November 19, 2014
Are you an experienced coder looking for better job prospects? If the answer is yes, a CPC (Certified Professional Coder) certification from the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) will give you the required boost for your career. Additional credentials play an important role in a coder’s career advancement. In order to sail through ICD-10 coding challenges, private practices and hospitals are looking for coders with CPC or alternative certifications.
According to AAPC, certification helps coders earn 17% more than coders without similar credentials
AAPC also estimated in 2013 that coders with CPC credential can easily earn a median annual salary of $48,593 whereas higher credentials can fetch them an average annual salary of $69,138
Although certification is not mandatory for coders, it surely increases the potential for a high-salaried job. Physicians prefer hiring certified coders who can play a vital role in spot checking claims and cases, participating in compliance activities, handling coding-related appeals and acting as a valuable resource on coding issues. Considering the upcoming healthcare regulations, professional coding credentials have become an important pre-requisite for coding jobs in the US.
How to Obtain Coding Certification?
Coders can get certification from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC). AAPC’s CPC credential is held by approximately 97,000 coding professionals. It is considered the gold standard for medical coding in a physician’s office.
If a coder manages to obtain CPC credential, it means he / she has the knowledge and experience to read medical charts and assign accurate diagnosis, procedure and supply codes for various clinical cases and services. It proves that the coder has sound knowledge of coding guidelines, regulations, anatomy, medical terminologies and physiology required for accurate coding of diagnosis and services.
Preparing for CPC Examination
CPC examination has 150 multiple choice questions related to the correct application of HCPCS Level II supply codes, Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), and ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes that are commonly used to bill medical services. It also helps to have a clear understanding of coding guidelines, usage of modifiers and coding regulatory rules. Coders should also study about body systems, E&M (Evaluation and Management Visit Codes), radiology, path & lab, medicine and anesthesia.
In order to help coders prepare for this certification exam, AAPC offers different courses on their website such as CPC Preparation Course, Online Medical Terminology / Online Anatomy Course, Official CPC Certification Study Guide, CPC Review Class and CPC Online Practice Exam.
Job Prospects for CPC Coders
If you happen to find a job in a large organization, CPC certification can help you move to a supervisory or management role. It also makes it easy to move into potential career development options such as billing, audit, compliance, analysis and practice management roles.
Wish to look for prospective job offers? The MBC job board helps coders and billers across the US to find high-paying jobs in healthcare organizations. They can easily access their newsletters, take assistance from job portal, and keep abreast with the industry updates offered by MedicalBillersandCoders.com. The ICD-10 training guide offered by MBC is also a useful resource for coders who want to prepare for certifications and ICD-10 transition in a better manner.
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