Programs of Choice: Online Education’s Single Biggest Advantage

The single biggest advantage online degree programs offer is choice. More options to choose from means greater opportunity to find the right program for different types of people.

Obviously, online learning must be the right choice for you. If it is, you have a much better chance of finding a program matching your needs academically, financially and programmatically rather than having to fit into whatever nearby option is available.

A great example of the options and diversity in online learning is in the degree area knows as Healthcare Informatics. Within health care there are the hands-on disciplines, doctors, nurses, technicians, etc., but just as important is the administrative side of health care.

We’re all aware of the focus on costs throughout the health care industry, and there is a massive focus on understanding data in order to increase efficiencies and improve outcomes. Healthcare Informatics, also known as Health Information Systems, is essentially the work of data mining health records to improve care at lower costs. Health Informatics professionals not only deal with massive amounts of data but also with the inherent privacy risks concerning this data. They literally know more about you as a patient than you know about yourself!

The specific degree field of “Health Informatics” is still a niche degree when compared to a degree such as Health Care Management, not to mention an MBA. So what are the options available for someone looking to get into the field?

If you are a healthcare or technology professional looking to get into the Healthcare Informatics space and, for example, live in Florida, there are a grand total of 3 options to get an on-ground grad degree in Healthcare Informatics. If you aren’t interested in moving to Gainesville, Jacksonville or Ft Lauderdale you’re pretty much out of luck, and if you are, you’re stuck there whether the program is a fit or not.

On the other hand if you’re interested in an online option, suddenly your choices explode:

  • There are nearly 80 online master’s programs in Health Informatics or BioInformatics, and chances are that will grow to over 100 within the next year or two.
  • The cost for these programs ranges from a low in the $16,000s to a high of nearly $80,000. That’s a nearly 5-fold price range!
  • Four programs are $66k, twelve are between $40-$59k, thirty-seven are between $25-$39k and nineteen are less than $25k.
  • There are programs with 56 semester credit hours down to 30 semester credit hours, but the courses range from 1 to 5 hours (or units).
  • The institutions range from small (4,000 students) to massive (67,000) and everything in between. Many you would recognize during Saturday football games and others are locally focused private institutions.
  • Programs are called Health Informatics, Healthcare Informatics and specializations in Informatics, and all have variances in curriculum, focus areas and course count.

What this means is you are able to use the power of choice to match a program to your individual specs, whether it’s price, faculty, format, syllabi, courses, area of emphasis, etc. Along with the level of specificity comes increased satisfaction, better retention and improved outcomes, meaning your personal ROI goes up.

If this type of variability exists in a program as specific as Healthcare Informatics, you can imagine what’s available in more well-known program areas like business, the social sciences, education and others. With options come choice, and with choice comes power!

Want to put more power into your hands or the hands of your employees?

See how ClearDegree turns the power of choice into thousands of dollars of savings and improved ROI