Are There Online MS in Healthcare Informatics (MSHI) Degrees That Do Not Require the GRE?

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In short, yes! There are fully online master’s of science in health informatics (MSHI) programs which waive or do not require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as part of their admission requirements.

Because of the multifaceted nature of this degree, which is focused on improving patient care through data informatics analysis, people with a variety of knowledge in secure IT storage, data interpretation, and patient advocacy are ideal candidates for MSHI degree programs. Online MSHI programs are open to individuals with a wide range of professional backgrounds. A degree that complements (but does not require) previous healthcare experience, graduates from MSHI programs go on to work in IT administrative roles in the healthcare industry. The profile of a typical applicant to an MSHI program is a bachelor’s degree-holder with two to five years of clinical or administrative healthcare experience; a computer science professional; or professionals with bachelor’s degrees and work experience in disciplines not related to IT or healthcare.

Due to the increased demand for trained and experienced healthcare informatics professionals, many universities are expanding their online degree program offerings. The turn of the 21st century brought a lot of changes to the U.S. healthcare industry: the digitization of patient records, the expansion of health insurance through the Affordable Healthcare Act, and the large aging population. These policy and demographic changes have resulted in a 20 percent rate of job growth for medical and health services managers (2016-2026)—an accelerated rate which is faster than the national average according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Access to the Internet has made it easier than ever for students enrolled in online MSHI programs to complete coursework in a way that best suits their personal and professional schedules. The online format empowers healthcare professionals, career-changing bachelor’s degree-holders, and recent graduates to remain in their current jobs while completing an MSHI degree on a part-time or a full-time schedule.

Online MSHI programs use web-based tools that deliver curricular content and promote interaction between students and professors. Through online learning management platforms, class discourse takes place in many forms: discussion boards, chat rooms, instructional videos, and live video-conferencing. Some programs offer online coursework asynchronously—giving students the flexibility to access class material and complete assignments at their own pace by the deadlines set forth by the instructor. Some programs incorporate elements of real-time, synchronous activities requiring students to be online at certain times of the day or week.

While MSHI programs vary in their requirements and exact formats, they also have certain shared features. In addition to online coursework, many programs require a culminating capstone project which brings together real-time practicum experience with an issue-based research project.

When considering online degree programs, an important factor is whether or not the program is fully online or offered in a hybrid (i.e., online with some face-to-face requirements) format. Some online programs offer campus immersions requiring students to be on campus for several days at a time. Fully online programs may have “virtual residencies” enabling students to have similar face-to-face classroom experience from the convenience of their homes or other off-site locations.

The majority of online MSHI degree programs feature curriculum with a combination of core classes mixed with electives, allowing students to specialize in a specific area of interest within healthcare informatics. These specialized tracks benefit students, future employers, and the patients they serve by enabling future healthcare informatics professionals to tailor their studies to the administrative needs of the kinds of healthcare organizations they intend to serve.

Some online degree programs carry the distinction of accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM). Graduates from CAHIIM-accredited degree programs are eligible to sit for certification exams offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), thereby assuring future employers they possess relevant knowledge and skills to work within an electronic health record (EHR) environment.

To facilitate an easier admissions process for these highly sought-after degrees, several universities have decided to omit the requirement of submitting standardized test scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). This trend in collegiate admissions programs allows admissions committees to consider applicants’ academic abilities from a more holistic perspective. Some programs will grant GRE waivers with proof of impressive academic performance and professional experience documented through degrees earned from accredited schools, a high GPA, professional work experience, previous GRE scores older than five years, or a letter of support and validation from a department head or professional superior.

Read on to learn more about five featured fully online master’s of science in healthcare informatics programs that waive or do not require the GRE.

Online MS in Health Informatics Programs That Waive or Do Not Require the GRE

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida offers a 100 percent online 38-credit master’s of science in healthcare informatics. This CAHIIM-accredited program offers admission twice a year and focuses on providing students with a thorough grounding in the clinical, management, and business aspects of healthcare informatics. The program is ideal for bachelor’s degree-holders from any discipline as well as current healthcare professionals seeking career changes.

  • Location: Orlando, FL
  • Accreditation: CAHIIM & Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $772.69 per credit-hour
  • Program length: 24 months

University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati offers a 36-credit fully online master’s in health informatics (MHI). Students can complete this program on a part-time schedule in as few as two years. Faculty for the MHI program is comprised of professors from the University of Cincinnati’s Lindner College of Business as well as leading healthcare industry experts. Coursework covers topics that prepare students for certification and an optional health information security certificate is available for an additional nine credit-hours of elective courses.

  • Location: Cincinnati, OH
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $747 per credit
  • Program length: 24 months

University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago offers a fully online master’s degree in health informatics, which prepares future health professionals to apply technology to improve patient care and outcomes. Designed for students from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds, this program aims to equip graduates with the knowledge and skills to effectively deliver medical information to healthcare providers and help drive data-informed decisions in the field. An optional concentration in health data science is also available.

  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Accreditation: CAHIIM and Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $750 per credit
  • Program length: 24 months

Liberty University Online Programs

Liberty University offers a 36-credit fully online master’s degree to help future healthcare administrators facilitate the management and use of patient healthcare information. With a relevant curriculum designed to train students in cutting-edge technologies, graduates of this program are prepared to create a high-quality experience for each healthcare patient. Through the university’s online research portal students acquire access to a wide variety of resources to facilitate their graduate-level studies.

  • Location: Lynchburg, VA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $565 per credit
  • Program length: 18 to 24 months

George Mason University

George Mason University offers a fully online CAHIIM-accredited master’s of science in health informatics. This program is ideal for a wide range of students including current clinical and administrative healthcare professionals, information or data science professionals wanting to specialize in healthcare, career-changers with no previous experience in IT or healthcare, and students who are new or experienced in the field of healthcare informatics. The evidence-based curriculum is student-centered and routinely evaluated and adjusted to respond to the dynamically changing healthcare and technology fields.

  • Location: Fairfax, VA
  • Accreditation: CAHIIM and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $581 per credit
  • Program length: 28 months

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