In health information management (HIM), credentials are Ron Burgundy.
Many times, you need a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification to be considered for HIM positions at hospitals, clinics, and other health facilities. (See this post if you’d like to learn the basics of RHIA certification.)
But when you’re applying for an HIM job, you may wonder: as a RHIA-certified professional, how many people am I competing against?
Let’s look at the data.
RHIA credential: harder to earn, more desirable
Using an online database from AHIMA—the organization that grants RHIA and other certifications—we can examine the number of newly credentialed professionals in specific regions.
Last year, 20 people passed the RHIA exam and became registered health information administrators in Wisconsin.
Compare this to more than 75 Wisconsinites who passed the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) exam in 2015. Why the large difference in number of new RHIA- and RHIT-certified professionals?
As UW HIMT Program Manager Wil Limp explains, “a CAHIIM-accredited bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite to taking the RHIA exam, making the credential more difficult to earn than other AHIMA certifications. This also makes RHIA-certified professionals more desirable to employers.”
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A rise in new registered health information administrators
In the past five years, the number of registered health information administrators who passed the RHIA exam in Wisconsin nearly tripled.
Wil believes UW Health Information Management and Technology (HIMT) graduates may be partly responsible for the recent spike in new RHIA credentials in Wisconsin, since the UW HIMT program at UW-Green Bay is the first CAHIIM-accredited HIM bachelor’s degree program offered by University of Wisconsin.
This makes sense. Neighboring states Minnesota and Illinois have had accredited HIM programs at non-profit universities for years and consistently produce more RHIA-credentialed professionals than Wisconsin.
For Wisconsin HIM professionals, fewer new RHIA credentials could mean more job opportunities
In its 2014 Workforce Study, AHIMA predicted that the health information management practice will become more specialized—and the demand for credentials will only increase.
Today, you can see this reflected in HIM job descriptions.
Searching the terms “RHIA” and “Wisconsin” results in 95 job matches in AHIMA’s online job bank, 105 on Indeed.com, and 56 on Monster.com. And all position openings in the Wisconsin AHIMA chapter job network require or prefer an RHIA credential.
In Wisconsin, fewer new RHIA credentials means that these jobs are ripe for the picking for RHIA-certified professionals.
And there’s more good news. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that HIM jobs will grow faster than average nationally, with employment of medical records and health information technicians increasing 15 percent and medical and health services managers increasing 17 percent from 2014 to 2024.
If you’re waiting for the right moment to start your HIM career, now is the time. Wil says, “Earning a bachelor’s degree in HIM, along with professional credentials, is crucial to starting and advancing your healthcare career. It shows employers you are committed to life-long learning.”
For more information about the UW HIMT program, please speak with an enrollment adviser at 1-877-UW-LEARN (895-3276) or firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out the form to the right to be contacted by an adviser.