Certified Professional Coder (CPC)The certified professional coder (CPC) credential is offered through the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
This credential is one of the two most sought after credentials in the medical coding industry. Although the CPC and the CCS are often compared they are truly not that similar.
The CPC credential centers on "professional" coding concepts. The word "professional" here is not used to describe the individual holding the credential, but rather the type of coding the individual has an expertise in.
Professional coding is medical coding that is conducted in a "professional" environment, such as a private physician's office or outpatient setting (ex. emergency room).
In patient settings use facility based concepts. The CCS credential (by AHIMA) focuses more on facility based coding than professional coding.
The CPC credential is the most recognized and most desired among employers in the professional setting. This credential can be obtained by sitting for and passing the AAPC examination and submitting letters of recommendation to the AAPC that verify a minimum two years coding experience.
If an individual wishes to obtain the CPC credential but does not have prior coding experience they may sit for the same examination and upon passing will be awarded the CPC-A credential.
CPC-A stands for certified professional coder - apprentice. Once the holder of this credential has obtained two years of coding experience they may submit their letters of recommendation to the AAPC and the "A" will be removed from their CPC-A credential.
There is also another option for those who wish to obtain the CPC credential, but do not have experience. For a fee of $200 individuals may code 800 actual operative notes. If these notes are coded with a 90% accuracy (within three attempts) the CPC credential will be awarded without the apprentice status.
Individuals with no experience wishing to break into the medical coding field should consider obtaining the CPC prior to any other coding credential. Individuals in this situation find the most success by obtaining the CPC, gaining experience, and then preparing to earn the CCS credential.
Although the CCS credential is a well recognized and sought after credential it is harder to obtain and often requires some previous knowledge in order to pass the exam. Recent statistic state that the CCS exam has only a 50% pass rate for first attempts.
Once certified as a CPC positions can be found in numerous fields, including (but not limited to): Physician's offices, both medical and motor vehicle insurance companies, legal offices, medical billing offices, and educational institutes.
Professional CodingProfessional coding is done in an out patient setting such as a physician's office, an emergency room, or an out patient surgery center.
Certified professional coders are tested in several areas of expertise with an emphasis on the CPT book.
CPC SalaryThe average salary for a CPC is $44,000. This is a 4% increase from last year and is expected to grow.
Being certified as opposed to experience alone can mean a $7,000.00 or more in pay increase as well....(more)
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