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AHIP Credentialing

Determine Your Eligibility for Academy Membership

The process of joining the Academy begins with confirming your eligibility for membership. This page takes you through the steps of determining:

1. your eligibility to join the Academy


2. the level of membership you qualify for.

Eligibility and level of membership are based on these areas of achievement:

  • academic preparation
  • professional work experience
  • individual professional accomplishments

Step 1: Academic Preparation

 The required academic preparation for all levels of membership is:

1. an ALA-accredited Master’s degree;

2. a master's level degree in library and information studies accredited or recognized by the appropriate national body of another country;

3. a sixth year certificate or a doctoral degree from a school that offers an ALA-accredited master's degree;


4. a master's or doctoral degree in any field with documented coursework in all of the six MLA Competencies for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success

If you have a degree of type 1, 2, or 3, proceed to Step 2 below.

If you have a degree of type 4, please review the MLA Competenciesfor Lifelong Learning and Professional Success, take the free Competencies Self-Assessment, and examine your transcripts and records of CE courses. If you can document a minimum of eight contact hours of sponsored instruction of the following types of coursework in each of the six core competencies, proceed to Step 2 below.

Sponsored Instruction
Required Documentation
Continuing Education course preapproved for MLA credit A copy of MLA CE certificate(s)
Continuing Education course not preapproved for MLA credit A copy of certificate or letter of completion plus a copy of the course syllabus
Academic course work A copy of transcript plus a copy of the course syllabus

If you cannot document appropriate coursework, please complete the needed coursework before applying to the Academy. You may find that an MLA or MLA-approved CE offering listed in MEDLIB-ED is what you need to fulfill a competency requirement.

 Step 2: Determine Your Level of Membership

The level of membership you qualify for is determined by:

a) your years of information professional experience following receipt of your master's degree


b) your professional accomplishments in the past five years.

Professional Work Experience

Less than five years of full-time professional work experience = Provisional Membership

If you are currently employed or seeking employment in the health information profession and have less than five years full-time experience, you must apply at the Provisional level. Provisional membership is for individuals just beginning or planning to begin their career in a health information profession and has no requirement for professional accomplishment. If your background meets requirements for Provisional membership, proceed to the Application Instructions for Provisional Members.

  • Provisional membership is for one year and must be renewed annually, up to four times or until you have been a working health information professional for five years following your master's degree-whichever comes first. There is no fee to renew at the Provisional level.
  • Provisional members receive mentor support in planning their careers and work with their mentor to meet annual professional development requirements.
  • Provisional members are full members of the Academy. They receive a certificate indicating AHIP membership, and they are entitled to use “AHIP” after their name.


At least five years and less than ten years of full-time professional work experience = Member or Senior level

If you have worked in the information profession for five years or more, you can apply at either the Member or Senior level, depending on your accomplishments. If you have recently lost your job or had hours reduced, you are still eligible to join AHIP at the appropriate level as long as you meet all other requirements.


Ten years or more of full-time professional work experience = Distinguished level

If you have worked in the information field for ten years or more, you may be able to apply at the Member, Senior, or Distinguished level, depending on your accomplishments.

Full-time employment is considered 24 hours or more per week. Part-time employment counts calculated as FTE. For example:

6 years of working 12 hours/week = 3 yrs FTE

10 years working at 20 hours week = 8.3 FTE

5 yrs of working 12 hours/week and 3 years FT = 5.5 FTE

Individual Professional Accomplishments

 Besides your employment history, how do you choose which AHIP level you should apply for?

The answer has to do with the number of professional accomplishments points of you have earned in the past five years.

The Professional Accomplishments Points Index describes the point equivalents of the professional accomplishments or activities needed to qualify for Member or above levels. Points must be health sciences library or health information-related, not just library activities or courses, with the rationale that applicants will be improving their health sciences medical librarianship knowledge base and skills in the profession.

We suggest you download the Points Tally form and fill it out to jog your memory and get a general sense of what you have accomplished in the past five years. When you complete the Tally form and collect documentation of your accomplishment, you may find you have more or fewer points than you need. Simply apply for the level you qualify for.

  • To apply for the Academy at the Member level, you must demonstrate at least 50 points of accomplishment in the past five years.
  • To apply at the Senior Member level you must have at least 80 points of accomplishments in the last five years, no more than 50 of which can be sponsored learning and at least 5 of which must be professional organization activities

See the Points Index for explanations of sponsored learning and professional organization activities.

If you have ten or more years of professional experience, you may be eligible for the Distinguished Member level. To enter the Academy as a Distinguished Member, you must have at least 120 points of professional accomplishment in the last five years, with these qualifications:

    • no more than 50 points can be sponsored learning
    • at least 10 individual accomplishment points must be from professional organization activities
    • at least 5 of your professional organization activities points must be MLA activities which includes MLA national, MLA Section, or MLA Chapter committee service. Serving as an MLA or AHIP mentor also satisfies this requirement.

The following examples help you see how years of experience and points together identify level of membership.

If you have...

5 years of experience and 70 points of sponsored instruction, you would qualify for Member level.

10 years of experience and 80 points of sponsored instruction, you would qualify for Senior level

10 years of experience and 120 points of individual accomplishment including 10 points of professional organization activity-none from MLA, you would qualify for Senior level.

10 years of experience and 120 points of individual accomplishment including 10 points of professional organization activity-at least 5 from MLA, you would qualify for Distinguished level.

Now, you are ready to Apply to the Academy for the First Time as a Member, Senior Member, or Distinguished Member.

 Questions??? Email the AHIP Program Coordinator or call 312.419.9094 x11.