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Whether you’re just starting out in your healthcare administration career or looking to take the next step and advance into a senior- or executive-level position, there are a few things you can do to have a competitive advantage in your field: gain additional experience, obtain a graduate degree and earn a recognized certification.
Certification demonstrates to employers that you are committed to your career in healthcare administration and management. The knowledge gained from preparing for certification examinations also helps you stay up-to-date with best practices so you can excel in your current position and succeed in your next one.
According to the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM), earning certification can help you by:
- Improving your earning potential
- Giving you a competitive advantage with current and prospective employers
- Granting you the recognition you deserve
- Providing access to the positions and promotions you desire
- Building a network of influential peers who share your certification designation
- Expanding your skills and expertise through continuing education
The following certifications are for healthcare management professionals at varying stages of their careers, from entry-level administrators to aspiring healthcare executives. If you intend to pursue any of these certifications, make sure you meet eligibility requirements and review exam competencies prior to applying. This list is not exhaustive, so you may want to do additional research on certifications specific to your job title and/or the field you work in.
The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) defines the revenue cycle as “all administrative and clinical functions that contribute to the capture, management and collection of patient service revenue.” If you are involved in the revenue cycle, validating your knowledge and skills associated with the revenue side of healthcare may help you reach the next rung on your career ladder.The Certified Revenue Cycle Professional (CRCP) is intended for mid-level revenue cycle supervisors and managers, as well as senior leaders interested in pursuing Executive certification. The CRCP is offered by the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM), a leading professional healthcare administrative management organization. One of AAHAM’s primary goals is providing opportunities for healthcare professionals to increase their skills and knowledge.AAHAM offers two versions of the CRCP credential:
- CRCP-I is designed for individuals on the health system side of the revenue cycle
- CRCP-P is designed for individuals on the clinical side of the revenue cycle
|Eligibility Requirements||Membership: CRCP-I/CRCP-P exams are available to AAHAM members in good standing.
Experience: Applicants must have a minimum of two years of experience in a healthcare related field.
Education: No minimum education requirement. Applicants with a two year associate degree or higher from an accredited university or college may take either exam with no documented work experience.
|Exam Format||Multiple-choice and true/false questions. Exam consists of four (4) sections, and candidates must pass each section with a score of 70% or greater.|
|Content||Sections in the CRCP exams include:
|Cost||$199 (section re-takes cost $50 each)|
Note: CRCP is not a pre-requisite for Executive-level certification.
The next rung on AAHAM’s revenue cycle certification ladder is the Certified Revenue Cycle Executive (CRCE). According to the AAHAM, “the Executive Revenue Cycle Certification is comparable to earning a CPA or passing the bar exam. Both designate mastery of the art of revenue cycle management.”
Because the CRCE is intended for more senior revenue cycle professionals, applicants must have a minimum of four years of experience in a RCM position within healthcare or a related field (an associate’s degree or higher may be substituted for two years of experience). The CRCE is also offered for revenue cycle managers and administrators on the health system side (CRCE-I) and clinical side (CRCP-P) of the revenue cycle.
|Eligibility Requirements||Membership: CRCE-I/CRCE-P exams are available to AAHAM members in good standing.
Experience: Applicants must have a minimum of four years of experience in a healthcare related field.
Education: No minimum education requirement. Applicants with an associate’s degree or higher from an accredited university or college may take the CRCE exam with just two years of experience.
|Exam Format||Multiple-choice, true/false, fill in the blank, short answer and essay questions. Exam consists of four (4) sections, and candidates must pass each section with a score of 70% or greater.|
|Content||Sections in the CRCE exams include:
|Cost||$299 (section re-takes cost $50 each)|
As the only nationally accredited professional certification specific to medical office/practice management, the Certified Medical Manager (CMM) is the designation of a professional who understands the administrative management side of healthcare. In addition to passing a competency exam, candidates for the CMM designation must have at least two years of experience, twelve college credits, and professional references. For this reason, the CMM designation is seen as a mark of an experienced medical manager.
The CMM is offered by the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM), an organization dedicated to supporting and developing medical office managers.
|Eligibility Requirements||Experience: Two years (2) of experience in an administrative or clinical capacity in healthcare or a related field.
Education: Twelve (12) college credits in business or a field related to healthcare (requirement is reduced by one college credit for each year of experience above the two-year minimum).
|Exam Format||200 multiple-choice questions. Applicants are given three (3) hours to complete the computer-based exam. A passing score depends on which version of the examination is presented, as determined by a psychometric analysis.|
|Content||CMM exam content areas include:
|Cost||$385 for members, $770 for non-members|
|Testing Center Locations||Test centers are available in most major cities. Locate the certification examination test center closest to you.|
Does your job require a deep understanding of the financial aspects of health care? If so, you may be interested in becoming a Certified Healthcare Finance Professional (CFHP). The CFHP designation is intended for experienced healthcare financial professionals who aspire to be leaders in healthcare, as well as early careerists seeking to cement themselves and prepare for advancement in the future.
The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) offers the CFHP. With more than 38,000 members, HFMA is the premier membership organization for healthcare finance leaders in the United States.
There are three steps to becoming a CFHP:
- Step 1: Enroll in HFMA’s Business of Health Care online program (Module I)
- Step 2: Complete six (6) self-paced online courses and pass Module I’s final comprehensive exam
- Step 3: Pass the Operational Excellence examination (Module II)
Module I is a self-paced online course designed to give you an overview of the business fundamentals of healthcare—pricing, cost, revenue, payment and delivery models, etc. On its own, HFMA’s Business of Health Care online program can help you better understand the American healthcare system and the recent shift from volume to value. The Operational Excellence exam provides candidates the opportunity to exhibit mastery of the information learned in Module I. The CFHP certification is awarded upon successful completion of both modules.
|Course Format||Six (6) self-paced online courses that feature knowledge demonstration exercises and a concluding quiz. Candidates must pass a final comprehensive examination (75 questions, 90 minutes) to successfully complete Module I.|
|Availability||Materials, exercises, quizzes and exams are accessible online 24/7. Program access ends one year from start date. Candidates usually take between 10 and 13 hours to complete all six courses and take the final exam.|
|Cost||$400 for HFMA members; $545 for non-members (includes exam fees)|
|Eligibility Requirements||Membership: HFMA membership is required for Module II of the CHFP program.
Prerequisite: Candidates must successfully complete Module I prior to be eligible for Module II and the CHFP designation.
|Exam Format||Eight (8) case studies with seven (7) questions each. Applicants have three (3) hours to complete the exam.|
Universities can receive accreditation at the institutional, departmental and program levels. Accreditation means that the school, department or program has met standards set by a third-party organization, such as Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) or the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE).
Patient access services professionals—those individuals who work in admissions, registration, scheduling, patient finance, and other related areas—play a significant role in delivering quality care. The Certified Healthcare Access Manager (CHAM) certification allows professionals in this field to demonstrate their expertise and their importance to healthcare delivery systems.CHAM certification is sponsored by the National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM), a networking, education, and certification organization for patient access services professionals in hospitals, private practices, clinics, long-term care facilities, surgery centers, and more.
The CHAM exam is intended for patient access managers with at least two years of management experience in the healthcare or finance industry. NAHAM offers an associate-level certificate for early careerists just starting out in patient access services.
|Eligibility Requirements||Experience: Applicants must have two (2) years management experience in the healthcare or finance industry.
Education: High school diploma or GED equivalent plus 90 contact hours earned within the past three (3) years OR a bachelor’s degree or higher in healthcare, business or a related field.
References: Signature of one supervisor or course instructor/advisor and one CHAM certified individual.
|Exam Format||115 multiple-choice questions; candidates have two (2) hours to complete the proctored, Internet-based test.|
|Content||CHAM exam content includes:
|Cost||$175 for NAHAM members, $350 for non-members|
|Testing Schedule||Exams are administered four (4) times annually for one (1) full month.
Quality of care is a major concern for health services providers and the public. To help distinguish professionals in the healthcare field who are dedicated to quality, the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) offers the Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ).
As the only accredited certification in the field of healthcare quality, the CPHQ designation shows one’s preparedness, dedication, and competency to improve outcomes across the continuum of care. And according to NAHQ statistics, the CPHQ is one of the fastest-growing certifications for healthcare professionals. In 2012, there were approximately 7,500 CPHQs; in 2016, there were close to 9,700.
The CPHQ exam is based upon the results of a practice analysis conducted every three years. This ensures the content is current with best practices and representative of the responsibilities of actual healthcare quality professionals working in the field.
|Eligibility Requirements||No minimum eligibility requirements. Candidates must take time to assess and judge their own readiness to take the CPHQ examination.|
|Exam Format||140 multiple-choice questions. Exam is delivered via computer at PSI Test Centers located throughout the United States.|
|Content||CPHQ exam content areas include:
|Cost||$399 for NAHQ members; $469 for non-members|
|Testing Center Locations||Test centers are available in most major cities. Click here to locate the certification examination test center closest to you.|
Compliance is a critical area of healthcare administration. Operating in accordance with laws and regulations is important for every healthcare provider, which is why administrators who have knowledge of relevant legal obligations and compliance processes are highly sought after. An individual Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC) demonstrates such knowledge.
The CHC is sponsored by the Compliance Certification Board (CCB). The CCB develops criteria to determine competence in the practice of compliance and ethics across various industries and specialty areas. Other CBB certifications you may be interested in as a healthcare administrator include:
|Eligibility Requirements||Experience: At least one year in a full-time compliance position or 1,500 hours of direct compliance job duties earned in the two years preceding application date.
Education: Candidates must earn and submit 20 CCB-approved continuing education units to sit for the CHC exam. Of these, a minimum of 10 units must be earned from live training events such as face-to-face training or real-time web conferences.
|Exam Format||180 multiple-choice questions. Candidates have four (4) hours to complete the exam.|
|Cost||$250 for HCCA or SCCE members, $350 for non-members|
If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, earning a professional certification may give you the competitive edge you need. Something else that can help you grow in your role as a healthcare administrator? An advanced degree. And thanks to online programs, you can earn your Master of Healthcare Administration without putting your life on hold to go back to school.
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See which Master in Health Administration program is right for you.