Find an AHIMA Program in Your State

What is AHIMA?

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) has served the health information management needs of healthcare professionals for 90 years. AHIMA is a globally recognized, highly regarded association of health information management professionals that informs and advances health informatics and develops professional guidelines for the medical billing and coding industry. AHIMA leads the way in education and advocacy to help improve care at reduced costs for a healthier population.

AHIMA works with college administrators and faculty, government officials, and healthcare and health information professionals to advocate within the field of health informatics and develop resources for students and professionals. The association offers extensive resources and training opportunities, including online and in-person conferences, a published journal, an online library, and regular field updates. AHIMA also grants certifications and credentials to health informatics professionals and approves programs at AHIMA-certified schools. AHIMA offers career planning tools, apprenticeships, mentoring programs, and merit-based scholarships.

The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) is the accrediting body associated with AHIMA. Schools meet rigorous requirements for competencies and curricula. Students are prepared for employment immediately after completing an AHIMA-certified program.

How to Find a AHIMA-Certified Program in Your State

Students seeking an AHIMA-accredited medical coding program in their state should reference the AHIMA website. The Professional Certificate Approval Program (PCAP) is granted to non-degree programs that have met stringent program competencies, including faculty qualifications and program objectives. AHIMA offers a PCAP Directory on its website. To find a program in your state, access the spreadsheet and sort by state.

You can also find a directory of AHIMA-accredited schools that offer associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in health information management (HIM). This directory can be searched by program name, state, degree level, and whether the program is offered online or on campus. Students with a bachelor’s degree or higher in another field may search for a bachelor’s degree certificate. These comprehensive degree completion programs prepare students for careers in HIM.

To access a full list of AHIMA-accredited online coding schools, search the directory under “Any” state or region, select at least one degree level, and click online program delivery. To search by state, select your state from the menu.

Frequently Asked Questions About AHIMA

What Types of Schools Does AHIMA Accredit?

To receive accreditation, the school must be regionally accredited or nationally accredited with Department of Education provisions, and must have offered the medical coding certificate program for at least six months. Schools conduct a self-assessment, apply for accreditation, and complete an independent review process. Curriculum requirements must be met, and each course in the program is reviewed for content, objectives, and standards. The program must include a professional practice experience. Once the review is completed, a committee reviews the study and reviewer recommendations and makes a final decision to award accreditation. AHIMA reviews the school annually to ensure standards are upheld.

What is a CEU?

An internationally recognized system, Continuing Education Units (CEUs) ensure professionals stay current in their education and institutions meet program standards. CEUs are generally calculated as one unit equals 10 education hours. Many certified professionals must complete CEUs annually. These can be earned through accredited continuing education courses. A benefit of joining a professional association is access to continuing education opportunities. Professional associations also update members on the number of required CEUs each year. Association membership is not required to complete CEUs.

Is AHIMA the Only Accrediting Agency for Medical Billing and Coding Programs?

AHIMA is not the only accrediting agency for medical billing and coding programs, although it is the only agency that accredits full degrees. AHIMA reviews and approves the institution’s curriculum, allowing for unique programs that meet stringent standards. All of the institutions that offer AHIMA approved coding programs are regionally accredited.

How Much Does it Cost to Sit for the CCS Exam?

The certified coding specialist (CCS) exam fee is $284.05 for AHIMA Premier members, $299 for AHIMA members, and $399 for non-members. Students should know this is not the only CCS online course. The certified coding specialist physician-based (CCS-P) exam fee is $299 for AHIMA members; $399 for non-members. The certified coding associate (CCA) exam fee is $199 for AHIMA members; $299 for non-members.

What is the CCHIIM?

The Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management (CCHIIM) is a commission of AHIMA charged with developing certification standards and procedures. CCHIIM functions as an independent authority within AHIMA and oversees the certification and recertification programs. The commission serves healthcare consumers by ensuring the evidence-based competency and professional development of HIIM professionals.

A diverse set of professionals staffs CCHIIM. The commission leadership consists of a chair, and chair-elect and a past-chair and 12 commissioners. Commissioners must meet experience and leadership requirements, maintain AHIMA certification, and work within the HIIM profession.

Why Get an AHIMA Credential?

AHIMA certifications are highly regarded within the medical billing and coding field. Obtaining credentials from AHIMA-approved schools certifies you as a professional whose knowledge meets strict, industry-recognized standards. An AHIMA coding certification provides an additional advantage in achieving your career goals and offers a route to specialization. AHIMA credentials may also increase earning potential and career mobility.

There are many paths to an AHIMA certification. Professionals who do not wish to pursue a degree in HIM can earn an AHIMA medical coding certification that meets the same standards as ones earned by degree-seeking students. Those who earn an AHIMA certification through AHIMA medical coding programs join a respected community of professionals and demonstrate their commitment to maintaining excellent standards and knowledge in the field.

Types of AHIMA Certifications

  • Registered Health Information Administrator: To be eligible for the RHIA certification, you need a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a CAHIIM-accredited institution. The RHIA functions as an administrator in healthcare areas involving patient information and medical records. RHIAs may also work in insurance companies, as consultants, or in government agencies.
  • Registered Health Information Technician: Students who have graduated with an associate degree from a CAHIIM-accredited program may become certified as RHITs. RHITs work primarily in hospitals and other patient care settings. The RHIT performs data entry and quality control of medical information, analyzes information, and may specialize in specific medical coding.
  • Certified Coding Associate: Anyone with a high school diploma is eligible for the CCA credential, although it is recommended that you complete an AHIMA-approved coding program or have experience as a medical coder. The CCA can specialize in hospital-based or physician-based coding.
  • Certified Coding Specialist: CCSs are experts in assigning codes from the ICD-10 to medical records. They work primarily in hospitals to impact the efficiency and accuracy of medical billing and data analyses. You need an RHIA, RHIT, or CCS-P credential, or have completed appropriate coursework or professional experience to be eligible.
  • Certified Coding Specialists – Physician-Based: CCS-Ps are certified medical coders within physician-based offices and clinics. These professionals have advanced skills in practice-based coding, medical records, and the CPT coding system. Anyone with an RHIA, RHIT, or CCS credential, or who completes relevant coursework or possesses professional experience, may take the exam.
  • Certified Document Improvement Practitioner: A CDIP is a specialist in clinical documentation and health information management. CDIPs improve the documentation process and ensure the healthcare industry meets patient care and succeeds in new initiatives. Candidates need AHIMA certification or an R.N., M.D., or D.O., or an associate degree, and experience in clinical documentation improvement.
  • Certified Health Data Analysts: CHDAs are experts in the field of data analysis and communication, with proven depth and breadth of knowledge in healthcare data. You need the RHIT or a bachelor’s degree and three years of experience, or the RHIA, or a master’s degree in HIM, or a master’s degree in any field and one year of experience.
  • Certification in Healthcare Privacy and Security: The CHPS focuses on privacy and security of healthcare information. The credential demonstrates expertise in healthcare information security programs. To earn the credential, you need an associate degree and six years of experience, the RHIT or a bachelor’s degree and four years of experience, or the RHIA or master’s or doctoral degree and two years of experience.
  • Certified Healthcare Technology Specialists: CHTSs help meet the growing need for health IT professionals. Exams are available for six different roles: consultant, implementation manager, implementation support specialist, practice workflow, technical support, and trainer. There are no eligibility requirements, but AHIMA recommends prior training and experience.
  • Certified Professional in Health Informatics: The CPHI is a new credential for a growing field. Designed for career advancement in health informatics, the CPHI specializes in full system support to include data analysis and reporting, security, and management. No prior certification is required. You need a bachelor’s degree and two years of experience, a master’s degree and one year of experience, or a master’s degree from an accredited HIM program.

AHIMA Recertification Requirements

Once you earn your AHIMA credential, you must be recertified bi-yearly. Review the following checklist for requirements, which may vary.

  1. 1. Earn the Required Number of CEUs (See Chart Below): While 80% of the CEUs must be in the HIIM field, the remaining 20% may be in other topics. If you have more than one credential, you must earn 10 additional CEUs per credential.
  2. 2. Complete Annual Coding Self-Assessments: If you have a CCA, CCS, or CCS-P, you must complete an annual self-review exam and submit it to AHIMA. The exam is available on the AHIMA website.
  3. 3. Participate in CEU Activities: Approved activities include educational programs, publishing or presenting on professional materials, independent study, AHIMA events, or participating in CAHIIM-approved clinical practice. CEUs are calculated at a rate of 0.5 CEUs per 30 minutes with a 30-minute minimum.
  4. 4. Submit Your CEUs by the Deadline: CEUs can be entered on the AHIMA website throughout the year and must be entered no later than three months following the end of the cycle. Your account is reviewed automatically.
  5. 5. Track Your Own CEU Activities for Auditing: AHIMA conducts random audits. Maintain records of your CEU activities for one year following the end of the cycle. Record materials include certificates, agendas, program guides, transcripts, and outlines.
  6. 6. Pay Recertification Fee: AHIMA members pay their recertification fee as part of membership dues. Non-members pay $218 for a single credential. Additional credentials are $50 each.

CEU Requirements for Single Credential

Certification Required Number of CEUs
RHIA, CHPS, CHDA, CDIP, CPHI 30
RHIT, CHTS-CP, CHTS-PW, CHTS-IM, CHTS-IS, CHTS-TS, CHTS-TR 20
CCA, CCS, CCS-P 20

CEU Requirements for Multiple Credentials

Credential Required Number of CEUs
CCS and CCS-P 30
CHPS with RHIT 40
RHIA with CHDA 40
RHIA with CDIP 40
RHIA with CCS and CCS-P 50
CHDA with CCS, CHPS, and CDIP 50
RHIA with CCS, CCS-P, CHDA, and CDIP 50