BS in Health Information Management or Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in HIM?

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Student working on a computerAre you interested in a cutting-edge, innovative and holistic education in health information management (HIM)? If so, you may be curious about the multiple options presented by the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to the diverse population of students who attend classes on-campus in the Chicago area, UIC offers a number of distance learning options for interested students.

This remains true for those excited to pursue a career in HIM, as UIC provides several online education paths in this field. Two such programs are the online Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management and the online Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health Information Management. These programs are designed for pupils with different educational backgrounds, but point toward the same destination: passing the Registered Health Information Administrator exam and becoming certified in this exciting and fast-growing profession.

Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management

The Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management degree is available either in an on-campus or online format, but the online option allows students to complete coursework in an asynchronous manner and from a location of their choosing—not the UIC campus. This may be ideal for working professionals who want to complete their undergraduate degree or career-changers looking to forge a new path, among others.

Overall, the BS in HIM program covers a robust curriculum of prerequisite courses, followed by required courses, 24 hours worth of proficiency credit and an additional 32 hours of required courses after proficiency credit. Students can expect classes such as Introduction to Management Information Systems, Introduction to Health Informatics, Medical Sciences and Human Pathophysiology, and Health Data Structures and Management, among others.

One critical outcome of this program is certification as a Registered Health Information Administrator, requires professionals to be graduates of accredited HIM programs like the UIC BS in HIM.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health Information Management

In addition to the BS in HIM, UIC offers an online post-baccalaureate certificate in health information management. This path is created to supplement an existing bachelor’s degree education and focus a student’s learning into the HIM field. Unlike the BS in HIM, the post-bacc certificate only includes 13 courses. Like the BS, it is offered 100 percent online.

So then, who is the post-bacc certificate for? Its value is centered on the requirement for RHIA certification set forth by the American Health Information Management Association. A prerequisite for RHIA certification is the completion of either a bachelor’s degree in HIM or a post-bacc program in HIM. Interested students here may opt for the post-bacc if they already have completed an undergraduate degree and do not want to complete a second program, or have an undergraduate degree in a related field to HIM and still want to sit for RHIA exam.

As a result, the post-bacc certificate in HIM is valuable as an alternative to a bachelor’s degree for those interested in RHIA certification who want a more streamlined path toward completion.

Join a Promising HIM Industry

Students who choose one of the above programs to suit their educational backgrounds position themselves to join a rising specialization in health care. HIM goes beyond the clinical setting and encompasses all of the many strategic ways care facilities can use data. From setting a budget to safely and efficiently storing essential patient records, some of the most fundamental tasks being performed in the health care industry today are inseparable from great data use.

Whether students are seeking a bachelor’s degree for the first time or looking to build on their existing education via a post-bacc certificate, it’s clear why HIM is such an appealing choice. The reliance on data in health care is only increasing over time. When considering the kinds of roles that will be in demand in the near future, the effective management of essential data is a great area to specialize in.

Connect with an enrollment advisor today if you’re interested in more information about the HIM program or the post-bacc certificate in HIM.

Recommended Readings:

HI vs. HIM: What’s the Difference?

The Role of HIM in Disaster Response


Educating the Next Generation of Industry Leaders, University of Illinois at Chicago

Leading the Future of Healthcare, University of Illinois at Chicago