RHIA Certification

What is the RHIA Certification?

RHIA stands for registered health information administrator. The RHIA certification is earned by taking a comprehensive exam. Passing the exam qualifies you as:

  • An expert in:
    • Managing patient health information and medical records
    • Administering computer information systems
    • Collecting and analyzing patient data
    • Using classification systems and medical terminologies
  • Possessing comprehensive knowledge of:
    • Medical standards
    • Administrative standards
    • Ethical and legal requirements
  • Able to manage staff and department operations
  • Able to interact throughout the levels of a facility:
    • Clinical
    • Financial
    • Administrative
    • Information Systems

Who is the RHIA Certified by?

RHIA certification is administered and awarded by the American Health Information Management (AHIMA). They are considered leaders of the HIM (health information management) profession across the globe.

Created in 1928, it has been their mission to improve the quality of medical records. They advance, lead and support the HIM profession. Focus is placed on the individuals serving as HIM professionals by providing resources that promote a higher quality of knowledge, skill and ability.

Requirements for Certification Eligibility

Not just anyone can sit for the RHIA exam. You must have the right educational background to be considered eligible to earn a RHIA certification.

Having one of the following will meet the eligibility requirement:

  • Successful completion of a HIM bachelor’s program accredited by CAHIIM*
  • Successful completion of a HIM master’s program accredited by CAHIIM
  • Graduation from a HIM program approved by a foreign association with which AHIMA has a reciprocity agreement

*Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education

Although having the appropriate educational background increases your chances of being eligible to take the exam, you will still need to accurately complete and submit an application.

Applying for RHIA

While some applications feel like they take hours to complete, the process for the RHIA is straightforward. There is a two page application that you complete online or in paper form. Paper applications will need to be mailed to AHIMA.

The application focuses on basic personal information, such as name and address, and background information, like your education and work experience. Along with your application you will submit an application fee and your official transcripts. This fee is actually the full amount of the exam cost, which is $229 for AHIMA members and $299 for non-members.

If you are deemed ineligible to sit for the AHIMA exam you will receive a refund minus a $75 processing fee. Make sure you are as accurate and thorough as possible when filling out the AHIMA application. Double and even triple check the information you submit. Submitting inaccurate information could cause you to be ineligible for the exam, which wastes both your time and money.

How Can a Certification Help Me?

AHIMA reports that professionals with a RHIA certification earn more annually than those who earn other certifications. You have the ability to earn more because RHIA qualifies you as an administrator. Other certifications (RHIT, CCS or CCS-P) qualify you for lower-level positions, such as a technician or a coder.

You cannot be a RHIA without having a RHIA certification. That may sound redundant, but it is important to mention. If your goal is to become a registered administrator in health information you will need to earn a RHIA certification.

For health information administration jobs that do not specifically require a RHIA certification, having a RHIA will give you the upper hand over non-RHIA applicants.

The RHIA Exam Broken Down

The RHIA is a four hour exam that is made up of 180 multiple choice questions.

You can expect the exam to cover topics such as:

  • Classification Systems
  • Data Management and Secondary Data Sources
  • Health Law
  • Data Privacy, Confidentiality, and Security
  • Health Information Technologies
  • Information Integrity and Data Quality
  • Coding
  • Human Resources Management
  • Ethics

You might dread taking tests or feel intimidated by such an extensive exam, but remember, you cannot qualify for the exam unless you have the proper education. Having the right educational background means that you should have all of the knowledge you need to earn the certification.

If you qualify but are anxious that what you know won’t be enough to pass the exam, you should review the exam content and study as much as you need to feel confident.


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