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Professional Certifications that Healthcare Managers Can Earn

A certification may boost your salary and broaden your career opportunities.

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Home » Healthcare Management » Certification

With so many educational and career pathways to a position in healthcare management, professional certifications are one way to stand out and advance in a field that includes leaders from a wide range of backgrounds.

Overview

While optional for most positions, professional certifications demonstrate a level of expertise that transcends education and experience. Earning professional certification is proof that you’ve demonstrated mastery of an established set of skills and knowledge in your field, from hospital administration to financial management.

The healthcare management certifications you choose will depend on your interests, areas of specialization, and career goals. General healthcare management certification can validate your industry knowledge and management capability, while certifications in specialties such as healthcare risk, finance, or IT prove your competencies in a particular area.

Certificates, Certifications, and Licenses


Certificates, certifications, and licenses all equip professionals to work in their fields, but they are very different and they don’t apply to all professions.

Certificate:

A document that shows a person has completed an academic or training program that qualifies them to enter a profession

Certification:

A credential that’s issued to a professional who demonstrates deep knowledge in their field or specialty

License:

A mandatory credential issued by a government agency that regulates a specific field

While clinical professionals like physicians and nurses require licenses to work in healthcare, most healthcare management positions don’t require one. The exception is nursing home administrators, who must be licensed in their state.

To earn a certification, you’ll need to take an exam—and prepping for your test is where a lot of new learning happens.

“Studying for the CMM (Certified Medical Manager) exam will teach you a lot of things—tiny things that you wouldn’t necessarily find in a book but become part of your everyday job,” says Coley Bennett, CMM, CHA, CMDP, COCAS, chairwoman of the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) National Advisory Board.

To earn a certification you’ll need to take an exam, and prepping for your test is where a lot of new learning happens.

The Value of Certification

A certification like the CMM that requires both experience and proof of knowledge can ultimately position you for broader job opportunities and a higher salary. “The CMM is well worth having because it can change the trajectory of your career,” Bennett says.

A certification in healthcare management tells others that you’re a lifelong learner and a professional interested in keeping pace with the ever-changing industry of healthcare. Earning a certification typically requires preparation, fees, and a passing grade on an examination. In some cases, you might also need to be a member of a professional organization, or have a specific level of education or work experience.

Before choosing a certification, industry experts advise that you talk with others who have earned the credential to find out about the value it added to their careers. You can also benefit from speaking with potential employers about the credentials they look for in the positions you’re seeking so you can be sure that the effort and money you put toward a specific credential is well spent.

Certifications for Healthcare Managers

Here are some of the most common and well-regarded professional certifications in healthcare management:

Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC)


What it is: Certification that demonstrates knowledge of relevant compliance regulations and expertise sufficient to assist healthcare industry organizations understand and address legal obligations, and promote organizational integrity through effective compliance programs

Certifying body: Compliance Certification Board (CCB)

Topics covered:

  • Standards, policies, and procedures
  • Compliance program administration
  • Screening and evaluation of employees, physicians, vendors, and other agents
  • Communication, education, and training on compliance issues
  • Monitoring, auditing, and internal reporting systems
  • Discipline for noncompliance
  • Investigations and remedial measures

Prerequisites

Meet one of the following employment/experience qualifications:

  • A minimum of one year of employment in a full-time compliance position with duties that relate directly to the tasks described in the CHC candidate handbook; or
  • 1,500 hours performing direct compliance job duties accumulated in the two years immediately prior to your application date; or
  • Take the exam within 12 months of completion of a program approved by the CCB

Earn 20 CCB-approved continuing education units (CEUs), with a minimum of 10 earned from live training or events within the 12 months prior to your examination

Fees and Renewals: Fees are lower for members of the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) and/or Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE)

  • Exam fee: HCCA/SCCE member, $275; nonmember, $375
  • Renewal fee: HCCA/SCCE member, $115; nonmember, $275

Renewal required every two years, along with 40 CCB-approved CEUs with a minimum of 20 CEUs from live training or events

Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management (CPHRM)


What it is: Certification for a professional whose primary duties include the prevention, reduction, and control of loss to a healthcare organization, its patients, visitors, volunteers, physicians, and other healthcare professionals and employees

Certifying body: The American Hospital Association’s Certification Center (AHA-CC)

Topics covered:

  • Clinical/patient safety
  • Risk financing
  • Legal and regulatory
  • Healthcare operations
  • Claims and litigations

Prerequisites

Meet one of the following educational requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university, plus five years of experience in a healthcare setting or with a provider of services to the healthcare industry; or
  • Associate degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university, plus seven years of experience in a healthcare setting or with a provider of services to the healthcare industry; or
  • High school diploma or equivalent, plus nine years of experience in a healthcare setting or with a provider of services to the healthcare industry

Achieve 3,000 hours or 50% of full-time job duties within the last three years dedicated to healthcare risk management in a healthcare setting or with a provider of services to the healthcare industry

Fees and Renewals: Fees are lower for members of any of the AHA membership groups

  • Exam fee: $275 for members, $425 for non-members
  • Renewal fee: $135 for members, $225 for non-members

Renewal required every three years, along with 45 contact hours of continuing education

Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS)


What it is: Certification that demonstrates an international standard of professional knowledge and competence in healthcare information and management systems

Certifying body: Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

Topics covered:

  • Healthcare and technology environments
  • Clinical informatics
  • Healthcare information and systems management
  • Management and leadership

Prerequisites

Meet one of the following educational/experience requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, plus five years of information and management systems hands-on work experience with at least three of those years in a healthcare setting; or
  • Graduate degree or higher from an accredited college or university, plus three years of information and management systems experience with least two of those years in a healthcare setting; or
  • Ten years of information and management systems experience with at least eight of those years in a healthcare setting

Fees and Certification Renewal: Examinations fees vary depending on affiliation with HIMSS:

  • Individual with an organizational affiliate membership: $399
  • Regular, corporate, or student member: $429
  • Non-member: $549
  • Renewal fee: HIMSS member, $269; non-member, $369

Renewal required every three years, along with 45 hours of continuing education

Certified Medical Manager (CMM)


What it is: Certification of competence in the administrative management of healthcare organizations and the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to manage physician practices and ambulatory service centers in increasingly complex environments

Certifying body: Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM)

Topics covered: The nine domains of medical practice administration

  • Revenue management
  • Risk management
  • Human resources
  • Finance
  • Contract management
  • Business management
  • Technology and data management
  • Clinical performance reporting
  • Patient clinical education and practice marketing

Prerequisites

  • Experience: Two years minimum experience within the healthcare industry and in support of patient care
  • Education: Minimum of 12 post-secondary education credits related to healthcare or business. Each year of experience beyond two years reduces the education requirement by one credit

Fees and Certification Renewal:

  • Exam fee: $770 standard exam, $385 physician admin members
  • Renewal fee: $100 for CMM professionals

Renewal required every two years, along 24 CEU credits approved or recognized by PAHCOM

Certified Healthcare Access Manager (CHAM)


What it is: Certification for an individual who has demonstrated knowledge essential to the practice of patient access management

Certifying body: National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM)

Topics covered:

Facts, concepts, and processes related to:

  • Patient pre-arrival
  • Patient arrival
  • Patient access management

Prerequisites

  • Experience: Two years of management experience in the healthcare or finance industry
  • Education: High school diploma or GED equivalent plus 90 professional development contact hours earned within the previous three years; or a four-year degree in healthcare, business, or a related field from an accredited institution
  • References: Signature of one CHAM-certified individual and one supervisor or instructor/advisor

Fees and Certification Renewal:

  • Exam fee: $225 for NAHAM members, $425 for non-members
  • Renewal fee: $75 for NAHAM members, $175 for non-members

Renewal required every two years, along with: 60 contact hours of continuing education, including 10 approved by NAHAM; and 1,500 hours of work during those two years in a position relevant to patient access services

Certified Healthcare Finance Professional (CHFP)


What it is: Certification for a financial professional, clinical or nonclinical leader, or payer who has a broad range of business and financial skills

Certifying body: Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)

Topics covered:

  • Business acumen
  • Collaboration
  • Financial strategy
  • Understanding future trends

Prerequisites

  • Successful completion of two modules:
    a. CHFP Module I—H FMA Business of Health Care®
    b. Module II—Operational Excellence assessment
  • HFMA professional or business partner all-access membership

Fees and Certification Renewal:

  • Course and assessment fees are included in all-access professional membership
  • No renewal fee for HFMA members

Renewal required every three years, along with 60 contact hours in eligible education programs/activities

Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA)


What it is: Certification for comprehensive knowledge of medical, administrative, ethical, and legal requirements and standards related to healthcare delivery and privacy of protected patient information

Certifying body: American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)

Topics covered:

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

Prerequisites

Meet one of the following requirements:

  • Completion of a bachelor’s or master’s in a health information management (HIM) program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM); or
  • Completion of an HIM postgraduate certificate program approved by the CAHIIM; or
  • Completion of an HIM program approved by a foreign association with which AHIMA has a reciprocity agreement; or
  • Hold Registered Health Information Technician certification and meet the proviso conditions approved by the Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management (CCHIIM)

Fees and Credential Renewal:

  • Exam fee: $229 for AHIMA members, $299 for non-members
  • Recertification fee: $218 for those who hold one credential; $218 for the first recertification and $50 for each additional certification for multiple certifications

Renewal required every two years, along with 30 CEUs, with 80% in health informatics and information management

Fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives (FACHE)


What it is: Certification for mastery of a core body of knowledge in healthcare management that distinguishes the individual as a leader among leaders

Certifying body: American College of Health Care Executives (ACHE)

Topics covered:

  • Healthcare knowledge
  • Management and leadership
  • Finance
  • Human resources
  • Quality and performance management
  • Business
  • Healthcare technology and information management
  • Laws and regulations
  • Professionalism and ethics
  • Governance and organizational structure

Prerequisites

  • One year of tenure as a current ACHE member, faculty associate, or international associate
  • Master’s degree or another post-baccalaureate degree
  • Currently hold an executive management position and have a minimum of five years of healthcare management experience
  • Two references
  • Within the three years prior to applying, complete both of the following:
    a. A minimum of 36 continuing education hours related to healthcare management and administration, with at least 12 hours of ACHE face-to-face education
    b. Two volunteer community/civic volunteer activities and two healthcare-related volunteer activities

Fees and Certification Renewal:

  • Exam fee: $250 application fee and $225 exam fee
  • Renewal fee: $200

Renewal required every three years, along with 36 continuing education hours related to healthcare management and administration, with at least 12 hours in ACHE face-to-face education and four volunteer activities

anna giorgi

Written and reported by:
Anna Giorgi
Contributing Writer

coley bennett

With professional insight from:
Coley Bennett, CMM, CHA, CMDP, COCAS
Chairwoman, Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) National Advisory Board