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Health IT Pros See High Salaries Due to Increased HIT Needs

healthcare has a growing need for professionals with technical expertise, and the industry is prepared to compensate those professionals accordingly.

By Sara Heath

The value of health IT professionals may be a leading cause for their high salaries, says a recent study by HealthITJobs.com.

In a survey of approximately 700 health IT workers, the job search website determined that the average salary for health IT professionals is $87,443 this past year. This is a slight dip from last year’s average of $89,837, which the researchers stated can be explained by standard deviation.

This high average salary can be explained by the growing market for health IT professionals. Between various government initiatives such as ICD-10 implementation, meaningful use, and the growing need for IT security in the wake of increased healthcare data breaches, IT jobs are high in demand, and therefore professionals are lucratively rewarded.

In a national breakdown of IT salaries, HealthITJobs.com found that those working in the Northeast have the highest average salaries at $99,536, with those in the Mid-Atlantic and mountain regions close behind. Those in the Southwest, Pacific, and Southeastern regions all saw average salaries around $90,000. The Midwest saw the lowest average salary at $80,311.

The survey found that average income also varied by job specialty. Naturally, those with the word “executive” in their titles saw the highest average income. Coming in after them were project managers with average salaries of $107,674. The lowest average income belonged to implementation consultants at $78,147.

Those variations could also depend on job experience. Job titles and positions that require more experience naturally have higher average incomes. HealthITJobs.com also found that, as expected, those with more experience saw higher incomes.

Those just beginning their careers with only zero to two years of experience received average salaries of $50,000-$60,000. Those with over 21 years of experience saw average salaries of about $96,000-$122,000.

These income ranges are due to the difference in those with IT certifications and those without. Entry-level professionals with certifications make closer to $60,000, while those without make around $54,000. Likewise, those seasoned professionals without certification make closer to $96,000 while those with make closer to $122,000.

The survey also collected data regarding job satisfaction, finding that a near majority of professionals are satisfied with their jobs. Approximately 83 percent of respondents identified as such.

Despite the overwhelming number of professionals satisfied with their jobs, more than expected reported they are looking for a new job, or are not sure if they will be in the same job come next year. Over 50 percent of respondents identified as such.

If there is such a general consensus of job satisfaction, why would these professionals be considering new job prospects?

According to the researchers, there is a notable discrepancy between how much these professionals make and how much they believe they should make. The survey shows that the average salary health IT professionals believe they should receive is approximately $105,000, about an $18,000 difference between their actually salary.

For another considerable amount of the surveyed population, there are other career issues that motivate their inclination to find a new job. The researchers found that current workload and hospital politics contribute to this reported job discontent.

“Is it their salary they’re unhappy with? For some, yes, but 45% of our respondents said they are satisfied with their income. Other sources of satisfaction are the ability to advance and the chance to do what they do best every day. Sources of dissatisfaction include current income, excessive workload, and hospital politics,” the researchers reported.

In sum, the researchers concluded that this high average salary is due to the increasing need for talented health IT professionals. As the industry continues to grow, jobs of all types are going to become available, thus making the need for talented employees even greater.

“Health IT skills continue to be in high demand, and those who have them command impressive incomes,” the researchers concluded. “From programmers to project managers, usability experts to data analysts - healthcare has a growing need for professionals with technical expertise, and the industry is prepared to compensate those professionals accordingly.”




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