Health Information Management Degrees: A Guide

Health information management (HIM) is a dynamic field, teeming with diverse career prospects that beckon the ambitious. Attaining your degree can be a pivotal launchpad for a rewarding journey.

The Growing Realm of Health Care

In the ever-expanding landscape of health care, the demand for skilled professionals is skyrocketing. The aging demographic, with the population of patients aged 65 and above expected to double by 2030, is a primary driver. Anticipating this surge, healthcare occupations are poised to burgeon by an impressive 16 percent over the next decade.

Navigating the Digital Frontier

Beyond patient care, the meticulous maintenance of health records is paramount, especially due to technological advancements. Health information management (HIM) takes the reins in handling health care data, encompassing the "acquisition, analysis, and protection of digital and traditional types of information," as elucidated by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

Lucrative Opportunities Await

Health information management is lucrative, boasting numerous career opportunities that promise substantial growth. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts a remarkable 32 percent surge in health service management jobs by 2030, surpassing the average growth rate. Earning your degree in health information management serves as a strategic entry point into this high-demand field, often accompanied by certification requirements.

Unveiling Health Information Management Degrees

1. Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management

Embarking on a career in HIM delves into health, business, technology, data analysis, and finance. A Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Information Management establishes a robust interdisciplinary foundation and positions you for the coveted Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification.


Attaining a BS in Health Information Management typically spans 120 credits over four to five years of full-time study, although accelerated online programs are available. Some programs mandate externships, enabling the practical application of acquired knowledge.

Coursework Highlights

  • Health care administration
  • Medical coding
  • Medical terminology
  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Financial management in healthcare
  • Reimbursement system

The Significance of Accreditation

Given the nuanced nature of health information management, securing admission to a CAHIIM-accredited program is pivotal for those eyeing RHIA certification. The certification exam necessitates completing a CAHIIM-approved program, prompting aspirants to explore options at each degree level through the organization's program directory.

2. Master of Science in Health Information Management

Whether armed with a bachelor's in HIM or another field, the journey towards advanced roles, like senior director of health information management, often involves pursuing a Master of Science (MS) in Health Information Management, particularly after gaining professional experience.


Attaining an MS in Health Information Management typically spans two years of full-time study, potentially featuring a capstone project with varying requirements across institutions.

Advanced Coursework

  • Healthcare financial management
  • Healthcare Law and Ethics
  • Healthcare project management
  • Electronic records systems
  • Healthcare database design
  • Healthcare data analytics

Unlocking the Potential: Careers with a HIM Degree

The broad spectrum of health information management opens avenues to diverse career paths, including roles in project management, governance, and data analysis across various healthcare facilities. Sample titles and their associated salaries, as per BLS and Glassdoor data (April 2022), include:

  • Medical records coder: $43,138
  • HIM specialist: $45,240
  • Medical records coordinator: $64,608
  • Compliance officer: $73,611
  • Health services manager: $104,280
  • Medical information manager: $130,883

Exploring Alternatives in Health Care

Health care extends beyond information management. Alternative avenues beckon those intrigued by diverse facets of the industry:

  • Health Administration: Merging business and medicine, a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration can lead to careers in office management or healthcare consulting. Advancing to roles like hospital administrator or clinical director often involves pursuing a Master of Health Administration (MHA).
  • Public Health: Focused on enhancing community well-being, a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Public Health (MPH) open doors to careers in public health education, epidemiology, public policy, and more.
  • Social Work: Addressing societal issues, a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) can kickstart an administrative role, with many graduates pursuing a Master of Social Work (MSW) for advanced positions in counseling and therapy.
  • Pharmacy Tech: Assisting in pharmacy operations; this role involves organizing patient records, liaising with insurance companies, and managing inventory. You can contribute to efficient pharmacy organization and management with a high school education and suitable training.

Charting Your Course

To ascertain if a career in HIM aligns with your aspirations, consider courses such as Health Information Technology Fundamentals from Johns Hopkins University or delve into The Business of Health Care from the University of Pennsylvania. Leading universities, including the University of Michigan, offer various healthcare degrees for further exploration.


Q1: What is the Scope of Health Information Management?

Health Information Management encompasses a diverse field with ample career opportunities. It involves acquiring, analyzing, and protecting both digital and traditional healthcare data, making it a pivotal component of the rapidly evolving healthcare industry.

Q2: Why is Health Information Management Lucrative?

The demand for health care services is rising, particularly with the expected doubling of the population aged 65 and above by 2030. This surge propels a 16 percent growth in healthcare occupations over the next decade, making HIM a lucrative field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a remarkable 32 percent growth in health service management jobs by 2030.

Q3: What Courses are Covered in Health Information Management Degrees?

Courses vary based on the degree level but commonly include subjects such as:

  • Health care administration
  • Medical coding
  • Medical terminology
  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Financial management in healthcare
  • Reimbursement system

Q4: Why is Accreditation Important in Health Information Management?

Accreditation, especially from the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), is crucial for RHIA certification eligibility. Choosing a CAHIIM-accredited program ensures adherence to high standards in the specialized field of health information management.

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