You Need a Plan: 30 Days to the CCA!

by Sandra Macica, MS, RHIA, CCS

How much do you really know about this certification? Achieving AHIMA’s Certified Coding Associate (CCA) certification demonstrates coding competency in any setting, including hospitals and physician practices, rather than just one area of specialty. Nearly 8,000 individuals hold this credential. Approximately 70% of test takers are successful the first time around with the CCA. A great study plan can help you be one of those success stories.

So you want to gain that Certified Coding Associate certification but the thought of preparing for it overwhelms you? The study plan provided here identifies what needs to be studied and in what order. Make some decisions now about how you want to study and you will have your own manageable 30-day review plan.

When would you like to take the exam? Start with the exam date and work backwards to when you need to start preparing. Maybe a good time to start your review is at the end of the summer when everyone is in “back to school” mode. Our example starts the last week in August with some prep work such as getting your necessary code books and study materials together. Then after the Labor Day holiday move right into the various sections of the review spending more time on the parts of the exam that are most important such as coding and reimbursement.

Consider what days and times are best for you to study. Is it early in the morning before work? Or in the evening after everyone else has gone to bed? Our 30-day study plan is set up so that you study about ½ -1 hour a day, giving you some weekend days off. Set it up to meet your needs. If you have to skip a day, adjust the study plan accordingly by moving the plan out a day or doubling up and spending 2 hours later in the week when you have the time.

You may want to consider purchasing a CCA Review course. Libman Education’s CCA Exam Review is designed for learners just like you: the course provides structure to your efforts, ensures all the areas of the exam are covered, provides plenty of test-taking practice, and provides access to an instructor to help answer your questions. Haven’t taken a 2 hour, 100 question exam in a while? The CCA Exam Review includes a mock exam similar in size and intensity to the actual exam.

Have questions about which path is right for you? Contact us at [email protected]. We are here to help.

Are you ready to sit for the CCA? Recommended experience for successful completion of the CCA exam is:

  • 6 months coding experience directly applying codes;
    OR
  • Completion of an AHIMA-approved coding program (PCAP Program);
    OR
  • Completion of other coding training program to include anatomy & physiology, medical terminology, basic ICD diagnostic/procedural coding, and basic CPT coding.

About the Author

Sandy Macica, MS, RHIA, CCS
Sandy L. Macica is the former Director of Educational Content for Libman Education. Sandy is an experienced educator and coder with particular experience in developing online training for hospital coders in ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, and CPT® coding as well as coding certification exam preparation. Sandy is an enthusiastic presenter on all things coding and often speaks on complex coding topics for professional organizations and healthcare clients. Sandy is a long-time member of New York HIMA and was honored to receive the NYHIMA Distinguished Member Award in 2018.

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