Published: May 18, 2023
Revenue Cycle Management

FACHE Certification: Still Worth It for Healthcare Executives?

Rex H.
Rex H.
8 minute read
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FACHE certification has long been considered a gold standard for healthcare executives, symbolizing peak accomplishment and deep understanding of healthcare management.

However, in recent years, some have questioned whether the pursuit of FACHE certification still holds the same value it once did. Amid emerging alternative pathways for professional development, shifting dynamics in healthcare delivery, and the rising costs of certification, is the FACHE still a worthy investment for today's healthcare executives? 

What is FACHE?

FACHE is an acronym that stands for "Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives." It's a professional certification offered by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), a prestigious and internationally recognized organization dedicated to improving healthcare management and delivery.

The FACHE certification is a significant credential that demonstrates an individual's expertise, experience, and commitment to continuing education and professional development in the field of healthcare management. Being a Fellow of ACHE signals not only a mastery of healthcare management principles but also adherence to the high ethical standards and commitment to lifelong learning that the organization promotes.

Candidates eligible for the FACHE credential typically hold executive leadership positions in healthcare institutions and have a track record of dedication to the profession. The rigorous certification process involves meeting educational and experiential requirements, passing a comprehensive examination, and demonstrating professional and community involvement. 

Who this certification is for

The FACHE certification is primarily designed for healthcare executives who are deeply invested in their professional growth and want to demonstrate their commitment to the field of healthcare management. These individuals typically occupy leadership roles within healthcare organizations, including hospitals, healthcare systems, clinics, and healthcare consulting firms. Examples of such roles might include CEOs, COOs, CMOs, department or division directors, health administrators, medical practice managers, and other senior healthcare executives.

FACHE certification is for seasoned professionals who have already established a career in healthcare management and are seeking to further distinguish themselves in their field.

To be eligible for the FACHE credential, candidates must meet the following prerequisites:

  • Be a current Member or Fellow of ACHE
  • Possess a master's or another advanced degree
  • Have a minimum of five years of healthcare management experience
  • Engage in a minimum of 36 hours of healthcare management continuing education within the past three years, including 12 hours of ACHE face-to-face education
  • Show evidence of two volunteer roles in healthcare and community/civic affairs
  • Secure two references, including one Fellow reference.

How to get the FACHE certification

Acquiring the Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) certification involves a multi-step process, including meeting the eligibility criteria, passing the Board of Governors Examination, providing references, and fulfilling continuing education requirements.

FACHE exam structure

The Board of Governors Examination in Healthcare Management consists of 230 multiple-choice questions that test knowledge in 10 areas. Only 200 of the questions are scored. The other 30 are pretest questions. You’ll have six hours to finish the exam. The exam is computer-based and administered at testing centers across the country.

Topics covered in the exam

The exam questions are distributed evenly across the following core knowledge areas: 

  • Governance and Organizational Structure
  • Healthcare Technology and Information Management
  • Financial Management
  • Quality and Performance Improvement
  • Health Management and Delivery
  • Human Resources
  • Laws and Regulations
  • Professionalism and Ethics
  • Business and Clinical Operations
  • Leadership

FACHE exam pass rate

The pass rate for the FACHE certification exam varies from year to year, but it is typically around 65%. In 2022, the pass rate was 72%

FACHE certification cost

The FACHE exam costs $225. There is also a non-refundable $250 application fee. The exam is offered twice a year, in April and October. 

Do you need to be recertified?

Yes, recertification is necessary. Once you have achieved the FACHE credential, you must recertify every three years. The recertification process involves demonstrating 36 hours of healthcare-related continuing education, 12 of which must be ACHE Face-to-Face Education credits. Additionally, Fellows are required to submit a $75 recertification fee and fulfill service and advancement criteria.

FACHE salary

The average salary for a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) in the United States is $167,000 per year, as reported by PayScale.

Remember, the salary for a FACHE can greatly differ depending on several factors: the size and location of the healthcare organization, the individual's level of experience, and their education and certifications.

Is the FACHE certification worth it? Feedback from certified individuals

People who’ve obtained their FACHE certification have mixed opinions about whether it’s worth it or not. We’ve gathered positive and negative feedback from Fishbowl and Indeed to help you determine if it’s worth it for you. 

Feedback indicating the FACHE is worth it


One commenter says the FACHE can give your career a boost, and several people wish they had completed it sooner. However, one reviewer noted that it takes a lot of study time and effort to achieve. One individual feels it’s only worth it if you work in hospital management, suggesting it may not be a good fit for those that work for smaller health organizations. 

Feedback indicating the FACHE is not worth it


An individual who feels the FACHE is not worth it notes that it’s become watered down and doesn’t really provide any new opportunities as it has become too common in the field. Another person has similar thoughts saying it now has a low barrier to entry making it less valuable and effective toward career progression since many people have it.  A third individual states it’s also not widely recognized outside of the US, which may be a consideration for some. 

Practice questions for the FACHE exam

The FACHE exam questions are in multiple-choice format with four answer sections. Here are some sample questions that may help you prepare for the exam: 

  • Which is the most common form of managed care in the United States?
  • The concept of "Triple Aim" in healthcare includes which of the following?
  • What does DRG (Diagnosis-Related Group) refer to in the context of healthcare management?
  • Which legislation is responsible for protecting the privacy of patient health information?
  • What is the primary purpose of a Certificate of Need (CON)?
  • What is the role of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) in a healthcare setting?
  • What does the term "population health" refer to?
  • Which of the following is a key characteristic of a High-Reliability Organization (HRO)?
  • What is the purpose of SWOT analysis in healthcare strategic planning?
  • What does the term "evidence-based practice" mean in a healthcare context?
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