AHIMA Certification: CCS and CCS-P Medical Coding Certification Prep with Exam Review Guide

ahima certification
The AHIMA certification is one of the most sought-after credentials by US medical facilities, hospitals and health care employers. If you are seeking a job in the medical coding and billing industry then you need to pass this certification exam.

AHIMA stands for American Health Information Management Association. Along with the American Academy of Certified Professionals (AAPC), it is among the most prominent organizations of its kind in the United States.

Two of AHIMA's most significant certification programs are Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) and Certified Coding Specialist-Physician (CCS-P). Both are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

Points to remember:
  • The CCS and CCS-P exams are valuable for healthcare professionals who have gained significant mastery of coding skills either in a medical or healthcare facility, or in a physician's office.
  • They are not suited for entry-level candidates who have only a basic understanding of coding procedures in addition to limited-to-no work experience. For such candidates, the AHIMA's Certified Coding Associate (CCA) or AAPC's Certified Professional Coder-Apprentice (CPC-A) credential are better options.

As a general thumb rule, if you have prior experience in the following areas, then you have a better chance of passing AHIMA's CCS or CCS-P exams:
  • Hospital-based inpatient coding
  • Hospital-based ambulatory or outpatient coding, including emergency room care

This also ensures that the specific certification you obtain will be in line with your skills, experience and career goals. The key benefit of this is that it translates into higher salaries and quicker promotions to senior coding positions.

To reiterate and clarify what was said earlier: An AHIMA certification like CCS or CCS-P signifies mastery of coding procedures while a CCA (also from AHIMA) denotes that you have entry level coding skills. You are free to start your medical coding and billing career with either of these certifications.

As far as preparing for the CCS or CCS-P medical coding exam is concerned, I would recommend that you study Laureen Jandroep's Exam Review Guide (highly recommended).

This guide helps you prepare for both the AHIMA certification and the AAPC certification, and has a number of video tutorials, real-life practice exams and a ton of useful insights into how to maximize your scores on exam day.

If this is your first attempt toward either the CCS or CCS-P exam then let me tell you that the percentage of passing candidates can be as low as 49-52%.

Add to this the fact that the application cost for either exam ranges from $299-$399 based on whether or not you have an AHIMA membership. So it makes sense to prepare to the best of your ability so that you not just save time and money, but also ensure you don't have to retake the CCS or CCS-P exam again.

Recommended website:
The easiest, most complete guide to ace your CCS & CCS-P exams