Why Should You Bother with Medical Coding Certification?

Why get medical coding certification? This page explains the different medical billing and coding certificates and their benefits...

A medical billing or coding certification is a good way of adding qualifications to your resume, along with a potentially higher income.

Recent studies show that coders who get certified can expect to earn 17% more over the life of their careers.

Additionally, certified coders generally enjoy annual wage increases which their non-certified counterparts don't get. These raises can be as much as a $7,000 increase in income per year!

Certified coders also have more opportunities for employment. A lot of potential employers are now asking job applicants to be certified.

Coders that maintain their certifications also enjoy more job security compared with non-certified coders.

The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) is the body which credentials medical coding professionals.

Medical Coding Certificates

There are four main types of medical coding certification:

  1. Certified Professional Coder (CPC)

    Many consider the CPC to be the gold standard of medical coding credentials. It shows that you have broad knowledge and expertise within the profession and requires rigorous validation of your abilities.

    The CPC requires an examination that questions you extensively on your knowledge and understanding of coding for physician services, procedures and diagnosis for medical claims.

    It also tests your knowledge on national coding guidelines and operative reports, comprehension of basic medical terminology and anatomy of the human body, and applying billing reimbursement guidelines.

  2. Certified Professional Coder-Outpatient Hospital (CPC-H)

    The CPC-H shows your ability to accurately code outpatient facility and hospital services. To gain this credential you are questioned on the correct application of codes for billing outpatient facility services to insurance companies.

  3. Certified Professional Coder-Payer (CPC-P)

    The CPC-P concentrates on coding and billing at the payer level.

    In order to gain this credential you are questioned on basic knowledge of coding-related payer functions, focusing on how those functions differ from provider coding. You'll also need to be very familiar with the relationship between coding and payments.

  4. Certified Interventional Radiology Cardiovascular Coder (CIRCC)

    The CIRCC shows your ability in interventional radiology and cardiovascular coding.

    In order to gain this credential you are questioned on:

    • diagnostic angiography
    • non-vascular interventions
    • percutaneous vascular interventions
    • diagnostic cardiac catheterization
    • basic coronary arterial interventions
    • ICD-9-CM, basic coding (E&M, medical coding modifiers, etc.)
    • anatomy and medical terminology.
AAPC controls the credentials of the billing and coding industry

Specialty Credentials

These credentialing opportunities exist for individuals who want to demonstrate their knowledge of special medical fields. They're geared towards the unique codes and guidelines used in the chosen specialty, and are usually taken by coders who have many years of experience.

If you're interested in getting certified then have a look at our directory of medical billing and coding schools.

Also see our broader guide to the various medical billing and coding certificates.

Is it worth it? Read about the benefits of becoming certified in medical billing and coding.

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