What is the Best Certification to Get for Medical Billing and Coding

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Do you want to be a medical coder? If so, it is better for you to get a medical coding certification because it can affect your salary. Even though this is not a legal requirement to find a job as a medical coder, but it can enlarge your opportunity to be accepted by an employer.

There are a number of different certifications that can be achieved by the prospective medical coders. According to the Medical Technology Schools site, CPC (Certified Professional Coder), CCS ( Certified Coding Specialist), and CMC (Certified Medical Coder) are the most common certifications in the medical billing and coding field . Here is the explanation of each certification according to the Medical Technology Schools site.

What is the Best Certification to Get for Medical Billing and Coding
The Certified Professional Coder (CPC)

In the medical coding field, the CPC exam is the most popular medical coding certification exam. Let’s say that you are interested in working in an outpatient setting like a physician’s office or outpatient clinic. If so, this certification can be a good path for you.

CPC certification is offered by an association named The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and for your information, AAPC is the biggest organization of its kind and it has more than 170,000 members.

How do we take the CPC exam? You must have at least an associate’s degree from an accredited institution. It is better if you also have existing experience in the field of medical coding. After you are successful to complete the CPC exam, note that it is not enough to qualify the examinee as a Certified Professional Coder. If you take the exam without having professional experience in the field, you will get a CPC-A certification. It stands for Certified Professional Coder-Apprentice.

So, to earn a full CPC, you must complete at least two years of professional experience and submit two letters of recommendation to the AAPC.

For being qualified for the exam, you must be current members of the AAPC and pay an exam fee. The price of membership is $80 for active students and if you are a non student, you must pay $150.

In the CPC exam, you will have 150 questions which are divided into 12 distinct sections.

  • 60 questions about Surgical Procedures.
  • 10 questions about Evaluation and Management.
  • 8 questions about Anesthesia.
  • 10 questions about Radiology.
  • 10 questions about Pathology and Laboratory.
  • 10 questions about Medicine.
  • 8 questions about Medical Terminology.
  • 8 questions about Anatomy.
  • 10 questions about ICD-10 volumes 1 and 2.
  • 5 questions about HCPCS Level II Codes.
  • 6 questions about Coding Guidelines.
  • 5 questions about Compliance and Regulation.

You must get an overall score of 70 percent to be certified.

The Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)

Do you want to begin your career in medical coding at inpatient facilities? If so, CCS certification is the most popular option. An association named The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) has this certification.

For taking the CCS exam, you must have at least a diploma or degree from a medical coding training program, two years of medical coding experience or an existing medical coding certification and also one year of medical coding experience. You also must be a member of the AHIMA. The price of membership is $175 for uncertified people, and $10 for renewing members.

In the CCS exam, you must be able to answer eight main topics as mentioned below.

  • Health information documentation
  • Diagnosis and procedure coding
  • Guidelines and reporting requirements for inpatient services
  • Guidelines and reporting requirements for outpatient services
  • Data and quality management
  • Information technologies
  • Privacy, confidentiality, legal, and ethical issues
  • Compliance

You will have 68% of the questions about Diagnosis and Procedure Coding.

The Certified Medical Coder (CMC)

If we compare with the CPC or CCS certifications, CMC certification is less common certification to take. Nevertheless, it is increasingly recognized as a comparable certification. The Practice Management Institute (PMI) has this certification.

Before taking the CPC exam, you must have at least one year of professional experience in medical coding. If you are coders with no experiences, PMI offers an introductory course named Principles of Coding. Even though preparatory courses are offered by PMI for the CMC exam, but the courses are not a prerequisite to get this exam.

You will have to answer 133 questions in the CMC exam and you must earn a minimum of 70 percent to be certified.

Different from Medical Technology Schools site, according to Zippia, the best medical coder certification in the first place is Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS). The explanation about CBCS can be read below.

Other Best Medical Coder Certification: Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS)

According to the Zippia website, the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) is the best medical coder certification and this certification is in the number one from the 20 best medical coder certifications on that site.

In this certification, students will focus on changing a medical procedure, diagnosis, or symptom into codes which are specific to submit a claim for reimbursement.

Do you want to take this exam? If so, you must complete a program that includes medical billing and coding training  in the last 5 years. In addition, you also must have a high school diploma or GED/ high school equivalent.

The National Healthcareer Association is the one which offers this certification. According to the Unitek College website, the topics in the CBCS exam are listed below.

  • 19 items about Regulatory Compliance.
  • 28 items about Claims Processing.
  • 10 items about Front-end Duties.
  • 23 items about Payment Adjudication.
  • 20 items about Applying Knowledge of Coding.

According to the Zippia website, the 20 best medical coder certifications are listed below.

  1. Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS)
  2. Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)
  3. Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
  4. Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)
  5. Certified Medical Coder (CMC)
  6. Medical Assistant
  7. Certified Code Specialist
  8. Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA)
  9. Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA)
  10. Certified Outpatient Coding (COC)
  11. Certified Coding Specialist-Physician-based (CCS-P)
  12. Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
  13. Certified Coding Associate (CCA)
  14. Certified Medical Office Manager (CMOM)
  15. Certified Medical Insurance Specialist (CMIS)
  16. Certified Evaluation and Management Coder (CEMC)
  17. Nationally Certified Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS)
  18. Home Care Coding Specialist – Diagnosis (HCS-D)
  19. Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS)
  20. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

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