Types of Certifications



The type of medical coding certification you choose will depend on your medical coding career goals and your medical coding and billing training.

Train for Medical Coding and Billing

Entry-level Certifications

After formal training, earning a medical coding credential is the first step toward a successful medical coding career. There are a number of entry-level certifications to choose from.

  • CCA – The CCA (Certified Coding Associate) credential is offered by AHIMA and is the most basic credential offered through that organization. It is designed to demonstrate a broad understanding of coding principles across a number of settings.
  • CPC-A – Medical coders who earn the AAPC’s CPC-A (Certified Professional Coder – Apprentice) credential have passed the CPC exam and have the Apprentice designation added to their credential for their first year in the workforce. The credential demonstrates an understanding of the appropriate code sets and practices in a physician’s office.

New entrants to the medical coding field are also eligible to sit for the CPC-H (Certified Professional Coder – Outpatient Hospital) and CPC-P (Certified Professional Coder – Payer) exams.

Advanced Certifications

After gaining a certain level of experience, coders may earn additional credentials. Advanced credentials are offered by both AHIMA and AAPC.

  • CCS – The CCS (Certified Coding Specialist) credential is AHIMA’s credential for more experienced coders. At least three years of work experience are recommended, and the credential demonstrates a mastery of inpatient coding.
  • CIRCC – The AAPC’s advanced credential is the CIRCC (Certified Interventional Radiology Cardiovascular Coder). This credential demonstrates advanced abilities in several coding specialties.

Both AHIMA and the AAPC also offer a number of other advanced credentials that vary by specialty, education, or experience.

Determining the best type of certification for you depends on your career goals. Learn more about medical coding careers or medical coding training to determine the best fit for you.