Readers’ Questions About Nursing Informatics Salaries

One of the most common questions readers email me concerns nursing informatics salaries.

A lot of nurses out there want to know how much they could earn in the informatics field if they switch from nursing to informatics.

I therefore decided to post a generic response to these recurrent questions. You should bear in mind that each case is different, so these answers are not absolute, but should serve as a point of reference

For more information about salaries in specific states, or even cities, you can look at my other posts where I go over these stats.

But as I have said it before, the range of nursing informatics salaries vary because of factors like location, job title/position, experience, application being used, etc.

Now to the questions:

I’ve been a clinical nurse for X number of years. What type of salary should I expect as an entry level analyst in informatics? Will it be much higher than what I make as a current clinical nurse?

nursing informatics salary questions
If you’re going from a clinical job to an informatics job for the first time, there is really no guarantee that you will make a higher salary.

I have seen all types of cases happening: nurses get offered a lower salary because they have zero project implementation, others keep the same salary because they got a job in the same hospital where they work as a clinical nurse, and others actually get a salary raise when they get a job in informatics.

There is really no formula that will tell you what type of salary you’re going to get.

I know of colleagues who were so desperate to get a job in this field that they decided to take a job at a much lower pay because they simply wanted to get their foot in the door.

And I’ve met a few who got a significant raise when they switched fields.

What needs to be keep in mind is that no matter what salary you’re offered, ALWAYS negotiate.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a higher sum because many times the employer will say something along the lines of, “we can talk to HR to see if we can offer you a higher salary, but if we can’t, the offer still stands.”

Thus, there is nothing to lose. You ask for a higher offer, it is not approved, but you still have the job, so nothing lost.

I have seen that many nurses don’t negotiate their salary and take whatever is offered. And from my personal experience, it seems that employers always love to low-ball candidates, so negotiate!

But if you want to get an idea as to what others are making in your state, then visit my other page where I break down salaries by state, and even cities.

If you’re getting a job in a different state or city, make sure you get an idea of what the living costs are in that city. Making 75k in Texas for example, is not the same as making 75k in the Northeast, for example.

As far as making a higher salary, yes, it is possible to do it as an entry level analyst, but again, there is no formula out there that I can give you that will say, if you follow this formula, for sure you’ll make more money.

What is guaranteed though is that with experience, you’ll probably make more money than what you did as a clinical nurse.

Is it true that an informatics nurse can make from 75 to 100 dollars per hour? How can I get these type of jobs?

Yes, this is a possibility, but is definitely not the average salary out there.

Consulting travel jobs pay a lot more than your regular “hospital” and even vendor jobs.

When you work for a hospital or a vendor as an informatics analyst, most likely you will have a yearly salary, and these salaries as I have discussed in my other posts, vary by state, type of position, type of application you support, and also your experience.

You will have your usual hours, 8 to 5, 40 hours a week, and so many weeks of vacation. Obviously some weeks you might work than 40 hours, but since you have a yearly salary, you might be compensated with some time off, or whatever else the employer deems appropriate.

When you work as a consultant, you then get a hourly rate. The minimal hourly rate I have seen as a consultant is 50 dollars per hour. Rate increases of course based on position, application, location, etc.

Again, to be a consultant, you need to have past experience. If you have never worked in the field before, then most likely you can’t really expect to get a job in a consulting company and come out and make 75 dollars per hour.

Probably you will have to start in the typical analyst role and once you get some experience, then you can start branching out in the consulting world.

Or some people are lucky and they were super users in the past and they used that experience to land consulting jobs.

I have met a couple of nurses who did this before, and go live support or training gigs are the ones that tend to offer these type of opportunities.

However, go live support gigs or training gigs tend to be short assignments so once those are finished, then you’re back to looking for new clients, but at least you have experience that can go on your resume.

The risks of having a consulting job is that you might be hired for a year contract, but then in the middle of the project, the client might decide they don’t need you anymore and then you’re out of a job. If no other projects come up, then you’re on the bench, not making money.

However, to get these jobs, you need to have some experience in the field. It is unlikely that if you have no experience in the field, you will be hired by a consulting company and make 100 dollars per hour.

And also, not every consulting job pays 75 dollars per hour. Some pay less, some can pay more, but again, it all depends on the experience you have, on the skills you possess, and even in the location where you work.

I’ve also been contacted on this blog by other readers and told that some consulting companies out there will offer entry level nurses a salary of less than 60,000 dollars per year, in exchange for a 2 year contract to work with these consulting companies.

The consulting company will train you and then assign you a client.

In my opinion, for a consultant,that is really a low salary, specially when you’re bound by a 2 year contract.

Nonetheless, if that’s the only way you think you can get a foot in the door in the profession, then is not a bad idea. Personally, I wouldn’t do it as I think the salary is low, but I understand that many are trying to get in this field and the competition is severe.

Chris (20 Posts)

Chris Smith works as a clinical analyst consultant with 9 years of experience working in the nursing informatics field. He started this blog to help others learn more about nursing informatics because he got tired of reading a lot of misinformation about this field on the web. You can connect with Chris on Google+

One Response to Readers’ Questions About Nursing Informatics Salaries

  • J. M. says:

    Hi Chris – I like your graph and re-assessment of salary expectations as that has been my experience too. I have been a consultant in the pharma industry for 16 years and have crossed the fence into informatics on a few occasions. I can also corroborate the wild number based on variables. I had a DOD sponsored position that offered $29 / hr as I was quantified as a nurse with some extra education. I also had a job offer for $128,000 / yr but the job was in Bismark, ND. The salary was skewed higher because…Bismark. I’ve been paid b/t $22 and $52 / hr with x hours guaranteed over time. Bragging about $76 an hour is fun over a beer but your graph is grounded in reality. My current info RN gig is $46/hr in Raleigh, NC.

    Also, walking the walk is important. I have degrees in Nursing and Music. But I taught myself some SAS. SQL and played with emulators. My resume got me in the door and my “talk’ got me my first job. After that gig / seal of approval, the jobs came to me.

    Great site for those considering the jump.

    Good luck!

  • kdog says:

    Thanks for putting this information out. People have been putting out false income figures for a lot of fields, definitely Nursing. When I see the figures, my first thought is B.S.!

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