CPC stands for Certified Professional Coder. CPC is an exam conducted by AAPC for medical coders or any professional who wants to make a career in medical coding. If you have visited AAPC website you can see there is n number of coders are being certified every month. Now, we are here to just clear the difference between a CPC-A and CPC certification. Also, we will check the procedure of how to remove this A (Apprentice) from CPC-A. For any resources regarding CPC preparation, you can read how to prepare and clear CPC exam in my previous post.
Who gets CPC-A CERTIFICATE?
Now, as I have mentioned earlier any professional from any part of the world can appear for CPC exam. So, there is no specific qualification required for giving this CPC exam. But when we appear for CPC exam without any training and clear it without any experience in medical coding, AAPC gives CPC-A certificate to these professionals. Now, there is no harm in worrying about getting CPC–A instead of CPC because you can remove A for CPC-A, once you get required experience. A stands for Apprentice hence AAPC gives CPC-A who are immature or not had professional coding experience in a firm or hospital. But, if you have a required experience and appear for CPC exam, you will directly get a CPC certificate rather than CPC-A.
Read also: How to Clear CPC exam in First Attempt
How to Remove A for CPC
For removing A for CPC, we need to have two recommendation letters (one from employer and second from the co-worker) from working organization. The recommendation letter should tell that, you have the required professional coding experience (minimum 2 years of coding experience) to get a CPC certificate. Once, you get the recommendation letters, you can mail it to AAPC at firstname.lastname@example.org, then after few days AAPC will update your status from CPC-A to CPC. For some of my friends, they have submitted the experience letter as well, which has worked as recommendation letter, and AAPC has considered it for removal of A from CPC-A. Do remember these letters should mention the time period of your work experience, at least minimum of 2 years. For more details you can visit the link https://www.aapc.com/apprentice/applied-experience.aspx.
Also you can show proof showing completion of at least 80 contact hours of a coding preparation course (not CEUs) AND one letter, on letterhead, signed from your employer verifying one year of on-the-job experience using CPT code, ICD 10 and HCPCS level II code sets.
How to avoid CPC-A certificate
From my professional experience, I would suggest to go and have a nice professional coding experience in an organization. Because, referring some best books in medical coding and getting few months experience, automatically helps in knowing about the field and helps in preparing for CPC exam. Once after having nice experience in coding, you get a confidence of clearing the CPC exam. I have myself got at least 2 years experience in medical coding and then I have appeared for CPC. Once I have cleared CPC, I got CPC-A certificate, which I have removed by sending my recommendation letter to AAPC after few days. So, if you want to excel in the field of medical coding, I would suggest to get an experience first and then go for the certification exams. More experience helps in developing more skills.
Finally, just want to congratulate those who have cleared CPC exam and best of luck for those who want to make a career in medical coding.