Working as a critical link between care providers, payers, and patients, the RHIA:
Is an expert in managing patient health information and medical records, administering computer information systems, collecting and analyzing patient data, and using classification systems and medical terminologies.
Possesses comprehensive knowledge of medical, administrative, ethical and legal requirements and standards related to healthcare delivery and the privacy of protected patient information.
Manages people and operational units, participates in administrative committees, and prepares budgets.
Interacts with all levels of an organization - clinical, financial, administrative, and information systems - that employ patient data in decision-making and everyday operations.
RHIA applicants must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:
Successfully complete the academic requirements, at the baccalaureate level, of an HIM program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
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. Please visit the program directory Web site at www.cahiim.org/directory to access the list of CAHIIM-accredited programs.
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 who are currently waiting for their official transcripts
Source: AHIMA 2010
Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) Your guide to RHIA careers, certification, and education.
HIM Career Pathways
(provided by AHIMA)
Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) Career Overview and Degrees
Registered Health Information Administrators (RHIAs) are skilled in managing patient health information and medical records, administering computer information systems, collecting and analyzing patient data, and using classification systems and medical terminologies. They possess comprehensive knowledge of medical, administrative, ethical and legal requirements and standards related to healthcare delivery and the privacy of protected patient information.
RHIAs manage people and operational units, participate in administrative committees, and prepare budgets. They interact with all levels of organizations - clinical, financial, administrative, and information system - that employ patient data in decision-making and everyday operations.
RHIA Career Opportunities
RHIAs enjoy job opportunities in a broad range of settings that span the continuum of healthcare including hospitals, multispecialty clinics and physician practices, long-term care, mental health, and other ambulatory care settings. The profession has seen significant expansion in nonpatient care settings, with careers in managed care and insurance companies, software vendors, consulting services, government agencies, education, and pharmaceutical companies. Prospects are especially strong in these settings for RHIAs who possess advanced degrees in business or health administration.
Job Titles for HIM Professionals with RHIA Credential
Health Information Technician
Medical Coding Specialist
Charge Master Auditor
Healthcare Data Analyst
Clinical Data Collection & Reporting Specialist
Quality Improvement Specialist
Document Imaging Coordinator
Data Integrity Specialist
Cancer or Other Disease Registrar
HIM Department Manager/Supervisor
Medical Records Supervisor
Information Access/Disclosure Specialist
RHIA Career Outlook
Career outlook and salary potential for RHIAs are excellent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in health information is expected to grow by 15% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than the average of all occupations.
RHIAs have excellent earning potential. According to the U.S. BLS, Health Information Technicians earned a median salary of $37,1100 in 2015, while Health Managers earned a median salary of $94,500. According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) 2012 salary study, the average RHIA salary was $56,807. This is over $7K more than than the average salary for RHITs. >> AHIMA 2012 Salary Survey (pdf)
2012 AHIMA Salary Survey: Average Salary by Credential
Coding Professional 2010 2012
Other HIM Tech Roles 2010 2012
*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.
Preparing for an RHIA Career
The RHIA credential is a national certification for health information administrators and managers. First, RHIA candidates must have a CAHIIM accredited bachelor's degree in Health Information Management or Health Informatics. The baccalaureate degree curriculum has a strong foundation in general education and lays the groundwork for future advanced learning at the graduate level for those interested in pursuing advanced studies. At the professional coursework level, the baccalaureate degree curriculum requires in-depth knowledge and skills in data content and uses, healthcare systems, information systems analysis and design, selected information and communication technologies, statistical analysis and clinical data management,
research and evaluation methods, and strategic management of information resources. The expertise of the baccalaureate degree graduate lies in the planning, analysis, design, and management of healthcare information resources and services. The focus is on preparing mid-level managers. Second, RHIA candidates must pass the national RHIA Certification Exam. This 4 hour exam consists of 180 multiple choice questions. The pass rate for first time test takers of the 2009 RHIA Certification exam was 70.6%. >> RHIA Exam Content (pdf)
Health Information Management Offers Versatility
By studying health information, students can 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:
Clinics and other medical or mental health facilities
Benefits of RHIA 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.
Note: To be eligible for AHIMA's RHIA Certification exam, candidates must have completed a bachelor degree level health information management program accredited by CAHIIM.
Salary and employment figures are based on a national median and may vary by location.
Online Schools - Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA)
Kaplan University Online
Health Information Management
Bachelor of Science
The objective of the Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management program is to prepare you with the knowledge, technical skills, and work habits to be an innovative and adaptable critical thinker and problem solver. Individuals that possess these qualities are capable of using available services and technologies to support operations, management, and decision-making initiatives within the health information field. In addition, the curriculum encourages lifelong learning and addresses the evolving professional skills of baccalaureate degree students.
Master of Health Information Management
The Master of Health Information Management is designed to prepare you for a career in senior-level health information management. Based on various global health information management markets, the program incorporates an interprofessional approach to the curriculum through collaborative work.
You will study how to manage health information to support data-driven improvements in clinical, financial, and public health outcomes. The program includes graduate-level courses on senior-level health information management, global health information systems design, selection, implementation, support, and maintenance, epidemiology, quality indicators, systems testing and evaluation, privacy, and decision support and outcome analysis.
Ashford University Online
Health Information Management
Bachelor of Science
The Ashford University Health Information Management program prepares graduates to enter the healthcare industry well versed in health information management, health data management, and management of health information services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that health information managers are among the fastest-growing occupations. If you want to work in the health care industry, but don't want to care for people directly, then this degree might be for you. With a broad healthcare background, graduates will seek employment in all levels of healthcare and interact with a wide spectrum of other healthcare professions. The curriculum blends the disciplines of management, finance, information technology, medicine and law into one program.
Colorado Technical University Online
Healthcare Management / Health Informatics
Bachelor of Science
Colorado Technical University's Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management (BSHCM) degree program now offers a concentration in Health Informatics. The industry-relevant curriculum is designed to provide students with a background in healthcare management and an understanding of how information technology is used within the healthcare environment.
Forbes School of Business and Technology at Ashford University Online
Business Information Systems
Bachelor of Arts
Build a repository of skills in the modern business environment when you earn your online Bachelor of Arts in Business Information Systems degree from the Forbes School of Business & Technology™ at Ashford University. This degree program is a great fit if you aspire to be a systems trainer, support specialist, e-commerce developer, or business analyst. Your Bachelor of Arts in Business Information Systems demonstrates your proficiency at designing, developing, implementing, as well as troubleshooting information systems in a high-tech organization. You will complete online coursework in database management, systems analysis, technology planning, programming concepts, business law, and procurement.
University of Scranton Online
Master of Science
With the online Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) from The University of Scranton, you will make informed, data-driven healthcare decisions that keep a person's health at the center of his or her care. Focused on developing an integrative approach to patient care, the master's in health informatics will equip you with interdisciplinary tools in computer science, communication, information systems, and leadership – giving you the breadth and depth of knowledge necessary to excel in the growing, in-demand field of Health Informatics.
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.
Master of Health Informatics
The online Master of Health Informatics was created by the UC College of Allied Health Sciences in conjunction with the Carl H. Lindner College of Business, home to one of North America's top 20 analytics programs (as selected by InformationWeek). The program consists of 12 three-credit courses designed to provide a well-rounded curriculum with real-world relevance in health care, IT/IS training, analytics, leadership development and project management. The coursework covers topics that can help prepare students for certification. Students will be enrolled in at least 6 credits per term, and can complete the 36-credit-hour program in as few as 24 months.
Grand Canyon University Online
Health Care Informatics
Master of Science
The Masters Degree in Health Care Informatics is designed for those interested in using information technology, both hardware and software, for better decision making and better patient outcomes. Graduates of this program will be prepared to integrate information technology with health care to support the continuous improvement in patient-care systems, project management, decision making, quality assessment and health care system operations.This health care informatics program involves courses that focus on topics such as: health care politics and economics, legal and ethical principles in health care, and health care research and application. Students will also critically analyze health care research, health care information systems and technology, data management, and the use of health data for process improvement, cost containment, and effective health care delivery. The history, application, impact, and future need for informatics in health care will also be examined.
Adelphi University Online
U.S. News & World Report listed Adelphi as a Best College in its critique of 1,600 institutions, ranking the school in the top ten percent nationwide.
Master of Science
Adelphi's Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics program prepares graduates for careers in health and medical informatics in academic, healthcare or industrial settings. Our curriculum trains students to use information technology for efficient, accurate healthcare delivery and management. Adelphi's health informatics degree prepares students for management and leadership roles in the healthcare industry. Students who choose this graduate program are often IT professionals pursuing health information management or healthcare professionals pursuing information technology specializations.