How Can I Become a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA)?

Research what it takes to become a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA). Learn about education requirements, job duties, median salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Electronic Medical Records degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Registered Health Information Administrator?

Health information administrators, also known as medical records or health information technicians, are responsible for the maintenance and safety of medical and health data stored on electronic filing systems. In hospitals, doctor's offices and other healthcare facilities, they compile patient data and organize it in databases and electronic health records. Although certification is not required by the government, the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) designation is offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), and it can increase employment prospects.

The table below outlines some key career facts for registered health information administrators.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Health information management
Certification Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) designation
Key Responsibilities Update, maintain and ensure the security of medical records stored on electronic filing systems
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 15% for all medical records and health information technicians
Median Salary (2016)** $46,134

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Would I Do as a Registered Health Information Administrator?

Health information management is an important part of the business side of healthcare. As a health information administrator, you'd be responsible for updating and maintaining patients' records to ensure their security, particularly as the healthcare industry transitions to electronic filing systems. Federal regulations govern the maintenance and storage of medical records, so you'd need to be up-to-date with the laws in your field.

You could work with a group of physicians, overseeing multiple office procedures, such as billing, budgeting and planning. If you work in a hospital, you could work longer hours due of the volume of patients and the 24-hour care system. Depending on your work environment, you might oversee all of the administrative duties or be responsible for just some tasks.

What Education Do I Need?

While you could qualify for an entry-level health information administrator position with a bachelor's degree, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that it's common for healthcare administrators to hold a master's degree. The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) accredits programs at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. You could study information analysis, human resources and legal requirements.

Completing a CAHIIM-accredited bachelor's degree program qualifies you to take the examination for registration with the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Enrolling in a master's degree program might be a good option if you wish to further you career after seeking your professional credentials and gaining some experience.

How Do I Become Registered?

The American Health Information Management Association offers voluntary certifications for health information management professionals, including the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) designation. To be eligible to take the exam for the RHIA credential, you must have completed or be in the final semester of a CAHIIIM-accredited Health Information Management (HIM) baccalaureate degree program. You can then take the 180 multiple-choice question exam and, with a passing score, begin using the RHIA credential.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are looking for a career that involves information management, you might be interested in a job as a database administrator. In this job, you would organize and secure data for organizations in a wide range of industries. Alternatively, if you want to work in the medical field, you could consider a job as a health services manager, where you would be responsible for coordinating the daily operations and business concerns of medical facilities. For either of these jobs, you would need to get a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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