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.
- A document that shows a person has completed an academic or training program that qualifies them to enter a profession
- A credential that’s issued to a professional who demonstrates deep knowledge in their field or specialty
- 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)
Meet one of the following employment/experience qualifications:
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)
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)
Meet one of the following educational requirements:
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
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)
Meet one of the following educational/experience requirements:
Fees and Certification Renewal: Examinations fees vary depending on affiliation with HIMSS:
Renewal required every three years, along with 45 hours of continuing education
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)
Facts, concepts, and processes related to:
Fees and Certification Renewal:
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)
Fees and Certification Renewal:
Renewal required every three years, along with 60 contact hours in eligible education programs/activities
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)
Fees and Certification Renewal:
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