Is a School or Course Required to Take the Medical Coding Certification Exam?

Okay, so the third question: “Do I need a course or a coding certification?”

Then a side question was, or a related one I should say, “Is a Medical Coding Program through a school a requirement to sit for the certification exam?”

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No, it’s not. Anybody coming off the street could take the AAPC exam. It’s not recommended, you probably won’t pass.

Lori: Definitely not recommended.

Laureen: Yeah. I can see where this comes from. Like AHIMA, they do require for some of their programs, RHIT, RHIA that you do graduate from an accredited program and one that’s approved by AHIMA. I had something similar. I’m an occupational therapist actually. That’s what I thought I was going to be when I grew up. I went to a four-year program, I sat for a board exam to become an OT. The OT Board had to approve my school’s program. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to sit for the board exam. So, there are many medical professions that do require that. But this one with the AAPC does not. AHIMA does not – I don’t think require it for like the CCSP and some of the other credentials. So, that’s why I think it’s such a great field for newbies to get into. You do not need to pay $20,000 for a program. That’s crazy.

Lori: Right, that is crazy.

Laureen: If you really, really want to have a bachelor’s degree, that’s fine, then go ahead. But if you’re only after learning the art and skill of being a coder or a biller or practice manager, then just take what you need to accomplish that goal because a lot of everything else, you’re going to learn on-the-job. It’s just going to come. And stay plugged in. Stay plugged in to networks that talk about coding and billing that are affecting their jobs because that’s how you learn. You go, “Oh, I didn’t think of that one.” Then you see how someone responds, “Oh, well we had that same problem with Medicare and then we realized we had to do this. Oh, okay,” and you learn from each other.

Back in the day when I ran my rehab practice – this is how old I am, guys. Remember the squawking guy? That’s when I was running my therapy practice. There were no internet groups for me to go plug into to help run a therapy practice. We had to figure it out all on our own. Nowadays, we have all of this at our fingertips which is also a whole other problem that causes  distractions. “Tiny object syndrome.”

Lori: I knew you were going to say that.

Laureen: Jennifer, are you out there?  

Lori: She probably is.

Laureen: So no, you do not need a course or a coding certification. We do recommend a course, ours. If you have joined another school, then we ask that you consider our Review Blitz to dovetail with your school program because there’s so much high-level, really great information geared toward what you need for the exam. A lot of people that do that say, “Yeah, I didn’t get that when I heard it in class.” Or they’re attending live face-to-face classes and when the class is over and they want to review, they don’t have anything to review. Well, the Blitz is perfect. So now they want to review the digestive system lecture, they can listen to ours and it just helps reinforce their other program.

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