance the career of a health data analyst, setting them apart from others in their field.

A degree in health information management, on-the-job experience, and voluntary certification can all help an individual secure a job as a health data analyst.

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