Where the Jobs Are: Demand for EHR/HIT Certifications
Note: This was also a guest publication on emrandehr.com
There are dozens of EHR/HIT certification program and counting. A few years ago, I got a CPHIMS. I did it in hopes it would open some work doors. I thought it was useful, well developed and administered, etc., but going full time running the EHRSelector.com took me in a different direction. Still, I’ve wondered which certification programs offer the most opportunity and where are they located?
With help from John’s newly acquired Healthcare IT Central job board, I found answers to these questions. HealthcareITCentral has one of the largest, if not the largest collection of HIT positions. Using its advanced search, I looked for jobs, in the last 30, days that required specific certifications.
A few caveats about this review:
- Each certification counts as one position. For example, if one job posting listed ComTIA, CPHIMS and CPEHR, I counted it as three jobs, one for each certification.
- General certifications only. For practical reasons this report only covers general certifications that have a one word abbreviation. Finding other certifications, such as eClinicalWorks Certified, etc., requires searching for phrases, which HealthcareITCentral currently doesn’t support (or John needs to teach me how to do). No doubt Epic certification and Cerner certification would be high on this list if it was included.
- Dynamics. The results I found for these certifications are a snapshot. The job market and the openings that HealthcareITCentral lists constantly change. What is true now, could change in a moment. However, I believe this can give you a good idea of the relative demand that exists.
Table I lists the certifications and for which I found at least one opening.
Table II, lists the certifications that had no openings in the last 30 days. I also did a quick check to see if any of these had any jobs listed at all. It appears that there were no open positions for these certifications, though as I note above matters can quickly change.
I found that the system listed 1,500 or so positions in the past month. See Chart I. Of those, 440 or 30 percent mentioned one of these certifications.
Of all the certifications, AHIMA’s were most in demand. AHIMA’s prominence among the certifications reviewed is remarkable. It’s three programs account for two thirds of the certification positions.
Its RHIA (Registered Health Information Administrator) was mentioned 101 times. RHIA accounted for about 22 percent of the openings with RHIT (Registered Health Information Technician) slightly less at 94.
RHIA’s designed to show a range of managerial skills, rather than in depth technical ability. If you consider certifications proof of technical acumen, then the strong RHIA demand is a bit counter intuitive.
Where the RHIA has a broad scope, the close second, RHIT, is more narrowly focused on EHRs and their integrity.
In third place, but still with a substantial demand is CCS (Certified Coding Specialist), which as the name implies focuses on a specific ability.
Certification Demand by Location
After looking at certification demand, I looked at demand by location. To do this I merged all the certification job openings into a single list. That is, I added those for RHIA, RHIT, etc., and then eliminated duplicates. This reduced the total from about 390 to 280.
The next step was to rank the states by their job numbers. Chart II for the top ten state openings shows this information two ways:
- Blue Columns. Openings per state.
- Green Columns. These show how a state’s jobs rank compared to its population share. For example, if a state is plus four then its jobs rank four levels above its population rank. Conversely, if a state is minus four, its share is four less than its population rank.
As you might expect, the states with the largest populations have the most jobs. California leads with 36 openings. However, there are some notable exceptions, such as Maryland.
Maryland has 21 jobs openings. This puts it fourth between Texas and New York. It is 15 ranks above where its population ranks it. Illinois, on the other hand has nine jobs. This puts it four ranks below its population standing.
Certifications are a response to the demand for persons with demonstrated skills. The question is whether a particular one will reward your time, cost and effort with something that is marketable. Demand alone can’t make that choice for you. Personal satisfaction can’t be discounted as a factor in any decision. I hope this short study may help you find the best fit for you.