University of Illinois at Chicago: Online Masters in Health Informatics Program

I’ve had the pleasure of working with the team from the University of Illinois-Chicago for the past two years now, helping to spread the word about their online Informatics programs.  UIC is a leader in the online Informatics space due to their continued commitment to excellence in their curriculum, faculty, and resources.  Wondering if an advanced degree in Health Informatics is for you? Dr. Larry Pawola answers your FAQs regarding the University of Chicago-Illinois’ Online Masters in Health Informatics Program:

1. Would this program position me well in the Health Informatics field?

The Master of Science will best position you in the emerging field of health information technology.  Our program will provide you with the foundational knowledge upon which to build a successful career in health information technology.  Our program focuses on the applied knowledge necessary to obtain superior results from information technology investments.  Unlike other programs that emphasize technical knowledge for developing new software applications or analyzing data output, our program stresses the knowledge necessary to resolve user issues, to identify and solve social and behavioral resistance, and to develop strategies for the successful implementation of new health information technologies.

Like any other career, your success in the health information technology industry will depend not only on your previous experience but also on the “total package” that you offer to a potential employer.  Your resume and your ability to interview, present, write, and communicate your ideas will determine your positioning in this industry and your ultimate level of success.

2. Would the experience I have already gained in the IT field be relevant when I move into health IT field?

Your experience becomes a launching point into this industry.  In most instances, previous technology experiences can be leveraged with new knowledge in health information technology gained from our programs to provide a “new package” of skills.  Health informatics is an extension of technology where new ways of solving technology-related problems are identified and discussed.  However, health informatics combines clinical and health-related content with social sciences to advance the technologist’s ability to be a leader in this field.

There are many opportunities for technologists to find employment in this field.  Like any other position, finding the right match of skills with employer demand will determine ultimate success.

3. What kind of salary can I expect realistically when I complete this program?

This is a difficult question to answer because much depends on job level, employer, region of the country and pure demand.  Additionally, travel-related positions in consulting or in implementation can command higher salaries. In many cases, a Master’s degree in Health Informatics, along with several years of related experience, should result in a six-figure salary.  Management positions should expect more…

4. What other advice can you give me as I consider a Master’s degree in Health Informatics?

Like any graduate degree program, the end result is in direct correlation to the effort the student puts into their studies.  While we would hope students don’t just complete the UIC program to obtain the credential that a Master’s degree permits, the opportunity is available to learn and be educated by professionals who have extensive industry experience to share with students.  Our expectation is that you conscientiously participate and be connected with your peers, the industry, the faculty and with the coursework.

5. I do not have a health care background (not a nurse or medical doctor or pharmacist). Would that be a disadvantage for me to move to this field? Appreciate your help.

While clinicians who have health informatics experience and degrees are “hot tickets” today, the growth in this industry is providing phenomenal opportunities for individuals with a variety of educational backgrounds and experiences.  Knowledge of business processes outside of the healthcare industry is an advantage in many cases, particularly relating to project management skills and development techniques, and knowledge of general business applications.  We have many students who come from liberal arts, banking, and business backgrounds who have secured health informatics-related positions in this growing industry. Our program offers prerequisite courses that provide our non-clinical students with knowledge about medical terminology and US healthcare systems. In the graduate courses, students who are healthcare professionals interact with non-healthcare students, sharing their experiences and thoughts.

Contact: UIC Health Informatics Admissions
Phone: 1-866-674-4842


About the author


Gwen Darling

Gwen Darling is a Search Executive specializing in Healthcare IT, the Founder of Healthcare IT Central (the leading online Career Center for Healthcare IT job seekers and employers), and the Former Editor/Founder of Healthcare IT Today. Gwen also is a featured blogger for Healthcare Informatics magazine.


  • Gwen, thank you for the wonderful post on UIC’s Online Masters of Health Informatics course and the interview with Dr. Larry Pawola. I have enjoyed working with UIC and the students of the course during their annual HIT Career Workshop Planning Session. Dr. Pawola, Rosemary Walker and their department at UIC are pioneers in Health Informatics education.

  • Hi Bonnie!

    I was very impressed when I learned that you were involved with the program – I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews, and I’ll bet you’re a big reason why, because I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about you, too! Thanks for taking the time to comment ~


  • I have nothing but good things to say as a first year student in UIC’s Health Informatics Online Program. The program is well staffed with expert faculty and administrators from all types of relevant backgrounds. The recent CAHIIM accreditation that UIC received for this program speaks to the program’s relevancy in the HIT industry. Hearing and reading other reviews about UIC’s Health Informatics programs only further asserts my decision to have chosen UIC over other similar programs.

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