Are you an aspiring Medical Coder, and curious about diving into the world of medical coding but unsure where to start?

You’re not alone!

Medical coding is a booming field with a critical role in the healthcare industry. It’s the process of translating medical reports into codes used for billing and insurance purposes.

The best part about this rewarding career is that you don’t need a degree to become one. Yes, you really don’t.

But before you can start with medical coding as your career, you’ll need the right credentials. That’s where medical coding certification comes into play.

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about medical coding certification. Whether you’re looking to improve your career prospects, or simply pursue a new passion, understanding the certification process is your first step. We’ll cover the basics of what medical coding is, why certification matters, and how you can get certified.

So let’s get right into it.

What is a Medical Coder? And What Are Their Job Duties?

Before we dive into the medical coding certification, let’s first understand what a medical coder is, and what they do.

A medical coder is like a translator in the healthcare world. They take medical procedures, diagnoses, and treatments and convert them into a universal code that everyone—doctors, insurance companies, and healthcare providers—can understand.

Let’s take a look at their duties:

1. Translate Medical Information: Medical coders take detailed medical information—like doctor’s notes, diagnoses, and treatments—and turn it into standardized codes.

2. Ensure Accuracy: Accuracy is key. Medical coders make sure each code matches perfectly with the medical service provided to avoid billing mistakes and insurance claim rejections.

3. Follow Regulations: Medical coders stay updated on healthcare regulations to ensure their coding follows legal and ethical standards, reducing risks for healthcare providers and ensuring fair billing.

4. Maintain Records: Every medical service must be documented, and medical coders keep detailed records of procedures and treatments, creating a complete medical history for each patient.

5. Facilitate Communication: Medical coders act as a bridge between healthcare providers, insurance companies, and patients. Their precise coding ensures that everyone understands the services provided, helping with clear communication and smooth billing processes.

Also see: What is Medical Billing and Coding?

What is Medical Coding Certification?

Medical coding certification is basically a credential that proves your skills and knowledge in the field of medical coding.

If you’re considering a career in medical coding, getting certified is a big step that can open many doors for you.

But what exactly does this certification involve, and why is it so important?

Let’s see.

What Does Medical Coding Certification Involve?

1. Understanding Medical Terminology: To get certified, you need to know about medical terms, anatomy, and physiology. This helps you accurately interpret medical reports and turn them into codes.

2. Learning Coding Systems: You’ll need to master several coding systems, such as:

– ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision): Used for coding diagnoses.

– CPT (Current Procedural Terminology): Used for coding medical procedures and services.

– HCPCS (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System): Used for coding various services, including equipment and supplies.

3. Passing a Certification Exam: To earn your certification, you’ll need to pass a challenging exam that tests your coding knowledge and skills. Some of the most popular certification exams are:

– CPC (Certified Professional Coder) by the AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders).

– CCA (Certified Coding Associate) and **CCS** (Certified Coding Specialist) by AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association).

4. Continuing Education: Once you’re certified, you’ll need to keep up with continuing education to maintain your certification. This helps you stay updated with changes in coding standards and healthcare regulations.

Read: Medical Billing and Coding Certification

Why is Medical Coding Certification Important?

You might be wondering about this question as an aspiring medical coder: is certification even necessary? Why?

Well, medical coding certification is important because it proves that coders have the skills to accurately translate medical information into standardized codes.

This helps make the billing process smooth and reduces mistakes. It also ensures that coding practices meet healthcare regulations.

Having a certification can open up more job opportunities, boost your professional reputation, and give you an edge in the job market.

Let’s take a look at why certification is important:

Career Advancement: Certification can open up more job opportunities and lead to higher salaries. Employers prefer or require certified coders because it proves you know your stuff.

Accuracy and Compliance: Certified coders are trained to be precise, which helps prevent billing errors and ensures compliance with healthcare laws. This accuracy is crucial for avoiding claim rejections and legal issues.

Professional Credibility: Having a certification boosts your professional credibility and shows your dedication to the field. It’s a mark of distinction that sets you apart from non-certified coders.

Employer Confidence: Healthcare providers and insurance companies trust that certified coders have the skills and knowledge to handle complex coding tasks efficiently.

Now that you know how important Medical Coding Certification is, you might be wondering how to start the process of getting it.

Well, the first step is to simply choose the best medical coding training program that suits all your needs and goals.

And ideally, one that offers a certificate and a chance to prepare for the certification exams as well.

Wondering where to find such a program that fits all your needs?

We’ve got you covered.

Let us introduce you to:

Preppy’s Online Medical Coding Training Program

We might sound a bit biased, but that’s only because Preppy’s training program offers a ton of perks that go above and beyond your expectations.

Here’s what makes it special:

Partnership with an Accredited University

Preppy has partnered with Auburn University, ensuring their training program meets high educational standards and is recognized nationwide. This partnership adds credibility and assures you that you’re getting top-notch education.

University Certificate

When you successfully finish the program, you’ll receive a Certificate of Completion from Auburn University. This certificate is a great addition to your resume when you’re job hunting in the medical coding field.


Preppy knows that financial constraints can be a hurdle, so they’ve made their program as affordable as possible. This means you can pursue your career goals without thinking about taking on student loan debt or relying on financial aid.

100% Online and Self-Paced

The program is fully online, allowing you to access course materials and lectures from anywhere with an internet connection. Plus, it’s self-paced, so you can study whenever it fits your schedule—perfect for those with busy lives or other commitments.

Certification Exam Preparation

Preppy’s curriculum is designed to thoroughly prepare you for national certification exams from organizations like the AAPC or the AHIMA, which offer the CPC and the CCA exam, respectively. By covering all the necessary knowledge and skills, they boost your chances of passing and getting certified.

Flexible Training Duration

Unlike traditional programs that take months or years, Preppy’s training can be completed in as little as four months. This means you can start your career sooner.

Externship Opportunities

Understanding the value of hands-on experience, Preppy offers externship opportunities. These let you gain practical experience in real healthcare settings, apply your knowledge, and network with industry professionals.

Free Laptop

Enrolling in Preppy’s program includes a free laptop for your studies and beyond. This reduces your financial burden and ensures you have the tech you need for online learning.

Continuous Support

Throughout the program, Preppy provides continuous support. You’ll have access to a dedicated Student Coordinator for any questions or concerns and 24/7 technical support. This ensures a positive learning experience and prepares you well for your career.

Click here to learn more about Preppy’s Online Medical Coding Program!

How to Get Certified?

Now let’s see how to get the certification process started.

Once you decide which certification to go for, the process becomes quite easy and requires just a few simple steps, such as:

1. Education and Training: Start by enrolling in a medical coding program from an accredited institution or online platform. These programs teach you about medical terminology, anatomy, coding systems, and healthcare laws.

2. Gain Practical Experience: Some certifications require hands-on coding experience. Look for internships/externships or entry-level coding jobs to build your resume.

3. Prepare for the Exam: Use study guides, practice tests, and review courses to prepare for your certification exam.

4. Take the Exam: Register for and pass the certification exam. Once you pass, you’ll earn your certification and can officially work as a certified medical coder.

How Much Does Medical Coding Certification Cost?

Getting certified as a medical coder involves various costs, usually associated with the certification exams.

Let’s break down the expenses for two of the most recognized certifications: the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam by the AAPC and the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam by AHIMA.

CPC Certification Costs

The Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam is offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).

Let’s take a look at how much the exam costs:

  • AAPC Membership: To take the CPC exam, you usually need to first become a member of the AAPC. Membership costs around $180 annually.
  • Exam Fee: The cost of the CPC exam itself is approximately $399. This includes one free retake if needed.
  • Study Materials: Optional but recommended study materials such as books, practice exams, and online courses can range from $100 to $500, depending on the materials.

CCA Certification Costs

The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam is offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

Here are the costs involved:

  • AHIMA Membership: While not required, becoming a member of AHIMA can reduce the exam fee. Membership costs around $135 annually for a new member.
  • Exam Fee: The CCA exam costs $299 for AHIMA members and $399 for non-members.
  • Study Materials: Like the CPC, optional study materials for the CCA exam, including textbooks, practice tests, and review courses, can range from $100 to $500.

Why Is Getting Formal Training Important as a Medical Coder?

Is completing formal medical coding training important to become a successful medical coder? Yes!

Formal training serves as a guide for aspiring medical coders wanting to get certified. These programs provide a structured path, ensuring that candidates cover all essential topics needed to excel in their certification exam and their careers.

Formal training for medical coding is also greatly beneficial since it offers more comprehensive training. These programs teach everything from basic medical terminology to detailed coding guidelines and healthcare regulations. This helps build a strong foundation, making it easier to handle the complexities of medical coding.

One essential part of medical coding training is accuracy. Medical coding demands precision, and these programs teach coders how to accurately translate complex medical information into the correct codes.

Through hands-on practice and expert instruction, you can refine your skills, ensuring you can assign accurate codes to various medical procedures and diagnoses.

Additionally, an ideal training program comes in especially handy during certification exams. They offer study materials, practice exams, and tips from experienced instructors, all of which can help you prepare effectively.

Formal training goes beyond just passing the exam—it’s about preparing for real-world success. Instructors also share industry insights and practical experiences, giving candidates a realistic view of the daily work of a medical coder.

Now, there are three common ways to complete formal training:

1. Earning an associate degree from a technical university.

2. Obtaining a diploma from a community college.

3. Completing an online medical coding training program.

Out of these, online training programs are becoming increasingly popular, with more people opting for this flexible and accessible method over traditional associate degrees or diplomas.

But why are they so popular?

Let us tell you why.

Online programs offer several perks as opposed to traditional programs, such as:

1. Flexible Learning: With online training, you can study whenever and wherever it suits you. No need to rush to a classroom or stick to a strict schedule, you’re in control of your learning journey, and your study schedule.

2. Learn from Anywhere: Imagine studying from your couch or your favorite café. Online training lets you learn in your comfy clothes, without the hassle of commuting or sitting in a classroom.

3. Self-Paced: Online courses allow you to learn at your own speed. Whether you grasp concepts quickly or need more time to understand the material, you can move at your own pace and revisit tricky topics as needed.

4. Access to Resources: Online platforms often provide a lot of resources like videos, quizzes, and interactive lessons. You can also connect with instructors and classmates through forums or chats for extra help and support.

5. Affordable: Online training can be more affordable than traditional classroom courses. You save on commuting costs, and many online programs offer payment plans or financial aid options.

See: Best 4-Week Online Medical Coding and Billing Course


Medical coding certification is a valuable credential for anyone looking to advance their career in healthcare. By obtaining certification, aspiring medical coders can demonstrate their expertise, enhance their job prospects, and potentially increase their earning potential.

The process involves completing a recognized training program and passing a certification exam, which ensures coders are well-versed in the latest medical coding standards and practices.

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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.