How Much Do Nurse Informaticists Make?
As technology becomes more prevalent in health care, the field of nursing informatics continues to grow—along with the salary it can command.
Nursing informatics is a growing career field for nurses, and salaries are growing along with it. In fact, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2020 survey revealed that informatics nurses across the country have the potential to earn a high salary, depending on their level of education, where they work, and a number of other factors.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) backs this up. Although the BLS doesn’t track nurse informaticists specifically, it does categorize them under the hybrid umbrella of “all other health information technologists, medical registrars, surgical assistants, and healthcare practitioners and technical workers.” The average salary in this job category is $58,600, and the top 10% of earners in the category earn an average wage of $103,430.
As technology in healthcare increases, so will the role of nursing informatics.
While there isn’t data tracking to show that nursing informaticists are always in that top 10%, the salary is in line with numbers found in the HIMSS survey and listed on hiring websites. Nurse informaticists have an advanced role with increased responsibilities, and their salaries often reflect that. However, your salary as a nurse informaticist will depend on a number of factors, such as employer, location, years of experience, level of education, and even your job title.
Nursing informaticists analyze data and use technology to help improve the care nurses provide. As technology continues to play an ever-greater role in healthcare, nursing informaticists will likely also see their roles expand and their job opportunities increase.
“The field is constantly growing as technologies evolve,” says Debra Henline Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI, a nurse educator who teaches nursing informatics to post-graduate students. And she expects the field to keep growing. “Suitable technologies can help improve patient care, cut the cost of healthcare, and make nursing more efficient.”
What’s My Highest Earning Potential?
Three of the biggest factors that can affect your salary are your education, the certification you earn, and your years of experience. In general, a higher degree, more experience, and a certification can lead you to a much higher salary.
So, how big of an impact can your education have? In an increasingly competitive field like nursing informatics, having a higher degree can make a serious difference in your career path. You’ll need to be a licensed registered nurse (RN) in good standing to get any nursing informatics job. Most roles will also ask that you have at least a bachelor’s degree, although a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is fast becoming the go-to degree for the field.
If you’re looking to advance your career even further, there are doctoral options, too. Nursing informaticists can earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a PhD in Nursing. Either degree will allow you to apply for high-level leadership roles and can have a significant impact on your earnings. In fact, nursing informaticists with a doctoral degree reported the highest salaries in the HIMSS survey. The survey found that 61% of nurse informaticists with a doctorate earned well more than average for the field, a larger percentage than any other degree level.
How Can I Increase My Earnings?
Beyond advancing your education, there are several steps you can take to increase your earnings. One of the top ways is to earn a certification. Certification isn’t a requirement for nursing informatics, but it can definitely help. Plus, while it may not be required by the profession as a rule, some employers do require it.
You’ll need education, experience, and an active RN license in good standing before you can apply for certification. Common nursing informatics certifications include:
You can also potentially increase your earnings by furthering the skills and education you bring to the role. You can do this by gaining additional education, attending conferences, or simply gaining experience. In fact, while it might not be the fastest way to increase your earnings, experience can play a big role in your overall earnings. The HIMSS survey found that nursing informaticists with over 11 years of experience were the top earners, often significantly out-earning new informatics nurses.
How Do Nursing Informaticist Salaries Compare to Other Nursing Jobs?
The BLS doesn’t currently track data for nursing informaticists specifically. However, the category that nursing informatics falls under is a hybrid that will be separated in the future. According to the BLS, jobs listed in this hybrid, including nursing informaticists, will include more specific salary data by 2022.
For now, roles in the hybrid category earn an average of $58,600. Keep in mind that survey and association salary data show that nursing informaticists are likely among the top earners in this category. According to the BLS, the top 75% of healthcare professionals in this hybrid earn an average of $76,020 and the top 10% earn an average of $103,430. How does that compare to other nursing roles? Check out some similar jobs below to get an idea of how nursing informatics stacks up.
What States Offer the Best Pay?
Where you live can make a big impact on your nursing informatics salary.
“This is typically caused by the macroeconomic factors in the area, such as the overall cost of living, the demand for nursing, and the ratio of healthcare employers,” Sullivan explains. Areas all over the country—including the Midwest, New England, and the Southeast—offer high pay for nursing informaticists. You can check out some of the top-paying states and areas below.
Remember, this data represents all jobs in the BLS hybrid category of “all other health information technologists, medical registrars, surgical assistants, and healthcare practitioners and technical workers.”
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019
High-paying metro areas aren’t limited to these states. You’ll also find high wages in cities like Iowa City, Iowa, where nurse informaticists earn an average of $117,000, or Rochester, New York, where the average is $92,770. Branching outside of metro areas, high wages can be found all around the country, including along the West Coast.
Keep in mind that these numbers don’t mean you can’t find-high paying jobs in other places. For example, no locations in California are on this list, but California has the highest wages for RNs overall. So, while it’s not reflected in the BLS hybrid data, salaries are likely high there as well.
Does My Place of Employment Matter?
According to the HIMSS survey, hospitals and health systems are the primary place of employment for nurse informaticists. While the BLS doesn’t track salary information at hospitals for the hybrid category, it does have information on specialty hospitals, where the average is $61,440. Other common places of employment for nurse informaticists and the average salary in the BLS hybrid category include:
Again, remember that these numbers represent the average for the entire hybrid category. Your salary as a nursing informaticist could be higher. It could also be affected by personal factors such as your education, experience level, and any certification you’ve obtained. As the field continues to grow, nursing informaticists might see even higher salaries and greater career opportunities.