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AHIP Credentialing

FAQ about AHIP and Earning Academy Points 

Wondering exactly what the Academy of Health Information Professionals is all about...what it is, how to become a member, and the benefits of having AHIP after your name? Get the answers to these questions as well as information about earning academy points in the FAQ below. Select a question to read the answer!

General AHIP questions

The Academy of Health Information Professionals is a professional development and career recognition program of MLA. Admission to and the level of academy membership (Provisional, Member, Senior, Distinguished and Emeritus) are based on three areas of achievement: academic preparation, professional experience, and professional accomplishment.

Members of the academy are credentialed as health information professionals by demonstrating their academic preparation, professional experience and professional accomplishments. Credentialing differs from certification in that certification focuses on the attainment of minimum standards and measurable competencies, whereas credentialing recognizes the time and effort that is required for professional development. It also differs from licensure because licensure is a legal requirement for professionals in certain professions, such as medicine.

No. Membership in the academy is available to both MLA members and non-MLA members who meet the required professional education and experience requirements. You may join as an MLA member (pay dues for current year plus an academy application fee of $200, or $125 for Provisional level) or as a non-MLA member ($450 academy application fee or $325 for Provisional level).

 Please take a look at the academy requirements page and follow follow the directions found on the  application process page. 

MLA established its credentialing program in 1949* and the Academy of Health Information Professionals was established on January 1,1978.

Academy admission requires possession of an MLS degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) or a post-baccalaureate degree in any field accredited by a member of the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary AccreditationCouncil (CORPA). Candidates possessing a non library science degree must submit evidence of knowledge in all Professional Competencies as outlined in the Competencies for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success.

The ALA recognizes that the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand have formal accreditation processes, therefore, individuals with degrees from specific institutions in these countries may be considered acceptable for employment in the United States and for membership in the academy.

Yes. If you hold a non-ALA MLS but have a sixth year certificate or a doctoral degree from a school which offers an ALA-accredited master's degree, you meet the academy's educational requirement.

Yes. In addition to fulfilling all other academy requirements for membership, you must submit evidence of knowledge in all the Professional Competencies as defined in MLA's Educational Policy Statement if you have a non-library science degree.

A copy of your diploma is acceptable as proof of degree and official transcripts of formal course work are necessary to evaluate compliance with Professional Competencies. In addition, if one cannot reasonably assume from the title of the course that the Professional Competency would have been covered, a syllabus or detailed course outline showing the specific subject matter covered is required. Certificates of completion are required for continuing education.

The director of the library where you work, the administrator to whom you report, or your personnel department can all verify your employment. You may also submit a copy of your contract letter to verify employment.

Yes. Full-time work experience is defined as working a minimum of 24 hours per week and is based on a minimum of eleven months of full-time work for each year required. Candidates with part-time employment experience must still have the equivalent of five years full-time experience.

No. If you have an ALA-accredited MLS or an accredited post-baccalaureate degree with documented course work in all Professional Competencies AND less than five years of relevant experience in the information profession field following your master's degree, you can enter the academy at the Provisional level. Provisional membership lasts for one year only. However, it may be renewed annually, up to four times or until the Provisional Member has been employed in an information position for five years following the master's degree, whichever comes first. A mentor will be assigned to you to guide you on to the Member level and make sure you meet the 8 points of MLA-sponsored instruction and 5 points of professional individual accomplishments each year for renewal of Provisional membership.

Once you submit payment either online or via check, you will receive a link to the AHIP application. Once you have completed the application and uploaded all required forms and supporting documentation, you will receive an email confirmation.

After you submit your application,MLA headquarters staff are notified and your application is checked for completion by the academy member services department. It is then sent to a member of the Credentialing Committee for initial review and then to the chair-designate of the committee for final review and approval. The academy member services department will then notify you by email of the outcome of your portfolio review.

Provisional members must renew each year. Member level and above must renew every five years. Please see the "How to Renew" page for guidelines and instructions for renewing your academy membership.

Yes. You can submit a new portfolio, which will result in a new five year time span for points and a new fee. Your new certificate will reflect the five-year period following the upgrade.

Yes. You can request emeritus status if you have been a member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals (at any level except Provisional) at the time of retirement and have been credentialed by MLA for at least ten consecutive years at the time of retirement.

Questions about academy points

Continuing Education

The MLA course certificate should state "Approved for [number] MLA CE Contact Hours." Courses for which approval is pending should state that MLA contact hours have been applied for. When in doubt, ask the person sponsoring the course. 

Yes. The Individual Participant Request (Form IPR) provides an avenue for you to earn CE points through non-MLA- approved CE activities. Be aware that activities such as MLA journal clubs require submission of a completed IPR form. Please refer to the Educational Clearinghouse for a list of current approved courses.

Professional Association Participation

The academy honors work after completion. Committee appointments count after completion of a full year of service.

Yes. You may claim the same number of points as a single chair.

No. Any activity which is part of your regular job assignment or committee assignment may not be claimed for separate academy points. However, holding an office in your state association will earn points in the academy.