HIM vs. MPH – Which Degree Should You Choose?

Are you interested in a career in health care but unsure of the difference between pursuing a degree in Health Information Management (HIM) or a Master of Public Health (MPH)? Making the right degree choice will significantly impact your future career opportunities. Below, we compare HIM and MPH degrees, helping you determine which program best suits your career goals and interests.

Understanding the Differences Between HIM and MPH Degrees

Graduate programs in Health Information Management and Public Health have fundamental differences. A HIM degree offers a unique blend of health care and technology knowledge. An HIM degree focuses on managing health care information and gives you the skills to organize, analyze, and secure patient data. HIM master’s degrees offer concentrated Health Informatics and Health Service Management options.  They involve course work in health information technology, medical coding, data analysis and health care regulations.

A Master of Public Health degree equips you with expertise in addressing disease prevention, health promotion and health care policy. MPH degrees are designed for those interested in addressing broader public health issues. These degrees can be concentrated in fields such as Epidemiology, Healthcare Management, Dietetics and Social and Behavioral Sciences.  The curriculum typically covers biostatistics, public health policy and environmental health.

HIM Degree Career Opportunities

With the increasing digitization of health care data, the demand for professionals with HIM expertise is rising. One of the most common roles for HIM graduates is that of a health information manager. Health information managers are responsible for ensuring the accuracy, accessibility and security of patient records. They manage electronic health record systems and ensure compliance with privacy regulations. The Master of Science in Health Information Management: Health Informatics Option is an excellent fit if you’re interested in a career as a health information manager.

Another common career path for HIM graduates is that of a health service manager. The Master of Science in Health Information Management: Health Service Management Option is for those interested in this career path.  Health service managers are the behind-the-scenes heroes who keep hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities running smoothly. They oversee day-to-day operations to ensure compliance with regulations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow 28 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations” (2023).

HIM professionals also excel at data analysis and clinical coding. They have the skills to analyze health care data, identify trends and generate insights to inform decision-making and improve patient outcomes.

MPH Degree Career Opportunities

One of the most common career paths for MPH graduates is that of an epidemiologist. Students interested in this career path should look into the MPH in Epidemiology. Epidemiologists study the patterns, causes and effects of diseases in populations. They conduct research, analyze data and provide disease prevention and control recommendations. Epidemiologists are crucial in outbreak investigations, policy development and public health surveillance.

Another career option for MPH graduates is working as a health program coordinator. The MPH in Public Healthcare Management or MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences are great options if you want to pursue a career implementing, evaluating and improving public health programs.  This could involve working on initiatives related to chronic disease prevention, maternal and child health or community health promotion.

MPH graduates also find opportunities as dieticians. The MPH in Dietetics is an accredited program that will qualify you to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). With a public health degree, you might work for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, research institutions or health care systems.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Between HIM and MPH Degrees

When deciding between an HIM and MPH degree, it’s essential to consider various factors that align with your interests, goals and strengths.

One factor to consider is your passion for technology. An HIM degree may be a better fit if you enjoy working with health care information systems, electronic health records and data analysis tools. On the other hand, if you are more interested in studying population health trends, conducting research and developing interventions, an MPH degree may be the right choice.

Analytical skills are another consideration. HIM professionals need strong analytical skills to interpret and make sense of complex health care data. A Health Information Management Degree may be a good fit if you enjoy working with numbers, identifying patterns and deriving insights from data. MPH programs also require analytical skills, but the focus is on analyzing population-level data and conducting research studies.

Career aspirations and job preferences should also guide your decision. An HIM degree is preferable if you see yourself working in a hospital or health care system. An MPH degree will position you to work in public health agencies, research institutions or nonprofit organizations.


In conclusion, choosing between a HIM degree and an MPH degree requires careful consideration of your interests, skill set and career goals. A HIM degree offers varied career paths and a focus on technology. On the other hand, an MPH degree equips you with the expertise needed to address public health challenges, with a diverse range of career options and the potential to make a broader impact on communities.

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