Earn a HIM Degree Online
- $320/credit (120 credits)
- Program accredited by CAHIIM
- Transfer up to 90 credits for previous college & HIM certifications
- Gain real-world, practical field experiences
- No application fee or SAT/ACT scores required
- Provides education requirements to sit for RHIA exam
Online Health Information Management Degree Program Overview
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.
Use HIM certifications to earn your degree faster. At SNHU, you can get credit for having your Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) or Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-based (CCS-P) certification from AHIMA. The credits you earn could save 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.
What You'll Learn
- Health data structure, standards and regulations
- Management of clinical classification systems
- Uses, risks and management of health statistics
- Laws regulations, policies and healthcare ethics
- Data collection, storage, analysis and reporting
- How to evaluate information system applications
How You'll Learn
At SNHU, you'll get support from day 1 to graduation and beyond. And with no set class times, 24/7 access to the online classroom, and helpful learning resources along the way, you'll have everything you need to reach your goals.
The increased use of patient data to inform better treatment plans and improve patient outcomes has created strong opportunities for employment in health information management. In addition, recent federal regulations requiring healthcare organizations to utilize and secure electronic health records seem to be accelerating 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.”
SNHU's online HIM degree and professional practice experience provide a solid foundation for this growing discipline. As a CAHIIM-accredited program, the online BS in Health Information Management also meets the requirements needed to sit for the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam.
For many looking to advance in their field, CAHIIM accreditation – and the RHIA exam – are crucial. In fact, this was the deciding factor for John Mann '21.
"SNHU’s reputation for high-quality online learning was what caught my attention," he said. "But the fact that the HIM program is accredited by CAHIIM really made the decision for me."
Offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), a leading authority on health information, the RHIA certification follows today's industry standards and best practices to help prepare professionals in the field.
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
Work closely with data and image storage systems to collect information analyze data, build interfaces, and troubleshoot software and more.
You'll create or organize systems to store different health information and data and ensure databases are secure and function optimally.
Implementation Support Specialist
Help to ensure that software systems meet the desired outcome of your organization by customizing software, managing installation, and training employees on use and best practices.
Public Health Information Analyst
Work to create solutions to health problems based on research and data, and help to improve the general public health monitoring and measuring outcomes.
Health Information Analyst, Specialist and Manager
Organize and manage data sets, analyze healthcare data, and communicating recommendations for optimization and improvement with data visualization and reports.
Upon graduating, you'll have the skills you need to work in various health settings, including:
- Hospitals and healthcare-related organizations
- Physician offices
- Long-term care and ambulatory care facilities
- Insurance and pharmaceutical companies
- Medical manufacturers and governmental healthcare agencies
- Behavioral health organizations
Job Growth and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for medical and health services managers are projected to grow 28% through 2031 – far faster than the national growth rate for all occupations.2
RHIA certification can also lead to higher earning potential. According to a 2019 survey by AHIMA, HIM professionals who earn credentials often have higher salaries.3 The value of an RHIA certification also appears to grow substantially over time. The survey notes that the average salary for those who get their RHIA certification after 1-2 years is $57,930; in 7-10, that number jumps to $70,770 – a 22% increase.3
Possible Career Paths
Within hospitals, there are myriad departments and opportunities for which the HIM professionals and their skill set is in demand, such as licensure and accreditation, information systems, data analytics, revenue and reimbursement, quality improvement, privacy and compliance, and, of course, HIM.4
Plus, one of the unique perks of earning your degree in HIM is the opportunity to pursue roles in the non-provider realm. Those with an HIM skillset could, for example, pursue paths with consulting companies, law firms, or healthcare technology companies delivering cloud-based software in the areas of financial planning, analytics, and performance – and that's just scratching the surface of opportunity for professionals in this field.4
Start Your Journey Toward an Online Health Information Management Degree
Why SNHU for Your Online Health Information Management Degree
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
As part of our mission to make higher education more accessible, we’re committed to keeping our tuition rates low. In fact, we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.
Prior coursework could also help you save time and money. SNHU’s transfer policy allows you to transfer up to 90 credits toward your bachelor's degree and 45 credits for an associate degree from your previous institutions—that means you could save up to 75% off the cost of tuition. You could also save time and money by getting college credit for previous work experience, or by taking advantage of military discounts and employer tuition assistance if available to you.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 160,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), a regional accreditor, 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:
- U.S. News & World Report named SNHU the 2021 Most Innovative University in the North and one of the nation's "Best Regional Universities"
- Awarded the 21st Century Distance Learning Award for Excellence in Online Technology by The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 300,000 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.
93.6% of online students would recommend SNHU (according to a 2022 survey with 17,000+ respondents). Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Expanding 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:
- Completed free undergraduate application
- Prior transcripts, which we can retrieve at no cost to you
- Test scores are not required as part of your application
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
How to Apply
If you’re ready to apply, follow these simple steps to get the process going:
- Complete a free undergraduate application
- Submit any additional documents required
- Work with an admission counselor to explore financial options and walk through the application process
If you have questions or need help filling out your application, call 1.888.387.0861 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gain Real-World Experience
John Mann '21
"This program exceeded my original expectations. The assignments and course projects have real-world scenarios which pushed me to learn so many new things. In working with an Enterprise EHR, the classes really opened my eyes to the power of the relational database management behind the scenes."
Courses & Curriculum
Our health information management bachelor's program will combine the technology, health science, and business courses that you need to be prepared for a career in health information management.
Students will participate in a professional practice experience (PPE), which is an internship, at an organization that collects and manages patient health data. You can choose from a variety of organizations to complete your PPE (including, but not limited to): acute, ambulatory, behavioral health, chiropractic medicine, dental medicine, home health, hospice, and veterinary medicine.
The PPE, which must be US based, allows students to apply theory and principles they learn throughout the program to real-world situations in the HIM workplace. As part of this experience, you'll observe and learn from a professional in the field who serves as your mentor.
While professional practical experiences (PPE) are a big part of the online BS in Health Information Management, practical application is baked into every part of the program – even the weekly coursework.
Beyond the tools he used, Mann praises the instructors that helped him through his courses.
"I am grateful for having been able to learn from all my SNHU instructors and professors," he said. "In every subject, they were able to build knowledge through exploration of real-world scenarios. They also provided wonderful materials around IT, HIM, revenue cycle, coding rules, compliance, human resources and inclusion."
Melissa Smith '21 agreed.
"The instructors were amazing, they were always willing to push you further and made sure you knew they were there if you needed help," she said. "The resources they used and general knowledge made the entire experience worth it."
And it wasn't just the instructors who had her back, either.
"Choosing SNHU was easy for me between the dedicated advisors who were always there to help guide me and encouraged me to keep going," she said.
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 25,000 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 buses 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
All bachelor's students are required to take general education classes. Through these foundation, exploration and integration courses, students learn to think critically, creatively and collaboratively, giving you the edge employers are looking for.
We provide cloud-based virtual environments in some courses to give you access to the technology you need for your degree – and your career. Learn more about our virtual environments.
Earn Math Credits
Save time and tuition with our Pathways to Math Success assessments. Depending on your scores, you could earn up to 12 math credits – the equivalent of 4 courses – toward your degree for less than $50 per assessment. For additional information, or to register for a Pathways to Math Success assessment, contact your admission counselor or academic advisor today.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|BS in Health Information Management|
|Courses May Include|
|BS in Health Information Management Online|
|HCM 205||Medical Terminology||Explore effective and professional communication in a variety of healthcare settings. Learn the rules for building and defining medical terms, the correct pronunciation and spelling of medical terms, and the application of medical terminology as it relates to each body system. Evaluate various types of medical records and reports, and learn the skills needed to read and interpret them. Apply the application of medical terminology as it relates to the clinical world through various activities.|
|HCM 340||Healthcare Delivery Systems||This course provides an overview of the nature, organization, and function of the continuum of health services found in the United States. Emphasis is placed on the interrelation of cultural, economic, political and social aspects of health care delivery at the federal, state and local level. Topics include health care costs, accessibility of services, governmental influence on health care delivery, private industry role in health care, services for the medically indigent and elderly, ethical issues regarding transplants, reproductive technology, end of life decisions and funding.|
|HCM 345||Healthcare Reimbursement||This course explores some of the major issues facing the healthcare industry and the effect that public policy and business environment has on a healthcare organization. Emphasis is on supply and demand theory, reimbursement systems, managed care, charge-master management, Case-mix management, DRG prospective payment, insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, governmental regulations, accessibility, eligibility, budgeting, and planning. Students learn to use informational and research tools to make effective management decisions.|
|HIM 200||Introduction to Health Information Technology||This course describes the use of information technology and the role of HIT professionals in the development of the electronic health record. It introduces the health information infrastructure and systems along with healthcare informatics, including applications, technology, privacy, and security.|
|HIM 215||Coding & Classification Systems||The purpose of this course is to provide students with the basic ability to identify nomenclatures and classification systems as well as assign codes using the appropriate principles, guidelines, and conventions and apply ICD-10-CM, CPT and HCPCS rules and guidelines.|
|HIM 220||Healthcare Data Management||This course examines the design and the use of medical databases. Students will learn how to implement business rules and data modeling to develop medical information management systems. The course further explores database applications for decision support including evidence-based practice, alerts, allergy management, and identification of gaps in care. Students will design databases and systems that reflect privacy and security requirements of HIPAA and HITECH Act.|
|HIM 350||Communication and Technologies||The Communication and Technologies course will review and evaluate an assortment of technologies including: data, information, and file structures (data administration, data definitions, data dictionary, data modeling, data structures, data warehousing, database management systems), system interoperability, data sharing, Health Information Exchanges (HIE), and the Nation-wide Health Information Infrastructure (NHIN).|
|HIM 360||Coding and Classifications Systems II||In this course, students will learn to manage health data elements, data sets (i.e., HEDIS, UHDDS, OASIS), and databases as well as perform a data quality assessment and integrity review. Health information archival and retrieval systems, as well as data capture tools and technologies (i.e., forms, data input screens, templates, other health record documentation tools), will be analyzed. Students will review healthcare taxonomies, clinical vocabularies nomenclatures (e.g., ICD-9-CM, ICD-10-CM/PCS, CPT, SNOMED, DSMIV). Topics will include severity of illness systems, data integrity, coding audits, CCI, electronic billing, patient identity management policies, and X12N. Additionally, the course will review charge master management, revenue cycles, and audit processes (e.g., compliance and reimbursement).|
|HIM 400||Communication and Technologies II||This course builds upon knowledge gained in HIM-350, including an evaluation of project management fundamentals, database structures, data extraction methods, data mining, data analysis, system acquisition, data sharing and regulatory forces that impact health information technologies.|
|HIM 422||Ethical and Legal Considerations in Health Information Management||Students in this course will examine ethics and the fundamentals of law as they pertain to health information management professionals. Students will practice developing organization-wide ethical guidelines, policies, and procedures which comply with current healthcare law and best practices. Students will learn about the U.S. legal system, civil procedure, evidence, and tort law. Students will analyze the legal health record (maintenance, content, documentation, & disposition). Students will review corporations, contracts, business associate agreements, anti-trust legal issues, medical staff, and work place law. Other areas covered include: consent to treat, HIPAA privacy rule, HIPAA security rule, security threats and controls, risk management, access, use, & disclosure/release of health information, corporate compliance, required reporting, and mandatory disclosure laws.|
|HIM 440||Management of Health Information Services||Evaluate information management planning, strategic planning, process re-engineering and work redesign, change management, and accreditation survey readiness.|
|HIM 445||Professional Practical Experience||The Professional Practical Experience course provides hands-on experiences for the Bachelor of Science students in Health Information Management. The Professional Practice Experience (PPE) is designed to provide students with a directed preceptor experience, which is externally supervised and evaluated. The PPE provides students with the opportunity to refine developed competencies and skills sets that were introduced in the Health Information Management courses. This course requires a minimum of 40 practical experience hours.|
|HIM 480||Health Information Management Capstone||The capstone course is the culminating experience for the Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management or the Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management - Professional Practice Concentration. This course builds on the concepts of all courses students have taken within the program of study. The capstone course provides students with the opportunity to integrate and synthesize the knowledge and skills acquired throughout their course work in an original comprehensive project, and to assess their level of mastery of the stated outcomes of their degree program in Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management or the Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management - Professional Practice Concentration.|
|IHP 310||Pathophysiology and Pharmacology Concepts||This course explores common diseases, treatments, procedures and drugs needed to analyze healthcare documentation for functions such as abstracting, coding, auditing, and reimbursement. Drug classifications are also included. Implications related to pathophysiological and pharmacological concepts are applied to health information management.|
|IHP 430||Healthcare Quality Management||The goal of this course is to introduce students to the management of operations and explore how healthcare organizations can use advance methods to improve healthcare processes, delivery, and outcomes. Specific focus will be on analyzing cycle times (e.g., patient wait times), measuring productivity, streamlining process flows, tracking outcomes and performance metrics, and generally improving health management processes and health outcomes. The process improvement will be measured by how it can improve quality of care and safety of healthcare delivery, reduce waste, and reduce costs. The role of technology and innovative approaches in improving continuing quality improvement in healthcare delivery will be presented.|
|IHP 450||Healthcare Management and Finance||This course focuses on the concepts, principles, tools, finances and strategies used in managing operations within a performance improvement model. Students will explore problem solving and decision making models as well as tools and techniques for planning, organizing, directing, controlling, reporting, and improving the productivity and performance of resources within a healthcare department. Additionally, topics will include healthcare finance reimbursement, bookkeeping, accounting principles, budgeting processes (capital and operating), and cost/benefits analysis.|
|IT 201||Computer Platform Technologies||This course provides the hardware/software technology background for information technology personnel. Hardware topics include CPU architecture, memory, registers, addressing modes, busses, instruction sets and a variety of input/output devices. Software topics include operating system modules, process management, memory and file system management. Also included are basic network components and multi-user operating systems.|
|IT 204||Introduction to Data and Information Management||This course provides students with an introduction to the foundations of data and information management, centered around the core skills of data management and database organization. The course will focus on identifying organizational requirements for data and information, modeling the requirements using relational techniques, implementing the models into a database using a database management system, and understanding the issues of data quality and data security. The course will also introduce the framework of enterprise information management and the growing need for managing data and information in organizations effectively to support decision making and competitive advantage.|
|Total Credits: 120|
Minimum Hardware Required Specifications
PC (Windows OS)
Apple (Mac OS)
Currently supported operating system from Microsoft.
Currently supported operating system from Apple.
8GB or higher
8GB or higher
100GB or higher
100GB or higher
Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.
Required for campus students. Strongly recommended for online students.
SNHU Purchase Programs
5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency
5 Mbps Download, 1 Mbps Upload and less than 100 ms Latency
- Laptop or desktop? Whichever you choose depends on your personal preference and work style, though laptops tend to offer more flexibility.
- Note: Chromebooks (Chrome OS) and iPads (iOS) do not meet the minimum requirements for coursework at SNHU. These offer limited functionality and do not work with some course technologies. They are not acceptable as the only device you use for coursework. While these devices are convenient and may be used for some course functions, they cannot be your primary device. SNHU does, however, have an affordable laptop option that it recommends: Dell Latitude 3301 with Windows 10.
- Office 365 Pro Plus is available free of charge to all SNHU students and faculty. The Office suite will remain free while you are a student at SNHU. Upon graduation you may convert to a paid subscription if you wish. Terms subject to change at Microsoft's discretion. Review system requirements for Microsoft 365 plans for business, education and government.
- Antivirus software: Check with your ISP as they may offer antivirus software free of charge to subscribers.
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.
The Health Information Management accreditor of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). SNHU’s accreditation for the Baccalaureate degree in Health Information Management has been reaffirmed through 2029. All inquiries about the program’s accreditation status should be directed by mail to CAHIIM, 200 East Randolph Street, Suite 5100,Chicago, IL, 60601; by phone at 312.235.3255; or by email at email@example.com.
Tuition & Fees
As a private, nonprofit university, we’re committed to making college more accessible by making it more affordable. That’s why we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.
We also 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.
|Online Undergraduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour||Annual Cost for 30 credits|
|Degree/Certificates (U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*||$675||$225||$6,750|
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually. *Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
Additional Costs No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a degree in health information management?
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:
- Have a comprehensive knowledge of “medical, administrative, ethical and legal” standards related to healthcare delivery and privacy of patient records.
- Can manage people and teams and prepare budgets.
- Coordinate with all parts of a healthcare organization that use patient information and documents, including clinicians, administrators, IT providers and more.
"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."
Is a degree in health information management worth it?
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.4 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.
An HIM degree could also provide a perfect pathway for someone already in a health science field to advance their career.
"I have over a decade of direct patient and clinical workflow experience," said John Mann '21. "I have worked during most of the HIM program with subjects like HIPAA, Meaningful Use Stages and CMS moving from a volume care to value care models. This degree seemed to be the right next step in combining my body of experience with the direction I’d like to take my career."
Beyond the practical knowledge you'll gain, an HIM degree from SNHU comes with an extra level of support along the way.
"I feel that my experience attending SNHU was better than any of earlier experiences in a traditional college setting," Mann said. "One huge reason for this was that my advisor was a constant support. When I attended college in the traditional setting, I felt like I was just another number in the student body. My SNHU advisor was a huge asset, and I have so much gratitude that she supported me through my journey."
Overall, Melissa Smith '21 says the program exceeded her expectations.
"The HIM degree program went above and beyond what I was expecting to learn, the real-life experiences truly open your eyes and show you what you can expect to see and how it will all play together in the overall success of your career," she said. "You truly have the freedom and abilities to complete all your work at your own pace and still feel challenged by the education."
What classes do you take for health information management?
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.
It's worth noting that, with our generous transfer policy (up to 90 credits for bachelor's degree programs), you may already have the credits you need to satisfy some of your courses. This could mean earning your degree much faster than you think.
"Unlike some other institutions, SNHU doesn’t waste students’ time and really gives you credit for everything in your academic history," said John Mann '21. "In fact, for me, my years worked in healthcare counted as some elective credits. I transferred in and only had to take two electives outside of my core HIM requirements."
What is the difference between health information management and healthcare administration?
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.
Is health information management in demand?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and health service managers earned a median salary of $101,340 in 2021.2 The BLS projects the field could grow 28% through 2031.2
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.5
What can you do with a health information management degree?
According to AHIMA, HIM professionals affect the quality of patient information and patient care at every touchpoint in the healthcare delivery cycle.5 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.
A BS in Health Information Management can help you hone the skills you need to succeed in a number of different healthcare roles. For Stacie Sullivan '19, earning an online HIM degree at SNHU meant setting the course for a career she was passionate about.
“It’s my dream job – working in the oncology field, being able to give back to fellow survivors in some small way and working from home (with my cats!),” Sullivan said. “Attending SNHU was the best decision I ever made.”
Now, she urges professionals, like herself, to make their move. “Do it now,” she said. “I hesitated too, thinking I’ll be almost 50 when I graduate. But then I realized that I'll be almost 50 anyway – might as well have a degree to show for it.”
To accomplish quality care, the HIM professional will need to:
- Work to ensure health information is documented accurately, timely and securely.
- Collaborate with all healthcare providers and departments, including physicians, nurses, lab, radiology and pharmacy staff to ensure patient information to promote patient safety through documentation practices.
- Oversee documentation practices and manage many other key aspects of health information including collecting, reporting, analyzing and protecting health data.
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.
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:
- Medical coding
- Clinical documentation improvement
- Privacy officer
- Security officer
What is healthcare informatics?
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.6
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.
Licensure and Certification Disclosures
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.
BS Health Information Management Achievement Data
Student Achievement Data
The BS Health Information Management program was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) in June 2019. CAHIIM requires accredited programs to provide achievement data which is reported below:
Total number of full time and part-time BS Health Information Management students enrolled in at least one course during the August 1, 2020- July 31, 2021 timeframe.
Student Satisfaction Rate: 86.7%
The percentage of full and part time BS Health Information Management students who responded to the 2021 student satisfaction survey and indicated they are satisfied with their overall educational experience. Out of 779 students surveyed, 113 responded.
Graduation Rate: 18.2%
The percentage of full and part time BS Health Information Management students (first year and transfer) who graduated within 6 years of starting their program. This percentage is based on a cohort of 44 students that reached the 6-year mark between August 1, 2020 and July 31, 2021.
Employment Rate: 71.4%
The percentage of BS Health Information Management graduates who responded to the 6 months post-graduation survey and indicated they were employed. Out of 81 students who graduated between July 2020-June 2021, seven responded to the survey and provided employment information.
Sources & Citations (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
1According to survey responses from over 9,200 SNHU online students conducted in the fall of 2019.
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm (viewed Oct. 24, 2022)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm (viewed Oct. 24, 2022)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-2 (viewed Oct. 24, 2022)
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
3American Health Information Management Association, US Salary Report: HIM Professionals in 2019, on the internet, at https://www.ahima.org/media/d5ibycdp/salary-survey-report.pdf (viewed Nov. 2, 2021).
4Journal of AHIMA, The Diversity of HIM Graduate Job Opportunities and the Skills Necessary for Post-Grad Success, on the internet at https://journal.ahima.org/the-diversity-of-him-graduate-job-opportunities-and-the-skills-necessary-for-post-grad-success/ (viewed Nov. 2, 2021).
5American Health Information Management Association, on the internet, at http://www.ahima.org/careers/healthinfo?tabid=what (viewed Nov. 2, 2021).
6American Medical Informatics Association, on the internet, at https://www.amia.org/fact-sheets/what-informatics (viewed Nov. 2, 2021).