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Where the Jobs Are – 2015 Update: Demand for EHR/HIT Certifications

Posted on April 7, 2015 I Written By

When Carl Bergman isn't rooting for the Washington Nationals or searching for a Steeler bar, he’s Managing Partner of EHRSelector.com, a free service for matching users and EHRs. For the last dozen years, he’s concentrated on EHR consulting and writing. He spent the 80s and 90s as an itinerant project manger doing his small part for the dot com bubble. Prior to that, Bergman served a ten year stretch in the District of Columbia government as a policy and fiscal analyst.

One year ago, I looked at the demand for EHR related certifications. I found, as the old line goes, that many are called but few are chosen. Of 30 or so certificate programs, only about a quarter had substantial demand. In fact, 1 had no demand.

Study Update

Finding Certification Programs. To bring the study up to date, I looked for new certificates or ones I’d overlooked. I found one, CEHRS, Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist Certification from the National Healthcareer Association.

Searching for Jobs. As with last year’s study, I then used Healthcare Scene’s Healthcare IT Central to search for jobs posted in the last 30 days that require an EHR or HIT certification.

Certifications Reviewed

Table I lists the 12 certifications, which had at least one job opening. Last year, I found at least 16 certifications with at least one opening. That is, this year as shown in Table II, I found no mentions for 15 certificates.

Table I
Certifications In Demand
1 CCA 7 CHTS
2 CCS 8 CICP
3 CCS-P 9 CompTIA
4 CHDA 10 CPHIMS
5 CHPS 11 RHIA
6 CHSP 12 RHIT

 

Table II, lists the 12 certifications that had no openings in the last 30 days.

Table II
Certifications Without Demand
1 CAHIMS 9 CPCIP
2 CEHRS 10 CPORA
3 CEOP 11 CPHP
4 CHTP 12 CPORA
5 CEMP 13 HWCP
6 CHTSP 14 CPEHR
7 CIPCP 15 CPHIT
8 CMUP    

 

Review Caveats

What Counts. Each certification listed in a job counts as one opening. For example, if a job listed ComTIA, CPHIMS and CPEHR, I counted it as three jobs, one for each certification.

General certifications only. For practical reasons, this review only covers general certifications that have a one word abbreviation. Where the abbreviation isn’t unique, I’ve filtered out non certificate uses.

No EDUs. I excluded certificates from colleges, universities, etc., whether traditional or on line. There are scads of these, but I’m not aware of any that are in general demand. That’s not a judgment on their value, just their demand.

Vendor Certifications I excluded product specific certifications, for example, NexGen Certified Professional.

Dynamics. The openings for these certifications are a snapshot. The job market and the openings that Healthcare IT Central lists constantly change. What is true now, could change in a moment. However, I believe it gives you a good idea of relative demand.

Certification Demand

In the past 30 days, I found 322 openings that listed a certification. See Chart I. As with last year, AHIMA’s were most in demand. Two of its certificate programs, RHIA and RHIT account for 60 percent of certificate demand.

Chart I Certification Openings

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.

In third place, but still with a substantial demand is CCS, which focuses on a specific ability. Compared to last year, CCS has fewer openings. This is due to a change in my methodology not demand. Last year, I counted any CCS opening. This year, I only count those with a clear HIT relationship.

Certification Location Demand

After looking at certification demand, I looked at it by state. To do this, I merged the different certification job openings into a single list. That is, I added those for RHIA, RHIT, etc., and then eliminated duplicates.

After creating a consolidated list, I sorted and subtotaled by state. I then sorted the state totals. This gave me the data for Chart II. It shows the top ten states for openings, including/ two ties.

Chart II State Demand

State Rankings. As you might expect, states with the largest populations have the most jobs. California leads, which is what you’d expect.

To account for population, I take job rank from population rank. For example, Washington State is 13th in population. It’s eight in job openings. So, subtracting job rank eight from population rank 13 is five. That is, Washington State’s job share is five ranks above its population ranking. Chart III shows the result where states stand when you account for population.

Chart III Rank Adjusted for Population

Most notable is Colorado. Colorado is 22nd in population, but fifth in certification demand. That is job openings for it are 17 ranks higher than population would account for.

Others ranking higher than their population are: Missouri, Arizona, Tennessee, Wisconsin, etc. Conversely, those states, which have openings below their rank, include New York, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Missouri’s case is interesting. Almost all its openings are from one company: Altegra. Its openings are almost all for one position type: medical record field reviewer. At first, I thought this was a case of over posting, but it doesn’t appear to be. They’re recruiting for several different locations.

Certification Demand Trends

When I stated this update, I expected there would be more jobs due to economic growth, but that hasn’t happened. There’ve been shifts among states, but overall the demand is pretty much the same. RHIA and RHIT demand last year and this year are practically identical while demand for others has dropped. I don’t have any numbers for overall openings then and now, but I suspect that they’ve grown while certification demand has either gone down or been flat. However, as I’ve said that’s just a guess.

Certifications are a response to the demand for persons with demonstrated skills. The question is whether one will reward your time, cost and effort with something that is marketable. Demand alone can’t make that choice for you. For example, working on a certificate that has little or no demand might seem pointless. However, its requirements may be a good way for you to acquire demonstrate your skills, especially if your experience is iffy.

Personal satisfaction also can’t be discounted as a factor. You might be interested in an area with low demand, but when coupled with your other skills might make you marketable in an area you desire.

If you do decide to pursue one of these certificates, I think these numbers can help you know where to look and what to look for.

Where the Jobs Are: Demand for EHR/HIT Certifications

Posted on January 20, 2014 I Written By

When Carl Bergman isn't rooting for the Washington Nationals or searching for a Steeler bar, he’s Managing Partner of EHRSelector.com, a free service for matching users and EHRs. For the last dozen years, he’s concentrated on EHR consulting and writing. He spent the 80s and 90s as an itinerant project manger doing his small part for the dot com bubble. Prior to that, Bergman served a ten year stretch in the District of Columbia government as a policy and fiscal analyst.

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 fulltime 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.

Certifications Reviewed

Table I lists the certifications and for which I found at least one opening.

Table I

Certifications With Open Positions

1

CCA

9

CHTS

2

CCDP

10

CompTIA

3

CCS

11

CPEHR

4

CCS-P

12

CPHIMS

5

CEMP

13

CPHIT

6

CHDA

14

CPORA

7

CHPS

15

RHIA

8

CHSP

16

RHIT

 

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.

Table II

Certifications Without Open Positions

1

CAHIMS

8

CMUP

2

CEOP

9

CPCIP

3

CHTP

10

CPHIT

4

CHTS

11

CPHP

5

CHTSP

12

CPORA

6

CICP

13

HWCP

7

CIPCP

Certification Demand

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.

Check out the top 5 certification job categories on Healthcare IT Central:
RHIT Jobs
RHIA Jobs
CCS Jobs
CompTIA Jobs
CCA Jobs

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.

 Chart II, Openings by State

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.