Medical Billing & Coding Certifications

The medical billing and coding field features several certification opportunities through medical billing and coding schools and medical coders.

Types of Certifications

Entry-level Certifications

After formal training, earning a medical coding credential is the first step toward a successful medical coding career. There are many entry-level certifications to choose from.

  • CCA – The CCA (Certified Coding Associate) credential is offered by AHIMA and is the most basic credential offered through that organization. It is designed to demonstrate a broad understanding of coding principles across several settings.
  • CPC-A – Medical coders who earn the AAPC’s CPC-A (Certified Professional Coder – Apprentice) credential have passed the CPC exam and have the Apprentice designation added to their certification for their first year in the workforce. The certification demonstrates an understanding of the appropriate code sets and practices in a physician’s office.

New entrants to the medical coding field are also eligible to sit for the CPC-H (Certified Professional Coder – Outpatient Hospital) and CPC-P (Certified Professional Coder – Payer) exams.

Advanced Certifications

After gaining a certain level of experience, coders may earn additional credentials. Both AHIMA and AAPC offer advanced credentials.

  • CCS – The CCS (Certified Coding Specialist) credential is AHIMA’s credential for more experienced coders. At least three years of work experience are recommended, and the credential demonstrates a mastery of inpatient coding.
  • CIRCC – The AAPC’s advanced credential is the CIRCC (Certified Interventional Radiology Cardiovascular Coder). This credential demonstrates advanced abilities in several coding specialties.

Both AHIMA and the AAPC also offer many other advanced credentials that vary by specialty, education, or experience.
Determining the best type of certification for you depends on your career goals. Learn more about medical coding careers or medical coding training to determine the best fit for you.

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Industry Approval and Accreditation

The two largest industry associations in the medical coding space are the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Both of these organizations offer many certifications.

AHIMA Certifications

There are eight health information management credentials offered by AHIMA. These certifications range from entry-level certification to more advanced certifications with experience and education requirements.

  • RHIA – Registered Health Information Administrator
  • RHIT – Registered Health Information Technician
  • CCA – Certified Coding Associate
  • CCS – Certified Coding Specialist
  • CCS-P – Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-based
  • CHDA – Certified Health Data Analyst
  • CHPS – Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security
  • CDIP – Certified Documentation Improvement Practitioner

Generally, AHIMA certifications are primarily focused on the inpatient specialty, but the organization also offers outpatient certificates.
AHIMA-offered certifications include:

AAPC Certifications

AAPC offers four medical coding certifications and many specialty certifications, which enable medical coders to demonstrate a specific area of expertise. The AAPC certifications are primarily focused on the outpatient space.
AAPC-offered certifications include:

  • CPC – Certified Professional Coder
  • CPC-H – Certified Professional Coder – Outpatient Hospital
  • CPC-P – Certified Professional Coder – Payer
  • CIRCC – Certified Interventional Radiology
    Cardiovascular Coder
  • Specialty – There are 20 specialty designations

Other organizations offer coding certification credentials. However, the AHIMA and AAPC credentials are the most recognized in the industry. It is highly unlikely that an employer will require or request certifications other than those offered through these organizations.
The certification that you choose to earn depends on your medical coding career goals and the certificate that your medical coding training has prepared you for.

Southern California Health Institute

Southern California Health Institute (SOCHi) is a leading medical coding school that offers the comprehensive, hands-on training you need for medical coding careers.

Florida Technical College

FTC was founded in 1982 to provide post-secondary training in specialized business fields. Florida Technical College programs are exciting and dynamic, evolving over the years to meet the needs of students and the job marketplace

New York Institute of Career

NYICD offers nationally-accredited online career courses that conveniently fit your busy schedule. Get certified in a new field in a matter of months and start the new career you deserve.

Career Quest

Career Quest is career courage, confidence, creativity—so don’t wait any longer to take the first step to leveling up your professional life.

Healthcare Training Institute

As a medical technical school in NJ, Healthcare Training Institute provides career training for some of the most in-demand healthcare professions.