This article discusses how to become a health information manager. These experts’ educational and certification prerequisites and salaries are a few things to discuss.

To enter this growing field, you must know the appropriate steps to become one.

How To Become A Certified Health Information Manager

Many healthcare settings today rely on data to provide high-quality patient care. The health information management team often provides these data, including HIM.

They acquire education and training in collecting, managing, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from hospital data. Moreover, they guide clinical agencies to make data-driven decisions that enhance patient care.

  • What does a health information manager do?

HIMs are an essential part of the medical team in the clinical industry. They perform numerous tasks that are critical for optimizing quality services for patients.

One of their primary functions is to control the data related to patient’s medical information. These details include diagnosis, symptoms, completed procedures, recommended procedures, and anticipated outcomes.

He also manages patients’ medical histories, protects confidential information about clients, and analyzes details regarding insurance providers.

Developing a system for gathering health data, ensuring coding procedures go smoothly, and abiding by local, state, and federal regulations are additional duties of these experts.

Health Information Manager Skills and Qualifications

Anyone pursuing this career must meet certain academic, experience, and certification essentials. In most cases, satisfying them will cost you time, money, and effort.

But after investing a lot, you can get the dividends of your investment plus profit. Let’s briefly run through these steps one by one.

  • Obtain a High School Diploma or GED

When starting to become a HIM, a secondary school certificate, or GED, is the first academic credential you’ll require. While obtaining such certification, you’ll offer courses such as biology, math, computer science, and other related subjects.

These courses will provide the background knowledge you need to start a fantastic career in the field. Moreover, you can quickly secure admission to acquire an undergraduate degree in this field.

  • Associate Degree in HIM

It would be best to have more than a high school diploma to make you an expert. To get started, you must acquire at least an associate degree or certificate program in HIT.

Such education can equip you with some competencies in the field. This can further lead you to acquire a leading and rewarding entry-level job.

Earning an associate degree in HIT or HIM takes an average of two years or less. You can complete such studies at a community college, vocational center, or other certified training program.

  • Bachelor’s Degree in HIM

You’ll need advanced education, such as a BS in HIM, to succeed in this expanding field.

The same qualifications in related areas like business admin, healthcare admin, and computer science are other ways to join the industry.

During your studies, you’ll be provided with basic knowledge of hospital practices, professional standards, and business operations.

Moreover, you’ll learn about issues like risk management, medical law, and compliance. In some institutions, you can take courses in health informatics to learn about software and technologies.

It takes around four years to finish a BS in HIM. You can acquire such credentials at the university, community college, or through specialized training courses.

While you do that, ensure you seek schools fully certified by CAHIIM.

  • Gain Work Experience

You’ll also need to acquire relevant clinical experience before becoming an expert. Such competency can be obtained during or after your studies.

Most institutions include internships with medical facilities or insurance firms in their syllabus. This will allow you to gain experience working with medical records and other relevant systems.

Moreover, you’ll be allowed to build your professional network, which could be highly beneficial when you graduate. Some places you can acquire hands-on experience include the hospital, doctor’s office, and other clinical settings.

Those who want to gain experience after school should consider working in admin positions in a clinical facility. Alternatively, you can opt for entry-level jobs like front desk clerks.

These roles allow you to make professional connections within the clinical industry.

  • Earn Certification

Attestation is an optional step for HIM. But having one can be an effective way to improve your career prospects. According to reports, obtaining a professional certificate can help you perform as a leader within the HIM community.

Moreover, it will help you distinguish yourself from other job seekers. Most employers prioritize candidates with such qualifications, especially for high-paying positions.

Some certifications you can obtain are RHIT and RHIA. These credentials are provided by AHIMA, depending on your level of education.

Before you receive either of these certifications, you must meet certain conditions. These include holding an associate degree in HIM from a CAHIIM-certified institution.

You’ll need to have some level of experience and pass the professional exams. Upon success, you’ll be given your certificate, which will be renewed after a certain period.

While renewing this credential, certain essentials must be fulfilled. You’ll be required to pay for recertification and complete some hours of continued education.

About HIM Certification Exams

The professional test consists of 170 to 200 multiple-choice questions to be answered in under four hours.

Questions are picked from various topics, including information governance, revenue management, oversight and leadership, data analytics and informatics, and privacy and oversight.

Before writing the exams, you must pay an application fee of $229 to $299.

Work Environments for HIM

You’re trained to work in various settings as an expert in this field. These include hospitals, insurance companies, government establishments, and clinics.

Your job will typically be to lead teams of other experts in the area. Plus, you’ll oversee all aspects of clinical data with an organization.

Average Wage of HIM

Fortunately, this profession is highly lucrative compared to other careers in the clinical industry.

Based on the BLS report for 2020, the average annual pay of these practitioners is around $118,800. Their salary can go as high as $195,630 and as low as $59,980.

While true, how much you’ll earn while working at HIM depends on a few factors: your geographical location, level of education, years of experience, work settings, and specialty area.

It would be best to weigh these factors before accepting a job offer to make informed decisions.

Growing into an expert in HIM is both exciting and rewarding. However, entering this career involves satisfying academic and certification essentials.

As you can see above, you’ll need an associate or undergraduate degree. After that, you’ll gain experience before starting your career in full.