RHIT vs. RHIA Certification – Differences and Similarities

Here is a comparison guide discussing RHit vs. RHIA.

Persons interested in pursuing a career in health information management will have to obtain basic training and enroll in all certifications.

The RHIT and RHIA are among such certifications.

One clear benefit of these certifications is that they help qualify you for a rewarding career in the health information management field.

RHIT or RHIA Certification?

So, if you are confused about what certification type to follow, you might want to read this article to the end for detailed explanations.

Here, we’ve identified what certification best serves your career needs as a health information manager. Let’s begin by explaining what they’re about.

What is RHIT?

First off, RHIT is simply an acronym for registered health information technician.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers the credential. With the RHIT certification, you can work in health management fields like data analysis and health coding.

Essentially, this certification allows you to analyze patient information while impacting patient care and cost.

What more? REITs get to assemble patient data via multiple techniques, which promote accuracy. So, does this sound like a credential you’ll like to pursue?

You’ll have a better idea as you read on.

What is RHIA?

Like RHIT, the American Information Management Association offers credentials RHIA. It simply stands for registered health information administrator.

These AHIMA-certified professionals are trained to perform critical tasks within the health information management field.

Such includes forming the critical link between patients and care providers through collecting and analyzing patient information.

Also, RHIA professionals help maintain functional knowledge of legal, medical, and ethical requirements and standards.

The Points of Comparison

To further understand these health management certifications, we’ll have to consider different vital aspects, such as job titles.

Others include roles, difficulty level, competition, salary, work settings, and educational requirements. All these give clear insight, which is critical to proper understanding.

i. Job Titles

To choose what certification line to go for, you may have to find out what job titles each certification affords you. Now, both RHIT and RHIA professionals are suitable for specific job titles, while there are points of variance for others.

For example, professionals with RHIT or RHIA certifications will be well-suited for job positions like health information technician and document specialist.

Others include the coding manager, director, senior coder, auditor, coding specialist, and health information management manager.

However, looking at the points of differences regarding job titles, RHIT professionals are known to be more suited for positions like cancer registrar and health information technician.

Others include clinical data collection & reporting specialists, quality improvement specialists, and healthcare data analysts.

Clinical coder and auditors are other roles or job titles RHIT professionals hold.

On the other hand, RHIA professionals have unique job titles that include HER implementation specialist, compliance analyst, data integrity analyst, and patient information coordinator.

Data quality manager, HIM director or manager, privacy or security officer, and coding supervisor or manager are other positions held by RHIA professionals.

ii. Job Roles

Both RHIT and RHIA professionals perform essential functions. In the case of the former (RHIT), they handle roles like assembling and analyzing patient data using computer applications.

The use of coding diagnosis and procedures for research and reimbursement is another.

REITs also help complete quality assurance for medical records. This includes checking for accuracy, completeness, and proper data entry.

What more? REITs can also manage data on cancer patients. These are called cancer registrars.

On the other hand, RHIA professionals perform all kinds of essential functions that include interaction with information, clinical, administrative, and financial systems.

They also help manage health information and medical records while collecting and analyzing data.

This serves as computer information system administrators.

Also familiar with RHIAs is the management role they occupy for units and people as they do on administrative committees while also helping prepare budgets,

iii. Level of Difficulty

This is usually an area of interest for persons interested in furthering their careers through certification. Using this factor, it’s easy to say RHIT certification is easier to earn.

In other words, RHIA certification tends to be more challenging to earn.

As a result, RHIA-certified professionals tend to have an edge in employment. The reason is simple—fewer people are passing the RHIA exam impact supply and demand.

That means there’s less competition, thus more employment opportunities for RHIA professionals.

This isn’t to discount the importance of an RHIT certification.

However, because this certification isn’t as difficult to earn as an RHIA, it’s common to find higher competition due to the number of persons passing the exam.

iv. Competition

The competition aspect has been mentioned or discussed to an extent to represent the demands for skills and the availability of trained professionals to fill them.

We’ve clearly shown that there’s less competition for RHIA professionals than the higher competition RHIT professionals face.

This boils down to the point discussed earlier; the level of difficulty. It’s easier for RHIT professionals to pass their exams than for RHIA professionals.

v. Salary

Before going into any field or profession, one of the primary considerations most people have is how financially rewarding their positions will become.

According to an AHIMA salary survey in 2019, health information management professionals with an RHIT earned an average of $70,300 per year.

As expected, those professionals with RHIA credentials earned higher, with an average of $91,450. The term “as expected” refers to the difficulty level involved in making an RHIA certification.

vi. Work Settings

It’s also essential to include the work settings of these professionals. For the most part, both RHIT and RHIA professionals work in similar environments.

These include public health agencies, physician offices, mental health facilities, home health agencies, and nursing homes.

vii. Educational Requirements

Training as an RHIT will require completing an associate degree from a health information management program.

Of course, the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics & Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

For an RHIA certification, you must complete a bachelor’s or master’s level requirement of a CAHIIM-accredited program.

These are basic similarities and differences between RHIT and RHIA. Aspiring professionals will need to consider their level of preparedness for either profession.