What Medical Coding Certification Do I Need?

What Medical Coding Certification Do I Need?
What Medical Coding Certification Do I Need?

What Medical Coding Certification Do I Need?

Medical coders are in high demand, and the number of medical coding certification options is growing. However, there are some things to consider before making a choice about which one to take. The AAPC and AHIMA offer different types of medical coding certification programs. Some people may find the more intensive classes and more hands-on activities at AHIMA appealing; others may prefer the more streamlined experience offered by AAPC's online courses.

The Basics of Medical Coding

Medical coding is the process of assigning a unique, six-character code to each medical diagnosis, procedure and service. Codes are used by insurance providers and payors to determine how much they have to pay for your treatment.

Medical coders who specialize in coding will often go through an accredited professional certification program that teaches them about the various codes and rules associated with them. The most common certifications include:

  • Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) - This designation indicates that you have passed several exams designed by the American Medical Association (AMA). The AMA also sets standards for certification exams that must be passed before you can earn this designation from them.
  • Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist (CES) - This certification requires passing an exam administered by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). It's important to note that some employers may require only one type of credential before hiring someone as opposed to both CCSs or CESs because each one represents different levels of expertise within medical coding fields respectively

Understanding the AAPC

The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) is a non-profit organization that certifies coders through three levels:

  • Certified Professional Coder (CPCC) - This certification requires passing the AACP's Basic Coder Exam and an additional examination at the CPCC level.
  • Certified Advanced Coder (CAC) - The CAC requires passing an additional exam at this level as well as completing AAPC's study guide for their CPCC certification.
  • Professional Coder Certification - This certification requires either passing both exams above or completing a combination of them together with other coursework required by individual employers' requirements.

Understanding the AHIMA

If you want to work in the healthcare industry, it's important to know that AHIMA is the only certifying body recognized by CMS. This means that if your certification has been issued by this organization, then it will be accepted as valid by CMS.

Another benefit of being certified through AHIMA is that they offer a variety of credentials at different levels. Some people prefer one level over another depending on their needs and interests; others may have more than one credential from other organizations because they feel like those provide better value for money or are better suited for their career goals.

If you're interested in becoming an RN but don't want any experience outside of school (or if there aren't enough openings), then becoming an RPN might be right up your alley!

Choosing Your Path to Certification

There are two main paths you can take to become a certified medical coder:

  • AAPC, which is the most popular certification and has been around since 1958.
  • AHIMA, which is the most widely recognized and has been around since 1969.

While these credentials can look similar at first glance, there are some differences between them that make each one suited for different levels of experience and preparation.

The decision of which medical coding certification to obtain depends on your own career goals.

The decision of which medical coding certification to obtain depends on your own career goals. Are you looking for a job as an independent contractor or in-house? Do you want to work in a hospital, clinic or other health care setting? How much pay are you expecting and what type of work do you want to do?

There are three main types of medical coding certifications:

  • Certified Professional Coder (CPC) - This is the highest level of certification and requires two years' experience working with computers and data management systems at least half-time during that time period. The CPC exam tests knowledge about computer software applications such as Word, Excel, Access and Powerpoint; database management systems; legal requirements related to healthcare information technology; quality assurance standards; investigative techniques used by insurers when investigating claims filed by patients who receive medical services from physicians outside their network; how billing processes can affect patient satisfaction scores using surveys administered by third parties such as health insurance companies
  • Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) - This is similar in nature but only requires one year's experience working with computers/data management systems during which time he/she must also pass either an Associate Level Technician test administered through Pearson Vue testing centers or another provider approved through CMS

An education from YTI Career Institute is one way to get started in this career.

If you're looking for a career in the Medical Billing and Coding field, YTI Career Institute has what you need. In just 10 months, you can receive the individual attention needed to practice the procedures you'll be using each day as a Medical Billing & Coding professional. If you're ready to get started, visit the online application portal to enroll.