Health informatics involves the use of computers to help improve the field of medicine. A few community colleges in the state offer associate's degree programs in this field, and for students seeking graduate studies, there are two public universities offering masters degree programs.
Participants in the associate's programs can expect to study the software and hardware used in the medical industry, since programs emphasize skills for potential programmers and support professionals. The graduate programs available in North Carolina are geared more for those seeking administrative positions in health care technologies. Both Master's degree programs have several prerequisites and may include an internship.
Brunswick Community College
Brunswick Community College is located in Bolivia and offers an Associate in Applied Science program in health care informatics. Students in this program are taught how to use computerized medical information systems. Course topics include hardware and software support, logistics, data management and networking. Graduates can enter the medical field as technical support professionals, system analysts and professionals in informatics technology.
East Carolina University
Located in Greenville, East Carolina University offers a Bachelor of Science in Health Information program, a Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management program and a Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics program through the university's College of Allied Health Sciences. Students choose from a thesis, internship or Registered Health Information Administrator certification plan. Required courses for earning the degree include biostatistics, health care database systems and software engineering. This program is available as an on-campus, online or hybrid program. Undergraduates may also minor in health informatics.
Forsyth Technical Community College
Students attending Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston Salem can learn about health care business informatics through an Associate in Applied Science program. Course topics in the program include medical ethics, medical terminology, health care management, computer hardware, computer programming and computer networking. Graduates can pursue a wide variety of technical careers in the health care field, including system analyst and technical support specialist.
Nash Community College
Located in Rocky Mount, Nash Community College offers a Certificate and an Associate of Applied Science program in health care business informatics. The AAS program is made up of general education classes, such as math, psychology and critical thinking, and courses for the major. Required course topics include hardware and software support, database concepts, networking, security and medical legal issues. Students complete 74 semester hour credits to graduate.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
At this university in Charlotte, students can earn a Professional Science Master's (PSM) in Health Informatics. The PSM is likened to an MBA (Master of Business Administration), though awarded for science, and is considered a practitioner's degree. Students choose from 1 of 4 concentrations, including health information privacy and security specialist, programmer and software engineer, health analyst or health information management exchange specialist. Students must also complete an internship.
Students who have completed an academic program in this field may go on to work as technical support professionals or systems analysts. Certification is not required, but job candidates should have some experience with the hardware and software used in health care informatics. Furthermore, membership in an organization like the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) helps to establish contacts in the field and may provide professional development opportunities.
School Comparison Table
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Health Care Informatics Degrees Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Brunswick Community College||2-year, public; rural distant||Healthcare Business Informatics Associate in Applied Science||$2,404 in-state, $8,548 out-of-state (Undergraduate)*|
|East Carolina University||4-year, public; small city||Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management,
Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management,
Health Informatics Graduate Certificate
|$6,580 in-state, $22,154 out-of-state (Undergraduate),
$6,857 in-state, $19,459 out-of-state (Graduate)*
|Forsyth Technical Community College||2-year, public; midsize city|| Certificate in Healthcare Business Informatics,
Associate in Applied Science in Healthcare Business Informatics
|$2,025 in-state, $6,631 out-of-state (Undergraduate)*|
|Nash Community College||2-year, public; fringe rural||Associate of Applied Science in Healthcare Business Informatics||$2,504 in-state, $8,648 out-of-state (Undergraduate)*|
|University of North Carolina at Charlotte||4-year, public; large city||Professional Science Master's in Health Informatics||$7,036 in-state, $19,703 out-of-state (Graduate)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.