HIT jobs: Where are they, and who’s paying the best salaries?

When it comes to seeking employment, most people want to know three things: who’s hiring and where; what positions are open; and how much do these jobs pay?

There has been considerable focus on healthcare IT over the past three years – and for good reason. It’s a relatively stable market, one of the few experiencing growth, and, thanks to the federally funded HITECH program, the future continues to look very bright.

A recent analysis of the HIMSS JobMine, a leading healthcare IT jobs board and part of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), revealed what states have the hottest HIT job markets and what positions are most in demand.

First, the 10 states with the greatest number of HIT job openings:

10. New York
9. Washington
8. Ohio
7. Illinois
6. Massachusetts
5. Texas
4. Maryland
3. Florida
2. Pennsylvania
1. California

Kate Spies, contributing writer for Healthcare IT News, wrote a June 2011 article based on data provided by the IT staffing company Modis, titled “The Top 7 Cities for IT Jobs.” Four of the top seven cities Modis profiled are located in the above list of states: Philadelphia; Houston; Columbus, Ohio; and Boston. Not surprisingly, these are large urban areas and home to multiple hospitals and university health systems.
Now for the job titles most in demand, according to a recent analysis of the HIMSS JobMine:

5.  Project management
4. Systems analyst
3. Healthcare informatics
2. Analyst
1. IT/technical management

Of these jobs, IT/technical management was the clear leader by at least a 5 percent margin. This function encompasses titles such as director of IT, director of IS applications, chief information officer, database administrator and corporate IT manager-ambulatory services. According to U.S. News & World Report, healthcare informatics/information management was named one of the top college majors. The ranking is partially based on the surge of jobs predicted to become available in this area.

Dollars and cents

So now we know where the jobs are and what type of jobs, but what about the pay?

According to the HIMSS 2010 Compensation Survey, these regions of the United States have the highest average salary ranges for healthcare IT professionals: Pacific, Mid Atlantic and New England. All of these regions have an average range of $122,962 to $126,230. In fact, all the regions polled, with the exception of West North Central, have an average salary of $100,000 or more. More specifically, senior management earns the most with an average of $169,826, while associate staff members earn, on average, $70,933.

Salary.com provided the following HIT salaries as national averages:

– Laboratory information systems coordinator: $66,863
– PACS administrator: $69,852
– Systems administrator: $72,012
– Clinical informatics coordinator: $73,144
– Database administrator: $87,043
– Health information services director: $97,750
– Information technology manager: $107,641
– Clinical information systems director: $121,927
– Information technology director: $162,877
– Chief information technology officer: $226,755

While the potential is there to earn a good salary as a healthcare IT professional, a number of factors will influence how much you earn: geographic location, size and type of organization, education, experience, and, unfortunately, gender. The HIMSS 2010 Compensation Survey results revealed a considerable gender gap with male healthcare IT professionals earning, on average, $124,635 per year while female counterparts earn $98,872. (For more Compensation Survey results, visit himss.org.)

E.J. Fechenda is audience data manager for Healthcare IT News.

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