ONC Launches Health Information Technology Professional (HIT Pro) Competency Exam

I’m not sure how to respond to the recently launched HIT Pro competency exam by HHS and ONC. Here’s a quote from the website:

The future of health IT starts with the HIT Pro competency exam. For a limited time, the exam is free to U.S. citizens who have completed a Workforce Development non-degree training program or to professionals with relevant experience or other training. Click here to see Frequently Asked Questions and the list of community colleges offering the program.

I assume this is an extension of the healthcare IT community college education programs that they’ve funded. I’m just not sure how the government offering this competency exam is going to provide value. Are employers going to look upon this exam as a benchmark for hiring? Check out this list of things that an HIT Pro exam candidate will be:

Typical HIT Pro exam candidates will be:
*Experienced healthcare or IT professionals
*Seeking to expand their career options by leading the new wave of EHR implementation and management
*Motivated to learn, determined to succeed

I’m sure this is the case for many HIT Pro exam candidates. However, how does an exam check if they’re motivated to learn and determined to succeed?

Sometimes I wonder what the people are thinking that put a program like this in place.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Cynically certification programs allow HR staff without a strong understanding of a field to pass on candidates. Something akin to never being fired for buying IBM.

    In a field without a strong history of candidates these can be a good way of bringing people into the field with some knowledge of what they are supposed to do.

    However, this program as with the CPHIMS that I have, lacks any process to see if those with the certification are any better at their jobs than their uncertified brethren.

  • We’re are to provide a comprehensive in depth study guide to help candidates pass the HIT Pro competency exam the first time.

  • I guess I should have known that the prep exams would come out. Although, weren’t these exams meant to be an exam after the education that a person generally got at the community college in those HIT programs? I guess they could still use a prep exam. A whole new industry pops up over night.

  • I found these courses and the certification helpful as I make a mid-career transition from Systems Implementation and Integration Consultant in the biotech and pharma industries to shifting to the healthcare industry. I gained a lot of clinical knowledge which was all new to me. So I see the program and certification process as being beneficial since I have NO healthcare experience. This might be enough to allow me to get an interview and branch into a new field where I have a lot of offer.

    I get the feeling that without this training it would be an uphill battle getting a job in this industry, because in healthcare it seems everyone has at least five sets of initials after their name if they’re not an MD. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but here’s a few that I’ve encountered; CHPS, CCS, CPS, RHIA, CPHQ…Do those indicate any learning motivation or determination for success or simply completion of a curriculum?

    My hope is that ONC will provide some kind of initials for completion of this program too. So I can have something other than BS and MS to put at the end of my name. And that’s what it’s really all about anyway, isn’t it? 😉

  • Yvonne,
    You’re not exaggerating about initials at all. I’d say BS are the right initials, but not the way you used it. B stands for Bull…you can figure out the S. Ok, maybe now I’m showing my bias for those initials (with a few exceptions).

    Best of luck getting a job.

  • I am in the community college consortium, and the 6 mo training is intense with a vast amount of knowledge. All my classmates are committed and motivated- its been alot of work. I think the exam will say to a hiring company that someone has an understanding of what it will take to implement an EMR/EHR.
    A workforce had to be created and made available. At least this is a starting point for this growing arena.

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