DOL Extends Preferred Healthcare Credential Initiative

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has extended a program to better identify industry-recognized credentials that businesses look for when recruiting, hiring, promoting, and retaining employees. AHIMA credentials are being considered for the list, which will be integrated into DOL’s CareerOneStop certification database.

Currently, only four job sectors are being evaluated in DOL’s “Credentials Forum”—advanced manufacturing, utilities, healthcare practitioners and healthcare support, and information technology. Since AHIMA first called on members to vote on the website in August, several more AHIMA credentials have been added. Members are encouraged to visit the site, even if they previously voted, to support AHIMA credentials since some aspects of the initiative have changed from when it launched in mid-2012.

The Credentials Forum Web site has been established to allow people to vote on the credentials they feel are the most in-demand and valued by today’s employers and employees. Credentials receiving a significant amount of votes will obtain “preferred” DOL status, which would likely strengthen the value of AHIMA certifications in the healthcare marketplace.

According to a DOL spokesperson, “learning about and disseminating information on credentials is part of the department’s mission to help prepare a skilled workforce” by helping workers enhance their expertise and advance their career paths.

To vote at the Credentials Forum Web site, choose “Click Here to Join,” and register with an email address and password. Then select the “Healthcare Practitioner” tab near the top of the page. From the Healthcare Practitioner list that appears, choose “Medical Records and Health Information Technicians” to see a list of credentials and sponsoring organizations. Click on a credential to read more about it, and choose “We Value This Credential” to vote for a credential.

Participants, including businesses, can cast votes for all listed credentials. AHIMA’s credentials include:

    • Certified Coding Associate (CCA)
    • Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)
    • Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-based (CCS-P)
    • Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)
    • Registered Heath Information Administrator (RHIA)
    • Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA)
    • Certified Documentation Improvement Practitioner (CDIP)
    • Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security (CHPS) (This credential can be found by entering “Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security” in the search field.)

AHIMA has encouraged members to vote for AHIMA credentials. Public input and participation in the forum is expected to enhance the already robust CareerOneStop certification database, and provide jobseekers with detailed information about skills, education, and industry certification needs. Participants will also be able to provide blog feedback to DOL about why AHIMA’s professional certifications are valued in the health information management industry.

The Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is responsible for implementing the Workforce Investment Act, which provides employment services and training through American Job Centers and various online tools for job seekers and businesses. According to the DOL, “the ETA has made it a priority to promote and provide information on available credentials, including information on (the) quality and value of these credentials.”

One of these online tools, the Certification Finder Web site, allows users to search for specific credentials and more detailed information about training, credentialing programs, certificates, degrees, and occupational licenses. Personnel certifications, which are accredited by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA), are also designated with icons following each credential that indicate quality and value. For example, each of AHIMA’s credentials is followed by an “N” icon, indicating each is accredited by the NCCA.

These ETA programs and Web sites offer jobseekers in-depth information about educational programs at various institutions which, in turn, allows them to make informed career choices by considering what businesses regard as “preferred” credentials based on the final voting results and DOL analysis. By identifying specific business needs for skilled workers, the ETA can help job applicants identify credentials that may help them succeed.


  1. Whoever inititiated this “drive” is extremely ethically challenged!! That is actual corruption of the type that would be the same, or worse, than “upcoding.” You’re asking HIM professionals (and students!) to go to the Dept of Labor and misrepresent themselves as Healthcare Practitioners to “pad the ballot box” for MATERIAL GAIN (getting AHIMA credentials favored and “required). What’s funny is the person who wrote this didn’t even realize they were being unethical, they have such a dishonest mindset, and went ahead and published it right in your Journal.

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  2. Very disappointed that the HITPRO credentials and associated workforce roles are not included in this survey/vote. When are they coming and what is the hold-up? We were told on June 4th that AHIMA is working on it and to keep checking the hitproexams website. No communication from the ONC, AHIMA or the Community College Consortia.

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  3. I considered myself fortunate enough to take part in and graduate from ONC’s Health IT Workforce Development Program. It was quite deflating to learn that we would only receive a “certification” through a competency exam, but was greatly encouraged when ONC & AHIMA announced a collaboration on the HITPro credentials which would legitimize achievement and education, as well as hold us to maintaining those credentials through CEU’s. I have been awaiting further news as to when the HITPro credentials will be given and have even seen many people already using them on LinkedIn and in professional groups. Imagine how frustrating it is to see that AHIMA now wants us to vote on credentials, but the HITPro’s aren’t even listed to cast a vote for. It makes me think that my wise grandfather was right to say that this whole federal workforce inititative program is just one “big boondogle”. It is easy to feel that AHIMA is being disingenuous to those of us who have been eagerly waiting for it’s recognition and validation of this program which advances Health Information Technology whether we have AHIMA’s credentials or not.

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  4. When are my three HITpro credentials going to show up in my AHIMA profile?

    AHIMA: (this is blank)
    Other Designations:

    Jim F.

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  5. Have to echo Jim’s, and especially Laura’s sentiments regarding HITPro credentials and the rather ambiguous current status, I took the HITPro Certification exam in my content area and received a passing score, but am feeling more and more like we who received the ONC Training were not given the whole story. I signed the statement of understanding regarding the use of the respective credential, but as I understand,it is not, in effect, “officially recognized?” I have spent the time since taking the exam (while searching for a job as an “emerging professional” adding to my education, taking a continuing ed class in HIPAA Compliance and signing up for a course in Coding and Billing. Hedging my bets, I suppose, but my confidence in my ONC training has faltered of late; it’s led me to feel that it’s best to keep my options open.

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  6. what is one to do with-and indeed where so is the applied/ utilize of a certification in health data analysis, for there are surely-’seems many schools that teach the overview of what the work would be/is to be performed..n so where,as well-to the include of where/whom with-are these skills conducted ?

    — janne w

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  7. I have passed the course and both exams for HIT Pro Trainer and Implemntation Manager. Now I learn that all that work and study is not going to be acknowledged? Passing the certification exams will not be transfered to a different certification? Isn’t anyone concerned that the credibility of the AHIMA is at stake?

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  8. This just in!…..Headline:.
    CCHIIM Announces Conversion of HIT-Pro Credentials to AHIMA CHTS Credentials

    After reviewing the AHIMA CHTS transition information, any questions can be submitted to Kelley Green at (312) 233-1114, or

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