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Preparing for the AAPC Medical Coding Certification
This article provides the reader with useful information on preparing and understanding the AAPC credential examinations for entrance into the medical coding field.
Preparation for National Certification
There are several avenues one can use to prepare for the AAPC certification, some may choose to attend a 12 month certificate course that teaches human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, insurance reimbursement and medical terminology to name a few of the course offerings. When choosing a certificate program be sure to research the college and course to ensure it is accredited by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) which is a well-known association for medical coders and medical transcriptionist, this organization offers several coding credentials as well. There are individuals who have passed the exam by using a study guide such as the AAPC examination CPC study guide or taking courses through the AAPC, it is rare that one can pass the exam without prior experience in the medical coding field, but it is not uncommon, you must choose the best option for your situation. Be advised both the AAPC and AHIMA require membership fees and applicable examination fees.
• Be sure to have the current ICD-9 Coding Manual (CM)
• Study and gain concept of the ICD-9 CM guidelines for coding
• Obtain and study the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) for accurate coding and evaluation management coding rules
• Study all rules, regulations and guidelines in the coding manuals to ensure you adhere to proper coding practices
• Take a medical terminology, physiology and pharmacology course through an accredited college
• Use the AAPC study manuals for your specific credential examination
• Take practice coding test, you can purchase study guides with CD ROMs or you can download free test from the AHIMA or other reputable sites by using keyword phrases: medical coding test, free CPC test questions, etc.
• Schedule the CPC or specialty examination at a convenient location
• Allocate time to study each day
• Focus on strengthening areas of weakness
• Be sure to time yourself when taking practice coding test
• Get acquainted with the AAPC and AHIMA site to determine which coding credential is best for you
• Relax if you put in the time and effort you should be on your way to becoming a certified professional coder
The AAPC offers several exams for specialty credentials along with the CPC which is primarily focused on outpatient evaluation management coding. Here is a list of specialty credentials offered by the AAPC, be advised this list my change to add other specialty credentials as the medical field continues to advance: