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Step by Step Guide to Become a Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) coder

Medical coding professionals needs to carry credentials or certification for a growth in their career. I have already written a lot about CPC (Certified Professional Coder) exam conducted by AAPC. You would have now got all the important tips for preparing and clearing CPC exam. But, today we will talk of CCS (Certified Coding Specialist) exam conducted by AHIMA. Any immature medical coder can appear for CPC exam, but for Certified Coding Specialist exam you need to be well expert in Inpatient and Outpatient coding. AHIMA also offers a CCS –P (Certified Coding Specialist –physician-based), which is quite similar to CCS exam. Today we will check the important information of a Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) exam and how to get certified with it. So, let us learn how we can become a Certified Coding Specialist coder.

Step by Step Guide to Become a Certified Coding Specialist coder

Education or Degree required for Certified Coding Specialist exam

There is no particular or a specific degree required, even a bachelor or an associate degree can be enough to appear for Certified Coding Specialist exam. But, if you are carrying a degree other than a life science background, you have to work really hard to understand all the concept of anatomy and physiology while preparing for Certified Coding Specialist exam. Also, you should have good knowledge about the medical disorders, diseases and drugs. Basically, you should have a good medical knowledge for clearing a Certified Coding Specialist exam. Once, you have a required degree and knowledge for the CCS exam, you can go ahead and apply for this exam.

Also, if you have a medical coding experience of minimum 2 years you are eligible of applying for this exam. And if you have at least one credential like CPC from AAPC or AHIMA with one year of coding experience, then also you are eligible for appearing for CCS exam.

Read also: How to manage time during CPC exam

Paper Outline or Pattern of Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) exam

To prepare for any exam, you should know the Question paper pattern of that exam. Now, in Certified Coding Specialist exam, the paper has a combination of Multiple choice questions and cases or medical scenarios. Number of Questions in CCS exam is as below

Get FREE CEUs here!

  • 97 Multiple choice questions (79 scored/18pretest)
  • 8 Medical Scenarios (6 scored/2 pretest)
  • Exam time: 4 hours without any breaks
  • Exam Fees

             Member price: 299$

             Non-member price: 399$

  • Number of attempts: Only one

For more information about the exam, you can check the AHIMA website www.ahima.org.

Now, if you see the above Paper outline of Certified Coding Specialist exam, you will understand why it is tough to clear this exam. Yes, it is totally different from the CPC exam where only Multiple choice questions are asked. Also, you can see the exam time is very less, only 4 hours (CPC exam has 5 hours 40 minutes), so the time management is very crucial in Certified Coding Specialist exam.

Read also: How to prepare for CPC exam in 2017

How to prepare for Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) exam

As you have seen above the paper pattern of Certified Coding Specialist exam, you should first start solving few sample Certified Coding Specialist exam papers. Yes, it is very important to solve first few sample CCS exam papers, to understand the kind of question asked during the Certified Coding Specialist exam. Also, when you are solving model or test CCS paper, do manage your time to finish your paper before or on time. Since, the time limit is only 4 hours, you should keep a time limit for all the question. If you are not able to solve the question within time limit, move to next question. CCS exam has only one attempt to clear the exam, so you should be 100% confident and prepared while appearing for this exam. There are very few coders who are Certified Coding Specialist (CCS), compared to CPC, since CPC exam is considered very easy compared to CCS exam.

Read also: How to Become Certified Medical Coder without any training

After clearing Certified Coding Specialist exam

Once you have cleared Certified Coding Specialist, you just need to renew your Credentials from AHIMA and submit the Continue Education Units (CEUs) regularly. AHIMA regularly offers seminars, conferences, and webinars providing beneficial experiences for Certified Coding Specialist to meet their CEUs requirements. CCS coders should complete at least 30 CEUs every year and renew their certification from AHIMA to retain their credentials.

Hope, I would have covered all the important information on Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) exam. Do give a try once, if you want to grow in your career.