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How Can I Prepare for the Certification Examination?
The real question here is not How, but who can prepare you for the certification examination.
Most classes that are available in tech schools, vocational schools, or in two-year colleges are often "introduction to coding" classes. These classes are meant for those who are pursuing degrees in other fields (like nursing). Ensure the class you enroll in properly prepares you for certification.
Online classes may be legitimate but many are not. Due to the hands on nature of coding many also find learning online is also more difficult. These courses should be carefully investigated prior to enrolment.
Questions to Ask Potential Educators:
Is the instructor a CPC-I, CPC, or CCS?
Does the class offer certification? If so is it through the AAPC or AHIMA
Does the course offer at least 80 contact hours?
Does the curriculum cover all three coding books?
Is there a pre-requisite for gross anatomy and/or medical terminology? If not is it included in the class curriculum?
~Medical coding courses should be taught by a coder who is certified through the AAPC or AHIMA. This is not a requirement but it is encouraged. Those who have been through the certification process themselves tend to have a higher success rate educating and preparing others.
~Classes should also be structured around preparing individuals for certification through the AAPC or AHIMA. There are many types of medical coding certifications available through many organizations (such as Certified Medical Biller and Coder (CMBC) certification through the National Healthcareer Association), unfortunately most are not recognized by employers. Those who are serious about a career in medical coding should obtain their certification through the AAPC or AHIMA.
~The standard class length held by the AAPC is a minimum of 80 contact hours (typically 4 hours a week for 6 months), this is due to the volume of information that needs to be covered and absorbed. Courses shorter than this tend to "cram" and those with no prior knowledge of medical coding find it very difficult to properly prepare.
~Curriculum should include all three coding books: CPT, HCPCS, and ICD-9-CM. If preparing for the CPC exam the class should focus mainly on the CPT book. If preparing for the CCS the course should focus on all three books including an emphasis on volume III of the ICD-9.
Timed examinations are important and very helpful for exam preparation, however, they should not be the only criteria a course is judged on.
~Although gross anatomy and medical terminology are not requirements for exam acceptance they are an integral part of medical coding. Not only are there exam questions that specifically test these two disciplines, but a general knowledge of the two is strongly encouraged prior to taking a coding course. Classes that do not cover this material or require it as a prerequisite should be closely investigated for quality.
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Medical Billing And Coding Online Courses, Medical Coding Training, Billing And Coding Schools