One of the biggest advantages of a career in the healthcare industry – and particularly in healthcare informatics and healthcare information technology – is rapid job growth. Just how fast are the opportunities improving? The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates job openings for professionals in healthcare technology and healthcare informatics to rise “much faster than average.”
Recent Job Growth Trends
In recent years, opportunities in the field of healthcare informatics have increased quite a bit. From 2007 to 2011, when the struggling economy saw just 6 percent job growth and even job growth within the healthcare industry was in the single digits, healthcare informatics job postings climbed by a shocking 36 percent, Jobs for the Future reported. These positions still make up a relatively small proportion of healthcare jobs compared to careers like nursing that employ hundreds of thousands of Americans, but they also saw a much higher growth rate, even in the midst of a difficult economy.
Today, the difference between the job outlook for healthcare information technology and the rest of healthcare – and even the economy as a whole – is less drastic, but still significant. The BLS predicts job opportunities for all occupations to increase by just seven percent over a decade, but for health information technicians, the agency expects a 15 percent rise in opportunities.
Even this figure might not tell the whole story. Jobs of the Future reported that 40 percent of workers in healthcare informatics aren’t counted in the BLS’s category of medical records and health information technicians, which could mean the real job outlook is even more positive. PredictionsCentral.com predicted that healthcare informatics jobs would increase by more than 22 percent.
Where Are Healthcare Informatics Job Opportunities Increasing?
Not all roles in healthcare informatics are seeing the same volume of growth in opportunities. For example, low-skilled health informatics jobs like medical records clerks have declined in recent years, Jobs for the Future reported. However, more highly skilled roles like medical coder saw gains, and clinical roles – with job titles like clinical improvement analyst and clinical documentation specialist – saw the most rapid growth.
Data from the BLS supports the notion that job growth is most rapid among the most skilled health informatics roles. The agency anticipates opportunities to be the most plentiful for candidates who have a certification like the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential, which requires an associate’s degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
Today, hospitals (general, surgical and specialty) employ the largest percentage of health informatics professionals, with physicians’ offices employing the second largest share of workers. Other health informatics professionals find work in nursing care facilities, administrative and support services and professional, scientific and technical services, the BLS reported. It’s likely that hospitals and doctors’ offices will continue to employ large percentages of health informatics workers.