Medical coding is a profession with a lot of value and promise. As the population’s average age begins to climb, so too does America’s need for medical coding professionals. This is supported by the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated a 11% increase in the number of these jobs by 2028. This statistic for growth is much higher than the average of all occupations.
However, as a profession employed in medical and healthcare facilities, employers typically vet candidates and take a look at their education credentials. For a job in medical coding in particular, candidates often need to pass the CPC (Certified Professional Coder) exam in order to qualify for some positions.
What Is The CPC Exam?
The Certified Professional Coder Exam, or the CPC Exam for short, is the healthcare industry standard for hopeful medical coders looking to use their knowledge and skills in a physician office setting.
The test’s goal is to establish compliance in documentation, understanding and strict adherence to medical coding protocol, and the knowledge of the code sets themselves. To become a CPC, you’ll need to demonstrate mastery of all this.
How To Prepare
The CPC Exam is meant to be a complete and comprehensive examination of your skills and understanding in the role of a medical coder. This means that, more than anything, you need to be prepared for such extensive testing. Whether you choose one or try them all, these 3 preparation methods should help prime you for your CPC exam:
Join A Diploma Or Degree Program
It’s not surprising that there are many options for almost any online career education program. Of course, finding medical billing and coding programs online is relatively easy, but only the best possible courses and programs should be considered if you plan on going this route.
It can be time-intensive, but that’s the beauty of an option like this: it makes it possible for people to take their time to truly learn the ins and outs of the industry, preparing anyone who is looking to start anew or change career paths at any stage of life.
If you plan to take a refresher course or two, that’s obviously a great idea, but if you’re in need of more direction before taking such an intense exam, it may be best that you take on a degree or diploma in medical coding before anything else.
Use AAPC’s Study Guides
AAPC, or American Academy of Professional Coders, is the official entity whose CPC Exam has been recognized as the standard certification for medical coders as well as many other similar healthcare professions.
Because those in AAPC are the ones behind the test, it’s best to use this organization as a vast resource in and of itself. AAPC offers exam reviews, and even classes to support these reviews, greatly helping people understand the exam on a more granular level.
Additionally, you can try out practice tests on their site to help you get a feel for how it will go on the day of your own certification exam. However, there’s one more resource they offer that is super helpful and often overlooked: study guides. The AAPC does the work for you by compiling lists of information together so that you can be even more prepared for this exam.
Talk To A Medical Coder
There’s yet another way to prepare for the CPC exam– and this one might offer many helpful insights that the other two options leave out: talking to a medical coder who’s already passed the certification test. Of course, the CPC Exam is not a test that uses the same questions and answers over and over.
However, hearing what mistakes other coders have made when taking their own tests is incredibly valuable. Even more valuable is the insight of someone who has worked in the industry to find out if there might be a gap in your knowledge that needs to be filled.
When you talk to practicing medical coders, they can answer any questions of yours that might have come up during your preparation, as well as help you get a better understanding of concepts you might know about, but don’t fully grasp. Having a peer, especially one who has been in the industry for far longer than you, goes a long way when preparing for a career where highly specific knowledge is key.
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