Online CAHIIM Accredited Degree Programs
Acquire, analyze and safely store personal health information as a professional in health information management or health informatics. You can strengthen your application and career possibilities in these related fields by seeking a CAHIIM-accredited degree program.
Learn more about the best CAHIIM-accredited online HIM programs today. Review the accreditation process, benefits of choosing an accredited online program and your career outlook as a professional in the health information field.
What Is CAHIIM Accreditation?
The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education, or CAHIIM, offers this accreditation. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes CAHIIM as a not-for-profit institution whose mission is to improve educational excellence in health information management and health informatics.
Associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees programs in health informatics and health information management are all eligible for accreditation. While CAHIIM accreditation isn’t required to take the exam to become a Registered Health Information Administrator, it can give you peace of mind knowing you’ve chosen a program committed to academic excellence and continuous program improvement.
The CAHIIM Accreditation Process
The voluntary accreditation process includes self-evaluation and peer review. A program must meet the standards of quality outlined by CAHIIM. This process is similar for both health informatics and health information management programs, but the specific academic standards can vary.
After completing the initial paperwork and submitting a self-evaluation, a program must coordinate a review by members of CAHIIM. This external review helps verify compliance and academic integrity throughout the degree program. After passing the review process, programs must submit routine proof of self-assessment and improvement for continuing accreditation.
Requirements to Become an Accredited Institution
All CAHIIM-accredited online HIM programs follow a specific set of requirements to remain competitive in the current market. Requirements for accreditation include student evaluation, professional practice experiences, program effectiveness measures, and an advisory committee. An online coursework element is also required for CAHIIM accreditation, which is easily met by an online degree program.
What Are the Benefits of Attending a CAHIIM Accredited School?
The primary benefit of any accreditation is quality assurance. For example, if a program meets CAHIIM’s curriculum standards, students are assured that the program is up-to-date and comprehensive enough to prepare them for a career in health informatics or health information management. Importantly, it provides the same assurance to employers, who can have confidence that a candidate who has graduated from an accredited program has the skills and knowledge necessary for a particular role. Graduating from an accredited program can also qualify a student to sit for some certification exams.
What Is an Online CAHIIM-Accredited Program?
Studying health information management at one of the top-rated, CAHIIM-accredited online HIM programs can prepare you to apply for a position as a health information specialist or a related career. HIM, or health information management, courses are available at the associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s level for online study. Health informatics, however, typically requires training at the master’s degree level.
Because you’re working with personal health information in online databases and other related tasks as a health information specialist or manager, a HIM program easily transitions to an online study environment. Find out how you can apply, complete courses, and earn your degree fully online.
In order to apply to a program, it’s important to review the particular entry requirements for that program. Most online CAHIIM-accredited programs require an application and proof of a high school diploma. If you’re studying at the postgraduate level, you’ll need proof of a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Some programs also require an essay or personal statement.
It may be helpful to take courses related to healthcare and information technology before you apply. Look for coding, biology, chemistry, anatomy and other classes at the high school level, as these classes may strengthen your application or help you feel confident in taking college-level courses in the same subjects.
Common Courses in a CAHIIM-Accredited Program
The exact courses you’ll take as a HIM or health informatics student can vary, particularly based on the type of degree you’re pursuing. Associate’s degrees in health information typically have far more general topics than master’s degrees in health informatics.
Here are some common topics you can expect to learn more about as you work toward a degree at a CAHIIM-accredited online program:
- Healthcare data management
- Medical terminology
- Compliance and risk management
- Healthcare classification systems and data management
- Pathophysiology, anatomy and pharmacology
Many programs, particularly at the bachelor’s degree level, offer electives for you to personalize your program. If you love coding and classifying information, then take additional courses in these areas. You can also focus on actually acquiring healthcare data, with more courses in communication, healthcare technology and patient care.
Typical Costs of an Online CAHIIM-Accredited Program
There are many degree programs accredited by CAHIIM, so the typical cost of an online program can vary. On average, you can expect to pay around $38,500 to $60,600 for an online bachelor’s degree. These programs typically take around four years to complete, though you may be able to complete an accelerated program in just three years and save on tuition costs.
Associate’s degree programs typically only take two years and cost less. Master’s degree programs typically cost more per credit than bachelor’s degrees, but you can often complete them in two or three years. Some online programs still offer different in-state and out-of-state tuition rates, so explore online opportunities from local schools as well as distant ones.
Look for opportunities to reduce the cost of your degree program. For example, scholarships and grants offer financial aid to partially or fully pay for your degree. Some hospitals and other healthcare employers are willing to offer tuition reimbursement for you as an employee seeking to improve your skills and knowledge.
Career Opportunities for Graduates
Those who complete a health informatics educational program will be able to complete their licensing requirements to become a registered health information administrator.
Registered Health Information Administrator
Successful graduates of HIM or health informatics online programs can prepare to take the examination to become registered health information administrators. They can also work as medical records and health information specialists or medical and health services managers.
Medical Records Specialist
The number of medical records specialists is expected to grow by nine percent from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median pay for this career is about $46,600, according to the BLS.
Medical and Health Services Manager
A bachelor’s degree and up to five years of work experience may qualify you for a position as a medical and health services manager. The number of these management positions is expected to grow significantly faster than the average job growth, at 28 percent between 2021 and 2031. The median annual pay for the position exceeds $101,000, according to BLS.
Health Information Technologist
Health information technologists manage and analyze healthcare data systems. Jobs for health information technologists are expected to increase by 17 percent between 2021 and 2031, according to the BLS. The median annual salary for health information technologists is more than $55,000, according to the BLS.
Health Information Management (HIM) vs Health Information Technology (HIT): What’s the Difference?
While HIM and HIT educational programs seem similar, they prepare students for different roles and responsibilities. HIM primarily centers on managing the health data itself, while HIT concentrates on the technology used to manage, store, and exchange data. That being the case, HIM specialists typically address challenges related to the quality, privacy, and legal aspects of health data, and HIT specialists tend to focus on designing and developing technology systems, including electronics health record systems.
Typical HIM duties include working on coding and classification systems, assessing the quality and privacy of health data, and managing electronic health record (EHR) systems. Typical HIT responsibilities include designing software, ensuring systems’ security, troubleshooting technological problems, and integrating different health technologies for effective data management and patient care. Together the fields help ensure that health data is accurate, secure, accessible, and that the data is used effectively to improve patient care.
What Are the Benefits of an Online CAHIIM-Accredited Program?
There are many on-campus programs that offer CAHIIM-accredited degrees, so why study online? A career in health informatics, or HIM, requires you to stay at the leading edge of information technology and healthcare practice. Compared with a traditional campus setting, an online program offers the following benefits for you as a prospective HIM or health informatics student.
Flexible Study Timeline
If you’re already working in the healthcare industry or in another role, then you need a degree program that’s flexible enough to work around your busy schedule. Take classes in the evenings or complete them all in a few days to give you time to pick up hospital shifts or take on other important roles.
A flexible schedule also means a flexible number of years until you graduate. Online bachelor’s degree programs, for example, allow you to earn a degree from a CAHIIM-accredited program in as little as three years or up to six years. Whether a part-time or accelerated-pace student, you’ll be able to access the classes you need to feel confident about taking an examination or moving up in your career.
Global Network of Instructors
The available instructors for on-campus programs can be more limited than instructors available for online programs. While many attempt to overcome this obstacle with guest lecturers, the result isn’t the same as an online, global community. Connect with instructors who lead the field around the world thanks to your online learning format.
Modern online courses allow you to connect in real time with video calling, messaging and other interactive methods. Some also use recorded lectures and notes, allowing you to attend a class on your own schedule.
Verified Breadth and Quality of Curriculum
If you’re hesitant about the quality of an online program, then CAHIIM accreditation is even more important for your situation. This internal and external review process helps you feel confident about the breadth and quality of health information curriculum. Accredited programs must include courses highlighting essential topics related to your specific area of study and career ambitions.
Convenient Course Selection and Study Options
Looking for an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree specializing in a particular area of health information? If you’re only looking at local, on-campus programs, then you may be missing out on the entire breadth of courses and study options available. Look for an online program that fits your timeline and professional ambitions, not just one that’s conveniently located in your state or local area.