Earn a HIM Degree Online
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Build your skill set and gain valuable professional practice experience with SNHU's Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Information Management degree online. This program is ideal for someone just beginning their studies in health information and for professionals wanting a structured field experience as part of their online HIM curriculum.
“Health information management is the information hub for all patient data,” said Darla Branda, clinical faculty of health professions at SNHU. “They house all of the information from the lab, surgery, insurance companies, registries and more.”
Through specialized studies and a professional practice experience (PPE), you'll learn the technology, terminology and professional skills required for a career in health information management. You'll also receive valuable exposure to a professional healthcare setting, helping position you for success in a competitive field.
The bachelor's in health information management program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
As a CAHIIM-accredited program, our curriculum is built to prepare you for real-world success. “CAHIIM really sets the bar for academic programs in health information management,” said Lynn Ward, associate dean of health professions at SNHU.
In addition to helping you develop practical skills and experiences employers want to see, the program also meets eligibility requirements to sit for the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credential exam - which can help you open up even more opportunities for advancement.
Throughout the program, you'll learn how to:
Get credit for your HIM certifications. At SNHU, you can get credit for having your Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) or Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-based (CCS-P) certification from AHIMA, saving you up to $960 in tuition and 8 weeks of time on your HIM bachelor's program. Learn more about getting credit for HIM certifications.
The increased use of data to produce better treatment and patient outcomes has created strong opportunities for employment in health information management. In addition, recent federal regulations requiring healthcare organizations to utilize secure electronic health records seem to be stimulating job growth for years to come.
“It’s a really growing field. There’s lots of opportunity,” said Darla Branda, clinical faculty of health professions at SNHU. “It’s been a very steady incline in growth and it’s going to continue to be that way, especially as our population continues to age and live longer.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the demand for educated medical records and health information technicians will grow 11% by 2028 – much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations.1 In addition, jobs for health services managers are projected to grow 18% by 2028.1
SNHU's online HIM degree and professional practice experience provides a solid foundation for this growing discipline.
With a bachelor's in health information management, you'll be prepared to work in a variety of health-related careers. Job titles include: clinical information specialist, database administrator, implementation support specialist, public health information analyst and health information analyst, specialist and manager.
Upon graduating, you'll have the skills you need to work in various health settings, including:
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 90 credits from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.2 Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Part of our mission to expand access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
Simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions and walk you through the application process. Start by:
Test scores are not required as part of your application.
Our health information management bachelor's program will combine the technology, terminology, professional skills and on-the-job experience you need to start your career in health information management.
These professional practical experiences (PPE), which must be US based, allow students to take course theory and principles they learn throughout the program and apply them. As part of these experiences, you'll observe and learn from a professional in the field who acts as your mentor.
Kim Coffey, an internship administrator at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), said, “Essentially, we want our students to leave SNHU with a more tangible idea of what the career field is really like."
For Heidi Nolan '19, a graduate of the BS in Health Information Management program, that's exactly what happened.
During her PPE, she worked with Nevada Health Centers to figure out why less than half of 25 thousand Medicaid patients weren't receiving regular care.
Combining research of high-risk populations in each sector, and drawing from a case study she learned about in her Health Information Concepts, Principles and Practices textbook, Nolan found a solution: as a way to incentivize visits, send busses to patients and offer free dental exams and mammograms.
Not only did she get the opportunity to help craft the strategic plan for her idea – she presented her findings to executive staff.
"What I did for my internship was a much higher-level than working in medical records," Nolan said. "I’ve learned how to problem solve and basically assess what needs to be fixed."
In addition to hands-on learning, the health information management degree is designed to align with industry standards. Coursework is based on the curriculum principles established by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM) and curriculum competencies identified by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Learn more about AHIMA competencies.
As a CAHIIM-accredited online program, SNHU’s Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management prepares learners to meet the educational competencies required of a health information management (HIM) professional. Graduates of SNHU’s BS in Health Information Management program meet the educational requirements to sit for the RHIA certification exam.
“(The CAHIIM accreditation) lends credibility to the quality of our curriculum and signifies that our program has the resources and support in place to deliver a high-quality learning experience for our students,” Darla Branda, clinical faculty of health professions, said.
One of the eligibility requirements to sit for the RHIA exam is that students must have graduated from a program accredited through CAHIIM.
“[The RHIA credential] is becoming more prevalent in the industry," said Lynn Ward, associate dean of health professions. "More and more employers are recognizing the RHIA credential, so it really helps [graduates] with job search.”
If your goals include a master's degree, SNHU offers the full pathway for HIM professionals with an online master's in health information management. The MS in HIM is the ideal next step for continued study of graduates of the bachelor's in health information management program or those looking to build on their skills and experience.
Our Program Mission:
Prepare students for a career in health information management, fostering creative problem-solving solutions using innovative technology and the guiding principles of managing patient health data.
The program's mission and goals form the basis of program planning, implementation and is compatible with the mission of the Nursing and Health Professions (NHP) department and the university as a whole. The program's mission and goals are outcome-focused and measurable to improve program health and address any disparity in the curriculum.
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
Total Credits: 120
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Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
This specialized healthcare degree prepares students for a career in health information management, often described as the intersection of business, technology and health. Bachelor’s programs in HIM focus on the management of electronic health records and foster creative problem-solving using innovative technology and the guiding principles of managing patient health data.
Health information management degree candidates learn to lead initiatives involving electronic health records, including accuracy, completion, security and governance. Such initiatives are critical to the healthcare system, since the accuracy of an electronic health record is reflected in billing, which impacts reimbursement and, in turn, affects healthcare costs for all stakeholders. Information contained in electronic health records is also used to track health trends to ensure proper treatment and coordinated care for both the individual and populations at large.
Graduates of the program can then enter the workforce with a unique combination of technical expertise and critical soft skills.
"The most important part is the HIM professional's relationship to the patient," said Cheryl Martin, health information management strategic advisor at the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). "The people who enter the field generally have the natural ability to feel empathy. This informs the awareness that behind every piece of data, is a connection to a 'somebody.' It's a very human focus on the data."
In addition to coursework that emphasizes specialized training and patient-centered care, Southern New Hampshire University’s online bachelor's in health information management exposes students to a professional practice and experiential learning. Students learn the technology, terminology and professional skills required for a career in health information management and receive valuable exposure to a professional healthcare setting.
SNHU's HIM degree is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM), the seal of approval for high-caliber HIM academic programs. It also provides the educational requirements to sit for the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam, a nationally recognized certification in the field.
According to AHIMA, those who pass the RHIA exam:
"Obtaining the RHIA credential tells employers that the student has graduated from a CAHIIM-accredited program," said Darla Branda, clinical faculty of health professions. “They have the academic training and internship experience that has prepared them for an entry-level job in HIM."
According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), earning a bachelor’s or master’s in HIM can lead to a long-lasting career in one of the nation’s fastest-growing industries.3 Health information students gain clinical, IT, leadership and management skills. In the professional arena, they’ll use those skills to serve as a bridge between clinicians, administrators, technology designers and IT professionals.
Cheryl Martin, AHIMA’s health information management strategic advisor, calls HIM a “hidden jewel of job opportunities.” She says health information management professionals need a unique combination of industry expertise, people skills and analytical skills.
Martin points out that the ability to pull meaning from data can impact not only health outcomes but a hospital’s balance sheet. She says employers look for people who can make data “available for those who need access but protected from those who don’t.” An HIM degree provides the foundation to develop that prized skill set.
With its emphasis on the human interaction that weaves through data, the curriculum tends to forge strong bonds between students and educators, said Martin. HIM educators, she said, “season everything they teach with, ‘This is all about the patient.’” Students learn early on that they need to uphold the profession’s high standards and often turn to educators for counsel long after they graduate as a result.
Classes in health information management include medical terminology, coding and classification systems, ethics and legal considerations, and pathophysiology and pharmacology concepts. Students may also need to take general education courses depending on how many transfer credits they can apply to their program.
While both disciplines involve a blend of business and healthcare, health information management and healthcare administration are two very different fields. Health information management mostly focuses on the competencies needed to manage electronic health records. The role primarily affects internal stakeholders needing access to data, but it can also directly affect patients.
Healthcare administration, on the other hand, centers around organizational management and encompasses everything from quality improvement to marketing, strategy and human resource management.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health information technicians earned a median salary of $40,350 in 2018. The BLS projects the field will grow 11% through 2028 – more than twice the national average for all occupations.1
The AHIMA notes that the growing prevalence of health information technology (HIT) makes health information one of the most critical components of the electronic health record (EHR) workforce.3
According to AHIMA, HIM professionals affect the quality of patient information and patient care at every touchpoint in the healthcare delivery cycle.3 They help classify diseases and treatments to ensure standardization for clinical, financial and legal uses within the healthcare industry. And they’re responsible for the quality, integrity and protection of a patient’s health information, include patient histories, lab results and radiology procedures.
As a professional in HIM, your work can help save lives. Take for example, a young father of three who comes into ER at 2 am, panicked because one of his children is suffering from shortness of breath. This particular child has a history of medical issues, including a 3-week stay in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). However, reeling with exhaustion and stress, the father misses key details regarding past treatment.
In this case – when a parent or patient is understandably overwhelmed – accessible, accurate medical records give the nurse what they need to deliver care. Without a health information management professional behind the scenes, that wouldn't be possible.
To accomplish this kind of quality care, the HIM professional will need to:
Beyond technical capabilities, a health information management degree can help you build skills you need to navigate a fast-paced healthcare environment. "[You'll be working in] a place where human interaction is extremely important — the ability to deal with change, handle conflict, the ability to listen, actually excelling in all forms of communication," said Cheryl Martin, AHIMA’s health information management strategic advisor. "In fact, one of the big focuses we will have in 2020 for professional development at AHIMA is soft skills."
AHIMA cites academic institutions, consulting agencies, government agencies, and healthcare software companies as the types of employers with an increased demand for educated HIM practitioners.
As the profession continues to grow, so do HIM career opportunities. Here’s a partial listing of the job roles on the AHIMA website:
According to the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), healthcare informatics is a multidisciplinary and integrative field focused on health information technologies (HIT) that involves the computer, cognitive and social sciences. Healthcare informatics applies principles of computer and information science to the advancement of life sciences research, health professions education, public health and patient care.4
Health information technicians, or health informaticists, use data, information and knowledge to improve human health and the delivery of healthcare services. An integral part of any healthcare team, they help incorporate advanced technology into patient care and facility operations, reducing errors and maximizing efficiencies. As technology continues to evolve, the healthcare industry will need trained professionals to help implement these changes.
SNHU has provided additional information for programs that educationally prepare students for professional licensure or certification. Learn more about what that means for your program on our licensure and certification disclosure page.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
2 According to a survey responses from over 9,200 SNHU online students conducted in the fall of 2019.
3 American Health Information Management Association, on the internet, at http://www.ahima.org/careers/healthinfo?tabid=what (viewed online March 19, 2020).
4 American Medical Informatics Association, on the internet, at https://www.amia.org/fact-sheets/what-informatics (viewed online March 20, 2020).