Overview of Online Post-Master's Nursing Informatics Certificate Programs
Nursing informatics is a specialty area that combines computer and information science with nursing to manage data in the field. Professional certification in nursing informatics is available from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and requires an exam to earn the 5-year Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC) credential in informatics. In order to qualify for the exam, students must hold an active RN license and at least a bachelor's degree, have some work experience and continuing education in informatics, and meet one of three different practice hour requirements.
Earning a post-master's nursing informatics certificate with a 200-hour practicum experience is one way to meet the practice hour requirements for the certification exam. These certificate programs are available in hybrid formats and may be completed in as little as 12 months of full-time study. Part-time programs may allow up to 4 terms for completion (about 2 years), and all of these programs typically require applicants to hold an RN license in the state where they will complete clinical work and at least a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.
Requirements for Post-Master's Nursing Informatics Certificates
Students in online post-master's nursing informatics certificate programs learn about the analysis and evaluation of big data and the role of information technology in managing patient care. All of the coursework for these certificate programs can be completed online, but students must complete in-person practicum experiences to meet their required hours.
Information and Requirements
Online post-master's nursing informatics certificate programs are generally very flexible in nature, as they are designed for working RN's. These programs may require around 15 to 18 credits, and courses may not have any set meeting times, allowing students to complete work as they can. Students typically complete a set of core courses with no elective options.
These programs typically conclude with a practicum experience that requires a total of 126 to 240 hours, depending on the program. Some of these programs make the practicum experience optional. These practicum experiences have students working in-person in the informatics field to receive hands-on experience. Usually, by the end of the program students have earned the 200 or more hours of clinical experience that are required for the informatics certification exam.
Clinical Information Systems
Students in clinical information systems courses are able to explore different kinds of nursing information systems and learn how to analyze each kind. Students usually receive hands-on training with different systems, study the role of electronic health records in clinical settings, and explore privacy and security issues.
Introduction to Health Informatics
As one of the first courses students take in the program, these introductory courses provide students with foundational concepts and skills in nursing informatics. Specific topics may include theoretical models, systems design, nursing vocabulary, the use of information for health systems management, and ethical and social issues in informatics.
These courses usually focus on the use of information technology in project management and how it applies in the real world. Students may gain hands-on experience with project management software, learn how to develop a project management plan, and discuss how to analyze the different factors of a project, such as cost, risk, and time.
Career Outcomes with a Post-Master's Certificate in Nursing Informatics
Online post-master's certificate programs in nursing informatics typically do not qualify students for a specific job, but help equip students with knowledge in the specialty area. Students with a certificate in the field may continue to work as RNs, nurse practitioners, medical and health service managers, and more. The education requirements for these careers vary. For example, a nurse practitioner typically needs at least a master's degree, whereas an RN can have as little as a nursing diploma (which would not qualify a student for a post-master's certificate program). Medical and health service managers may also include careers like health information managers or clinical managers who manage a specific department, such as nursing. These professionals usually need at least a bachelor's degree and some related work experience.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2019 the median annual salary for RNs was $73,300, and a job growth of 12% was projected for these professionals from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than average. For nurse practitioners, the BLS reported a median salary of $109,820 as of 2019 and a job outlook of 26% from 2018 to 2028, which is also much faster than average. The BLS reported a median salary of $100,980 as of 2019 for medical and health service managers and a job outlook of 18% from 2018 to 2028, also much faster than average.
In order to earn certification in nursing informatics, students can choose to pursue an online post-master's certificate in the field. These certificate programs can be completed in 1 to 2 years through a flexible course format.