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HICA pathways

Pathways to becoming a Health Information-Certified Associate (HICA)

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Explore all certifications with the Canadian College of Health Information Management.

HICA national certification examination

The HICA NCE is based on the Health Information Associate Curricular Standards. It covers five practice areas:

  1. Clinical knowledge
  2. Professionalism in health care
  3. Health care office management
  4. Technology
  5. Health care system

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Frequently asked questions

What is a health information associate program?

Medical office assistant, administration, health services, or equivalent programs are considered health information-associate programs. The title of the program may differ by educational institution, but they are accredited by the Canadian College of Health Information Management through the Health Information Associate Curricular Standards.  

What are the practice areas of the health information associate standards?

The following are the five key practice areas of the health information associate standards:

  1. Clinical knowledge
  2. Professionalism in health care
  3. Health care office management
  4. Health care technology
  5. Health care system

What are examples of health information associate roles?

Professionals with the associate designation may be employed in the following  example roles:

  • Registration clerk
  • Receptionist
  • Health records clerk
  • Office support worker
  • Administrative assistant
  • Admissions clerk
  • Secretary
  • Administrative support worker
  • Front desk clerk
  • Unit clerk
  • Ward clerk
  • Executive assistant
  • Medical office assistant
  • Data entry clerk
  • Primary care administrator

I am interested in a career in the health care sector but not in direct contact with a person’s health care experience. Is a health information associate role right for me?

Health information associate roles typically do not require hands-on care; the focus is on quality and patient safety. Engagements with people utilizing the health care system may occur from time to time.

What is the benefit of certification for those seeking employment?

Certification signals to employers that a health information professional is credible and committed to the profession.

Learn more about certification

Does getting certified mean that I will be able to find a job?

There is not a direct correlation between certification and employment. Many employers require job applicants to be certified, and those who are certified through the Canadian College of Health Information Management have a competitive advantage and enjoy access to CHIMA’s career centre.

What are the different salary ranges in the profession?

Salary ranges differ nationally and for each type of role. It is advised to review local job advertisements to understand the salary range in your area.

Will all these pathways lead to writing the HICA national certification examination (NCE)?

What is an accredited program?

The Canadian College of Health Information Management sets the accreditation standards for educational institutions offering health information programs in Canada.

Accreditation demonstrates to the public that a program is aligned to industry standards, as identified through the College’s needs assessment and consultation with industry. It is a voluntary, self-regulatory process to recognize those that meet or exceed the standards set for health information education. Accrediting programs ensures continuous quality improvement of the educational content that supports the evolving health information industry. 

Are all health information programs accredited?

No. Only those listed in the College’s program directory with the Accredited status’ are.