10 Future-Proof Medical Billing and Coding Certifications of 2024

best medical billing and coding certifications

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Medical billing and coding professionals play a crucial role in the healthcare industry. They are the behind-the-scenes heroes who ensure that healthcare providers get reimbursed accurately and promptly. To excel in this field, many professionals opt for certifications, which validate their skills and knowledge. The major problem arises when you have to choose the right billing certification that can be actually useful for your future. Many of you will not even have knowledge about all the billing and coding certifications that are available in 2023.  In this blog, we will explore the world of medical billing and coding certifications, the benefits, and how to prepare for them.

Most Lucrative Medical Billing and Coding Certifications

1. Certified Billing & Coding Specialist (CBCS)

Certified Billing & Coding Specialist (CBCS) is a certification offered by the National Health career Association (NHA) in the United States. The NHA is a professional certification organization that provides certifications for allied health professionals. The CBCS certification is intended to validate the skills and knowledge of individuals working in medical billing and coding. Professionals with this certification are expected to be proficient in assigning codes to diagnoses and procedures, as well as handling billing and reimbursement processes.

 The certification exam typically covers topics related to medical coding, medical billing, healthcare regulations, and basic medical office management. It may include questions on code sets such as ICD-10-CM, CPT, and HCPCS Level II. The exam is usually computer-based and consists of multiple-choice questions. The questions assess the candidate’s understanding of coding guidelines, medical terminology, and the ability to apply coding knowledge in practical scenarios.

2. Certified Coding Associate (CCA)

The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam is a professional certification offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The CCA credential is designed for individuals who are beginning their career in medical coding or coding-related roles. This certification is an entry-level certification that validates foundational coding skills and knowledge.

While specific eligibility requirements can vary, the CCA certification is generally considered an entry-level certification, and candidates may not need extensive coding experience to be eligible. However, having a foundational knowledge of coding principles and healthcare terminology is beneficial. The exam typically covers basic coding skills related to assigning codes to diagnoses and procedures. It may include questions on ICD-10-CM (International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, Clinical Modification) and CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) coding.

3. Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)

 Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) exam is a professional certification offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). AHIMA is a professional association for health information management (HIM) professionals.The exam typically covers a range of topics related to medical coding, including International Classification of Diseases (ICD) coding (both diagnosis and procedure), Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding, and Health Care Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) Level II coding. It may also include questions related to coding guidelines and regulations.

The CCS exam is timed. Examinees have four hours to finish the test. Between 115 and 140 questions will be covered in total in the test. The exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice questions and multiple-response items from the Medical Scenario segment (which includes inpatient, outpatient, and emergency department questions). The test is administered using a computerized format. The CCS requires a passing score of 300.

4. Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-based (CCS-P®)

Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-based (CCS-P) exam is a professional certification offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). This certification is specifically designed for individuals who work in physician-based settings, such as physician offices, clinics, or other healthcare facilities where coding for physician services is a primary focus. 

The exam typically covers a range of topics related to physician-based coding, including evaluation and management (E/M) coding, surgical coding, radiology coding, laboratory/pathology coding, and other procedures commonly performed in physician offices or clinics. It may also cover coding guidelines and regulations specific to physician-based settings.

The CCS-P test has a time limit. Examinees have four hours to finish the test. There will be between 97 and 121 questions on the exam in total. The exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice questions and multiple-response multiple-choice items in the Medical Scenario portion (assessment and management, surgery, and medication). The test is administered using a computerized format. Like all AHIMA exams and programs, the CCS-P has a 300 passing score.

5. Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)

Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC) exam is a professional certification offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). The CIC credential is designed for individuals who specialize in coding for inpatient hospital services. The CIC certification is intended for coding professionals who focus on inpatient hospital coding. Inpatient coders are responsible for assigning accurate codes to diagnoses and procedures related to hospitalizations.

The exam typically covers topics related to inpatient coding, including ICD-10-CM diagnosis coding, ICD-10-PCS procedure coding, and other coding guidelines specific to inpatient hospital services. It may also include questions on anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology relevant to inpatient coding. 

The AAPC provides proctored exams both in-person and online. You have the option to take the test through your local chapter, a certified instructor, or at home in a peaceful, private setting. There are seven inpatient cases with proctored fill-in-the-blank questions and forty multiple-choice questions. Open the manuals or code books. It is necessary to arrange and pay for the two of each exams separately. Every certification exam has the same price:

6. Certified Outpatient Coder (COC)

The Certified Outpatient Coder (COC) exam is offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). This certification is specifically designed for individuals working in outpatient facilities, such as ambulatory surgical centers and hospital outpatient departments. The COC credential demonstrates proficiency in outpatient coding and knowledge of various code sets, including CPT (Current Procedural Terminology), HCPCS Level II (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System), and ICD-10-CM (International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, Clinical Modification). 

The AAPC provides proctored exams both in-person and online. You can take the test through your local chapter, a certified instructor, or at home in a peaceful, private setting. Exams are given in person or online in a single sitting, giving candidates four hours to finish them. There are one hundred multiple-choice problems. a thorough understanding of anatomy, pathophysiology, and medical terminology; also, one should be aware of how to properly apply CPT® procedure codes, HCPCS Level II procedure and supply codes, and ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes.

7. Certified Professional Biller (CPB)

The Certified Professional Biller (CPB) credential is offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). This certification is designed for individuals who specialize in medical billing. Certified Professional Billers are knowledgeable in various aspects of the billing process, including claim submission, reimbursement methodologies, compliance, and healthcare regulations.

The AAPC provides proctored exams both in-person and online. You can take the test through your local chapter, a certified instructor, or at home in a peaceful, private setting. 135 multiple-choice questions are included. Exams are given in person or online in a single sitting, giving candidates four hours to finish them. While AAPC membership is not required to take the CPB exam, members often receive discounts on exam fees and have access to additional resources.

8. Certified Professional Coder (CPC)

The Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam is administered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). The CPC credential is widely recognized in the healthcare industry and is designed for individuals who want to demonstrate proficiency in medical coding.The CPC exam covers various topics, including CPT (Current Procedural Terminology), ICD-10-CM (International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, Clinical Modification), and HCPCS Level II (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System). The exam also assesses knowledge of anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and coding guidelines.

 The AAPC provides proctored exams both in-person and online. You can take the test through your local chapter, a certified instructor, or at home in a peaceful, private setting. Exams are given in person or online in a single sitting, giving candidates four hours to finish them. There are one hundred multiple-choice problems. It is necessary to arrange and pay for each exam separately. Every certification exam has the same price:

9. Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC)

The Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC) certification is offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). This certification is designed for individuals working in the field of risk adjustment in healthcare. Risk adjustment coding involves capturing accurate information about the health status of patients to ensure appropriate reimbursement for healthcare services. The CRC credential demonstrates proficiency in risk adjustment coding and understanding of hierarchical condition categories (HCCs).

The CRC exam covers topics related to risk adjustment coding, including documentation requirements, HCCs, coding guidelines, and regulatory considerations. It assesses knowledge of ICD-10-CM coding and risk adjustment models used in healthcare reimbursement.

There are one hundred multiple-choice (proctored) questions on the CRC exam. Questions on correctly applying ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes for risk adjustment coding make up the exam. You must finish the CRC exam in four hours, whether you take it in person or online, and you must correctly answer 70% of the questions in order to pass. You must continue to be an annual member of the AAPC and complete 36 continuing education credits for two years in order to keep your credential

10. Certificates in Certified Professional Coders (CPC)® and Certified Professional Billers (CPB)

The Certified Professional Coder (CPC)® and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) exams are offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Achieving these certifications involves passing the respective exams. 

 Regarding the CPC test

The CPC exam, which consists of 100 multiple-choice questions evaluating 17 different knowledge domains, is a test of medical coding ability. The majority of the questions test the correct use of ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes, HCPCS Level II supply codes, and CPT® procedure codes through coding scenarios.

Regarding the CPB test

There are 135 multiple-choice questions in the CPB exam. Examiners have four hours to complete the test. The majority of the questions examine the correct implementation of HIPAA regulations, billing laws, collections procedures, compliance best practices, and procedure/diagnosis codes.

Whether taking the exam in person or online, you need to finish the CPC exam in four hours and get 70% of the questions right to pass. You must continue to be an annual member of the AAPC and accrue 40 continuing education units (CEUs) every two years in order to keep your dual qualifications.

Read more: 13 Best Medical Coding Certifications in 2024

COMPARISON OF MEDICAL BILLING AND CODING CERTIFICATIONS

Certification

Provider

Cost

Certified Billing & Coding Specialist (CBCS)

National Healthcareer Association (NHA)

$109

Certified Coding Associate (CCA)

AHIMA

  • Non-member price: $299  
  • Member price: $199 

Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)

AHIMA

  • Non-member price: $399   
  • Member price: $299   

Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-based (CCS-P®)

AHIMA

  • Non-member price: $399   
  • Member price: $299

Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)

AAPC

  • $399 for one take ($798 total for both exams)
  • $499 for two takes ($998 total for both exams)

Certified Outpatient Coder (COC)

AAPC

  • $399 for one take ($798 total for both exams)
  • $499 for two takes ($998 total for both exams)

Certified Professional Biller (CPB)

AAPC

  • One attempt for $399
  • $499 for two attempts

Certified Professional Coder (CPC)

 

AAPC

  • $399 for one take ($798 total for both exams)
  • $499 for two takes ($998 total for both exams)

Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC)

AAPC

  • One attempt for $399
  • $499 for two attempts

Certificates in Certified Professional Coders (CPC)® and Certified Professional Billers (CPB)

AAPC

  • One attempt: $399 ($798 total for both exams)
  • Two attempts: $499 ($998 total for both exams)

What is the best way to prepare for a Medical Billing and Coding Exam?

Preparing for a medical billing and coding certification is a structured process that involves the following steps:

  1.  Select the Right Certification: Choose a certification that aligns with your career goals.
  2.  Enroll in an Accredited Program: Consider formal training programs provided by accredited institutions or online platforms.
  3. Self-Study: If you prefer self-paced learning, acquire study materials like textbooks, online courses, or study guides tailored to your chosen certification.
  4. Practice Coding: Regularly practice coding exercises and work on real-world coding scenarios to hone your skills.
  5. Utilize Resources: Use coding books (e.g., ICD-10 or CPT manuals), coding software, and online coding tools to facilitate your learning.
  6. Attend Workshops and Webinars: Participate in workshops and webinars to gain insights from experienced professionals and stay updated on industry changes.
  7. Take Practice Exams: To assess your readiness for the actual exam, practice with mock tests and exams available online.
  8. Revise the Concepts: You must know each detail of your exam course. Make sure you prepare and revise all the concepts thoroughly. 

Read more: RHIA Certification Exam Guide

Worth and Benefits of the Medical Billing and Coding Certifications

There are many perks and benefits of medical billing and coding certifications. The following are the benefits of earning them:

 Medical billing and coding certifications can offer several worth and benefits:

  1. Certification can open doors to a wide range of job opportunities in healthcare facilities, insurance companies, and more.
  2. Certified professionals often earn higher salaries than non-certified individuals in the same field.
  3. With the healthcare industry continuously growing, certified professionals are in demand, providing job stability.
  4. Certification ensures you can accurately code and bill for medical procedures, reducing billing errors and improving revenue for healthcare providers.
  5. Certified professionals are well-versed in healthcare regulations, ensuring that healthcare facilities remain compliant with laws and regulations.
  6. Certification demonstrates your commitment to the profession and your dedication to maintaining high standards.
  7. Medical billing and coding can often be done remotely, providing flexibility in work arrangements.
  8. Certification requires ongoing education, fostering continuous learning and personal development.

Read more: Highest Paying Coding Certifications

Jobs Associated With Medical Billing and Coding Certifications

Obtaining medical billing and coding certifications can open up a wide range of job opportunities in the healthcare industry. Here are some of the job roles you can pursue after becoming certified:

  1. Medical Coder: Medical coders assign specific codes to medical procedures, diagnoses, and treatments using coding systems such as ICD-10 and CPT. They ensure accurate billing and compliance with healthcare regulations. 
  2.  Medical Biller: Medical billers process and submit claims to insurance companies and other payers. They follow up on unpaid claims, resolve billing issues, and ensure healthcare providers receive payment for their services.
  3. Medical Records Technician: These professionals manage and maintain patient health records, ensuring they are accurate, up-to-date, and compliant with privacy regulations like HIPAA.
  4. Health Information Technician: Health information technicians manage electronic health records (EHRs) and play a critical role in maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of patient data.
  5. Medical Claims Analyst: These analysts review insurance claims to verify their accuracy and adherence to billing guidelines. They work to resolve any discrepancies and ensure claims are processed smoothly.
  6. Medical Auditor: Medical auditors assess coding and billing practices to ensure compliance with regulations and standards. They identify errors, discrepancies, or fraud and recommend corrective actions.
  7. Revenue Cycle Manager: These professionals oversee the entire revenue cycle, including coding, billing, and claims processing, to optimize revenue for healthcare facilities.
  8. Compliance Officer: Compliance officers ensure that healthcare facilities follow all relevant regulations and standards. They work to prevent legal and ethical issues related to billing and coding.
  9. Healthcare Consultant: Certified professionals may work as consultants, offering their expertise to healthcare facilities to improve their billing and coding processes and ensure compliance with regulations.
  10. Medical Coding Instructor: If you have substantial experience and expertise in medical coding, you can teach and train future professionals by working as a medical coding instructor at educational institutions or online platforms.
  11. Remote Coder: Many medical billing and coding jobs can be done remotely, providing flexibility for those who prefer to work from home or in a remote setting.
  12. Medical Administrative Assistant: Some professionals with medical billing and coding certifications take on administrative roles in healthcare facilities, where their knowledge of coding and billing processes is valuable for managing patient records and appointments.

Read more: RHIA Certification Salary

In A Nutshell

In the world of healthcare, medical billing and coding certifications are a mark of excellence. They offer a path to a rewarding and stable career in a rapidly growing industry. By choosing the right certification, preparing diligently, and staying committed, you can unlock the doors to a bright future as a certified medical billing and coding professional. At this point of the blog, you have got a clear understanding of all the recent billing and coding certifications. The final step is to get the right certification and streamline your preparation accordingly. Usually, candidates prefer to start their career with a beginner certification like Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) is the best certification in the domain of medical billing and coding. Similarly, Cettified Professional Coder (CPC) is another great certification that is worthy in this field. 

Certified Professional Coder Instructor is the highest-paid medical billing and coding exam with a salary of 75,973. Second highest-paid certification is the Certified Outpatient Coder $62,368 followed by the Certified Inpatient Coder certification. 

The time to prepare for the medical billing and coding certifications depend on both the candidate and the certification. If the candidate has prior knowledge of the exam topics, it will take less time. Secondly, if you are taking a beginner level certification, you will prepare easily. Advanced certifications take more time and dedication to prepare.

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