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13 Things You Need to Know Before Taking the RHIA Exam

UW Extended Campus Blog Team May 26, 2015

You’ve decided to pursue the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA®) credential to demonstrate your expertise in managing patient health information and medical records. After months of studying, it’s finally time to take the exam. Do you know what to expect? Here are 13 common questions and answers to help you prepare and ace the RHIA exam.

1. When am I eligible to take the RHIA exam?

Applicants must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:

  • Successfully complete the academic requirements of a baccalaureate-level health information management (HIM) program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
  • Graduate from an HIM program approved by a foreign association with which the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) has a reciprocity agreement.

All first-time applicants must submit an official transcript from their college or university. Some students—particularly those who are in their final term of study in a CAHIIM-accredited program—may be eligible to apply for and take their RHIA certification exam early. AHIMA provides an application for early testing to determine eligibility.

2. How do I apply for the exam?

Applicants may register online or submit a paper application. Visit AHIMA’s certification website for more information.

3. Where can I take the exam?

Applicants must take the exam at a center managed by Pearson Vue, the independent testing agency with which AHIMA has contracted to administer this exam. Find a test center near you. Also, watch this video that details security measures taken at each test center. These measures require applicants to provide a digital signature, have their photo taken, and undergo a palm vein capture. Personal belongings are stored in a safe.

4. What steps must I take to prepare for the RHIA exam?

In its Candidate Guide, AHIMA provides the following steps:

  • Apply for the RHIA exam.
  • Submit all necessary paperwork, including resumes, transcripts, etc.
  • Upon receipt, read the Authorization To Test (ATT) letter completely. This letter includes an eligibility number, eligibility period for testing, and scheduling information.
  • Schedule your exam with Pearson Vue immediately after receiving the ATT letter. Note: Candidates may only schedule their appointment within their four-month eligibility window.
  • Verify the time and date of the exam.

5. What should I bring with me on the day of the test?

Be sure to bring the following:

Note that applicants cannot bring any reference or study materials into the exam room. For other restrictions, see page 15 of AHIMA’s Candidate Guide.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Feel Better Prepared For the RHIA Certification Exam

6. Where can I access courses to prepare for the exam?

AHIMA offers five exam prep online courses for the RHIA which give you “access to an interactive learning experience designed to build your test-taking confidence.”

7. What is the cost of the exam?

The exam is $299 for non-AHIMA members and $229 for AHIMA members.

8. How long is the exam?

The exam is four hours if you take no breaks.

9. How many questions are included?

The exam includes 180 multiple choice questions. Twenty of these questions are a pre-test, and the remaining 160 are scored.

10. What types of questions are included? How difficult are those questions?

Questions cover these five knowledge domains:

  • Information governance
  • Compliance with uses and disclosures of PHI
  • Data analytics and informatics
  • Revenue management
  • Management and leadership

In terms of difficulty, questions are written at these three different cognitive levels:

  • Recall (identifying terms, facts, procedures)
  • Application (applying concepts and principles to actual scenarios)
  • Analysis (evaluating information and selecting solutions)
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11. What is considered a passing score?

The current passing scale score for the RHIA exam is 300 out of 400.

12. How does the ICD-10 delay to October 1, 2015 affect the RHIA exam?

All certification exams will continue testing on ICD-9-CM until a new coding classification system is officially implemented.

13. What if I need to reschedule or cancel the exam?

Applicants may cancel or reschedule their exam up to 15 business days prior to the scheduled appointment at no charge. After that, they will be charged a penalty of $30 to reschedule or cancel. Refer to page thirteen of AHIMA’s Candidate Guide for more information.

More tips for success

  • Take time to prepare for this exam. This includes taking a practice exam and referring to AHIMA resources.
  • Get a good night’s sleep before the exam.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Have confidence in yourself and your abilities!



Interested in starting or advancing your HIM career? University of Wisconsin offers an online Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management and Technology. Start your journey here.

Questions about the University of Wisconsin degree program or HIMT field? Contact an enrollment adviser at 608-800-6762 or Enrollment advisers are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST, or by appointment.

Programs: Health Information Management and Technology