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RHIT CERTIFICATION
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Colorado Technical University
Health Informatics BS

Kaplan University
Health Information Technology AAS
Health Information Management BS

Southern New Hampshire University
Health Informatics MSIT

Ultimate Medical Academy
Medical Billing & Coding AS
Medical Billing & Coding Diploma

University of Cincinnati
Health Informatics MS

University of Illinois at Chicago
Health Informatics Certificate

CAREER OVERVIEWS
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PROGRAMS DIRECTORY
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CAREER INFORMATION
AHIMA Candidate Guide
HIM Certifications and Credentials

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Fast Growing HIM Field
The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that jobs for the medical record and health information technology field are expected to increase 29% through 2014.

Rewarding Salary Potential
According to The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the median annual salary for entry level medical records and health information management specialists was $48,000 in 2008.



AHIMA Requirements
RHIT Certification

Professionals holding the RHIT credential are health information technicians who:

  • Ensure the quality of medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into computer systems.
  • Use computer applications to assemble and analyze patient data for the purpose of improving patient care or controlling costs.
  • Often specialize in coding diagnoses and procedures in patient records for reimbursement and research. An additional role for RHITs is cancer registrars - compiling and maintaining data on cancer patients.

With experience, the RHIT credential holds solid potential for advancement to management positions, especially when combined with a bachelor's degree.

Although most RHITs work in hospitals, they are also found in other healthcare settings including office-based physician practices, nursing homes, home health agencies, mental health facilities, and public health agencies. In fact, RHITs may be employed in any organization that uses patient data or health information, such as pharmaceutical companies, law and insurance firms, and health product vendors.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Successfully complete the academic requirements, at an associate's degree level, of an HIM program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)

  • OR

  • Graduate from an HIM program approved by a foreign association with which AHIMA has a reciprocity agreement

The academic qualifications of each candidate will be verified before a candidate is deemed eligible to take the examination. All first-time applicants must submit an official transcript from their college or university.

1. Students interested in obtaining a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Certificate of Completion, or Transfer of Credits information must contact the CAHIIM-accredited program in which they wish to enroll regarding their institutional policies.

2. AHIMA and the Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA) shall permit a graduate of a program in HIM at the associate or baccalaureate degree level to apply to write the appropriate certification examination consistent with the academic level achieved and given independently by the two associations. The graduate must meet the educational competencies for certification as a technician or administrator established by the association to which the application is made.

3. Beginning October 6, 2008, students in CAHIIM-accredited programs for RHIT or RHIA, enrolled in their final term of study, are now eligible to apply for and take their respective certification exam early. Eligible students include the following:

  • Students currently enrolled and in their last term of study
  • Students who have completed their course work but have not yet graduated
  • Graduates that are currently waiting for their official transcripts
Source: AHIMA 2010
Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)
Your guide to RHIT careers, certification, and education.
HIM Career Pathways
(provided by AHIMA)

Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) Certification
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

RHIT Certification Requires a CAHIIM Accredited Associate's Degree in Health Information Technology

Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) candidates must have passed AHIMA's national RHIT certification exam. To sit of this exam, AHIMA requires RHIT applicants to complete a CAHIIM accredited Associate's Degree in Health Information Technology / Management. Currently, AHIMA allows students in their final term of study to apply for and take the RHIT certification exam.

93% of RHITs Surveyed by AHIMA Hold a Degree

Health information is increasingly attracting qualified, formally educated professionals. According to the 2011 AHIMA RHIT Job Survey (pdf), 93% of surveyed RHITs hold a degree.

  • 74% of the surveyed RHITs hold an Associate's degree
  • 16% hold a Bachelor's degree
  • 3% hold graduate and post-graduate degrees

Earning the RHIT certification doesn't require extensive amounts of coding experience. In the AHIMA survey, 69% of RHITs earned their certification with one year or less of coding experience. In fact, 36% of surveyed RHITs received their certification with less than 1 month of coding experience.

As the nation continues to implement EMR/EHR, job outlook stays strong (21% job growth for 2010-2020, U.S. BLS) and salary potential is excellent. According to AHIMA's 2012 Salary Survey, RHITs enjoyed average salaries of $49,446, while coders with just the CCA certification earned an average of $40,930.
>> AHIMA 2012 Salary Survey (pdf)

Importance of Earning the AHIMA Certification

Whether you are beginning your health information career or established in the field. an AHIMA certification is an important component in enhancing your salary potential and career opportunities. HIT and HIM professionals can earn AHIMA certification through education, experience, examinations, and continuing professional development. Based on the quality for which an AHIMA certification represents, most employers value and prefer candidates with AHIMA credentials.

>> AHIMA's RHIT Eligibility Requirements
>> RHIT Career Preparation and Certification
>> RHIT Certification Exam Content (pdf)
>> RHIT Career Overview
>> RHIT Career Outlook
>> RHIT Salary
>> RHIT Career Opportunities
>> Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) Overview and Programs

Online Schools - Registered Health Information Technician
Kaplan University Online Editor's Choice

Health Information Technology
Associate of Applied Science

CAHIIM Accredited
Qualify for AHIMA's RHIT Certification
Kaplan Commitment Program: Tuition-Free 3-Week Trial*
Program Accepting Only Military Applicants

The CAHIIM accredited Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology program blends online coursework with on-ground clinical experiences. The objective of this degree program is to help prepare graduates with the knowledge, technical skills, and work habits required to pursue entry-level positions in the competitive and growing health information management field. Graduates of this program will be eligible to sit for AHIMA's RHIT Certification exam.

Health Information Management
Bachelor of Science (Degree Completion)

CAHIIM Accredited
Qualify for AHIMA's RHIA Certification
Kaplan Commitment Program: Tuition-Free 3-Week Trial*
Degree Completion Program

Kaplan University's CAHIIM accredited online Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management offers a solid foundation in planning, designing, managing, and evaluating electronic health information and data systems. The comprehensive curriculum focuses on areas including information systems and technology for health care, management of health information, advanced reimbursement methodology, advanced health informatics, and organizational development for health care. This program is for individuals who have already earned a CAHIIM accredited AAS in Health Information Technology and wish to advance their education and expand their career potential.

Kaplan University also offers:

*Kaplan University is committed to providing quality education and serving your goals. With the Kaplan Commitment, students can enroll and attend classes for the first 3 weeks with no financial obligation beyond the application fee. Kaplan Commitment is available to new students, online or on campus.

University of Cincinnati Online

University of Cincinnati's commitment to education excellence is recognized through numerous awards and top rankings, such as Top 200 National Universities, Top 100 Public Schools, and #3 Up-and-Coming Schools by U.S. News & World Report.

Health Informatics
Master of Science

Based on CAHIIM Guidelines
Earn in As Little As One Year

University of Cincinnati’s online Master of Science in Health Informatics program was designed by an interdisciplinary group of professionals in academia and practice to prepare active health, health care, and information systems professionals with the practical and leadership skills necessary for leadership opportunities at the forefront of health informatics. Designed from the ground up, the online program specifically addresses the areas of health informatics for which employers and organizations are hiring. Students will examine the diverse health and health care landscape and discover how technology is incorporated throughout the industry. Following CAHIIM (Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education) guidelines, the curriculum also focuses on health data analytics, clinical information systems, privacy and security, database design, standards, process and workflow, project management, communication, leadership, and strategic planning.

Colorado Technical University Online

Colorado Technical University has been ranked among the Best Online Bachelor Programs for 2015 by U.S. News & World Report. CTU offers professionally focused degree programs through our award-winning educational model. CTU boasts over 75,000 graduates and is proud to be ranked as a military friendly school.

Health Informatics
Bachelor of Science

Colorado Technical University's Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management - Health Informatics degree offers instruction in the business and administrative side of the healthcare industry, including, but not limited to, patient access, revenue cycle management, project management, economics of healthcare, and fundamentals of marketing and human resource management. The Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management degree program with a concentration in Health Informatics is designed to help students obtain the didactic theory and hands-on training required to pursue work in management within a healthcare industry.

University of Illinois at Chicago Online

The University of Illinois at Chicago is ranked in the top 4% of 4,000 colleges and universities in the US by U.S. News & World Report. UIC has been ranked among Best Online Bachelor Programs for 2013 by U.S. News & World Report. UIC offers the first online graduate programs in the nation to receive CAHIIM accreditation.

Health Informatics
Post-Master's Certificate

CAHIIM Accredited
Qualify for AHIMA's RHIA Certification

UIC’sCAHIIM accredited online postmaster’s certificate in health informatics program provides opportunities for self-motivated, experienced health care or IT professionals who have already attained at least a master’s-level degree, to attain high level knowledge about the application and management of computers within the healthcare setting.

Ultimate Medical Academy Online

Medical Billing and Coding
Associate of Science

Complete in Just 18 Months
Prepare to Sit for AAPC's CPC Certification Exam

The Associate of Science in Medical Billing and Coding degree program builds on the core courses of our Medical Billing and Coding diploma training program, adding further instruction in business, communication and healthcare to round out the career-focused curriculum. UMA's Associate of Science in Medical Billing and Coding graduates may apply for entry-level positions as a medical billing specialist, medical coder or insurance claims analyst. Holding an associate degree may provide an advantage when applying for jobs and seeking future promotional opportunities in the field. Students also prepare to take the Certified Professional Coding (CPC) exam offered through the American Academy of Professional Coding (AAPC).

Medical Billing and Coding
Diploma

Complete in Just 10 Months
Prepare to Sit for AAPC's CPC Certification Exam

The UMA Diploma program can be completed in less than 10 months and offers the core courses necessary for individuals seeking successful entry into the growing healthcare field. At 39 semester credits, the education and training focus is primarily on how to process healthcare claims, medical records, and the accurate coding of medical and surgical procedures using proper terminology. In addition, students will learn software systems used in the field.

Potential entry-level job position titles for Diploma graduates include Medical Billing Specialist, Medical Coder and Insurance Claims Analyst or other positions in private practices and healthcare providers or facilities. Students also prepare to take the Certified Professional Coding (CPC) exam offered through the American Academy of Professional Coding (AAPC).

Southern New Hampshire University Online

Health Informatics
Master of Science in Information Technology

The MS in IT with a Healthcare Informatics concentration provides specialized knowledge and skills in medical informatics. The Healthcare Informatics Concentration reviews how the healthcare industry uses information systems - electronic medical records and laboratory and radiology systems - to provide access to medical information and improve patient care. Course work includes case studies and research that explore the successful use and management of health information technology. The IT health informatics master's program delves into strategies for implementing healthcare informatics technologies and actual IT project management in a healthcare setting.

Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) Career Overview

RHIT Overview

Registered Health Information Technicians (RHITs) ensure the quality of medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into computer systems. They may also use computer applications to assemble and analyze patient data for the purpose of improving patient care or controlling costs. RHITs often specialize in coding diagnoses and procedures in patient records for reimbursement and research. RHITs may serve as cancer registrars, compiling and maintaining data on cancer patients. With experience, the RHIT credential holds solid potential for advancement to management positions and increase in salary, especially if it is combined with a bachelor's degree.

RHIT Career Outlook

Career outlook and salary potential for RHITs are excellent.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in health information is expected to grow by 22% between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than the average of all occupations.

RHIT Salary

RHITs have excellent earning potential which only improves with further experience, education, and certification. New graduates with an associate's degree can expect to earn $25k to $35K, while graduates with a bachelor's degree can expect to earn $30k to $50k. Depending on the employment setting, many health information professionals with 5 or more years of experience can expect to earn from $50k to $70k.
>> AHIMA 2012 Salary Survey (pdf)

2012 AHIMA Salary Survey: Average Salary by Credential
AHIMA Credential* Coding Professional
2010          2012
Other HIM Tech Roles
2010          2012
CCA $37,428 $40,930 $38,424 $44,101
RHIT $44,807 $49,446 $43,390 $47,487
RHIA $50,494 $56,807 $48,241 $48,018
CCS $50,244 $53,862 $54,535 $59,637
CCS-P $46,859 $48,740 $44,398 $58,558
*Many credential holders can AND do hold multiple credentials.
**The 2012 average salary survey for "Other HIM Technician Roles" holding a CCS-P was based on fewer than 10 respondents.

RHIT Career Opportunities

RHITs have many employment options. Although most RHITs work in hospitals, you will also find them in a variety of other healthcare settings including office-based physician practices, nursing homes, home health agencies, mental health facilities, and public health agencies. In fact employment opportunities exist for RHITs in any organization that uses patient data or health information such as pharmaceutical companies, law and insurance firms, and health product vendors.

Job Titles for HIT Professionals with RHIT Credential
Clinical Coder/Auditor Health Information Technician Medical Coding Specialist
Charge Master Auditor Healthcare Data Analyst Clinical Data Collection & Reporting Specialist
HIM Director Quality Improvement Specialist Document Imaging Coordinator
Consultant Data Integrity Specialist Documentation Specialist
Instructor/Trainer Cancer or Other Disease Registrar HIM Department Manager/Supervisor
Medical Records Supervisor Information Access/Disclosure Specialist

Preparing for an RHIT Career

The RHIT credential is a national certification for health information technicians. To qualify for AHIMA's RHIT Certification, candidates must hold a CAHIIM accredited Associate's degree in Health Information Technology. Although the associate degree curriculum offers some general education, the primary focus is more on the technical component of providing a variety of health information services. The curriculum is designed to prepare entry-level graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to use, analyze, present, abstract, code, store and/or retrieve health care data for the support of departmental operations, and clinical and business decision making in healthcare, or related organizations.

A CAHIIM accredited HIT degree is standard for RHITs. According to the 2011 AHIMA RHIT Job Survey (pdf), 93% of surveyed RHITs hold a degree. Most (74%) of the surveyed RHITs hold an Associate's degree,16% hold a Bachelor's degree, and 3% hold graduate and post-graduate degrees.

Earning the RHIT certification doesn't require extensive amounts of coding experience. In the AHIMA survey, 69% of RHITs earned their certification with one year or less of coding experience. In fact, 36% of surveyed RHITs received their certification with less than 1 month of coding experience.

RHIT candidates must pass the national RHIT certification exam. The 3 1/2 hour exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions. The pass rate of first time test takers for the 2009 RHIT Certification Exam was 82.7%. >> RHIT Exam Content (pdf)

Health Information Management Offers Versatility

By studying health information, students will acquire a versatile yet focused skill set incorporating clinical, information technology, leadership, and management skills. Health information professionals use their knowledge of information technology and records management to form the link between clinicians, administrators, technology designers, and information technology professionals. Health information programs incorporate the disciplines of medicine, management, finance, information technology, and law into one curriculum. Because of this unique mixture, health information graduates can choose from a variety of work settings across an array of healthcare environments.

Careers in health information management can be found in a wide variety of settings, such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Physician's offices
  • Clinics and other medical or mental health facilities
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Educational institutions
  • Insurance companies
  • Government agencies
  • Vendor firms

Benefits of RHIT Certification

Whether you are certified as an RHIT, RHIA, CCA, CCS, etc., earning an AHIMA credential puts you in a special league, positioning you as a leader and role model in the health informatics and information management community. Investing in AHIMA certification is an investment in yourself and your long-term career. AHIMA certification can help you:

  • Improve your earning potential
  • Open the door to more opportunities for career advancement
  • Increase your job mobility and choices even in the face of a tough job market
  • Reach not only your short-term job goals, but also position yourself for success in your long-term career
  • Provide a foundation of broad and deep understanding
  • Be associated with AHIMA's strong and long-standing reputation of integrity and excellence.
  • Connect with a strong network of AHIMA-certified peers. Earning an AHIMA credential plugs you into a prestigious community of ongoing support. Although membership is not required in order to become AHIMA-certified, you can enhance your connection even more by becoming an AHIMA member.

RHIT vs CCS Certification

Both the RHIT and CCS/CCS-P certifications are offered by AHIMA. The CCS certification shows that you are a master of medical coding. The RHIT certification will enable you to move beyond coding and into other health information jobs. For those struggling to decide on which of the two certifications to pursue first, educators, coding professionals, and AHIMA strongly recommend that candidates pursue the RHIT certification first. By completing a CAHIIM accredited HIT program, candidates will be eligible to sit for the RHIT exam.

The CCS/CCS-P certifications are not for newcomers, but they are a logical next step for many RHITs. In AHIMA's 2011 RHIT Job Survey, 46% of respondents also held the CCS or CCS-P credential and 12% of respondents planned to pursue the CCS credential. To sit for the more demanding CCS exam, candidates should have atleast three years of on-the-job experience.

To be eligible for AHIMA's RHIT Certification exam, candidates must have earned an associate degree in health information management or technology in a CAHIIM accredited program.

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