B.S. in Health Informatics

Degree Overview

Our online health informatics degree will give you a tremendous advantage. The B.S. in Health Informatics combines concepts in healthcare, information technology, and leadership practice to provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to be a valuable designer, developer, and manager of health information systems. You’ll become a unique asset in the high-demand fields of health informatics and health information management with the added credibility of an AHIMA certification and several recognized IT certifications.

Who the program is for:

  • Healthcare professionals who want to develop IT skills to move into health informatics.
  • Health information professionals who want to gain expertise in health informatics.
  • Information technology (IT) professionals who want to move into health informatics.
  • Motivated individuals who are seeking a career that combines expertise in healthcare, IT, and business.
  • Individuals who have completed some college coursework or have applicable work experience.
  • Individuals who can typically spend 15 or more hours per week on their studies.

This program will be flexible and adaptable to your schedule. Click here to learn how your program works.

What You’ll Learn — Areas of Study:

In this online bachelor’s degree in health information technology, you’ll learn all the essential skills and knowledge needed. This program includes the following areas of study and completion of a capstone project.

  • General Education
  • Healthcare Data
  • Health Information Technology
  • Legal and Ethical Considerations in Healthcare
  • Information Technology Fundamentals
  • Medical Terminology
  • Leadership and Management
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Healthcare Compliance and Coding
  • Databases
  • Project Management
  • Professional Practice Portfolio

Total Program: 123 Competency Units (credit equivalents)
Less: any competency units waived through transfer of prior college credits.

Note: Your prior college experience and IT certifications may waive some degree requirements.

More details about your challenging course of study

View the PDF program guide

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What You’ll Earn — IT Certifications:

This program incorporates several industry-recognized IT certifications, as well as an AHIMA certification, as part of your degree program. You will study for and complete the following certification exams (which are all included in your tuition—a huge cost savings for you):

  • CIW Web Foundations Associate
  • CompTIA Project+
  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician
  • CompTIA Strata IT Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Database Administration Fundamentals

Eligibility for the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) Credential:
Graduates of WGU’s B.S. in Health Informatics program are eligible to apply for the AHIMA Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credentialing exam. More information can be found at: http://www.ahima.org/certification/rhia.aspx

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How This Program Works

WGU offers degrees, not classes.

WGU does not rely upon classes in the traditional sense. We don’t base your progress on accumulating credit hours, but rather on completing challenging assessments that measure your knowledge and skills in a subject area. We ask you to "prove you know your stuff." You’ll study. You’ll write papers. You’ll take tests. You’ll complete assignments.

Here’s how it works:

  • Your degree requirements are carefully developed to give you high-level competence in a wide variety of health informatics-related subject areas.
  • You must pass or complete rigorous assessments (tests, papers, assignments) which will require you to demonstrate your competence in each subject area.
  • You will work with your assigned mentor on your personalized Degree Plan that establishes the pace at which you prepare for and tackle the required assessments in your course of study.
  • Each term is a full six months in length. During each term, you can complete as much of your degree as possible.
  • Progress is measured through Competency Units (CUs), which are credit equivalents that track your completion of the required assessments. To maintain full-time status, you are expected to complete at least 12 CUs in a term; more are possible.
  • You and your mentor will determine the learning resources (online courses, textbooks, tutorials, etc.) that will best serve you in your competency development.
  • With few exceptions, you will be able to choose when and where you study, and together with your mentor, you’ll schedule your assessments.

It’s your program.
Online learning isn’t easy. You should expect to work hard and spend 20 hours or more per week on your studies. Your program, however, will be flexible enough to fit into your lifestyle, not the other way around.

Learn more about why you should choose WGU.

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How Long Your Program Takes May Vary

For students with an associate’s degree or its equivalent: 2 to 3 years.
For students with little or no prior college: 4 to 5 years.

WGU’s competency-based approach results in degree completion times that can vary from student to student. The amount of time it will take you depends upon four factors:

  1. The number of credits you transfer in.
  2. The knowledge and skills you already possess in the field.
  3. The amount of time you spend working on your program each week.
  4. Your self-motivation and determination.

Many students proceed faster than the normal pace designed into each program. But don’t assume doing so is easy. WGU programs are quite rigorous. The pace at which you complete your WGU program depends upon how quickly you are able to take and pass the required assessments. Successful students who commit 20 hours or more per week to their studies are often able to complete their programs more quickly.

Speak to an Enrollment Counselor for a personalized estimate of your time to completion.

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Tuition That’s Affordable

Basic Tuition: $2,890 per six-month term
Resource Fee: $145 per six-month term (non-refundable)
Application Fee: $65 (one time)

Other student responsibilities:

  • Criminal Background Check: $42
  • Professional Liability Insurance: $35
  • Immunization Tracking: $30 (for CA students only)

Students in some states may be required to pay additional fees associated with assessing court documents. Talk to a WGU Enrollment Counselor to learn more.

You pay for the time, not the credits. Tuition is charged at a flat rate every six months and covers all coursework attempted in that time. A full-time load for this degree program is at least 12 competency units (credit equivalents) per 6-month term. Whether you complete more or fewer units, you are charged the same flat rate.

You have a significant advantage if you have extensive experience in the field and the time to take on a substantial course load. If you can shorten the time it takes for you to complete your degree, you pay less. Here’s an example:

  • 4 years (or 8 terms): $23,120
  • 3 years (or 6 terms): $17,340
  • 2 years (or 4 terms): $11,560

How does tuition compare to other online schools? Very favorably. Our tuition is typically half what other reputable online universities charge. Other schools charge as much as $400 per credit, which can ultimately cost between $30,000 and $60,000 for your degree. Plus, at WGU you have the benefit of cost savings if you can complete your program faster.

More information about Tuition and Fees
Compare WGU’s tuition to other schools

Federal financial aid is available to those who qualify. Some types of loans are based on financial need; however, one type of loan is available to most students. And because tuition is low, you should be able to finish your degree without large education debts.

Learn more about financial aid
Talk to an Enrollment Counselor to learn what financial aid may be available to you.

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A Generous Credit Transfer Policy

A personal evaluation of your transcripts from prior colleges will be needed to determine whether you will be able to clear any degree requirements.

The good news: If you possess an associate’s degree (A.A. or A.S.) in Information Technology from a regionally accredited school, you should be able to clear your liberal arts requirements as well as the lower-level information technology assessment requirements.

Because of our competency-based approach to education, you will always benefit from knowledge and skills you’ve already developed from prior college, work experience, or your own personal abilities to help expedite your degree program.

Learn more about transferring credits

Speak to an Enrollment Counselor about your situation for a better explanation.

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Accredited and Credible

Credibility is a critical factor when considering an online degree program. Accreditation is a key indicator of a university’s credibility among both academia and employers. WGU is:

  • CAHIIM accredited—by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.
    • According to the WGU 2012 CAHIIM Annual Performance Assessment Report:
      • 100% of graduates and their employers expressed satisfaction with the WGU experience
      • 100% of graduates and their employers expressed satisfaction with their level of preparedness for the workplace
      • The pass rate for the Registered Health Information Administrator exam (RHIA) is 100%.
  • Regionally accredited—by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The Northwest Commission is also responsible for the accreditation of other major universities such as the University of Washington, University of Oregon, Gonzaga University, and the University of Utah, to name a few.
  • Founded by 19 governors and supported by major businesses—WGU was founded by 19 U.S. governors. WGU is also supported by over 20 major corporations and foundations who believe in the university’s commitment to producing highly competent graduates. Several of these corporations continue to serve on our National Advisory Board.

Learn more about accreditation.

Our focus on competency development is also valued by employers. As a graduate of WGU, you’ll have a valued credential that is recognized by employers. You can learn more about how employers view WGU graduates by exploring our Student Success and Performance Data.

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A Simple Admission Process: What’s Needed

To be admitted into this online Health Informatics degree, you must:

  • Apply for admission
  • Possess a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • Demonstrate IT or healthcare experience through at least one of the following four methods:
    • Have earned an associate’s degree in IT or equivalent (A.S. or A.A.S. acceptable)
    • Have earned an associate’s degree from an allied health program (A.S or A.A.S. acceptable)
    • Hold transferable IT certifications earned within the last 5 years
    • Submit a resume showing three-plus years of IT work experience, or healthcare related work experience
  • You will also be required to take and pass the Western Governors University's Readiness Assessment—a short, three-part online admissions test that helps determine the likelihood of success in a WGU program.

Speak to an Enrollment Counselor to learn more about what is required of you.

More info about Admissions

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Questions & Answers

Click a question, see the answer to the right.

Whether you’re interested in starting or advancing your career in the healthcare or IT industry, this program will provide you with the broad-based skills in health information management and IT foundation you need to succeed. Multiple respected industry certification tests are built into the program’s curriculum. If you already hold one or many certifications, you may be able to use them to clear portions of the degree requirements. You can also use your experience and knowledge from working in the healthcare or IT environment to move more quickly through the required subject area assessments. However, this is not an “easy” program. You are a good candidate only if you are prepared to work independently, study hard, and pass the required assessments.

As a WGU student you progress through your program by passing assessments and IT certification tests. In consultation with your mentor, you set the pace at which you prepare for and take the assessments. Consequently, some WGU students with strong academic or career experience in the fields or those who already hold one or more major IT certifications are able to go faster than the standard rate of progress. However, doing so isn’t easy. Many of the assessments are quite challenging, and students sometimes overestimate the knowledge they possess when they enter a program. On the other hand, a highly-motivated, independent individual is precisely the kind of student who does well at WGU. Speak to an Enrollment Counselor to discuss whether you’re the kind of student who might go faster.

As a WGU student, you take and complete assessments. You’ll prepare for your assessments by engaging various learning resources including textbooks, web tutorials, and online courses. You will determine what learning resources are best for you in consultation with your mentor using your personalized Degree Plan. You can learn by exploring the WGU Experience. Speak to an Enrollment Counselor who can explain this program in greater depth.