Healthcare administration is a broad professional classification that encompasses various levels of administrative authority; from department managers in small long-term care facilities to CEOs of major hospital systems.
The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), an international society of more than 40,000 healthcare executives, offers the Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) credential to recognize healthcare administrators that have realized a high standard of professional achievement.
This prestigious title, reserved for the most educated, experienced, and competent professionals in the field, signifies a high level of achievement in the field of healthcare management. The FACHE credential is indicative of expertise, experience, and commitment to both professional development and continuing education.
Achieving the FACHE designation is a multifaceted and challenging process, making it a highly respected certificate in executive hospital administration. Earning the FACHE credential is dependent upon a number of factors:
- Academic preparation
- ACHE tenure
- Community and civic involvement
- Continuing education
- Healthcare management experience
- Passing the Board of Governors Examination in Healthcare Management
Here’s what you will need to do to become a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and earn the distinctive FACHE designation:
Step 1. Learn About the Requirements to Become a Fellow
To become a Fellow through the ACHE, you must meet the following, minimum requirements:
- Be a member of ACHE for at least three years
- Be a graduate of a master’s or other advanced degree program
- Hold a healthcare management position and possess at least two years of healthcare management experience
- Submit at least three references from current Fellows
- Complete at least 36 hours of healthcare management continuing education during the three years preceding becoming a fellow; 12 hours of which must be ACHE face-to-face education participation in two healthcare related and two community/civic activities within the past three years
Although the minimum requirements to become a Fellow are extensive, you may begin the process before you have achieved the above requirements, provided you possess the following at the time you submit your Fellow application:
- Be a current ACHE member
- Hold a healthcare management position and have at least two years of healthcare management experience
- Possess a master’s degree or other advanced degree
- Provide the names of three references from current Fellows
Your application remains valid for a period of three years, during which time you can work on completing all minimum requirements.
Step 2. Submit a Fellow Application
The following must accompany your application:
- A copy of your diploma or transcripts showing the completion of your master’s degree program
- A current resume
- An organizational chart and job description detailing your current healthcare administration position
- Names of Fellows from whom you will solicit references
The cost of submitting an application is $250. Once ACHE has approved your application, they will notify you of your eligibility to take the Board of Governors Exam and send you an Exam registration form, along with testing center information.
Step 3. Take the Board of Governors Exam
The Exam registration form from the ACHE details how to register and how to schedule a date to take the examination. You have the option of taking a computer-based or a paper-and-pencil examination.
You can prepare for the examination by studying the Reference Manual and/or Online Tutorial and taking a Board of Governors Exam Review Course or Board of Governors Exam Study Set. You can locate information on preparing for the examination and access study resources here.
When you feel you are prepared to take the examination, you must return the exam registration form to ACHE, along with your examination registration fee of $200. Once you have submitted the application and fee, you can schedule to take the examination.
You can take the computer-based test at a Prometric testing center or the paper-and-pencil examination at the ACHE’s annual Congress on Healthcare Leadership, held every March.
Board of Governors Exam Overview
The Board of Governors examination consists of 230 questions (30 are pretest questions). You will have six hours to complete the examination. The exam consists of questions surrounding 10 knowledge areas that the ACHE identifies as pivotal for the practice of healthcare management:
- Governance and Organizational Structure: Involves the development and analysis of the organizational structure, including responsibility, authority, and accountability among all levels of an organization
- Human Resources: Involves assessing the need for personnel; includes recruitment, selection, training, compensation, and evaluation of personnel
- Finance: Involves the planning, development, establishment, analysis and assessment of the financial management process
- Healthcare Technology and Information Management: Involves both management information and clinical information systems
- Quality and Performance Improvement: Involves the development, implementation, and evaluation of organizational accountability, such as quality assessment and assurance philosophies, programs, and procedures
- Laws and Regulations: Involves the identification and interpretation of government regulations and laws on an organization
- Professionalism and Ethics: Involves developing, monitoring, and maintaining procedures as to ensure the needs of staff are met
- Healthcare: Involves organizations involved in the delivery of healthcare
- Management: Involves general management principles
- Business: Involves knowledge specific to certain areas of the organization, such as business planning, marketing, strategic planning, etc.
Step 4. Recertify as a Fellow
Once you have successfully passed the Board of Governors exam, you have three years to complete all remaining requirements to achieve the Fellow designation. (See Step 1).
You must recertify every three years to maintain your FACHE certification. Recertification ensures that Fellows continue to pursue professional development. You will receive notice from ACHE when it is time to recertify. The ACHE will provide you with access to the online recertification application system.
You may earn recertification in one of two ways:
- You may complete at least 36 hours of healthcare management continuing education credits, 12 hours of which must be ACHE face-to-face education credits; OR
- You may retake the pass the Board of Governors examination AND participate in two healthcare activities and two community/civic activities