By researching the requirements for medical coding certification, you have already taken the first step to a successful career.
Today, employers are seeking candidates with a solid educational background and relevant experience because the field is getting more complex, competitive, and demanding.
With a medical coding certification, you will have an obvious advantage in reaching your goals.
Below, we will cover the information on medical coding and billing certifications.
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You have several options to choose from that are provided by several national organizations:
American Health Information Management Association
The AHIMA offers a variety of medical coding certifications, which include:
- Certified Coding Associate (CCA).
- Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-based (CCS-P).
- Certified Coding Specialist (CCS).
Besides the membership in the AHIMA and application fee, the CCA exam requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent.
To pass the examination, it is recommended that you have at least 6 months of coding experience in a healthcare facility.
Also, you are expected to have attended a coding certificate program approved by AHIMA or another formal training program.
If you are seeking a more specialized CCS or CCS-P certification, AHIMA recommends that you have at least three years of experience in a hospital or another physician-based setting.
There you can apply coding systems to a variety of cases.
You should also complete anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology coursework or demonstrate proficiency in these areas otherwise.
American Academy of Professional Coders
To get certified through the AAPC, candidates should be a member of the organization and pay an examination fee.
First, it’s recommended that the applicants earn an associate degree.
However, if you don’t have a minimum of 2 years of medical coding experience, you will have to take an apprenticeship after passing your exam.
After you complete the required two years, the AAPC will remove this apprentice designation.
Board of Medical Specialty Coding and Compliance
The following coding credentials are offered by the Board of Medical Specialty Coding and Compliance (BMSC):
- Specialty Coding Professional (SCP).
- Home Care Coding Specialist ñ Diagnosis (HCS-D).
- Advanced Coding Specialist (ACS).
The BMSC only requires a high school diploma or equivalent and a registration fee.
The fee includes the exam cost.
However, the BMSC notes that the most successful applicants have either two years of experience in home-care coding, or at least three years of experience in their specialty.
More information about the medical coding certification requirements can be found on the BMSC website.
The certification in medical billing is offered by two organizations.
The AAPC launched a new nationally recognized medical billing credential, the Certified Professional Biller (CPB).
It is separate from a certified coding one but also includes some coding basics.
However, the core focus is on medical billing on the side of a healthcare provider.
This certification comes with a bonus, which is qualifying for college credits for students of the University of Phoenix.
The entire course for billers lasts for 80 hours and can be completed at your own pace within four months or less.
The enrollment starts from the purchase date, and students can log in whenever they are ready to start.
The AAPC recommends courses in physiology, anatomy, and medical terminology before signing up for this course to have a better understanding of the course materials.
It is recommended that students complete at least one module a week to stay on schedule.
Students can also email questions related to the course to the professional coaching staff.
American Medical Billing Association
The American Medical Billing Association (AMBA) offers a nationally recognized billing certification course and exam.
To sit for the Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS) certification exam you should be a member of the AMBA.
Like in AAPC, you should renew your membership annually to maintain your certification.
Members should renew annually to keep these credentials.
They should submit 15 CEU (Continuing Education Units) to AMBA on the date of their CMRS anniversary.
50% of the required annual CEU should come from the local chapter meetings, AMBA training, courses, and annual conferences from the pre-approved CEU list.
AMBA doesn’t have any prerequisites required to take the exam, nor they require training or courses.
However, it is recommended that you have some type of training in billing and/or coding to sit for the exam.
If you picked a hospital or another healthcare facility where you would like to work, get in touch with the HR department to find out about the credentials they are looking for when choosing candidates.
You can also get advice from a local college if it offers a medical coding associate degree.