Certifying Bodies



The two largest industry associations in the medical coding space are the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Both of these organizations offer a number of certifications.

AHIMA Certifications

There are eight health information management credentials offered by AHIMA. These certifications range from entry-level certification to more advanced certifications with experience and education requirements. Generally, AHIMA certifications are primarily focused on the inpatient specialty, but the organization also offers outpatient certifications.

AHIMA-offered certifications include:
RHIA – Registered Health Information Administrator
RHIT – Registered Health Information Technician
CCA – Certified Coding Associate
CCS – Certified Coding Specialist
CCS-P – Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-based
CHDA – Certified Health Data Analyst
CHPS – Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security
CDIP – Certified Documentation Improvement Practitioner

AAPC Certifications

AAPC offers four medical coding certifications as well as a number of specialty certifications, which enable medical coders to demonstrate a specific area of expertise. The AAPC certifications are primarily focused in the outpatient space.

AAPC-offered certifications include:
CPC – Certified Professional Coder
CPC-H – Certified Professional Coder – Outpatient Hospital
CPC-P – Certified Professional Coder – Payer
CIRCC – Certified Interventional Radiology Cardiovascular Coder
Specialty – There are 20 specialty designations

There are other organizations that offer coding certification credentials, however, the AHIMA and AAPC credentials are the most recognized in the industry. It is highly unlikely that an employer will require or request certifications other than those offered through these organizations.

The certification that you choose to earn depends on your medical coding career goals and the certification that your medical coding training has prepared you for.