You are here

Step-By-Step Instructions for First Time AHIP Applicants

Follow the steps below for your initial application. If you are already a member of the academy, see the "How to Renew" page.

MLA's Academy only accepts applications electronically. Download and save the forms, fill in, then upload to your member documents area or (for nonmembers only) send via email.

Step 1

Review the requirements for academy membership to determine the level for which you qualify.
To determine the appropriate membership level, see the membership level summary or "Am I Eligible?" 

Step 2

Download and complete the PDF or Word versions of the required forms for the appropriate level. Save them as PDF or Word Files. Descriptions of the forms are located beneath the table.

Degree/Additional Information
Required for Portfolio
Provisional ALA-accredited master's
  • Form BIO
  • Form SRP
  • Current CV
  • Current job description
  • Copy of your diploma or transcript for master's degree
Provisional Other master's
Member and above ALA-accredited master's
  • Form BIO
  • Form LEDGER
  • Current CV
  • Current job description
  • Copy of your diploma or transcript for master's degree
  • Documentation to support items on Form LEDGER
Member and above Other master's
  • Form BIO
  • Form LEDGER
  • Form COMP
  • Current CV
  • Current job description
  • Copy of your diploma or transcript for master's degree
  • Documentation to support items on Form LEDGER
All levels above For approval of non-MLA continuing education activities
Emeritus ALA-accredited masters or other master's
Form BIO This form requests information about your master's degree and your professional work experience following the degree.
Form EMERITUS This form is used by retired applicants requesting emeritus status.
Form COMP Candidates who do not hold an ALA-accredited master's degree must document formal instruction in all seven areas of the Competencies for Lifelong Learning and Professional Success. Educational activities used to satisfy these requirements must be listed on form COMP with documentation attached. Official transcripts are required for academic coursework; certificates of completion are required for approved continuing education courses.
Form LEDGER Used to list individual accomplishments completed during the relevant credentialing period. See the point index for documentation requirements for continuing education and individual accomplishments.
Form SRP This form is used by applicants at the provisional level to assess professional development needs.

Step 3

Collect all of your supporting documentation in an electronic format (e.g., PDF). 

Step 4

If applying at the member level or above, use the LEDGER form to record the points you have earned. When you have finished, check the total number of points to determine whether you have the required number and distribution of points. 

In addition to the overall points, make sure any requirements for professional association activities and MLA activities have been documented.

Step 5

Upload your entire portfolio of professional progress to the "Certification/AHIP Portfolio" area in your member account [when you are logged in, you will find this in your "My MLANET" menu next to your name]. You may combine or provide separate documents.

Please make sure that your forms and documentation are in the order listed on the table above and that documentation for professional activities is in the order listed on form LEDGER.

Step 6

ONLY after your documentation is complete and uploaded, pay the appropriate nonrefundable application fee (noted below) in US dollars. To pay by credit card (MasterCard, American Express, Discover, or Visa), visit the MLA Store, choose your Academy level, and go through check out (choose the $0.00 ground ship option to avoid errors).

  • MLA member, Academy Member level or above, $200.00 (US Dollars)
  • MLA member, Provisional level, $135.00 (US Dollars)
  • Non-MLA member, Academy Member level or above, $450.00 (US Dollars)
  • Non-MLA member, Provisional level, $325.00 (US Dollars)
  • Emeritus, no fee; send an email to with your request so we know your application is ready for download.


Make checks payable to the Medical Library Association (please indicate that your check is for AHIP membership) and send to:

Medical Library Association
Department 4627
Carol Stream, IL 60122-4627

Step 7

Staff will acknowledge receipt of the fee via email. If your portfolio is incomplete, you will be contacted by staff or by a member of the Credentialing Committee. Incomplete portfolios and those unaccompanied by proper fee payment will not be processed until complete. 

Step 8

The Credentialing Committee reviews portfolios on an ongoing basis and approves successful candidates for recognition by the Academy of Health Information Professionals. 

Step 9

If an AHIP portfolio is accepted, the Academy of Health Information Professionals issues certificates signed by the president and the executive director of MLA and, if requested by the applicant, notifies the employer in writing of membership in the academy. 

Calendar of Review

Reviews of portfolios of professional progress are scheduled upon receipt at headquarters. On average, MLA headquarters and the Credentialing Committee process a complete portfolio in two months. Incomplete portfolios take longer. 


An appeals panel appointed by the MLA Board of Directors reviews and decides cases in which candidates for recognition question interpretations made by the Credentialing Committee.

Applicants who are denied recognition by the academy will receive written notification of the reasons from the Credentialing Committee chair designate. Appeals of such decisions must be filed with the Academy of Health Information Professionals at MLA headquarters within ninety days of receiving the ineligibility notice by contacting Kathleen Combs.

In an appeals process, a majority (2/3) of the Appeals Panel will rule.

Contact MLA headquarters (312.419.9094 x29) for academy questions and information.