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Health care practitioners often pursue the Certified Professional Coder (CPC-A) designation to help them ensure their financial and operational data is accurate and compliant with industry standards. Another version of the qualification is the CPC-Apprentice (CPC-A), and earning this can provide you with training and skills to ensure you assign medical record codes that are accurate and consistent. In this blog you will learn the Certified Professional Coder (CPC-A) certification importance which can increase your knowledge.

Certified Professional Coder can help a practice improve performance, increase efficiency and reduce costs by identifying opportunities for improved documentation, compliance and reimbursement. They also use diagnostic codes to submit bills to insurance companies for services a doctor has provided to a patient.

What Is a Certified Professional Coder (CPC-A)?

A Certified Professional Coder (CPC-A) in a healthcare professional tasked with translating a patient’s medical records into the appropriate codes so services and tests can be billed to the insurance provider.

For example, if a doctor prescribes a whirlpool bath to help heal a major burn, that code is 97022. By inputting this in the medical record system, the insurance company knows the treatment prescribed, which also tells it how much it must reimburse the healthcare facility based on the terms of the patient’s healthcare policy. It also tells the healthcare facility the patient’s portion of the bill.

Related: What is Medical Coding? A Simple Justification

What Is a CPC-A certification?

A Certified Professional Coder (CPC-A) is a medical coder who has passed a certification exam administered by AAPC. Earning the title of CPC tells prospective employers that you have met a minimum level of proficiency with the codes commonly used in the medical field. This includes:

It also tells future employers that you have at least two years of experience. If you complete the CPC exam prior to having this experience, a CPC-A designation is granted.

The “A” in CPC-A stands for apprentice and allows you to work as a certified coder while fulfilling the requirements needed to become a full Certified Professional Coder. These requirements involve either obtaining two years’ experience (which is verified via the submission of two letters of recommendation) or by obtaining one year of experience and showing proof that you completed a minimum of 80 contact hours of coding preparation courses.

Certified Professional Coder (CPC-A)

Demand for Certified Medical Coder

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that careers in the Certified Professional Coder and health information fields are expected to grow nine percent by the year 2030. This translates into a total projection of 416,400 jobs and is a growth rate that is “as fast as average” for all other occupations combined.

10 Reasons to Get Certified as a Professional Coder

Why take the additional steps as a Certified Professional Coder? Here are 10 reasons to earn your CPC or CPC-A:

Reason #1: Earning a certification can potentially lead to higher earnings starting out or down the road when combined with field experience.

Reason #2: CPCs may have a better chance of standing out as a candidate in a competitive job market.

Reason #3: CPCs are recognized as holding the “Gold Standard” for medical billing and coding, with the AAPC reporting that it has more than 200,000 members worldwide.

Reason #4: Some employers advertise that CPC certification is required and that applicants will not be considered if they are not certified. Thus, earning your certification opens you to more job possibilities.

Reason #5: Becoming a Certified Professional Coder provides access to multiple networking opportunities via meetings and events at local AAPC chapters as well as the AAPC Annual Conference.

Reason #6: Because continuing education credits are required to maintain your CPC, your skillset is kept up to date. This can potentially lead to a higher salary potential and more opportunities for growth in the healthcare profession.

Reason #7: Membership with the AAPC means that you have access to additional career resources such as ICD-10 training. The more prepared you are, the better you are able to maintain your credentials and stay proficient in your career field.

Reason #8: A resume indicating CPC certification can lead to more job interviews, especially when applying online with a healthcare facility that uses hiring software instructed to look for this designation.

Reason #9: Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam offered through the AAPC, provided you meet the eligibility requirements. This industry-recognized certification demonstrates coding skill and accuracy to potential employers.

Reason #10: CPCs can participate in online workshops, webinars, on-demand events, and downloadable podcasts without the cost and inconvenience of time and travel to stay current in the medical billing and coding profession.

Certified Professional Coder Salary

The BLS reports that the median salary for a medical records and health information technician, under which medical billers and certified professional coder fall, was $45,240 per year in 2023. If you earn industry certification, however, such as the Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) credential from the AAPC then gain years of experience, you could earn more.

Benefits of earning a Certified Professional Coder (CPC-A) Certificate

If you’re thinking about pursuing the Certified Professional Coder CPC-A designation, here are some benefits you can expect to gain from it:

1. Find better opportunities for advancement

CPC can work in many areas of health care, including hospital administration, insurance companies, outpatient clinics, physician offices and more. As a certified medical coder, you can advance into roles like chief medical biller or practice manager, among others. You also can take on leadership roles within your organization or move into management positions at larger facilities with multiple locations.

2. Improve job security

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics expects medical records specialists, a field that includes medical coders, to experience a 7% growth in employment from 2021 through 2031 as technology advances and more people need access to health care. This figure is about the same as the national average for all occupations in this period, meaning it’s a field that might provide you with several career opportunities. The agency also cites more hospitals and insurance companies hiring these professionals to code their medical claims for reimbursement as a factor in this growth.

3. Strengthen your credentials

Certification can help you build experience and expertise, which you can list on your resume to help you find employment and advance in the field. This can help you qualify for more jobs because some employers may require candidates to have this certification. For jobs that don’t require it, this certification can help you be a more appealing candidate to hiring managers. Besides the CPC, the AAPC offers several other coding certifications you can pursue, including:

How to Earn your Certified Professional Coder (CPC-A) certification?

Here’s how you can pursue the CPC-A certification to help you advance in your career:

1. Prepare for the CPC exam

There are no educational requirements for taking the CPC exam, though the AAPC recommends candidates earn at least an associate degree from an accredited institution. Before taking the certification test, consider reviewing study materials to help increase your chances of passing. This exam includes questions in the following categories:

Medical terminology

The CPC-A profession requires a strong knowledge of medical terminology for people to code medical reports accurately using CPT codes. Medical coding exams also test your ability to understand the information on patient charts and other documents, so you can find the necessary information needed for coding purposes. Other topics in this section include anatomy and physiology, human development, mental health disorders and common surgical procedures.

Knowledge and skills

This exam section assesses the candidate’s knowledge of correct coding for diagnoses, procedures and services. The exam also tests your ability to apply coding rules from multiple sources, including ICD-10-CM, which is a list the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems created as a diagnostic tool for disease classification and reporting. It contains codes for various health care topics, such as diseases, complaints, external causes of injury, abnormal findings and social circumstances.

Coding documentation

The documentation domain assesses candidates’ knowledge of recording guidelines. These are rules that relate to the reimbursement process. Candidates demonstrate their understanding of documentation’s impact on reimbursement for services physicians, hospitals and other health care providers provide.

2. Take the CPC exam

The exam is computer-based and comprises 175 multiple-choice questions across four content domains. The exam takes about three and a half hours to complete it. If you don’t pass on your first try, you can retake it after 30 days from your initial administration date at no additional cost.

3. Participate in the CPC Certification Maintenance Program (CPMP)

After completing the CPC exam, candidates then pass a maintenance exam every six years to remain certified. The maintenance exam can keep you current with any changes in the coding guidelines since your last recertification. The CPMP comprises two parts, which are an exam that tests your knowledge of coding principles and an exam based on your specialty areas, such as ambulatory care or inpatient care. Earning a score of at least 75% passes either part of the CPMP. You can take the CPMP exams up to three times per year.

4. Keep your certification up-to-date with continuing education credits

The AAPC offers an online program for continuing education credits to help you keep your certification current. The program features hundreds of courses and thousands of credit hours. The CPC requires physicians and other people in the medical field to earn at least 20 continuing education credits every two years to maintain their certifications.

Fast Billing Solutions is an excellent orginazition with its customized solutions offered to the doctors and the hospitals for their business operations needs nationwide. We have been able to help health care providers to increase their collections and profits by an average of 10-15 percent.We have a dedicated teams of Certified Professional Coder (CPC-A) and medical billers and we took your practice to the next level.

We has been a pioneer organization for medical billing & coding in US. We have been in medical billing & coding industry for over a decade now and provide highly experienced medical biller that help your healthcare practice to gain a competitive edge. Our medical biller & coder experts guarantee accuracy levels up to 98% at highly cost-effective prices and within a quick turnaround time. Contact us for more details.

You May Also Read: What is Medical Coding? A Simple Justification. , 13 Life-Changing Skills for Medical Billing and Coding Specialists , Do you know the Importance of Medical Billing & Coding Certification?

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