Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA)

Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA)

Overview –

Working as a critical link between care providers, payers, and patients, the RHIA:

Is an expert in managing patient health information and medical records, administering computer information systems, collecting and analyzing patient data, and using classification systems and medical terminologies.

Possesses comprehensive knowledge of medical, administrative, ethical and legal requirements and standards related to healthcare delivery and the privacy of protected patient information.

Manages people and operational units, participates in administrative committees, and prepares budgets.

Interacts with all levels of an organization – clinical, financial, administrative, and information systems – that employ patient data in decision-making and everyday operations.

Job opportunities for RHIAs exist in multiple settings throughout the healthcare industry.

These include the continuum of care delivery organizations, including hospitals, multispecialty clinics and physician practices, long-term care, mental health, and other ambulatory care settings.

The profession has seen significant expansion in nonpatient care settings, with careers in managed care and insurance companies, software vendors, consulting services, government agencies, education, and pharmaceutical companies.

Eligibility Requirements –

RHIA applicants must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:

Successfully complete the academic requirements, at the baccalaureate level, of an HIM program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).


Graduate from an HIM program approved by a foreign association with which AHIMA has a reciprocity agreement.

The academic qualifications of each candidate will be verified before a candidate is deemed eligible to take the examination. All first-time applicants must submit an
official transcript from their college or university.

1. Students interested in obtaining a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Certificate of Completion, or Transfer of Credits information must contact the CAHIIM-accredited program in which they wish to enroll regarding their institutional policies. Please visit the program directory Web site at to access the list of CAHIIM-accredited programs.

2. AHIMA and the Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA) shall permit a graduate of a program in HIM at the associate or baccalaureate degree level to apply to write the appropriate certification examination consistent with the academic level achieved and given independently by the two associations. The graduate must meet the educational competencies for certification as a technician or administrator established by the association to which the application is made.

3. Beginning October 6, 2008, students in CAHIIM-accredited programs for RHIT or RHIA, enrolled in their final term of study, are now eligible to apply for and take their respective certification exam early.

Eligible students include the following:

Students currently enrolled and in their last term of study
Students who have completed their course work but have not yet graduated
Graduates who are currently waiting for their official transcripts

Exam Information –

Applying for the Exam
Exam Fees
Application Checklist
Annual Exam Pass Rates
Scale Scoring FAQ (PDF)

Applying for the Exam

Submitting an Application

Before submitting an application, carefully review the information contained in this guide. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure eligibility before submitting the application.

Applicants who are determined to be ineligible and submit an ineligible application or request withdrawal of their application, will receive a refund of the application fee minus a $75 processing fee.

Applicants may register online or by submitting a paper application .
Exam Application Checklist

Read Candidate Guide

Apply for exam

Register Online

Exam Application

Early Testing Verification Form  (What is early testing?)

Special Accommodations Form – Form A and B

Submit all paperwork necessary (transcripts, resume, other documentation)
Upon receipt of authorization to test (ATT), read it completely
Schedule exam with Pearson Vue
Verify what materials are needed at the testing center
Verify time and date of exam

Exam Preparation Information –

Exam Specifications
2008 Job Analysis
Exam Content Outline
Cognitive Levels
Exam Scoring/Passing Scores
Recommended Resources

Exam Specifications

Four hour, 180 four-option, mutliple-choice question examination consisting of 160 scored questions and 20 pretest questions.

A candidate’s score is based on the number of scored questions on the examination. The pretest questions do not affect a candidate’s score.

Pretest questions are included in order to evaluate them for possible use as scored questions on future examinations. The pretest questions are placed throughout the examination and cannot be identified during the examination.

Exam Content Outline

A certification examination is based on an explicit set of competencies. These competencies have been determined through a job analysis study conducted of practitioners. The competencies are divided into domains and tasks as shown in the tables below. Examinations test content only pertaining to the following competencies.

RHIA Exam Content Outline
RHIA Exam Content Outline Crosswalk

RHIA Recommended Resources

Every test question on AHIMA’s certification examinations must be referenced to a valid, credible, and current resource. AHIMA’s construction committee members and item writers most commonly use the following:

Abdelhak, M., et. al (2011) . Health information: management of a strategic resource. 4th ed. St. Louis: Saunders/Elsevier.

Amatayakul, M. (2009). Electronic health records: a practical guide for professionals and organizations. Chicago: AHIMA.

Amatayakul, M. & Lazarus, S. (2005). Electronic health records: transforming your medical practice: Englewood: MGMA.

Ball, M. (2004). Healthcare information management systems: cases, strategies and solutions. New York: Springer.

Beaver, K. & Herold, R. (2004). The practical guide to HIPAA privacy and security compliance. Boca Raton: Auerbach.
Bowman, S. (2007). Health Information Management Compliance. Chicago: AHIMA.
Brown, F. (2011). ICD-9-CM coding handbook. Chicago: AMA.
Casto, A. & Layman, E. (2011). Principles of healthcare reimbursement. Chicago: AHIMA.
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 45, Public Welfare, parts 160-164.
Documentation and reimbursement for behavioral healthcare services. (2005). Chicago:

DRG Expert (2004). 20th ed.
Harman, L. (2006). Ethical challenges in the management of health information. Boston:

Jones & Bartlett.
Hartley, C. & Jones, E. (2004). HIPAA plain and simple. Chicago: AMA.
HIPAA in practice: the health information manager’s perspective. (2004). Chicago: AHIMA.
Horton, M. (2010). Calculating and reporting healthcare stastics. Chicago: AHIMA.
James, E. (2008). Documentation and reimbursement for long-term care. Chicago: AHIMA.
Johns, M. (2011). Health information management technology: an applied approach. 3rd ed.

Chicago: AHIMA.
LaTour, K. & Eichenwald,-Maki. (2010). Health Information Management: Concepts,

Principles and Practices. 3rd ed. Chicago: AHIMA.
Nowak, T.J. & Handford, A. (2004). Pathophysiology: concepts and applications for health care professionals. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Osborn, C. (2006). Statistical applications for health information management. Boston:

Jones & Bartlett.
Roach. W., (2006). Medical records and the law. Boston: Jones and Bartlett.
Schraffenberger, L. (2011). Basic ICD-9-CM Coding. Chicago: AHIMA.
Schraffenberger, L. (2011). Effective management of coding services. Chicago: AHIMA.
Shaw, P., (2010). Quality and performance improvement in healthcare. Chicago.

Smith, G. (2011). Basic CPT/HCPCS coding. Chicago: AHIMA.
Wager, K., (2009). Managing health care information systems. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

RHIA and RHIT Exam FAQs –

How much does the exam cost?

The application fee for the RHIA and the RHIT exam is $229.00 for AHIMA members and $299.00 for non-members.

What is an “eligibility period”?

A candidate’s eligibility period is defined in the Authorization to Test letter (ATT) as a four-month window in which candidates are required to schedule their exam appointment.  Candidates who fail to schedule an examination appointment within their eligibility period indicated in their ATT will forfeit their application fee. A complete application and examination fee are required to reapply for the examination.

After I send my application and fee, how soon will I get my Authorization to Test (ATT)?

Pearson Vue will send an ATT letter to the candidate once all application materials are complete and eligibility has been confirmed. If the application is incomplete, the candidate will be sent further instructions for completion of the application. Candidates who are determined to be ineligible, submit an ineligible application, or request the withdrawal of their application, will receive a refund of their application fee less a $75 processing fee.   Please allow one to two weeks for processing from the time you submit your completed application to the time you receive your ATT which will allow you to make an appointment to schedule the exam. All applicants are strongly encouraged to send the application and fee via a traceable method.

How soon can I re-test if I failed the exam?

Candidates who have taken the exam and were unsuccessful must wait a minimum of 45 days between administrations.  To retake an exam, the candidate must reapply by submitting a current application with the appropriate fee.

How long does it take to process an examination application refund?

Examination refund requests take 6-8 weeks to process.