How do I become a CPC certified Medical coder?
Becoming a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) involves a series of steps to ensure you have the necessary knowledge and skills in medical coding. The CPC certification is offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), one of the leading organizations in the field. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to become a CPC certified coder:
Step 1: Meet Eligibility Requirements:
You must have a Diploma / Degree or equivalent.
Step 2: Choose Your Pathway:
AAPC offers multiple certification pathways. To become a CPC, you need to demonstrate your proficiency in outpatient coding (physician offices, clinics, etc.).
If you're interested in inpatient coding, consider the Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC) certification.
Step 3: Gain Knowledge and Skills:
Enroll in a reputable medical coding training program that covers the topics required for the CPC exam, including ICD-10-CM, CPT, HCPCS, medical terminology, and anatomy.
Step 4: Practical Experience:
While not mandatory, having hands-on coding experience can greatly enhance your chances of success in the CPC exam and in your future career.
Step 5: Apply for Membership:
Join AAPC as a member. Membership offers resources, study materials, and networking opportunities.
Step 6: Register for the Exam:
Apply for the CPC exam through AAPC. There is an exam fee associated with the registration.
Step 7: Prepare for the Exam:
Utilize AAPC's study resources, including recommended textbooks, online courses, and practice exams.
Create a study plan and allocate sufficient time for preparation.
Step 8: Take the CPC Exam:
The CPC exam is a timed, consisting of multiple-choice questions.
The exam covers topics like ICD-10-CM, CPT, HCPCS Level II, anatomy, medical terminology, and coding guidelines.
Step 9: Pass the Exam:
To pass the CPC exam, you need to achieve a certain score. The passing score is determined by AAPC.
Step 10: Complete Apprentice Status:
- After passing the exam, you'll enter an apprentice status. This means you have CPC-A (Certified Professional Coder - Apprentice) designation.
- To remove the apprentice designation, you'll need to gain at least two years of professional coding experience or an equivalent coding experience.
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