How do you obtain medical coding certification?


Quick Answer

Obtain a medical coding certification by testing for the Certified Professional Coding credential from the American Academy of Professional Coders or for the Certified Coding Specialist credential from the American Health Information Management Association, states Medical Billing and Coding. As of 2015 most employers recognize only these credentials as valid.

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Full Answer

Both of these organizations test examinees extensively on their working knowledge of all three medical coding books, basic anatomy, medical terminology, standards of payment and coding guidelines, explains Medical Billing and Coding. The Certified Professional Coding, or CPC, credential focuses more on medical coding for physicians' offices and outpatient care, while the Certified Coding Specialist, or CCS, credential emphasizes medical coding for larger facilities such as hospitals. Both credentialing organizations require beginners to take an apprenticeship version of the certification and then to test for the full certification after working as a medical coder for two years.

The American Academy of Professional Coders provides additional credentials for more specialized medical coding, such as Certified Professional Coder in Dermatology or Certified Family Practice Coder, according to Medical Billing and Coding. The American Health Information Management Association also certifies health information professionals, including health data analysts and specialists in health care privacy.

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