Medical Billing and Coding Terminology and Certifications

Learn how you can advance in your career by becoming certified. Learn the certifications and their acronyms.

medical billing and coding terminology for professionals

Your job as a medical billing and coding professional requires you to learn a complex system of codes in order to communicate between physicians and insurance companies.

But before you begin your career, you'll need to decipher the complex world of medical billing and coding certifications that you can earn in order to get started.

Here are a few acronyms for professional associations and coding systems you will use as you begin your career and seek certification:

Acronym What it Stands For
AAPC American Academy of Professional Coders
AHIMA American Health Information Management Association
ICD-9-CM International Classification of Diseases. This is the official system of assigning codes to diagnoses and procedures. The ICD-9 will be updated to the ICD-10 in October, 2014.

Types of Certifications

There are many types of medical billing and coding certifications. Your work environment and level of experience may dictate which kind of certification is right for you:

CCA - Certified Coding Associate for new coders. Offered by AHIMA.

CCS - Certified Coding Specialist for experienced coders working in a hospital setting. Offered by AHIMA.

CCS-P - Certified Coding Specialist for experienced coders working in a physician-based setting. Offered by AHIMA.

CPC - Certified Professional Coder for coders with at least two years of experience working in a physician-based setting. Offered by AAPC.

CPC-H - Certified Professional Coder for coders with at least two years of experience in a hospital setting. Offered by AAPC.

CPC-P - Certified Professional Coder-Payer for experienced coders who demonstrate skills to adjudicate provider claims effectively. Offered by AAPC.