Certified Coding Specialist: Exam and Licensing Information
Certified coding specialists abstract data from a patient's medical record and then assign a numerical code to each diagnosis, procedure and medical service. Each code determines the amount the healthcare facility or provider will be reimbursed for by Medicare, Medicaid or an insurance company. Certified coding specialists are employed in hospitals, physician's offices and medical clinics.
Certified Coding Specialists Exam Information
Professionals currently working in the coding field can earn certification by sitting for a national exam administered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The AHIMA offers two certification exams, which include the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) credential and the Certified Coding Specialist--Physican-Based (CCS-P) credential. The CCS is awarded to professionals who code for hospitals and the CCS-P is given to coders who work for a physician's office, clinic or surgical center.
Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) Credential
According to the AHIMA, applicants must have a high school diploma or its equivalent to be eligible to sit for the CSS exam. Although not required, the AHIMA suggests that applicants should have at least three years of experience coding hospital-based inpatient and outpatient medical records; they should also have completed courses in anatomy, pharmacology and pathophysiology (www. ahima.org). The 4-hour exam consists of two parts. The first part contains a written test of 60 multiple-choice questions--only 50 questions are scored, and the remaining 10 questions are pretest items. Pretest questions are included to assess the item's performance for use in future exams and do not count toward the applicant's overall score. The second part of the exam requires applicants to code 13 medical records, a combination of seven outpatient records and six inpatient records. CCS exams are scored on a pass-or-fail basis, and the results are mailed to the applicant.
Certified Coding Specialist--Physican-Based (CCS-P) Credential
Eligibility requirements and test structure for the CCS-P exam are similar to the CCS exam, but there are two differences. The first includes the suggestion that applicants should (but are not required to) have three years of experience coding for physician services, which may take place in a physician's office or clinic in addition to a hospital's emergency room or operating room. The other exception involves the second part of the exam. Instead of coding 13 medical records, the CCS-P exam requires 16 medical records coded in the areas of emergency medicine, surgical services and physician services.
Certified Coding Specialist Licensing Information
Certified coding specialists are not required to obtain state licensure to practice, but the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) does offer the Professional Medical Coding Instructor (PMCC) license. The licensure program is open to experienced professionals who are looking to teach students coding and prepare them for certification. To receive licensure, instructors must be a member of the AAPC, have at least five years' experience as a coder, complete the AAPC's PMCC license workshop and purchase the PMCC license for a specified fee (www.aapc.com).
Salary Potential and Employment Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of working medical records and health technicians - a category that includes medical coders - should grow 22% during the 2012-2022 decade, which is much faster than average. The median salary for medical records and health information technicians was $34,970 in 2013, reports the BLS.
Related to Certified Coding Specialist: Exam and Licensing Information
- Recently Updated
Website coding classes may benefit individuals interested in careers as Web designers or Web programmers, as well as those...
Learn about training options for earning nurse coding specialist certification. Find out about career choices for different...
Computer programmers require some formal education. Learn about the educational options, job duties and employment outlook...
Need coding help quick? Never fear, the blogosphere is here! Check out the following blogs for useful advice - and hilarious...
- Top School in Philadelphia with Medical Insurance Coding Courses
- How to Become a Physician Coding Specialist: Step-by-Step Career Guide
- Become a Gaming Programmer: Step-by-Step Career Guide
- Top Ranked School for a Degree in Marketing - Colorado Springs, CO
- Online Art Bachelors Degree Program Information
- Top School in Raleigh for Becoming a Computer Security Professional
- Top School for a Degree in Business Finance - Colorado Springs, CO