AAPC or AHIMA — Which Certification Is Better?

Often I am asked whether a medical coding certification with AAPC (AAPC) or AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) is better.

Well folks… it depends.

Or said another way – what’s the difference between the two?

Watch the video…

AAPC or AHIMA — Which Certification Is Better?

YouTube video

PS: Think about where you want to be working after your certification before you start watching the video…

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16 thoughts on “AAPC or AHIMA — Which Certification Is Better?”

  1. Hi Lauren, I would like to get my CPC first. I am very upset with myself, I really haven’t been studing since school has been out, I really need to. I am scared I don’t know why, I made good grades, 4.0 gpa. Im 46 & have changed my whole career path, hoping for the better. Job searching in N. CA has been tedious, to say the least. Over 10 applications a night. They want more exp then I have. I graduated 8/14/11, and now I am very lost.
    Thanks for listening, if you have any sugestions I would appreciate it.
    Jodi

    Reply
    • Hi Jodi – I feel your pain. But don’t beat yourself up. Just get back on that horse. 10 applications a night – now that is dedication! So if I understand correctly you took a coding course and graduated but did not sit for your certification. I would suggest taking a few practice exams and if you do well then apply to take the exam. If not then consider purchasing the review videos and then take more practice tests and once you are passing them consistently then put your application in. Best wishes!

      Reply
  2. Laureen, I am do to graduate (three classes left) associates in medical coding/billing. I have two questions. I found out after I was well into my classes that my Univ. is accredited but the medical coding class is not accredited, so can I take any exams with either AAPC or AHIMA? And I have no work experience so what cedential would you recommend with me not knowing where I am going to work. I was thinking the CCP but what do you suggest? and do I qualify for the RHIA after I graduate? Any advice is very much appreciated.

    Sincerely Jill
    jilejile@yahoo.com

    Reply
    • Hi Jill,

      Thanks for your post. Let me reply to your questions one by one:

      >>Laureen, I am do to graduate (three classes left) associates in medical coding/billing. I have two questions.

      First of all congratulations!

      >> I found out after I was well into my classes that my Univ. is accredited but the medical coding class is not accredited, so can I take any exams with either AAPC or AHIMA? And I have no work experience so what cedential would you recommend with me not knowing where I am going to work. I was thinking the CCP but what do you suggest?

      Where do you see youself working – a hospital coding department or in a physicians office or outpatient clinic? If the former go with AHIMA credentials if the latter go with AAPC credentials.

      >>and do I qualify for the RHIA after I graduate? Any advice is very much appreciated.

      I don’t believe so. I think the program has to be approved by AHIMA. I’d research this at the AHIMA website. http://ahima.org/certification/rhia.aspx This is what I found:

      Graduate from an HIM program approved by a foreign association with which AHIMA has a reciprocity agreement.

      I found this site that lists schools that have an RHIA program you might find interesting. http://www.allhealthcaredegrees.com/him_rhia.htm

      Best wishes!

      –Laureen

      Reply
    • In order to be eligible for a RHIA test, the one have to complete four years BS level program in Health Information Management.

      RHIT test is available for the graduates of two years program (AAS degree level) in Health Information Technology

      Reply
  3. I’m taking a course thru “Allied Business Schools” that offer courses for CPC certification thru AAPC. I have been doing medical coding for several years…phys, hosp (inpatient n outpatient ), etc…
    So I can do most coding for several specialities.
    I currently work in doing coding audits and have now for 3 years… I was given a coding course thru my job and was certified thru them (training hospital), but me personally, did not take either AAPC or AHIMA exams…but I am taking this CPC course now.
    So will I need another credential to do all my coding specialties?

    Reply
    • Hi Teressa – getting your CPC is a great plan in my opinion. Many do very well with that great core credential. Others go on and add specialty credentials like auditing, HCC, or medical specialties like cardiology etc.

      Reply
  4. Please tell me where to go to get information about the CPC test and where I can sign up to take it. I would like to take it in ICD 9 before it goes away for good?

    Thanks
    Laurie O’Keefe

    Reply
  5. Hi Laureen,

    What are the top two accredited online medical billing and coding course you’d recommend? Looking for just a certificate for now

    Thank you

    Reply
  6. Laureen,

    First off, I’d like to say thank you, for making this video, I was supremely confused on which certification I should go after. I graduated from Remington College in July of last year, and I luckily got hired on my internship at an outpatient psychiatric clinic. My former supervisor has her AAPC certification, and she was just hired by a hospital which is a better opportunity for her. When I left school, I was offered the chance to take the CCS(certified coding specialist) exam from AMBA(American Medical Billing Association), not knowing that no employers would even hire me with that particular certification. I took that exam the first time, almost passed with 83%, but my father had passed a few days before I HAD to finish the exam so let’s just say my mind wasn’t exactly focused on that exam. Nonetheless, I attempted to take the exam again, but my mom got sick, so I was distracted, and I didn’t finish. Next year, I plan to take the CPC exam through AAPC, so at least if something bad happens I’ll have another chance to take it.

    Preference R

    Reply
  7. Thank you for the video. It was very helpful. I am a retired nurse and am thinking that coding might be a good part time job. My focus would be to be able to work from home. What would be your advice in this regard? I am currently researching availability of courses in my area of Southwest Florida.
    Thank you for your time!

    Reply
  8. Good Morning Laureen,
    I came across this forum because we were asked to write a paper on what we learned about AAPC. I enjoyed your video because I too am a visual person,Thanks for this. But, are you saying that after one is done with schooling and has no experience; that its going to be hard to get a job? I am in school for my AAS in Health Information Management (HIM). I am finally in my coding classes this semester.
    I understand that I will hold an AAS in HIM, but will a job only follow with a credential from being a part of AAPC?

    Reply
    • It depends. Job searches haven’t changed much over time. Some employers will accept school degrees in lieu of experience, some won’t. Also, some employers will require a AAPC credential, and some won’t. There is no blanket-wide answer for this question since it depends on the employer, your ability to interview and so many other factors.

      What you can do, however, is stack the odds in your favor. If you have that AAPC credential, it shows you can competently answer 150 medical coding-related questions over the course of 5 hours and 40 minutes. Local schools might give you general knowledge about medical coding, but studying for the AAPC certificate gives you specialized knowledge that is similar to real-world coding. This is the reason many employers value the certification. When you’ve stacked your resume with a AAS in HIM plus a AAPC credential, it displays a much more well-rounded picture of your abilities and knowledge.

      Reply

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