Certified Professional Coder Apprentice (CPC-A)The Certified Professional Coder Apprentice (CPC-A) credential is offered through the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). This credential is identical to the Certified Professional Coder ( CPC ) credential except for the hyphenated "A".
The hyphenated "A" stands for apprentice and is used to indicate that the individual holding the credential has less than two years of on the job coding experience.
Individuals obtain the apprentice credential by sitting for the same examination the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) sits for.
Once an apprentice has gained two years of coding experience they may submit two letters of recommendation to the AAPC in order to have their apprentice status removed.
Two letters or one letter and proof of 80 hours of coding education are acceptable.
Letters must be from an outside source verifying experience. One of the two letters must be typed or printed on company letter head from the individual's employer. Letters should indicate the CPC-A holder has worked a minimum of two years for forty hours a week coding or working directly with medical codes and/or code books.
Education verification can be:
The AAPC also has an "Apprentice Removal Template" on their website to make the removal process easier.
Verification can be mailed or faxed to the AAPC's direct office. Once the items are received and accepted the apprentice will have the "A" removed from their credential and will automatically become a certified professional coder (CPC).
For individuals who do not have coding experience, but do not wish to wait two years to drop their apprentice status there is another option. The
AAPC has recently offered a program, that for a $200 fee, individuals may code 800 operative notes. Those who pass with a 90% accuracy rate (with three attempts) will be awarded their credential without the apprentice status.
Apprentice SalaryThe national average for a certified professional coder apprentice is $34,500 - $37,000 and the average climbs with each year of experince.
Considering that some Associate degree holders don't make much more when starting out it's not surprising that many are being drawn to this field.
The average education and preparation time for this certification exam is only 6-9 months.....(more)
Dropping the "A"?Need to know where to send your letters to get rid of your "A"?
American Academy of Professional Coders
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