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Get Credentialed!

Check out information on the Credentials and Certifications offered by professional organizations in the HIM industry.

  • Credentials offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) include the certified coding associate (CCA), certified coding specialist (CCS), certified coding specialist-physician-based (CCS-P), registered health information administrator (RHIA), registered health information technician (RHIT), certification in healthcare privacy and security (CHPS) and the certified health data analyst (CHDA). To learn more, visit
  • The National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) offers the certified tumor registrar credential. More information can be found at     
  • The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) offers the Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS) and Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS). Find out more at
  • You can also garner certified professional coder (CPC), certified professional coder-hospital (CPC-H), certified professional coder-payer (CPC-P) and specialty credentials from the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Click for more information.     
  • Offered by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is the certified professional in healthcare information and management systems (CPHIMS), and can tell you more.

New to the Field?
"Newbies" can only sit for certain credentials. Professional associations have created certain credentials geared toward the entry-level HIM professional. The following is a list of credentials that an entry-level professional could sit for. To read more on any of these credentials, visit the Web sites above.

To be eligible for the RHIT credential, potential test takers must have completed a CAHIIM-accredited associate degree program in HIM. Eligible applicants can also graduate from a foreign country's HIM program as long as AHIMA has a reciprocity agreement with that country's professional association, according to AHIMA.

AHIMA also offers the CCA credential to new coders. To be eligible to sit for the exam, you must have a high school diploma or an equivalent diploma. It's recommended that you have at least 6 months' experience with ICD-9-CM and CPT coding.

The requirements to sit for the certified tumor registrar credential are changing. Only one route allows less than 1-year of experience as a cancer registrar for the year 2009. To sit for the CTR, candidates must complete an NCRA-accredited education program, along with 160 hours of practicum in a CTR-staffed registry. See all NCRA-accredited programs.

For new MTs, AHDI offers the RMT credential. Any MT, even recent graduates of MT education programs and MTs with fewer than 2 years of acute care experience, can take the exam. The exam has a 50 percent pass rate, according to Kim Buchanan, director of credentialing and education with AHDI, but graduates of approved schools have a 75 percent pass rate. For information on approved schools, visit

To sit for the CPC exam, coders should have 2 years of experience, and an associate degree is recommended. However, if a coder doesn't have that 2 years' experience, they may still sit for the exam, and upon completion, they'll be given a CPC with an apprentice designation until the experience requirement is met. For more information on the CPC, visit


I have completed my certication in coding from US career. I had a position as a Director of Medical Records for 13years and coded medical records in LTC for about 15 yrs. I am a LPN and have a diploma as a legal nurse from Kaplan College. Where do I take my test and what kind of test do I take ?

Judy Moran,  LPN,  AvanteJuly 03, 2013
Inverness, FL

I would suggest going to the websites of the AHDI mentioned above, which provides a list of approved schools. You'll also find useful information on the AAPC site as well. If you're looking for specific recommendations, you could either post your question on our Facebook ( or LinkedIn ( pages for feedback from HIM professionals who are already certified.

Lisa Brzezicki,  Editor,  ADVANCENovember 16, 2012

I am a registered nurse interested in gaining •Certification as a RHIA, CCS, RHIT, CPC, CPC-H, CPC-P, or CCS-P.. any recommendations as far as schools. I have a Bachelor's in nursing and a Master's in health care Administration.

nicole moncrieffe,  rnNovember 09, 2012
atlanta, GA

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