The growth of online learning over the past few decades has been rapid and wide reaching. One survey conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group found that enrollments in online education increased for the 14th straight year in 2016. Enrollment in public institutions increased 7.3 percent.
While on-campus and online classes were once presented as rivals for students, that dichotomy no longer exists. In today’s educational landscape, it’s common to find an impressive selection of degree programs from accredited and respected universities, offered 100 percent online on flexible scheduling models that appeal to the needs of professionals who don’t want to leave their present roles. Furthermore, students are combining on-campus and distance courses, as the Babson survey noted that more than 52 percent of students who took at least one online class also took at least one on-campus class. Traditional and distance learning are not enemies, but complementary modalities in higher education.
In this new environment, in which online degrees from top institutions carry the same clout as their traditional counterparts, it’s possible to move deeper into a high-upside field such as health informatics. The University of Illinois at Chicago offers its Master of Science in Health Informatics degree program in a completely online format that conforms to the needs of adult learners while still delivering in-depth and up-to-date education.
The Online HI Opportunity
Health informatics as an industry combines technology and knowledge to improve patient care and outcomes. A degree such as the online Master of Science in Health Informatics offered by UIC educates students in this interdisciplinary study, with both online and on-campus variants.
All HI programs from UIC address a robust health informatics curriculum, confer the same degree on graduates and carry the same weight in the industry. Looking specifically at an online MSHI, however, introduces a number of possible benefits for working professionals. First is the location. Online students can complete coursework from any location as long as they have an Internet connection. For many, this means working from home, their office after hours, their preferred coffee shop or another location. It doesn’t mean a need to even live close enough to commute to campus on a regular basis. That can remove expenses such as a vehicle, gasoline, parking or even physical textbooks over digital textbooks.
The second benefit is the asynchronous nature of the UIC MSHI online program. Students can complete coursework on their own schedules and are not always required to meet at the same time each day or week. This can be ideal for working professionals or busy parents, who have time for class in the early morning, at night or on their lunch breaks.
Third is the value of the online MSHI from UIC. As eLearning Industry explained, hiring managers today tend to give equal consideration to online and classroom-based degrees, provided the university that issued the diploma is a respected institution such as UIC. The UIC MSHI program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. UIC’s MSHI is highly ranked by multiple institutions such as U.S. News & World Report and Times Higher Education.
Why Focus on Health Informatics?
Another benefit of the online MSHI is, of course, its curriculum. The crux of that positive is the direction of the health care field as a whole. Equipped with electronic health records and other rich new sources of data, care facilities of all kinds need staff members who understand technology on several levels, encompassing both hands-on experience and theoretical know-how.
Systems integration is an essential piece of health care knowledge today, with hospitals, clinics, research organizations and others taking a renewed look at their use of information technology. Building the IT backbone of these organizations is a critical role that will demand specialized knowledge and leadership. The UIC MSHI online program can give this education to students, matching them with professors whose experience in the health care field is practical, expansive and up to date.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that health care professions will grow in number by 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, a good sign for HI students. In total, that could lead to as many as 2.4 million new jobs in the industry. The median annual wage for health care professionals is higher than the average for all occupations in the U.S., as well.
Connect with an enrollment advisor today to learn more about the benefits of the UIC online MSHI program and why health informatics may be the right path for you.