Medical Billing And Coding Certifications [CASCC, CCA, CCS, CCC] (2023)

Accredited Medical Billing and Coding Professional Certficates

Medical billing and coding certification helps professionals enter the healthcare field quickly. Certification for medical coding and billing can take 4-15 months. Learners need two years to earn a medical billing and coding degree. With medical coding and billing certification, professionals can work in hospitals, doctors' offices, or other healthcare settings.

Some professionals work as medical records and health information specialists. These workers help ensure that healthcare providers bill patients accurately. They earn a median annual salary of $45,240, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These specialists can increase their salary by earning a medical billing and coding degree.

The following sections answer common questions about medical billing and coding. Read on to learn about important skill sets and certification options. This information includes data as of Jan. 2022. Please use the embedded links for the most current fee schedules.

Questions About Medical Billing and Coding

What Do Medical Billers and Coders Do?

These professionals analyze patient records, organize databases, and apply correct classification codes. They also verify test results and medical histories. Some workers choose a specialization, such as cancer registrar. Medical billers and coders ensure pathology reports contain all required information.

How Much Do Medical Billing and Coding Professionals Earn?

Certified medical billing and coding specialists earn an average annual salary of $44,160, according to Jan. 2022 Payscale data. This surpasses the annual median salary of $41,950 for all occupations, according to the BLS.

Medical billing and coding professionals working for the federal government, professional services companies, and hospitals earn the highest salaries. Geographic location also impacts pay. Professionals in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and New York earn the highest salaries.

What is the Difference Between Medical Coding and Billing?

Medical coders use specialized software to digitize patients' medical records. This requires mastering one or more coding systems. Many coders work at hospitals or other healthcare centers. Medical billers use coders' work to process insurance claims. They also help patients with the appeals process. Many billers work for insurance companies. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Governing Bodies That Grant Certification

The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) award professional certifications to workers with a medical billing and coding certificate. Certification programs also accept learners without an academic background in billing or coding.

  • AAPC

    This organization offers many medical billing and coding certifications. Options include certified professional biller (CPB), certified professional coder (CPC), and a dual-certification program. Many employers do not consider applicants without a CPB or CPC. Some students earn a certification in just eight months. More than 80% of learners pass the certification exam on the first try.

    Students can complete certification classes fully online at their own pace. Career advisors help students find a job that matches their skills.


    AHIMA's classes appeal to new and experienced medical billers and coders. Classes cover topics such as medical coding and health information management. Some classes award a microcredential and cost less than certification classes. Learners can work at their pace during some classes. AHIMA members receive tuition and exam discounts.

    Students can transfer microcredentials from AHIMA to a college degree or certificate program. AHIMA partners with Purdue University Global, Pierpont Community and Technical College, and the University of Saint Mary.


Medical Billing and Coding Classes and Courses

Medical Billing and Coding Scholarships and Financial Aid

Medical Billing and Coding Certifications

Learners can explore several medical billing and coding certifications. Each certification helps workers learn new skills and grow their careers.

  • CCA

    AHIMA's certified coding associate (CCA) costs $299 for nonmembers and appeals to workers with at least six months of experience. Candidates must complete at least one AHIMA program and outside coursework. The two-hour computer test includes 90-115 questions. Test-takers need a minimum 300 score to pass. This top industry certification shows professional competencies and commitment to the field.

  • CCS

    The certified coding specialist (CCS) costs $399 for AHIMA nonmembers and $299 for members. Candidates need two years of work experience, or the CCA certification plus one year of experience. Other requirements include completion of anatomy, medical terminology, and coding courses. The test contains 115-140 questions.

  • CCS-P

    CCAs with at least two years of experience can pursue the certified coding specialist - physician-based (CCS-P). The CCS and CCS-P use the same eligibility requirements and pricing. They differ in that the CCS-P exam focuses on healthcare business operations. Many of the 97-121 exam questions focus on diagnostic coding, research, and procedure coding.

  • CIC

    Certified inpatient coders (CICs) work at hospitals processing new patients' personal and medical data. They work in four coding systems, including ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS. AAPC prefers candidates with membership and an associate degree. The exam includes multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions. Workers renew their certification by earning 36 continuing education units (CEUs) every two years.

  • COC

    AAPC's certified outpatient coder (COC) appeals to workers in many healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and dialysis centers. The exam costs $350 and includes 100 multiple-choice questions. The test covers medical terminology, coding guidelines, and compliance. COCs must earn the same number of CEUs as CICs to renew their certification.

  • CPC

    Coders who completed AAPC training can pursue the certified professional coder (CPC) credential. The exam contains 100 multiple-choice questions. Candidates complete the test at a testing center or with an online proctor. The test covers medical terminology and surgical procedures. Most test-takers pay $399 for the exam. AAPC offers a discount to student members. CPCs' accuracy leads to improved patient outcomes.

  • CRC

    Certified risk adjustment coders (CRCs) help insurance companies insure high-risk patients. CRCs do so by creating a risk score for each patient. Eligibility requirements include AAPC membership. The four-hour, 100-question test covers compliance and documentation improvement. The exam costs $350. Test-takers receive one free retake if they fail on their first try.

Specialty Certifications in Medical Billing and Coding

Specialty certifications in medical billing and coding let workers specialize in a healthcare subfield, such as anesthesia or cardiology. They appeal to experienced professionals.


    The certified ASC coder (CASCC) attracts candidates working in ambulatory surgery care. The 100-question certification exam covers different surgeries and reimbursement rules. Test-takers pay $299 for one attempt or $399 for two. AAPC contracts with outside companies to provide CASCCs with CEU opportunities.


    The certified anesthesia and pain management coder (CANPC) exam assesses test-takers' knowledge of appropriate codes and Medicare billing regulations. AAPC recommends but does not require two years of experience. Test-takers pay the same exam fee as those earning the CASCC. They can schedule the exam at least four weeks in advance and need a minimum score of 70% to pass.

  • CCC

    Certified cardiology coders (CCCs) specialize in coding and medical terminology related to heart medicine. The 100-question, four-hour exam covers cardiology basics and related surgical procedures. Test-takers can buy AAPC study guides to prepare for the exam. Professionals review exam results on their My AAPC account.


    Certified cardiovascular and thoracic surgery coders (CCVTCs) use many of the same skills as CCCs. However, CCVTCs further specialize in thoracic conditions and treatments. AAPC recommends that CCCs pursue the CCVTC after gaining professional experience. Test-takers may use approved reference materials during the exam. Those who do not pass their first try receive a breakdown of improvement areas.


  • CDIP

    Healthcare providers hire certified documentation improvement practitioners (CDIPs) to develop and maintain accurate patient records. Eligibility requirements include holding an associate degree or at least one AHIMA certification. Candidates also need two years of work experience. AHIMA members pay a $259 exam fee. The computerized test contains 130-150 questions on topics such as clinical coding practice and leadership.

  • CEDC

    Healthcare centers with emergency rooms hire certified emergency department coders (CEDCs). These coders specialize in codes for emergency procedures, such as fracture care. The 100-question test takes four hours to complete. Test-takers can use approved references during the test.

  • CEMC

    The certified evaluation and management coder (CEMC) certification appeals to AAPC members with two years of relevant experience. Test-takers may use references during the multiple-choice exam. Test questions cover decision-making coding and time-based coding.

  • CFPC

    Coders working in a family practice healthcare setting can earn the certified family practice coder (CFPC) certification. The test focuses on Medicare billing fundamentals, including consultations and shared visits. Other questions assess medical terminology and time-based coding skills. The exam costs $299 for the first attempt. Test-takers must pay $399 for two attempts.

10 Skill Sets From a Medical Billing and Coding Certification

Students who pursue medical billing and coding certification develop many in-demand skills. They can continue improving these skills on the job.

  1. 1

    Knowledge of Medical Terminology

    Coders and billers must know common medical terms relating to body systems, injury, and disease. This knowledge helps them match terms with the right software codes. It also helps them communicate with patients, peers, and medical professionals. Many programs require a medical terminology class in the first module or semester.

  2. 2

    Computer Literacy

    Medical coders and billers spend much of their day on computers. They must keep up with industry software and the latest best practices. Computer skills help workers troubleshoot problems and recognize incomplete data. Students learn these skills in coding basics classes.

  3. 3

    (Video) CCS exam breakdown and rules - what to expect?


    Medical billers apply their bookkeeping skills daily. Bookkeeping involves processing financial information, such as patients' bills and payments. Workers also use bookkeeping to determine insurance obligations and payouts. Experienced bookkeepers recognize errors affecting their employer or patients. Mastering bookkeeping skills involves paying close attention to facts and figures.

  4. 4


    Mistakes in medical billing or coding may lead to treatment delays or incorrect patient charges. Workers can maintain accuracy by double-checking their work and not rushing through required tasks. Certificate- and degree-seekers learn other accuracy best practices while performing coding and billing exercises.

  5. 5

    Strong Communication Skills

    Medical billers and coders need strong communication skills. These skills allow them to help patients and collaborate with healthcare professionals. Answering questions, resolving issues, and completing tasks all involve communication. Effective communication also reduces mistakes, as workers can ask for help when necessary.

  6. 6


    Advanced communication and interpersonal skills make medical billers and coders effective team members. They use these skills to collaborate with peers, patients, and healthcare providers. Teamwork leads to positive outcomes, including accurate patient records and billing statements. Top medical billing and coding certifications promote teamwork skills through group projects.

  7. 7



    Medical billers and coders should be able to adapt quickly to changes. These changes may include sudden problems, increased workloads, or longer hours. Medical billers and coders with this flexibility do not make careless mistakes when under stress. They can also apply this skill in other professions.

  8. 8

    Reading and Listening

    Medical coders use their medical terminology expertise to input medical reports into databases. Performing this task well requires them to read documents closely. Medical transcriptionists use listening skills to turn healthcare professionals' recordings into text. Medical billing and coding degrees train learners in these skills with classes in coding, healthcare, and insurance.

  9. 9

    Attention to Detail

    Detail-oriented workers make fewer mistakes. This means better patient outcomes and correct billing statements. Medical billing and coding classes offer learners specialized feedback. This helps professionals become more attentive workers. Professionals can further develop this skill by double-checking their work.

  10. 10

    Strong Organization Skills

    Many medical billers and coders work from home. This setting requires strong organization skills. Professionals should create a dedicated workspace and create a digital filing system to keep documents organized.

    (Video) How to find the BEST Medical Billing and Coding School - What to look for selecting online classes


Medical Billing And Coding Certifications [CASCC, CCA, CCS, CCC]? ›

It is intended to balance limited job experience with tested knowledge. The CCA is often the first credential earned by new graduates and others new to the coding profession. AHIMA's CCS credential demonstrates a practitioner's mastery level coding proficiency.

Is a CCA or CCS better? ›

It is intended to balance limited job experience with tested knowledge. The CCA is often the first credential earned by new graduates and others new to the coding profession. AHIMA's CCS credential demonstrates a practitioner's mastery level coding proficiency.

Which certification is best for medical billing and coding? ›

The Certified Professional Coder (CPC) certification offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) is the most popular medical billing and coding certification students pursue.

What is a CCA certification in medical coding? ›

Certified Coding Associate (CCA®)

Since 2002, the CCA designation has been a nationally recognized standard of achievement in the health information management (HIM) field. CCAs: Exhibit a level of commitment, competency, and professional capability that is valued by employers.

What is the difference between CCA and CPC coding? ›

The CCA exam covers subjects such as the clinical classification system, reimbursement methodologies and information technologies. The CPC exam covers subjects such as coding guidelines and regulations, accurate medical code assigning and different types of medical terminology.

Is the CCS exam hard? ›

The CCS exam is considered to be a challenging exam, as it requires a thorough understanding of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and medical coding guidelines.

Is working as a CCA worth it? ›

Lots of hard work and good if you don't mind giving up most of your life to it. It's definitely a difficult job especially in the beginning. You don't get paid much hourly but you work so many hours and get so much overtime it makes up for it a bit. But it's definitely hard especially if you have a family at home.

What are the 4 types of medical coding systems? ›

Right now, there are five major types of medical coding classification systems that are used by medical coding professionals — ICD-11, ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, CPT and HCPCS Level II. If you're interested in becoming a medical billing and coding professional, it's important to learn more about each system.

How much do coders make? ›

The national average salary for a computer programmer or coder is $73,473 per year . However, once you specialize in a certain area of coding , you have the potential to earn a higher wage. Salary expectations differ based on your job location and years of experience.

What type of coding certification pays the most? ›

Credential2021% Pay Change
Certified Professional Coder-Instructor (CPC-I)$74,8222.65%
Certified Outpatient Coder (COC)$62,8462.26%
Certified Professional Coder (CPC)$58,0551.45%
Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)$57,9361.37%
7 more rows
Jan 10, 2023

How long is CCA certification good for? ›

Posted on 02.17.

Each organization has different requirements to maintain your certification so you never have to take that CPC or CCA exam again. The initial recertification cycle for newly credentialed CCAs begins the day after the credential is awarded and runs through the following 2 years as well.

How many times can you take the CCA exam? ›

Will I ever have to re-certify? The CCA is a national exam, and is thus recognized in all 50 states. Once you pass, you do not have to retake the exam itself again, as long as you submit 20 CEUs to AHIMA every 2 years.

What is a CCA job in healthcare? ›

The Care Coordination Assistant (CCA) partners with members of the care team to coordinate patient care, navigate patients through the health care system and provide support for patients receiving specialized care.

What pays more CPC or CCS? ›

While CCS professionals typically work with complex code, they often earn a higher salary than CPC professionals. They are also responsible for tasks like reimbursement assurance and diagnostic coding, which can be more challenging than the procedural coding CPCs typically handle, depending on your background.

Which is higher CPC or CCS? ›

Generally speaking, the CCS certification exam is more difficult than the CPC certification exam. It also has more stringent eligibility requirements.

What is the highest medical coding certificate? ›

The medical certifications that pay the most are the Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC®), Certified Medical Office Manager (CMOM®), Certified Professional Coder (CPC®), Certified Medical Insurance Specialist (CMIS®), and Certified Outpatient Coder (COC®) certifications.

Is a medical coding certificate worth it? ›

Earn a great salary

And according to this AAPC survey, earning additional certifications will only increase your salary potential. Medical billers and coders who achieve two professional certifications earn an average salary of $64,890, and those who earn three certifications have an average salary of $70,608.

Can I take the CCS exam without experience? ›

Yes, people sit for the CCS-P without the recommended experience and may even pass the exam, but it is the combination of work experience and earning a mastery level coding credential such as the CCS-P that makes you so valuable to an employer.

What is passing score for CCS? ›

The passing score for the CCS is 300. Competencies for CCS fall into four domains. Each domain accounts for a specific percentage of the total questions on the certification exam.

Do CCAs make a lot of money? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $151,291 and as low as $22,033, the majority of salaries within the CCA jobs category currently range between $31,824 (25th percentile) to $93,026 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $128,768 annually in California.

Can a CCA call in sick? ›

Yes, however, CCAs do not earn sick leave and therefore may only request annual leave or leave without pay for bereavement purposes.

How many hours a day can a CCA work? ›

21. Is there a limit on the number of hours CCAs may be scheduled on a workday? hours of daily service, including scheduled work hours, overtime, and mealtime, may not be extended over a period longer than 12 consecutive hours. Postmasters, Postal Inspectors, and exempt employees are excluded from these provisions.

Is it hard to learn medical coding? ›

Medical billing and coding can be hard at times, but it is by no means impossible. Like many healthcare careers, becoming a medical biller and coder will take education and training. In other words, it will take hard work. You cannot become a great medical coder or biller overnight.

What is the easiest type of medical coding? ›

What is the easiest medical coding job? Outpatient coding is generally easier than other types, as clinics tend to see more patients with the same conditions and procedures.

What is the difference between a medical coder and a medical biller? ›

While medical coders work with patient data to assign appropriate codes and accurately process claims, medical billers interact directly with patients. Billers are generally responsible for collecting payments from patients and processing insurance claims.

How many hours a day do coders work? ›

How many hours per day do computer programmers work? Typically, computer programmers spend an average of 40 hours per week on their jobs, which narrows to eight hours per day, between Monday and Friday. Programmers usually work between 9 am to 5 pm or work schedules comparable to typical office culture.

Do coders usually work from home? ›

Many full stack developer jobs are remote because everything can be completed online. You can even learn what you need to know for a remote full stack developer job from anywhere with an online coding bootcamp.

Do coders work from home? ›

Another benefit of a career in programming or development is that it offers a good deal of flexibility. Many programmers and developers can work remotely, and often, they can set their hours.

What type of coding is most in demand? ›

Summary. It's clear that Javascript and Typescript really dominate the developer job market. Javascript and Typescript accounts for a total of 31% of the job offers that explicitly required a programming language. This is huge, meaning that nearly 1 out of 3 job offers required Javascript or Typescript knowledge.

Can medical coders make six figures? ›

They can also become consultants and start earning a six figure salary. Medical coding is one profession in the US healthcare industry that offers flexibility as well as a good package.

Can coders make 200k a year? ›

Software Engineering is a very well paid career field. It's definitely possible to make $200k as a Software Engineer. Salaries are very high, especially in the US, because venture capital puts so much money into startups.

Can a CCA become career? ›

CCAs who reach 24 months relative standing on or after April 10 will be converted to PTF career status by the first day of the third full pay period that follows the date the CCA achieves 24 months of relative standing.

How long does it take to go from CCA to career? ›

Important: Please note that the threshold for automatic conversion to career PTF status is 24 months of relative standing. This means that the 24 months must occur in the same USPS installation. CCAs that choose to move to another USPS Installation begin a NEW period of relative standing in that installation.

What happens after you pass CCA exam? ›

Now that the students have passed the CCA exam, they will next prepare for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam, which focuses on outpatient services, Hoffman says. From there, the students' final class will be an externship at a local doctor's office or hospital.

Is medical coding a stressful job? ›

A career as a medical biller and coder can be stressful. Sometimes, the stress can be too much to handle. Having to bear so much pressure can make even the strongest people crack. If you do not deal with your stress properly, it can take a toll on you mentally and physically.

How do I prepare for CCA? ›

The CCA credential is a nationally accepted standard of achievement.
How Can I Prepare for the CCA Exam?
  1. Do yourself a favor and study. Do not walk in unprepared. ...
  2. Take care of yourself. Make sure you're eating well, exercising, and sleeping. ...
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards. Some people study better a certain way.

Is the CCA exam online? ›

Western Region & International CCA examS

Exams are administered online with a remote proctor.

Is being a CCA a hard job? ›

Working at a large Los Angeles postal office as a CCA is difficult. The job itself is not. Management makes you think it's a reward to get a day off every week (if you're lucky). Work schedule is generally 6-7 days a week with overtime each day.

What is the career path for CCA? ›

CCA students can choose from these Career Pathways: Arts and Communication. Career fields and programs of study that are related to humanities, media arts, literary arts, technical arts, performing arts and visual arts. Business, Finance and Information Technology.

What does CCA stand for hospital? ›

The critical care unit is an area of the hospital that caters for patients that require a high level of specialist care.

How much does a CCS coder earn in USA? ›

CCS Coder Salary
Annual SalaryHourly Wage
Top Earners$81,000$39
75th Percentile$64,000$31
25th Percentile$47,000$23

Can I take the CPC exam online? ›

You can also take the CPC exam in the comfort of your own home for convenience. Scheduling the exam is offered same day. There is no fee for rescheduling if it is done at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled time. Taking the exam online is less expensive than the in person option.

Can I pass the CPC exam without going to school? ›

In answer to your question, you could potentially pass the exams this way, but the best way to pass these exams without obtaining a two- or four-year degree is to take the AAPC's or AHIMA's online or classroom setting preparation courses.

What CPC specialty pays the most? ›

What specialty in medical coding pays the most? Certified professional compliance officers earn an average of $77,190 a year, followed by certified professional coder-instructor professionals, who make $73,620. Certified documentation expert-outpatient coders also make an average annual salary exceeding $70,000.

How long is the CPC exam? ›

The CPC exam is comprised of 150 multiple-choice questions. The test takes five hours and 40 minutes to complete, making it fairly rigorous.

What medical coding certification should I get first? ›

Certified Professional Coder (CPC) Exam

The Certified Professional Coder (CPC) certification offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) is the most popular medical billing and coding certification students pursue.

What is the hardest part of being a medical coder? ›

One of the most difficult aspects of medical coding is knowing the thousands of codes from numerous code sets that are updated on a regular basis.

What is the best certificate for medical billing and coding? ›

Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS)

The CBCS is ideal for entry-level medical coding and billing specialists.

Who makes more CPC or CCS? ›

While CCS professionals typically work with complex code, they often earn a higher salary than CPC professionals. They are also responsible for tasks like reimbursement assurance and diagnostic coding, which can be more challenging than the procedural coding CPCs typically handle, depending on your background.

How to pass CCA exam? ›

To pass the CCA exam, you need to achieve a scaled score of 300. If you pass the examination, you are authorized to use CCA following your name. AHIMA adds newly certified individuals to their database automatically. Your registration means employers, agencies, and accrediting agencies can verify your status.

Is having a CBCS certification good? ›

With the CBCS certification, candidates have shown they have obtained the knowledge and skills necessary to perform meaningful tasks in the healthcare arena. This certification will help you stand apart from other candidates when it comes time to look for a job.

Who pays medical coders the most? ›

Highest-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Medical Billing and Coding Specialists
CityAverage Salary
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA$72,490
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL$58,330
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI$46,980
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA$82,660
1 more row

Which test is harder CPC or CCS? ›

Generally speaking, the CCS certification exam is more difficult than the CPC certification exam. It also has more stringent eligibility requirements.

Is the CCA exam open book? ›

CCP and CCA are NOT open book exams, please review the blueprints noted above for more details regarding the exams.

Is it worth getting a certificate in medical billing and coding? ›

Earn a great salary

And according to this AAPC survey, earning additional certifications will only increase your salary potential. Medical billers and coders who achieve two professional certifications earn an average salary of $64,890, and those who earn three certifications have an average salary of $70,608.

Is the CPC or CBCS better? ›

If you want a widely accepted coder certification and don't need the billing component, you should choose a CPC training program to qualify you for that exam. If you want to be a medical biller or do billing and coding within the insurance industry, choose CBCS certification instead.

What happens if you fail CBCS exam? ›

Retaking the CBCS (NHA) Certification Exam

If you didn't pass your exam, try not to feel discouraged—those who don't pass their first or second attempt can re-apply after 30 days.


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