AHIMA's Exams - No Educational Requirements!

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irisirisstith@aol.com in York, Pennsylvania

28 months ago

Larry in Kansas City, Missouri said: I have a bachelors degree in business from 1990 which I've never got any use out of. I am currently considering going to school for online certificate in health information from University of Toledo. After completion I would be eligible to sit the Rhia exam. My 10 key and typing are not fast and wondered how important this was and what kind of data entry skills are necessary. I also planned on getting the CCS certification either later or concurently if I would have time and money to do both and work. Hearing how hard it seems to be to break into this field and has made me stop and rethink all these plans. I am upper middle age and do not have any time to waste. Any ideas or thoughts would be appreciated.

Hello Larry my name is Iris and I am in college studying Medical/Billing coding and the coding is so tough for me I would like to know if is possible for you to tutor me in the coding I only got 4 weeks left and I really need help with understanding the codes. you can email me at irisirisstith@aol.com and confirm me if you can help me. please thanks

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Mary in Palos Heights, Illinois

26 months ago

I am a current student of AHIMA. The classes are fairly easy as long as you put effort into it. My problem is they do not accept student loans. I am wondering if there are any completely online self-paced accredited billing/coding schools that do offer financing.I don't have the ability to attend classes. I finished the A&P class in 6 weeks.

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Mary in Palos Heights, Illinois

26 months ago

Denise in Lithonia, Georgia said:

Wait maybe this is my answer. Ed2go. I am a SAHM now & money is just not avail.

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Sharmila in Reston, Virginia

26 months ago

Hi
I want to join medical billing and coding course online and really confused between schools. I read online reviews about careerstep,allied medical school, kaplan, ahima and i donno where to join. Pls help.

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Mary in Palos Heights, Illinois

26 months ago

Sharmila in Reston, Virginia said: Hi
I want to join medical billing and coding course online and really confused between schools. I read online reviews about careerstep,allied medical school, kaplan, ahima and i donno where to join. Pls help.

Ditto...I heard that if u don't go to an accredited school u will not find a job. If u go to cheap school & excel maybe you can pass AHIMA test and the CAHIM but it sounds like a crap shoot. May just go Kaplan. I have been dancing around this decision for a few years...The stupid schools always give u the run around about there programs instead of concrete answers. I was an office manager for 5 yrs finding solutions to problems for my lamebrain bosses... u`d think this would be easy.

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cpc in Reedsport, Oregon

26 months ago

try to go through online college services

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Shadira in Jersey City, New Jersey

26 months ago

Go directly to the AAPC to take classes. Their program is by far superior to anything you will find at the rest as they are just looking to make money. The AAPC stands behind their students and has a great name recognition in the industry. AHIMA is another route you could go, but a lot more expensive. And about as recognized as the AAPC is.

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cpc in Reedsport, Oregon

26 months ago

If you can pay cash ahima and aapc are good to go through if you need fafsa and backing from an accredited school go to:

onlinecollegeservices.com/ameritech/index.html

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lallen in Chicago, Illinois

25 months ago

Mary in Palos Heights, Illinois said: Ditto...I heard that if u don't go to an accredited school u will not find a job. If u go to cheap school & excel maybe you can pass AHIMA test and the CAHIM but it sounds like a crap shoot. May just go Kaplan. I have been dancing around this decision for a few years...The stupid schools always give u the run around about there programs instead of concrete answers. I was an office manager for 5 yrs finding solutions to problems for my lamebrain bosses... u`d think this would be easy.

AHIMA has a link on there site that will give you list of accediate schools to choose from. They also list schools that offer online accediate programs. If you can not afford to pay thousands out of pocket, I would suggest self study. Try getting your foot in the door at a hospital working in the HIM dept. And if your lucky the hospital will pay for you to go back to school for a high

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wendy in Wasilla, Alaska

23 months ago

would like to know if anyone is taking AHIMA coding classes I am taking Patho and Pharm and will probably have to retake it

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Jan Yladvik in Chicago, Illinois

22 months ago

Almost all medical billing and coding jobs are done in India now. If there are any remaining here in the USA, they will soon be outsourced also. Medical billing and coding is a complete waste of time.

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Shadira in Jersey City, New Jersey

22 months ago

Jan, you don't know what you're talking about. The entire USA? Wow. The trend in the industry is actually bringing the jobs back to the US. Practices were seeing a huge decline in the reimbursement due to the language barrier in India. Please do some research, or even better, get out and talk to employers. Go to a local AAPC chapter meeting...talk to people.

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Marisette in Chicago, Illinois

15 months ago

I looked at the Ahima site for qualifications to take the CCS certification exam in 2014. It appears the requirement is formal education or training at a college or university, The completion of the Basic CCA exam and one year of coding experience. I'm interested in the Ahima online program offered, however, after completion of the ON-Line program, one qualifies for the Basic CCA exam. Then one has to have a years experience directly applying codes to take the CCS. I'm looking for an educational program that allows me to take the CCS without coding experience. I'm an RN currenty employed full time, and I'm finding it difficult to find a program that allows me to continue working full time while I pursue CCS. I willing to pay for the education or certificate, but not more than $15,000 for a program that allows me take the CCS exam without the year of direct coding experience. Can anyone offer some feedback, advice on schools. I looked at the Ahima site, saw some schools, but I did not see anyone that offers certification and qualifies you to take the ccs without coding experience. The Northwestern Business college program is just to expensive and would not allow me to maintain my current full time job. I'm want to change careers from nursing to coding.

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Shadira in Jersey City, New Jersey

15 months ago

The education is suggested by AHIMA but not required. Check into the AAPC. Their exams are a bit easier and they have a good online program. Most employers look at AHIMA and AAPC being on the same level.

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Marisette in Chicago, Illinois

15 months ago

Shadira in Jersey City, New Jersey said: The education is suggested by AHIMA but not required. Check into the AAPC. Their exams are a bit easier and they have a good online program. Most employers look at AHIMA and AAPC being on the same level.

Thanks for your response. I visited the Ahima website recently and it appears that there are new requirements to take the ccs exam, and that obtaining a CCA through alone is not enough to sit for the CCS exam. It sounds like one needs the CCA plus experience directly applying codes or formal education that qualifies one to take the CCS. Perhaps, I'm misunderstanding??? I don't mind returning to school to obtain a CCS, but there is only one very expensive program in my state that would qualify me to take the CCS exam.

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Jenni in Houston, Texas

14 months ago

I Want to take the CCS as well and see that the requirements has changed. I took a Medical Administration Billing and Coding Course. I also took the NCCT certification, which many job do not accept. I am very upset for taking this course that cost $15k and the certification is worthless. I have been working in the medical field the last 2 1/2 years and want to set for the CCS exam. I'm not sure of what I can do. Can anyone assist me?

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Jenni in Houston, Texas

14 months ago

Marisette in Chicago, Illinois said: Thanks for your response. I visited the Ahima website recently and it appears that there are new requirements to take the ccs exam, and that obtaining a CCA through alone is not enough to sit for the CCS exam. It sounds like one needs the CCA plus experience directly applying codes or formal education that qualifies one to take the CCS. Perhaps, I'm misunderstanding??? I don't mind returning to school to obtain a CCS, but there is only one very expensive program in my state that would qualify me to take the CCS exam.

I viewed the same requirements also. I'm not understanding the need for all the requirements. I'm going to have to do more research

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Kelly in Elmhurst, Illinois

14 months ago

Please don't spend $15,000 to get certified for medical coding!!

When I first looked into Medical Coding as a career, I saw that my local community college had a 2 year associates degree that would qualify me to be certified. I didn't want to wait that long or spend so much money. I'm so happy I went with the online training offered by Career Step.I worked at my own pace and was able to finish in 6 months and the cost was less than $3K! I didn't even have to take out a loan.

The program is AHIMA-approved training to become a medical coder and biller and qualifies you to sit for the CCS exam upon completion.

referral.careerstep.com/ref36530

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nikishere33 in Oswego, Illinois

14 months ago

Sheri in Dallas, Texas said: yes, RN's can apply for medical coding auditing jobs (40-60k). Even if you let your lic lapse, you have the background so go for it. All the A&P, patho, and pharmo will be easy to breeze through as it should be just a review for you and all you will need to do is learn how to look up codes which you can teach yourself. I did and passed the CCA and am now about to sit for the CCS-P. Go for it!

Sherry do you have an email address, i can email you at, i wanted to ask you for your advice and a few questions. Im a nurse and this job is interested in me but I dont have the CCS they want...

Thanks,
Nicole

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nikishere33 in Oswego, Illinois

14 months ago

Angela in Fayetteville, Georgia said: Ive been an LPN for 8 years and have been looking into medical coding since my first job as an LPN. With the economy as it is I couldnt afford to pay some of the high cost for online courses and I didnt have time to sit in a classroom. I looked into the AHIMA class but found it to be too expensive so I decided to self study. I bought all the recommended books for the Ahima class used at Amazon. While searching the internet I happened on a beginning coding class thru Ed2go. I found it thru a continuing education program at the community college I recieved my LPN. The course is a six week course that teaches basic coding and how to navigate the ICD-9-CM and CPT coding book and at the end of the class you get a certificate. At one college it is $119.00 but I found it at another for $89.00. I figure this can give me a good start and then I can follow the syllabus for AHIMAs class and study what I need to take the CSS. Hope the is helpful info for anyone lookin for a class. Ed2go also offers anatomy and physiology and medical terminology.

Hi,
Im an LPN also. Did you take your CCS?
I was thinking about just getting the books and studying and seeing if i could pass the test

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nikishere33 in Oswego, Illinois

14 months ago

art9healing@yahoo.com in Maplewood, New Jersey said: According my knowledge, LPNs are not candidates for the Acute hospital ’s settings any longer ( Might be, they are ,still, would be considered for employment at the hospitals in some areas ; but no longer the case in New Jersey; Therefore, there are very limited opportunities left for the LPT, the most times , it would be Long Term nursing facilities , or Long Term Hospitals.
Also, the LPNs don't have potential for promotion either, since in order to be a clinical manager, or MDS coordinator , , the nurse have to hold RN credentials. Therefore, nothing else left for LP nursing just push a medication cards upfront of them. Again, this situation is, currently, prevalent in Urban areas, might be it would be different in the rural areas at present time.

However, there are some positions, still out there for LPNS, for instance: Coding Auditors, Clinical Documentation specialist, EHR Systems Implementation also would open an employment for licensed practicing nurse.

This is NOT true, I am in Chicago and I know plenty of LPNs working for insurance companies and other companies doing the jobs you mentioned they "cannot" do, maybe that is true of Jersey but not here and not in many other states

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nikishere33 in Oswego, Illinois

14 months ago

Marisette in Chicago, Illinois said: I looked at the Ahima site for qualifications to take the CCS certification exam in 2014. It appears the requirement is formal education or training at a college or university, The completion of the Basic CCA exam and one year of coding experience. I'm interested in the Ahima online program offered, however, after completion of the ON-Line program, one qualifies for the Basic CCA exam. Then one has to have a years experience directly applying codes to take the CCS. I'm looking for an educational program that allows me to take the CCS without coding experience. I'm an RN currenty employed full time , and I'm finding it difficult to find a program that allows me to continue working full time while I pursue CCS. I willing to pay for the education or certificate, but not more than $15,000 for a program that allows me take the CCS exam without the year of direct coding experience. Can anyone offer some feedback, advice on schools. I looked at the Ahima site, saw some schools, but I did not see anyone that offers certification and qualifies you to take the ccs without coding experience. The Northwestern Business college program is just to expensive and would not allow me to maintain my current full time job. I'm want to change careers from nursing to coding.

I called them, told them i was a nurse, they said i could take the test whenever i was ready

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Marisette in Chicago, Illinois

14 months ago

nikishere33 in Oswego, Illinois said: I called them, told them i was a nurse, they said i could take the test whenever i was ready

wow!!! Thanks, I wished I had called. I know Ahima offers an on line class, but then the Ahima website says that after taking the on line basic coding class, you can only take the basic coding certification, not the certified coding specialist. But perhaps, they just meant the Ahima on line Basic coding class does not cover enough material to help one pass the certified coding specialist exam.

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Nessa in New York, New York

13 months ago

Marisette, Did you google CCS classes online.

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Nessa in New York, New York

13 months ago

nikishere33 in Oswego, Illinois said: This is NOT true, I am in Chicago and I know plenty of LPNs working for insurance companies and other companies doing the jobs you mentioned they "cannot" do, maybe that is true of Jersey but not here and not in many other states

Yes there are coding jobs, but you as an LPN, have you gone to school for coding to be an auditor? No one will hire you as an LPN if you don't have the education in coding, or auditing; plus some solid expereince under your belt. So dont let anyone tell you otherwise. The market out there for coders comes with tons of experience.

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Nessa in New York, New York

13 months ago

nikishere33 in Oswego, Illinois said: Hi,
Im an LPN also. Did you take your CCS?
I was thinking about just getting the books and studying and seeing if i could pass the test

Nikishere, takng the classes from Ed2go cannot help you to pass the CCS, not even the CCA. You should purchase the CCA study guide to get a good idea of the types of questions they ask you for the CCA. Only then you decide if you are ready for the exam. CCS you must have at least 18 months coding inpatient charts, or sometime they ask for 2 years exp before sitting for the CCS.

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Nessa in New York, New York

13 months ago

Sharmila in Reston, Virginia said: Hi
I want to join medical billing and coding course online and really confused between schools. I read online reviews about careerstep,allied medical school, kaplan, ahima and i donno where to join. Pls help.

AAPC offer a Billing program. Thats the way to go. Forget the others. You will just get ripped off.

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nikishere33 in Oswego, Illinois

13 months ago

The jobs for insurance companies for LPNs and RNs are not called coder positions. My mom is an LPN Auditor, NO certificates in coding and never worked as a coder, her nursing experience is way more important to the company, coding was much easier for her to learn as she went along. This is not uncommon here in Chicago and I know many more people this is true for and who work in the insurance industry, make a lot of money and the company has trained.
I want to work on the insurance side of things, not in a Doctors office for crappy money, I didn't get a nursing degree for that. a combination of certain certificates and a nursing degree in Chicago, even an LPN can, even WITHOUT years of experience can get u good jobs here. may be different other places but not here thankfully.
I have a company looking at me right now, because of the background I have had with different jobs. I worked as a medical underwriter, people talked about how hard that was, and how they wanted people to have a AA or BA to do it, i didn't have the degree, but I'm a hard worker. one of the easiest jobs EVER. I think after being a nurse and living through nursing school, not much else is "hard" anymore.

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nikishere33 in Oswego, Illinois

13 months ago

I was told by AHiMA you don't need to have any previous experience to sit for your CCS, they told me to take the online class they offered and STUDY and sit for the test and NO experience working was needed to take the test.

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Nessa in New York, New York

13 months ago

nikishere33 in Oswego, Illinois said: I was told by AHiMA you don't need to have any previous experience to sit for your CCS, they told me to take the online class they offered and STUDY and sit for the test and NO experience working was needed to take the test.

If you think you can past the test then power to you, but in general you have to have experience to past the test. Not as easy as you think.

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karensingleton995@yahoo.com in Monroe, North Carolina

13 months ago

I agree. I have never set for the CCS, however I have been told it is very challenging. What about purchasing a study guide?

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nikishere33 in Oswego, Illinois

13 months ago

Didn't say i could. I am telling you i was told by AHiMA

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lindam in Marysville, Washington

13 months ago

This forum is very helpful - thank-you! Wondering if it is better to try to obtain the CCS or the CCS-P designation for the most versatility career-wise & which programs are recommended within the AHIMA... am a licensed insurance agent with previous experience working for major carriers on the receiving/processing end of all types of medical billing & often had to assign ICD & CPT codes when not included from the provider although backup medical records were included, plus worked as an bodily injury adjuster for years so have quite of bit of experience reviewing medical charts/records... want to move into the opposite side & out of working for the actual carriers... also am 51yo & want to get the proper certification as efficiently as possible due to limited resources! Any advice/suggestions greatly appreciated!

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lindam in Marysville, Washington

13 months ago

Seriously overwhelmed this afternoon researching which would be the best course of education for coding certification... if I choose AHIMA over AACP, I am unclear as to where to find a package course on their site that is appropriate - want to get into the field asap & then continue my training online for CCS, but I am only finding an individual anatomy & physiology course & a basic coding course - somehow I am missing where to see the balance of the courses required for the CCS (for someone without countable experience yet), or where to find the costs or how loosely how long it takes to complete the required courses assuming focused study. Really would appreciate any advice or direction... thanks!

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Mnt1925 in Brownwood, Texas

13 months ago

Lindam I'm in the exact same boat as you. From everything I've read, it sounds like AHIMA is better than AACP. But I can't figure out which program or courses to take on ahima. I wish someone would tell me what I need to prepare for the exam and which exam to even take. It's so confusing

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Marisette in Cedar Lake, Indiana

13 months ago

Nessa in New York, New York said: Yes there are coding jobs, but you as an LPN, have you gone to school for coding to be an auditor ? No one will hire you as an LPN if you don't have the education in coding, or auditing; plus some solid expereince under your belt. So dont let anyone tell you otherwise. The market out there for coders comes with tons of experience.

I agree about the market for coder requiring tons of experience. I did find a program for ccs-p training in my state. I read about the passing percentages for certified coding specialist through Ahima and I don't think it's possible to pass the test without formal training or coding experience, even with my experience as an RN.
I researched the average salaries for coders who are CCS or certified coding specialist, but it varies, depending on where I looked. Ahima gives an average of 45,000 to 55,000. Does this sound correct? Awhile back, I read somewhere, that salaries can range $70,000 but it must be with the tons of experience you referred to. Thanks for the information.

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Chelsea N in Kenner, Louisiana

13 months ago

I WENT TO A VOCATIONAL COLLEGE FOR MEDICAL OFFICE ASSISTANT AND CODING AND INSURANCE SPECIALIST. I DID CODING IN SCHOOL AND LOVED IT, ESPECIALLY ICD-10. I STILL HAVE ALL MY MATERIAL I STUDIED LIKE, TERMINOLOGY, ANATOMY,ETC. I AM SUPPOSE TO TAKE MY CEU COURSES IN JULY TO KEEP MY CERTIFICATION BUT I FEEL ITS A WASTE SINCE ITS NOT REALLY ACCREDITED. LOOKING FOR JOBS I WOULD SEE ALOT OF AHIMA CERT. REQUIRED. I CURRENTLY WORK AS AT A DME COMPANY MAINLY POSTING PAYMENTS, DENIALS, APPEALS,ETC SO I FEEL I HAVE EXPERIENCE AS WORKING IN THE MEDICAL FIELD. I PLAN ON GOING TO A UNIVERSITY FOR HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION. I DID NOT WANT TO TAKE AHIMA OR AAPC BECAUSEI WAS TOLD BY MY INSTRUCTOR WHO IS A AAPC MEMBER THAT IT WAS REALLY DIFFICULT. MY COWORKER IS GOING WITH AHIMA FOR CCA AND SHE INFORMED ME ABOUT IT. I LOOKED ON THEIR WEBSITE AND SEEN THAT THERE IS A 4MONTH WINDOW TO STUDY. I AM TRYING TO START ASAP. NEXT WEEK I AM GOING TO REGISTER AND ONCE I RECEIVE MY ATT I WILL GET MY BOOKS TO START STUDYING. MY QUESTION IS, HOW LONG IS IT FROM WHEN YOU REGISTER TO RECEIVING YOUR ATT TO SCHEDULE THE EXAM AND HOW OFTEN ARE EXAMS TAKEN. IS IT EVERY MONTH OR EVERY QUARTER. IM REALLY TRYING TO GET THIS AND NEED A LITTLE MORE INFO

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coder123 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

13 months ago

I took the CCS test this past Friday March 14th and I am happy to say I passed the exam! I also have my RHIT. I took the test now before the April 1st cut off to beat the ICD-10 implementation. The new test will be based on the ICD-10 coding and CPT (which is not changing).I have had several years coding experience inpatient and outpatient. The test covers other areas besides coding also. These questions are reflected in the multiple choice.(Privacy,Compliance and Data) There is also coding questions in the multiple choice. I had a lot of CPT questions on mine. Having experience helped me personally with passing the test and knowing the inpatient and outpatient coding guidelines. You also have to be fast because there is a 4 hour time limit no breaks. If you take a break it counts towards your test time. It took me 2:01 exactly to complete the multiple choice/multiple select. I know others who have taken the test and it took them about two hours also to complete that portion. I didn't think it would take me that long but it did. I brought a medical dictionary with me and I only used it once. It probably wasn't worth getting because it was expensive. Everyone I know including myself had an inpatient complicated pregnancy/delivery case so you need to know your moms and babies. Also if you don't know an answer pick the best one and flag and move on. You will be able to go back to them if you have time. If you don't have time the answer you originally picked will be used. I did not have time to go back and review mine. When coding the cases if you have trouble code what you can and flag and move on to the next case. If a case has 10 diagnosis and 5 procedure codes don't waste your time looking for one or two if you can't find them move on to the next because the more you get coded the better chance you have at passing. Good luck everyone!

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mcgrudder in Belvidere, Illinois

10 months ago

I see a lot of new certified grads not qualify for jobs because they don't have previous experience. One of the beginning comments in this thread has stated that the CCS test was meant for people who have 3-5 years coding experience. Shouldn't the fact that one passed the CCS test and received certification stand in lieu of said coding experience?

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Marisette in Oak Forest, Illinois

10 months ago

mcgrudder in Belvidere, Illinois said: I see a lot of new certified grads not qualify for jobs because they don't have previous experience. One of the beginning comments in this thread has stated that the CCS test was meant for people who have 3-5 years coding experience. Shouldn't the fact that one passed the CCS test and received certification stand in lieu of said coding experience?

I would think the passing the ccs and receiving certification should stand in lieu of experience. However, it all depends on the market. If there are many Certified in CCS, an employer will chose both certification and experience. I wonder how flooded the market is with certified coding specialist. I've heard there will be many new opportunities related to the new health care insurance demands. However, I've also heard that the electronic health records systems, actually decrease the need for coders, because people in health care code as they chart.

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AmandaR Raymond in Chicago, Illinois

7 months ago

do you need to have work experience to sit for the CCS exam??

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Nicole G in Atlanta, Georgia

5 months ago

Lorraine W. in Connersville, Indiana said: Before everyone goes out to sit for the CCA or CCS exams without bothering to have either education or work experience in the field, know this: the CCS exam is intense and intended for experienced coders with 3-5 years of coding experience. It has about a 50-percent passing rate.

For those who aren't aware, there are two other exams from AHIMA--the RHIT and RHIA, which require 2- and 4-year degrees, respectively.

so what is the best test to take for someone that has never working in the field but graduated about 7yrs ago.

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Wilma in Chicago, Illinois

5 months ago

Nicole, the best way to get certification for medical coding is to go to the Ahima or AAPC website and take the online basic coding instruction on line course. I have not taken test for certification, but I have partially completed a medical coding course at a school. Beware, the for profit private schools can be very expensive and at the end, they may not prepare you to pass the certification exams, the ultimate goal. If my memory serves me, the recent ccs-p exam on the Ahima site shows that about 500 people took the exam, but only 250 people actually passed or got certified. If you are lucky, you may find a medical coding course at a city college which will be less costly and legitimate.

I have numerous years of work in the medical field, but discovered that medical coding is very challenging. There are "guidelines and conventions" or rules that must be learned and only practice in coding will make you proficient in medical coding. You should start with the basics and work your way up to get the practice. You cannot pass certification exams without practice in coding.

Don't be fooled by schools that tell you that you can become a coder with advanced certification, with education and no practice experience.

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Wilma in Chicago, Illinois

5 months ago

coder123 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: I took the CCS test this past Friday March 14th and I am happy to say I passed the exam! I also have my RHIT. I took the test now before the April 1st cut off to beat the ICD-10 implementation. The new test will be based on the ICD-10 coding and CPT (which is not changing).I have had several years coding experience inpatient and outpatient. The test covers other areas besides coding also. These questions are reflected in the multiple choice.(Privacy, Compliance and Data ) There is also coding questions in the multiple choice. I had a lot of CPT questions on mine. Having experience helped me personally with passing the test and knowing the inpatient and outpatient coding guidelines. You also have to be fast because there is a 4 hour time limit no breaks. If you take a break it counts towards your test time. It took me 2:01 exactly to complete the multiple choice/multiple select. I know others who have taken the test and it took them about two hours also to complete that portion. I didn't think it would take me that long but it did. I brought a medical dictionary with me and I only used it once.

Beside a medical dictionary, what other resources is one allowed during the exam. The icd-9 book? Is a computer program for coding available for use during exam? Thanks !

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