How to get a job in health care IT

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All signs point to health care as a stable, long-term choice for IT careers

Looking for an industry with long-term stability for your IT career? There's probably no safer bet than health care. Redwood City, Calif.-based recruiting firm Robert Half Technology tracked the top five fastest-growing industries in the United States in nine separate regions in 2012; in seven of the nine regions, health care ranked first or second, and it was third in the other two regions. And in four of those regions, the associated industry of medical technology showed up as well.

Likewise, in its 2012 survey, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives reported that average salaries for senior health care IT positions ranged from $128,193 for directors of IS or IT up to $310,326 for CIOs. (According to Salary.com, the comparative average salary across all IT verticals is higher for a director of IT but lower for a CIO.)

And current rates are trending in the $400,000 range for chief medical information officers, executives who combine both medical and informatics degrees, according to medical executive search firm Witt/Kieffer, based in Oak Brook, Ill.

If those quantitative measures aren't enough for you, consider the qualitative evidence. Healthcare, perhaps more than any other industry, is beset by change -- with a lot of mandated by new laws and regulations that can only efficiently be implemented through technology. Add to that the increasing use of electronic medical records (EMRs), digital and wireless medical devices, and a bulge in the aging population, and health care's viability as a career couldn't be clearer.

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