If your career goal is to work as a hospital coder you probably hear a lot about coding credentials. And you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? Are they really that important? Are they really worth the time and energy to pursue?”
First, let’s note what a credential is: it is an authentication (or a “badge”) of your qualifications in a given area. To the individual coder, this authentication provides several advantages:
- It demonstrates your commitment to the profession of coding
- It demonstrates a desire to improve your coding abilities
- It demonstrates initiative and determination
- In the process of earning it, it increases your medical coding knowledge
- It can open the door to new employment opportunities
- It can position you for advancement over non-credentialed individuals
When it comes to career opportunities, a coding credential should never be seen as a magic pill for success. It is one of many factors that organizations consider. It can, however, make an important difference.
Medical coders can gradually grow their skills by working up from basic to more advanced credentials. Two of the main credentials for hospital coders, offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), are the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential and the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) credential.
- AHIMA’s CCA credential distinguishes coders by exhibiting their commitment to the profession and demonstrating coding competencies across all settings – including hospitals and physician practices. 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. It is an advanced certification and recommended for those with work experience in coding acute hospital inpatient and outpatient services.
Libman Education offers resources to help you prepare for the CCA and CCS credentials:
Certified Coding Associate (CCA) Exam Review
Valuable study and test-taking strategies. For more information, click here.
Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) – Pick the Option that Works for You
Libman Education offers an online CCS Exam Review and a CCS Practice Exam, both with a live instruction option to increase your chances of CCS success! Learn more here.
Libman Education is not associated, affiliated, or otherwise connected with AHIMA.