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Requirements for AHIP Membership for New Members and Those Renewing at a Higher Level

Interested in Academy membership and wondering at which level you are eligible to apply or are you a current AHIP member ready to apply at a higher level? Here you will find requirements for each level of AHIP membership to help you get started.

Admission is based on three areas of achievement: academic preparationprofessional work experience, and individual professional accomplishments (including participation in professional organizations). Your level of achievement in these three areas will determine which level of Academy membership is right for you.

Starting with academic preparation, all members of the Academy must have either an ALA-€“accredited MLS or a non-ALA-accredited master's degree with documented coursework in all the professional competencies;

The professional work experience needed for academy membership levels vary. Usually, only your professional work experience following receipt of your master's degree is considered for academy membership. Calculate the full-time equivalent for part-time employment using the method described in the glossary (see employment, length of).

  • If you are currently employed or seeking employment in the information field, and have less than five years experience...apply at the Provisional level.
  • If you have worked in the information field for five years or more...consider applying at the Member or Senior level.
  • If you have worked in the information field for ten years or more... you are eligible to apply at the Distinuguished level
  • If you have been a member of the academy at any level (except provisional) and have been credentialed for at least ten consecutive years at the time of retirement...you are welcome to apply for Emeritus AHIP status.

For each level, applicants must document a minimum number of points of professional accomplishment achieved during the previous five (5) years. These accomplishments must be in areas contributing to the effectiveness of the health information profession and include continuing education, teaching, publishing, research, and association participation. See the AHIP point index for acceptable continuing education and individual accomplishments eligible for points.

The distribution of points is different for each level of academy membership. Use form LIST OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS and the point index to tally or determine the number of points you have earned in the past five years.

Requirements checklist: 

Provisional Member:

  • Education: ALA-€“accredited MLS or a non-ALA-accredited master's degree with documented coursework in all the professional competencies;
  • Employment: current employment in the information field or seeking employment in the field with less than five years of professional experience in the information field following the master's degree (please note: on renewal one year later, provisional members are required to show evidence of employment in the field via employer letter);
  • Because they are new to the field of information sciences, provisional members are assigned a mentor and are required to document 8 points of continuing education each year following the first year of academy membership
  • Provisional members are required to document 5 points of individual professional accomplishments with their annual renewal

Member Level 

  • Education: ALA-accredited MLS or a non-ALA-accredited master's degree with documented coursework in all professional competencies
  • Experience: at least five years of professional experience in the information field following the master's degree
  • Points: 50 points of individual professional accomplishments in the last five years.

Senior Member Level 

  • Education: ALA-accredited MLS or a non-ALA-accredited master's degree with documented coursework in all professional competencies
  • Experience: minimum of five years of professional experience in the information field following the master's degree
  • Points: 80 points for professional accomplishment in the last five years, with no more than 50 points being sponsored instruction, although all 80 points may be from individual professional accomplishment; and at least 5 of the 80 individual professional accomplishment points must be from professional organization activities, not necessarily MLA.

Distinguished Member Level

  • Education: ALA-accredited MLS or a non-ALA-accredited master's degree with documented coursework in all professional competencies;
  • Experience: at least ten years of professional experience in the information field following the master's degree;
  • Points: 120 points of professional accomplishment in the last five years, with no more than 50 points being sponsored instruction, although all 120 points may be from individual professional accomplishments; and at least 10 of the 120 individual professional accomplishment points must be from professional organization activities, and at least 5 of the 120 points must be MLA activities.

Emeritus Member Level

  • Work status: Retired;
  • Must have been a member of the academy 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
  • Points: no points are required to renew at this level however, applicant must send a written request and a completed form EMERITUS to the MLA AHIP department

Special Circumstances: Are you no longer a full-time medical librarian, have left the field, or are currently working in a different type of library but still want an AHIP credential?  The MLA Board of Directors approved the following changes to the job requirements for AHIP for those in special circumstances who want to succeed with with an Academy membership.

The changes to the program requirements allow librarians who are not currently practicing in the health sciences librarianship field to join AHIP and renew AHIP membership by following these guidelines:

  • New applicants without five years of experience in an information professional position will still apply for AHIP membership at the provisional level. Please note: Upon renewal one year later, the provisional member is required to show evidence of employment in the field via an employer letter.
  • Applicants who already have AHIP membership but lose their position in the health sciences will be able to renew at their current level of membership or apply for a higher level as long as they meet all other AHIP requirements.
  • New applicants who have five years of professional experience who have recently lost their jobs or had their hours reduced are still eligible to join AHIP at any level (Member, Senior, or Distinguished) as long as they meet all other AHIP requirements.
  • Other special employment circumstances will be reviewed by the Credentialing Committee on an individual basis.
  • AHIP requirements that must be met by all applicants:

  • Must meet the current AHIP requirements for sponsored instruction and individual professional accomplishments,
  • Must meet the current AHIP educational requirements,
  • Must have all current requirements for their AHIP level (i.e., fifty points for member, eighty points for senior with at least five points from professional organization activities, and 120 points for distinguished with at least ten points from professional organization activities), and
  • Points will still need to 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 knowledgebase and skills in the profession. For more information on activities accepted for academy points, visit the point index.

Have questions? Please contact AHIP Member Services. Ready to apply? Continue on to the application process.