Health Information Manager

Data is critical to providing high-quality patient care in any healthcare setting. However, collecting, managing, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from health data takes specialized education and training. Health information managers have completed the necessary schooling to have the expertise to help guide healthcare organizations to make data-driven decisions that improve patient outcomes.

Health information managers work in all corners of healthcare, from insurance companies, to hospitals, to government agencies, and clinics. They typically lead teams of other health information professionals and are responsible for overseeing all aspects of health data within an organization. As members of a healthcare administrative team, they use the data and their findings to provide reports and guidance to more senior staff.

To become a health information manager, aspiring professionals must earn at least a bachelor’s degree in health information management. A master’s of science in health information management is optional but highly desirable and can increase employment and advancement opportunities.

Many health information managers pursue voluntary certification as a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam through American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) as this demonstrates a high level of competency in this field.

This career is currently booming. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021) estimates that between 2019 and 2029, there will be a 32 percent increase in jobs for medical and health services managers. This increase is eight times the national projected average of 4 percent and translates into 133,200 new positions in the coming decade. Medical and health services managers earn a mean annual salary of $118,800.

Discover more about this data-centric career by reading the guide below.

Health Information Manager Specializations & Degree Types

Aspiring professionals in health information management will need to complete a formal education program in order to gain the skill necessary to work in this field. The minimum level of education required is a bachelor’s degree. The most common major is in health information management, which is related to health informatics. Students who earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field can complete a post-bachelor’s certificate in health information management.

While not required, many health information managers earn a master’s of science in health information management. This advanced degree can help with employment opportunities as well as career advancement for those already working in the field.

Admissions Requirements for Health Information Manager Programs

Admission requirements for health information management programs vary by institution. For some bachelor’s programs, students only need to be admitted to the university or college and declare their major. Typical requirements include a high school diploma, specified high school coursework, a minimum GPA, standardized test scores, and an essay.

Some bachelor’s degree programs are competitive, and students must apply directly to the program. Admission requirements can include extensive prerequisite coursework, letters of recommendation, a minimum GPA, and a statement of intent.

Master’s degrees in health information management often have the most competitive admissions as well as the most stringent. Candidates often must have already completed a bachelor’s degree, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, a current resume, a statement of intent, and a minimum undergraduate GPA.

Health Information Manager Program Accreditation

Health information management programs are programmatically accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). CAHIIM accreditation assures students and employers that the program meets strict quality standards in curriculum, faculty, and facilities. Also, CAHIIM accredited programs must publish the number of students who graduate, pass the RHIA exam, and are employed post-graduation. These statistics can help students select a program with high pass rates and good job placement history.

It is imperative that students ensure their program is CAHIIM accredited as this is required in order to be eligible to sit for the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam through American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

On-Campus Health Information Manager Degree Programs

East Carolina University

Graduates of the bachelor’s of science in health information management at East Carolina University have a mastery of the tools necessary to manage healthcare information. Skills gained in this program include classification systems, clinical documentation, leadership, quality assurance, and research methods.

Upon completion of this program, students are eligible to sit for the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam through American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

For the graduating class of 2020, 100 percent of students completed the program and were employed in health information management within a year of graduation. In total, students must complete 120 credits to earn this degree. Required coursework includes human physiology and anatomy, quality management in healthcare, health data management, healthcare finance, and health data structures.

  • Location: Greenville, NC
  • Duration: Four years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
  • Tuition: $863.71 per credit

The Ohio State University – School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences

With both laboratory and professional practical experiences, the health information management and systems bachelor’s of science in health and rehabilitation sciences at Ohio State University is a comprehensive program. Hands-on experience is critical in this program, and students must complete a six-credit internship during their final semester. Students will also learn about the ethical issues facing health information management and how to manage people skillfully.

There are extensive prerequisite coursework requirements for admission to this degree, as students are expected to complete their general education classes prior to enrolling. These classes include math, English, biology, psychology, anatomy, accounting, and more. All of these classes must be completed with at least a C or higher and a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.

  • Location: Columbus, OH
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
  • Tuition: $33,502 per year

Arkansas Tech University

With the use of a virtual lab program, students in the health information management bachelor’s at Arkansas Tech University will have the opportunity to work with real electronic health records. This unique experience allows students to gain a working understanding of how health data works across an organization.

Students will also learn the basics of medical coding and other applications that are standard in health information management. As part of their coursework, students will visit partnering healthcare organizations to learn in person how health information management departments function.

Graduates of this program work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clinics, health insurance organizations, and educational institutions. Arkansas Tech also offers a master’s of science in health information management for students who want to earn an advanced degree.

  • Location: Russellville, AR
  • Duration: Four years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
  • Tuition: $464 per-credit

University of Washington – School of Public Health

The bachelor’s of science in health informatics and health information management at the University of Washington School of Public Health has a unique capstone experience project. The capstone is complete in conjunction with a Seattle-area healthcare organization. Students work with the organization to gain hands-on skills in the real world. Past projects include disaster readiness plans, patient portal analysis, cancer screening metrics, patient surveys, and best practice implementations.

To offer students flexibility with their coursework, classes in this program are offered in the afternoon and evening two days a week. Since this is a two-year program, students must complete their general education requirements prior to applying. Incoming students must have complete statistics and anatomy and physiology in addition to holding a 2.5 GPA or higher.

  • Location: Seattle, WA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
  • Tuition: $418 per credit

Temple University – College of Public Health

Health information management and technology professionals looking to earn an advanced degree can complete the master’s of science in health information management at Temple University’s College of Public Health. This is an ideal program for professionals looking to advance their careers or anyone in healthcare looking to work in information management. There is a strong emphasis in is this program on the design, development, and implementation of health information systems that can improve patient care and health.

Temple University uses patient-centered data to inform the curriculum for this program. Required coursework includes health data analysis, political and economic aspects of healthcare, privacy and security, and database administration. Admission is competitive, and students must submit undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume.

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
  • Tuition: $1,358 per credit

Online or Hybrid Health Information Manager Degree Programs

University of Pittsburgh – School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

The online master’s of science in health informatics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences offers a specialized track for aspiring registered health information administrators. With no campus visits required, students can complete this program from anywhere in the country. Not only will graduates have the skills to manage data expertly, but they will also develop the leadership skills necessary to manage a department.

This 36-credit program is typically complete in three to four consecutive semesters. Students take courses such as database design and big data analytics, database design and management for healthcare, talent management and human resources, and digital health. The program culminates in a capstone project. In 2020, 100 percent of graduates passed the RHIA exam and were employed in health information management within a year.

  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Duration: 16 to 24 months
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
  • Tuition: $1,122 per credit

Boston University Metropolitan College

Boston University’s Metropolitan College offers an online master’s of science in health informatics with a track in either applied data analytics or health information management. In as little as 12 months, students can complete this program and become experts in enterprise-level health informatics. Students also learn key leadership and communication skills in order to be able to facilitate collaboration across departments in a healthcare setting.

There are 17 faculty members dedicated to this degree program with expertise in academia, private healthcare, and computer science. BU MET also offers several certificate programs in fields related to health information management, including advanced information technology, information security, and project management. These certificates can be completed alongside the master’s degree or as a stand-alone program.

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Duration: One to two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
  • Tuition: $940 per credit

Davenport University – College of Health Professions

For students who want to take the first step in a career as a health information manager, Davenport University College of Health Professions has an online bachelor’s of science in health information management. This degree combines business, computer science, management, and problem-solving and applies to healthcare data administration. Students also gain the skills to be medical coders—an in-demand field that provides a unique insight into health data management.

There are opportunities to further specialize in this degree with a concentration in either cancer tumor registry, global project management, or revenue management. Each of these concentrations has a specific course list, including unique classes such as global sourcing for projects, healthcare economics, and cancer tumor registry operations and management.

  • Location: Grand Rapids, MI
  • Duration: Four years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
  • Tuition: $565 per credit

Weber State University – Dumke College of Health Professions

Aspiring health information managers who have already completed a bachelor’s degree can complete an online post-bachelor’s certificate in health information management at Weber State University’s Dumke College of Health Professions. Classes are self-paced and 14 weeks long, so students can complete their coursework on their own time. If a course can’t be completed in 14 weeks, students have up to six months to finish the class.

Upon completion of this certificate, graduates are eligible to sit for the RHIA exam. In total, students must complete 30 credits to earn this certificate. The only prerequisite for admission to this program is to have already completed a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.

  • Location: Ogden, UT
  • Duration: 30 weeks
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
  • Tuition: $387 per-credit

Rutgers University – School of Health Professions

The online bachelor’s of science in health information management at Rutgers University School of Health Professions prepares students to succeed in the business side of healthcare. Offered as a two-year program, students must first complete their general education coursework or already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. More than 90 percent of graduates of this program are employed in this field within a year of earning their degree.

Admission requirements for this program include 59 credit hours of general education coursework, a 2.75 undergraduate GPA, and an essay on the student has selected health information management as a degree path. There is also a 21-credit certificate in medical coding students can complete in order to gain a complementary skill that is in high demand.

  • Location: Newark, NJ
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
  • Tuition: $563 per credit

How Long Does it Take to Become a Health Information Manager?

The length of time it takes to become a health information manager depends on the level of education pursued. A bachelor’s degree typically only takes four years to complete and is sufficient for entry-level work in this field. A post-bachelor’s certificate takes another year, and a master’s of science in health information management takes a year and-a-half or more.

How To Become a Health Information Manager – Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Graduate from High School or Complete a GED (Four Years)

The education journey for health information managers starts with completing high school or earning a GED. A high school diploma or GED demonstrates a minimum level of education and is often required for bachelor’s degree programs. While in high school, students should focus on biology, math, and computer science classes.

Step 2: Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Program (Four Years)

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum level of education necessary for health information managers. The most common degree earned is a bachelor’s of science in health information management. However, if a student is going to pursue a post-bachelor certificate or master’s, they can complete a degree in a related field such as business administration, computer science, or healthcare administration.

Step 3: Earn a Master’s Degree (Optional, 1.5 Years or More)

A master’s degree is optional for a career in health information management. Earning an advanced degree can improve a graduate’s chances of employment or can help a professional who is already working in the field secure a promotion. Master’s in health information science degrees take anywhere from 18 months to a couple of years to complete.

Step 4: Earn a Health Information Manager Certification (Optional, Timeline Varies)

Certification is an optional step for health information managers. However, a certification is often required by employers and can help a candidate stand out from other applicants. Certification demonstrates a high level of competency in the field. The most common certification for health information managers is the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam through American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). More details can be found in the certification and licensing section below.

What Do Health Information Managers Do?

The job duties of a health information manager vary based on their place of employment. Health information managers work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, government agencies, long-term care facilities, and even educational settings. Anywhere that delivers healthcare services to a large number of people needs a health information manager. Day-to-day tasks include:

  • Developing systems for the gathering of health data
  • Analyzing the data that has been collected
  • Preparing data for reporting
  • Writing reports on data and analysis
  • Making recommendation on changes to procedures to improve patient outcomes
  • Working with healthcare staff to improve documentation
  • Ensuring that coding for procedures and insurance is accurate
  • Complying with local, state, and federal regulations surrounding healthcare information

Health Information Manager Certifications & Licensure

Currently, there are no state licensing requirements for health information managers.

Professional certification, which is voluntary, is an industry standard and required by many employers. The primary certification completed is the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam through American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

To be eligible to sit for the RHIA exam, candidates must meet one of the following education requirements:

  • Complete a CAHIIM accredited health information management bachelor’s degree
  • Complete a CAHIIM accredited health information management master’s degree
  • Complete a CAHIIM accredited health information management post-bachelor’s certificate
  • Complete a foreign health information management degree at a school that has a reciprocity agreement with AHIMA

The RHIA exam costs $229 to $299, depending on a candidate’s AHIMA membership status. This computer-based exam consists of 170 to 200 multiple choice questions that must be answered in four hours. Topics covered include:

  • Information governance
  • Compliance with uses and disclosures of protected health information
  • Data analytics and informatics
  • Revenue management
  • Management and leadership

How Much Do Health Information Managers Make?

Health information managers are classified as medical and health services managers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2020). There are a total of 402,540 medical and health service managers working across the country. On average, they earn $118,800 per year. The percentiles for wages are:

  • 10th percentile: $59,980
  • 25th percentile: $78,820
  • 50th percentile (median): $104,280
  • 75th percentile: $139,650
  • 90th percentile: $195,630

Health Information Manager Career Alternatives

Here are some alternatives to a career as a health information manager.

Become a Healthcare Compliance Officer

Medical records must be accurate and meticulously maintained. In order to ensure this happens, hospitals, clinics, care facilities, and government agencies employ healthcare compliance officers. Healthcare compliance officers can also work with administrative staff to perform audits and ensure all aspects of patient care meet regulatory requirements.

  • Typical Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Licensing or Certifying Organization: Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)

Become a Medical and Health Service Manager

Healthcare services need administrative staff, just like any other business. Medical and health services managers have education and experience as administrators with specialized training on the intricacies of managing healthcare businesses. They rarely interact with patients and typically oversee budgets, facilities, staffing, billing, and more.

  • Typical Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Licensing or Certifying Organization: Professional Association of Healthcare Office Management (PAHCOM)

Become a Health Data Analyst

The best healthcare comes from evidence-based best practices. This applies to both patient care and overall management. For the business side of healthcare, health data analysts comb through the mountains of data a healthcare facility generates to turn it into actionable information healthcare administrators can use to inform the next steps.

  • Typical Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Licensing or Certifying Organization: American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
Kimmy Gustafson

Kimmy Gustafson

Writer

Kimmy is a freelance writer with extensive experience writing about healthcare careers and education. She has worked in public health, at health-focused nonprofits, and as a Spanish interpreter for doctor’s offices and hospitals. She has a passion for learning and that drives her to stay up to date on the latest trends in healthcare. When not writing or researching, she can be found pursuing her passions of nutrition and an active outdoors lifestyle.

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