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?

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

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2016-11-20T23:38:52+00:00

About the Author:

CPC, COC, CPPM, CPC-I.,Sr. Instructor for CCO.us. Resides in southern New Jersey with her husband of over 20 years Anthony and four children. They are active parents and spend most of their time these days just being parents which they love.

12 Comments

  1. Jodi MacDonald October 22, 2011 at 4:26 am - Reply

    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

    • Laureen October 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm - 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!

  2. Jill Balo November 10, 2011 at 3:46 am - Reply

    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

    • Laureen November 10, 2011 at 10:38 am - 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

    • Aleksandra January 16, 2012 at 5:00 am - 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

  3. Teressa Lincoln April 28, 2015 at 9:53 am - Reply

    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?

    • Laureen April 28, 2015 at 10:01 am - 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.

  4. Laurie J.O'Keefe July 16, 2015 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    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

  5. larissa leslie July 22, 2015 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    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

    • Laureen July 23, 2015 at 3:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Larissa – I can only vouch for our program. I’m not up on accredited schools – sorry.

  6. Preference November 14, 2015 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    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

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