How Much Does Medical Coding Certification Cost?

When it comes to obtaining certification in medical coding, there are two main credentialing organizations: AAPC and AHIMA. Both organizations have different purposes as well as different costs. Generally speaking, AHIMA certifications are meant for those seeking careers in hospitals, while AAPC certifications are geared towards those seeking employment anywhere else.

Founded in 1988, AAPC is the newer of the two organizations and was created to provide education and professional certification to those working in physician offices, helping to set a higher standard of coding by adhering to accepted standards. The older of the two organizations, AHIMA was founded in 1928 and was originally developed for the sole purpose improving the quality of medical records. Today, their focus has expanded considerably to include the evolution of electronic medical records as a whole. Both organizations offer educational resources, as well as certification programs.

AAPC Certification Costs

For those looking to work in a doctor’s office, physician practice or home setting, AAPC is the most widely recognized credentialing organization. After obtaining credentials from AAPC, you are granted access to continuing education opportunities, as well as a job database. You’ll also be invited to attend numerous regional conferences and an annual national convention where you can find both educational and networking opportunities.

  • CPC®: AAPC offers a core medical coding certification, called CPC® which allows you to obtain a job in coding in a physician office. The cost for CPC® credentialing is $300.
  • CPC-H®: The Certified Professional Coder-Hospital Outpatient is for those who want to work in outpatient hospitals and ambulatory clinics. The CPC-H® credentialing exam costs $300 ($260 for AAPC students).
  • CPC-P®: Certified Professional Coder-Payer certification is for those individuals that wish to go into coding for private and public payers (health plans). The cost for CPC-P® credentialing is $300.
  • Specialty Coding Credentials: Specialty certifications give coders the opportunity to exhibit greater skills and knowledge in specific areas of medicine. There are currently 22 different specialty exams, all of which cost $245 with the exception of the CIRCC® exam which is $400.

AHIMA Certification Costs

If you’re looking to work in a hospital setting, AHIMA’s wide array of training programs will put you on the right track. In addition to these programs, AHIMA offers annual conventions and workshops, as well as access to training and networking opportunities for the rest of your career. These certifications are intended for those already well acquainted with coding practices and procedures, and include:

  • CCA: Meant for those who can demonstrate the proficiency necessary to work in hospital or physician settings, the CCA credentialing exam costs $199 for AHIMA members and $299 for non-members.
  • CCS: For coders who can show they have a mastery of inpatient and outpatient hospital coding, the CCA certification exam costs $299 for AHIMA members and $399 for non-members.
  • CCS-P: Similar to the CCS, but for those who wish to work as a medical coding and billing professional for a physician, the CCS-P exam costs $299 for AHIMA members and $399 for non-members.

Membership Has Its Benefits

As you can see, no matter which credentialing organization you choose, it will be far cheaper if you become a member first. Membership for both organizations also grant you access to the many seminars, networking opportunities and continuing education services that will likely prove invaluable throughout your career.

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