I am about to apply to a graduate program to get my master’s in health informatics administration instead of bioinformatics. The program is CAHIIM accredited and I will be able to sit for the RHIA exam after graduation. I will also get a student discount to join professional networks. Here’s my background.

-B.S. Biology with Chemistry minor

-4 years work experience in Microbiology (2 years food science and 2 years pharmaceutical/medical device) and even some engineering (pharmaceutical/medical device manufacturing)

-No clinical experience

-No IT experience

-I am not even remotely interested in moving up into managing/supervising people. Only the data and/or systems.

Here are my expectations with a HIM career:

-Increase in overall salary potential without managing people (I was paid $11.50/hr for entry level into Microbiology with my bachelors as reference.)

-Successful/comfortable career by only managing things (systems/data/projects) and not going into management/supervisor roles. (Successful/comfortable = stable schedule Monday to Friday, 40 – 50 hour average work week, and around $60k/yr)

-Making clinicians (direct care) lives easier by managing EMRs…etc. I love making people's lives easier at work.

Will I be able to get a job after graduation and RHIA credential? I’ve heard of others volunteering at local hospitals, but will I even be able to volunteer since I have zero experience? Should I work towards getting a coding or IT credential and job first to gain experience while working through my master’s program in case I can’t find an internship? Are my HIM career goals realistic? I thought about bioinformatics briefly, but I think there will be more jobs in HI and HIM.

Be brutally honest please. Thank you for your insight.

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  • Hi Shalondra, welcome to the site! I don't think a lack of clinical or IT experience should stop you. If you are interested in the data/systems side of things you'll probably need to learn some IT skills. This may be covered in your course so perhaps discuss your questions with the course faculty to check if there is additional training you should do alongside the normal lectures. Work experience is always good when applying for jobs. There may be projects that the faculty are involved in or projects in the local hospital you can ask if you can help with to get some experience. There may be clinical staff who teach on the course who could help you with hospital placements for getting experience. Hope that helps! Chris
    • It does help. Thank you!
  • Hello there, I am a medical microbiologist too working for a university hospital. I was also stressed out in starting Health informatics since I dont have any IT experience. I enrolled at University of New England and will begin by January 2019. l have to take 1 course every 8 weeks. a total of 12 courses and 100% online. The admission support specialist told me that I it is not a problem of not having IT experience and also there is one 3 Cr hour course of 'introduction to Computer for HI professionals. So I am going to start it. Dont stress out about not having IT experience. About certification, as far as I know most companies hire without HIM certification as long as the institution is nationally recognized. Hope this helps you.
    • Thanks for the insight. It is helpful and good to know that the IT experience is not critical to know from the beginning. I do not have clinical experience either. Although HIM credential is not necessary, I think it will help me get my foot in the door hopefully. Good luck to us both when we start our programs in the spring!
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