Board Certification in Healthcare Management

November 1997
November 2002 (revised)
November 2007 (revised)
November 2012 (revised)

Statement of the Issue

By providing a credentialing program, a professional society helps the field it serves by setting standards for competence and excellence and assists the public by providing a means by which to identify those who have met this standard. Choosing to become credentialed in healthcare management enables a professional to demonstrate his or her competence, leadership and commitment to the profession. It also provides evidence of that individual’s commitment to lifelong learning, management excellence and ethical conduct.

The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) has a comprehensive, multifaceted credentialing program. Healthcare executives who successfully meet the criteria become board certified in healthcare management and are recognized as ACHE Fellows. With this distinction, Fellows earn the right to use the credential “FACHE” (Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives).

Policy Position

The American College of Healthcare Executives believes that by participating in a voluntary credentialing program, healthcare executives are taking a meaningful and visible step toward demonstrating their competence in the field. Through their participation in such programs, healthcare executives also are reaffirming their commitment to lifelong learning, management excellence and ethical conduct.

The value of a credential is linked to the credibility of the certifying organization and the rigor of the credentialing process itself. To this end, ACHE believes a voluntary credentialing program that bestows certification in healthcare management should encompass requirements addressing:

  • Formal academic preparation beyond a bachelor’s degree
  • Position and responsibility
  • Experience

Further, ACHE believes the program should require:

  • Participation in continuing education
  • Participation in healthcare and community affairs
  • Commitment to the association as demonstrated by tenure in ACHE
  • Peer review
  • Adherence to an ethical code of conduct
  • Successful completion of a comprehensive exam that measures knowledge and skills in healthcare management

For a voluntary credentialing program to be a viable indicator of an individual’s competency, the program must be designed using rigorous standards and periodically refined so that it remains a fair and predictable indicator of professional competence in the changing marketplace. To this end, the credentialing body should adhere to the following steps as it relates to the development and refinement of its testing mechanism(s):

  • Conduct periodic job analyses within the field to ensure the testing mechanism is reflective of the frequency and importance of job-related tasks performed by healthcare executives;
  • Provide for periodic review of the testing mechanism by a professional testing service or a psychometric consultant;
  • Establish a passing point for the test that is reflective of professional competence, reasonable and accepted in the psychometric community;
  • Administer each test according to established, consistent procedures;
  • Follow prescribed security procedures that protect the integrity of the testing materials and the administration of the test; and
  • Ensure testing procedures are ADA compliant, including those conducted by computerized vendors.

Voluntary credentialing programs also should require individuals to periodically recertify—documenting their continuing education and other activities that are indicators of continued competency and their commitment to the profession. Finally, each year credentialed individuals should attest to uphold their professional code of ethics.

Approved by the Board of Governors of the American College of Healthcare Executives on November 12, 2012.