Nursing Informatics Job Opportunities and Salaries
By Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC
Healthcare and nursing in the 21st century are completely tied to technology and informatics, and nurses need to stay up to date.
Electronic medical records (EMRs and EHRs), bedside computing, robotics, wearable technologies -- they're changing constantly. Nurses who choose informatics as a career focus can look forward to increased marketability, good salaries, and job opportunities.
The HIMSS Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey
In 2004, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) began an annual survey of the employment and salary landscape for nurses employed as informaticists.
The news about nursing informatics has been encouraging since before the turn of the century. This survey shows that nurse informaticists are well-paid, professionally satisfied, and in demand.
Salaries, Nurses, and Informatics
Salary data show that informatics nurses are #8 on the list of the 15 highest paying nursing careers in the U.S. in 2017. And based on data from December of 2016, these are some highlights of what the HIMSS survey uncovered:
|Salary range of nurse informaticists||Percentage|
|$61,000 and $85,000||24|
|$86,000 to $100,000||25|
NOTE: In 2014, only 33% of nurse informaticists were earning more than $100,000.
The Mid-Atlantic and Pacific regions of the U.S. had the largest number of nurse informaticists earning more than $100,000 per year.
Hospitals vs Consulting Firms
The data further show that nurses working for consulting firms and third-party vendors generally earned more than those in hospitals. 24 percent of those working for third-party vendors earned $101,000 to $115,000.
For those working for hospital organizations, 30 percent earned $61,000 to $85,000 and 29 percent earned $86,000 to $100,000.
Certification and Education
Certification also counts: 55 percent of certified nurse informaticists reported earning over $100,000, while only 37 percent of those without certification earned over $100,000.
The data are the same for those with a post-graduate degree in informatics. 53 percent of those with such a degree earned over $100,000, and 37 percent of those without a degree earned over $100,000.
What About Benefits?
Nurse informaticists who were surveyed reported enjoying the following benefits:
- Retirement (401k, etc): 87 percent
- Medical/dental insurance: 75 percent
- Life insurance: 78 percent
- Long-term disability insurance: 61 percent
- Received an annual bonus in the past year: 34 percent
Opportunities and Satisfaction
According to the HIMSS 2017 survey, the following data were also found to be true:
- 32 percent of organizations surveyed had a Chief Nursing Informatics Officer (CNIO)
- 10 percent of nurse informaticists are APRNs
- 80 percent of nurse informaticists report high job and career satisfaction
Executive and Managerial Jobs
32 percent of organizations surveyed had a Chief Nursing Informatics Officer (CNIO) in place. This means that we can plan on CNIOs being more in demand over time.
Nursing is deeply impacted by information systems, and nurses need experienced nurse leaders who understand what it means to work at the bedside with changing digital technologies.
Masters and post-graduate doctoral programs in nursing informatics and healthcare informatics leadership or management are increasingly widespread. As demand for nurse informaticists and leaders grows, so too will the availability of specialized programs for advanced informatics nursing education.
Step Towards a Nursing Informatics Career
For nurses who love informatics, many strategies can lead to a new career path in relation to technology. Here are some to consider:
Become a Super User
Nurses comfortable with technology can become super-users within their clinical departments or facilities, gain expertise with new systems (such as EMRs and EHRs), and help to train and mentor other nurses who need support. Such tech-savvy nurses can also volunteer for their employers' informatics departments, and take part in studies, training, and research that exposes them to expert knowledge and skills.
Earn a Degree
While some employers will hire tech-savvy BSN-prepared nurses for informaticist jobs, there is an increasing demand for nurse informaticists to have a Master’s degree in Health Informatics or a related field.
For a nurse serious about an informatics career move, a Master’s degree is likely a very prudent path in order to achieve this exciting goal.
Networking should be a central part of getting to know other healthcare informatics experts. By networking with those who understand this career path, you can keep your finger on the pulse of trends that are crucial to know about.
Informational interviews, a form of deep networking, can propel your process by allowing you to tap the knowledge of people in the know. Informational interviews can reveal recommendations for certifications, Master’s degree programs, best practices, and ways to improve your resume and marketability.
Nursing Informatics and the Future
There’s no doubt that informatics is here to stay. Nurses who love computers, information systems, and data management would be smart to plug into this specialty, become expert, and leverage those skills and experiences for an exciting and well-paying 21st-century nursing career path.
Where Are The Best Nursing Jobs?
High-paying nursing opportunities abound. As a registered nurse, you are in control of your career. Check out the best jobs from coast to coast on our job board. Get the pay and career path you deserve. Click here to see open positions for nurses now.
Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC is a Board-Certified Nurse Coach, award-winning blogger, nurse podcaster, speaker, and author. Based in Sante Fe, New Mexico, Nurse Keith’s work has appeared in a variety of online and print publications.