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Apprenticeship: Gateway to the HIM Profession

The gap between graduates with market-ready skills and experience is growing. It is the primary barrier to both entry into and advancement within the HIM profession. The AHIMA Foundation was recently awarded a $4.9 million grant from the US Department of Labor to ensure that career-ready individuals possess the skills, training, and experiential learning required by employers in today’s health care market. Over the next five years, the foundation’s Managing the Talent Pipeline program will serve to bridge the gap for new graduates seeking their first employment and provide career mobility for those seeking changes or advancements in career opportunities.

A skills gap and lack of experiential training is particularly relevant in the HIM field. AHIMA Foundation data support the claim that graduates from HIM programs are likely to lack the necessary experience and skills training to meet employer needs in the HIM market.

In today’s changing HIM labor market, employers are seeking both technical and applied experiential knowledge needed for a meaningful career, even for entry-level positions. Higher education must meet this demand for better learning, which not only emphasizes fundamental theories defining the HIM profession but also through student-centered, outcomes and assessment-based programs focusing on relevant skills for future employment and career success.

Apprenticeship opportunities will be offered in coding, clinical documentation improvement, data analysis, and business analysis. To meet the demand for HIM professionals who need an apprenticeship for entry or career advancement, the following three new models are recommended to expand the existing registered apprenticeship program:

This initiative must provide stackable, latticed, and portable educational credentials that support the knowledge, skills, and experience needed by the HIM workforce. To this end the AHIMA Foundation will do the following:

Employing an apprentice is a mutual agreement between an apprentice and an employer/sponsor. To be an employer sponsor you will need to commit to training your apprentice(s) on the job and the AHIMA Foundation provides an industry training authority supervisor/mentor as part of the immersive training process.

Employer sponsors can run an apprenticeship smoothly through the following few required simple steps:

Apprentice qualifications vary according to role (for example, a coder apprentice must hold a CCA, RHIT, or RHIA credential, while a data analyst apprentice must hold a minimum of a RHIA credential).

An apprenticeship program lasts from one to two years, with the goal of a permanent position. The apprentice candidate gains real-world working experience that can be of substantial worth to any company.

For health care companies, apprenticeship is a way to enhance employee training and development to meet your talent needs. The initiative will help educate, elevate, and advocate the HIM profession by developing a workforce development and leadership institute to connect research, leadership, and apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are the future of HIM. Take the critical step for your organization and e-mail info@ahimafoundation.org to become an apprenticeship mentor.

Source: AHIMA Foundation