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Thread Topic: Which certification for coding
Topic Originator: Jennifer
Post Date July 22, 2008 @ 10:38 AM
Which certification for coding

July 22, 2008 @ 10:38 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

I have been looking into certification course, which is a CMC certificate and then AAPC's course, which is a CPC certification.  AAPC is a little more expensive and you have to pay extra to take the course.  The site also says that you need one year experience to take the exam.  I heard without certification, it is very hard to get your foot in the door.  My question is, is the CMC certification at PMI as good as the AAPC, or would it be good enough to help me get my foot in the door?  Another option right now would be my local community college, which would take longer to obtain.  Thanks for any advice!

steve verno
July 22, 2008 @ 6:23 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Getting your foot in the door is hard for any job oportunity now a days. No just for coding or billing positions.

Many employers prefer certification by the employee, again this is an employer preference.

One certification is by the AAPC and another is through the Profesional Association of Healthcare Coders (PAHCS)

July 22, 2008 @ 9:51 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

So are those the certifications you are suggesting?  I know there are several places that offer specific certifications.

Does anyone have an opinion on the PMI CMC course?

July 23, 2008 @ 6:15 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Hi Jennifer,  I carry both CMC from PMI and the CPC from AAPC. The CMC is widely fact CMS, Cleveland Clinic and UT Southwestern to name only a few.  The CPC is a multiple choice test and the CMC is an actual "look up the code" test.  There is a fairly wide price gap between the two programs but that does not indicate that one is better than the merely means that you can choose to spend as much as you can afford.  I must disclose that I teach the CMC program in our area and a couple reasons I made the decision to do so is because it is a quality program and it is affordable.  Many of the students that take my classes are single mothers and are wanting to move up in their current position or wanting to expand their skills into a career rather than just a job. You will never regret being a certified coder!  Good Luck, Toni

July 23, 2008 @ 6:31 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Hi Steve...
The CMC (Certified Medical Coder) is through PMI (Practice Management Insitute) which is located in San Antonio  Texas

Angie Brown, Department Head
July 24, 2008 @ 7:11 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Hi Jennifer,
Here at Greenville Technical College we currently are only offerring all of the Practice Management Institute certifications because of the price and the quality. At GTC/PMI we have career paths or just individual courses that are just 90 days or less. Please contact me if you have any additional questions regarding your career at 864-250-8446.
Angie Brown
Department Head
Greenville Technical College

Angie Hall, Program Manager, GTC
July 24, 2008 @ 7:22 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Hi Jennifer,
CMC is highly recognized in our area and its reputation continues to grow.  Here at Greenville Technical College we have had some awesome results with our students obtaining employment after completeing the CMC.  For example, we have one lady who came from 30 years of manufacturing and is now a representative for an insurance company.  We have many other testimonials and I would love to share these with you if you would like to give me a call
Angie Hall
Program Manager
Greenville Technical College

Ton Emmons, CMC, CPC-Director of Billing Compliance, Texas Tech School of Medicine
July 24, 2008 @ 9:58 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Hi Jennifer,  I hope that you have gotten the information that you were seeking. Looks like you have had several great responses to your question. Please feel free to call if you think that I can help in anyway.  806-356-4676. Also...I have written a Coder's Prayer for testing day and would love to share it with you.  Send me your fax number.  Have a great weekend.  Toni

July 24, 2008 @ 12:06 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Thanks for all of your responses.  I did call the AACP this morning and they said I could get my certification but it would be an apprenticeship until I had two years experience or 80 credits.  When I looked for jobs on various sites, they all require the CPC certification.  I didn't find many if any for the CMC.  It is hard enough to get into this field to get your foot in the door, and I just want to be sure I make the best decision.  Maybe I will get both still to further my education, but I am just stating what I have found out so far.  Thanks again!

July 25, 2008 @ 10:16 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Yeah, I think the AAPC is the way to go. I have been inquiring about their course.

Heather, I have no experience in coding, so that is why I am inquiring about the course.

I do have medical transcription experience (10-years) so I somewhat know the terminology and anatomy.  I run my own MT business, but I hear so many bad things about transcription that I want to do something else too.

Thanks everyone.

July 25, 2008 @ 10:28 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Jennifer,  I studied very hard to achieve my AAPC certification back in 1999, before AAPC changed the requirements for the test.  I then went on to achieve all three PMI certifications and have found the people who are employed by PMI to be much more supportive than those at AAPC.  

Regarding which is better, I would would have to say that PMI's course (CMC) offers much more detail and practical examples than the AAPC course.  Although designed for those who have experience the beginner can, through the support of PMI staff, get assistance with questions and pass the course.  PMI is not as widely recognized (yet) as AAPC, but they have many letters from CMS, OIG, etc that will give you 'back up' if a position you apply for is not familiar with the CMC certification.

I've actually become an associate instructor for PMI and love teaching the CMC course to both experienced coders and those who are just getting started.   I sincerely hope you will choose to take either the PMI CMC self-study course or, if possible, attend a class which will give you immediate feedback and interaction.

If you have other questions, feel free to contact me directly through my Hotmail account (  I live in Montana.

Cyndi DeLappe

July 28, 2008 @ 10:24 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Thanks!  I think that is the one my local college gives.

July 28, 2008 @ 10:27 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

That was supposed to go under Barbara Garner's comment

Kim Miller
July 25, 2008 @ 7:29 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Most employers only recognize either AAPC's credentials or AHIMA's.  Receiving a "certificate" vs. credentials are two different things so be careful of what is offered.  Even with my CPC, CPC-I credentialing, employers who only want AHIMA (CCS or CCS-P) won't even look at my experience or knowledge.  Hope that helps!  :-)

Tamela Warren
July 25, 2008 @ 9:39 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

I would highly recommend obtaining your certification with AAPC. It is one of the largest professional coding organizations. AHIMA is the largest organizations of them all. AAPC and AHIMA are the most widely recognized organizations by employers. As far as having the one year of experience, if you have attended an accredited HIM/Coding program you can use that towards your one year of experience.

July 25, 2008 @ 9:58 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

I started billing on my own with my husbands practice, knew nothing about billing, self taught myself and took the PMI CMC class and wouldn't say I had any experience because I was self taught so who knew if I was wrong or right ( we do get paid some) but I passed the PMI CMC test and I am now a CMC.  My point is if you have any experience whether self taught or not, take the test, its time consuming but you'll pass.  You don't have to be certified, but in the future Medicare is trying to require there be one certified biller in an office.

Pat Stone
July 25, 2008 @ 10:31 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

I suggest the AAPC.  It is an international organization and has been around since appx. 1990.  It is more widely recommended for physician office coding.   Other companies have now started to offer similar courses but AAPC is still the standard for physicians.  I work for a group of over a hundred physicians, and AAPC is our preference.

July 25, 2008 @ 11:28 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

The CPC credential thru the AAPC is considered the gold standard for coding.

Barbara Garner
July 28, 2008 @ 7:01 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

AHIMA(American Health Information Management Assoc) also has a CCA certification for novice coders.  It is the Certified Coding Associate Certification and for non-members it is $255 There Web site is  As for the CPC through AAPC it is a good certification as well.  Good luck in your endeavor.  bgarner

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