Medical Coding Essentials FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the Certified Coder Academy Certified Coding Associate program. View Registration Options

Click on a question to view the answer:

What is a certified medical coder?
What type of work do medical coders perform?
Why should anyone, not yet certified, consider the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential first?
Which credentials will Certified Coder Academy prepare me to pursue?
What is the job market for medical coders?
How much money can I earn as a medical coding professional?
Do I have to be certified to get a job?
What are the advantages of training with Certified Coder Academy?
What kind of skills and experience do I need to enter the Certified Coder Academy program?
How are the Certified Coder Academy programs structured?
What type of student support does Certified Coder Academy offer?
How long does it take to finish the program?
What will I learn as a Certified Coder Academy student?
How do I find work after graduation?
What materials and computer specifications are required to complete the course?
Does the Certified Coder Academy program issue certificates of completion and verification letters?
Which medical coding manuals should I purchase?
What payment options does Certified Coder Academy offer?
Are there any prerequisites for this program?
What happens after I register for the program? When can I get started?
After I complete the program, do I need to take the CCA or CPC exam by any specific date?
Is Certified Coder Academy accredited? And do you offer financial aid?
Does taking this program qualify for one year experience when applying to take the CPC exam?

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What is a certified medical coder?

A certified medical coder has passed a professional level exam with an organization that issues credentials which demonstrate coding proficiency at various levels.

What type of work do medical coders perform?

Medical coders work closely with patient medical records. Alphanumeric codes have been assigned to all illnesses, injuries and treatments. This practice helps prevent misleading notes or diagnoses because the medical codes in use are considered accurate.  The codes are used to bill patients and third-party payers like insurance companies and Medicare.

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Why should anyone, not yet certified, consider the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) as their first coding credential?

The CCA certification, administered and granted by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), qualifies you for coding in both hospitals and physician practices. With the Certified Coding Associate designation you are prepared with more flexibility and growth potential.

Which credentials will Certified Coder Academy prepare me to pursue?

Although the Certified Coder Academy Medical Coding Essentials program focuses on the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential, participants have successfully prepared for the CCA, CPC, and other credentials.

As a CCA you will be eligible for employment in hospitals, clinics, physician offices, medical labs, insurance companies, and other healthcare facilities. Experienced professionals have opportunities to work from home upon certification.

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What is the job market for medical coders?

Excellent! Visit the most current U.S. Department of Labor released report for updates on the medical records and health information technology field, which encompasses both outpatient and inpatient medical coding and billing. The recent report indicates: Fast growing job market: medical coding employment is projected to grow by 21% by 2020.

In addition to these new jobs, there will also be open positions as people retire or leave the profession. Medical Coders are in high demand: coding services, sustained by an aging population and the increasing number of tests, treatments, and procedures will
remain in high demand. A recent AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) study and report found that over half of coding employers had open positions in the previous year.

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How much money can I earn as a medical coding professional?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report—encompassing both inpatient and outpatient medical coders and billers—states that the middle 50% of professionals in the field earn between $32,280 and $52,410 a year. However, it is important to remember that as you gain credentials and experience, your earning capacity increases. For example, a certified coder who specializes in cancer coding can earn upwards of $100,000.

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Do I have to be certified?

The Certified Coder Academy courses are specifically designed to prepare students for national, entry-level coding certification exams, even though certification is not required as a prerequisite by all employers. The exam most commonly taken directly after program completion is the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

Completing the Certified Coder Academy Medical Coding Essentials program awards you a certificate of achievement and verification letter; the courses are specifically designed to help you gain the foundation and skills you need to earn the appropriate credentials.

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What are the advantages of training with Certified Coder Academy?

The six college professors who started, and manage Certified Coder Academy have the experience of providing quality medical coding certification training since 2007 through its parent Online Career Advancement; we offer a comprehensive and affordable training program that thoroughly prepares students for medical coding and billing careers. The online training format allows you to study at your own pace and on a schedule that fits your busy lifestyle. The Medical Coding Essentials program satisfies the AHIMA recommended training criteria.

What kind of skills and experience do I need to enter the Certified Coder Academy program?

Prior to registering for the actual certification exam, you should have a high school diploma, a General Education Development Certificate (GED), or other high school equivalency credential (TASC, HiSET, etc.). There are no specific skills, or experiences, that are considered prerequisites for entry into the Certified Coder Academy training program. Online Career Advancement offers free high school equivalency exam preparation to our medical coding program participants.

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How are the Certified Coder Academy programs structured?

The Certified Coder Academy programs are offered entirely online, providing 24/7 access to all material and allowing you to progress through the curriculum on your own schedule and at your own pace. The programs are broken into modules, or course subjects, and the first part is devoted to building your basic sciences knowledge base while the second half is designed to help you gain the practical coding experience you need to pass your coding certification exam.

What type of student support does Certified Coder Academy offer?

Certified Coder Academy student support includes access to the essential information and technical support you need to be successful with the program and pursue your medical coding certification. Though the course is entirely online and self-paced, you'll never be on your own. Certified Coder Academy's student support team will always be there to offer personal, ongoing support even after you complete our training program.

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How long does it take to finish the program?

The Certified Coder Academy Medical Coding Essentials program is estimated at 180 completion hours, and includes 320 hours of curriculum. Since the programs are completely self-paced and the online training format allows you the flexibility to study as much or as little as your schedule allows, the time it takes you to complete the course will vary from other students. We estimate an average of four (4) months dedicated study to complete the entire program. All Certified Coder Academy courses offer unlimited anytime access.

You'll have all the time you need to complete the program at your pace, fast or slow.

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What will I learn as a Certified Coder Academy Student?

The medical terminology, medical billing, and basic sciences courses provide students with a solid foundation necessary to successfully continue with the core coding courses. Then you’ll transition into the courses focused on coding which provide opportunities for you to use coding manuals to gain knowledge of various coding scenarios and practices and prepare to pursue AHIMA and AAPC certification exams. Resource and reference links are provided to supplement and reinforce your knowledge.

How do I find work after graduation?

Certified Coder Academy student support provides participants with job placement information and resources directly related to where they expect to work. We offer the personalized help you need after certification to quickly and easily transition into your new career.

What materials and computer specifications are required to complete the course?

The program is completely online and self-paced. You can access your courses from any computer with an Internet connection, 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. Our course management system is compatible with most computer hardware, software, browsers, and operating systems. All materials are included with our training except coding manuals. Participants are expected to supplement their learning with other resources depending upon prior work experience and coding knowledge.

Does the Certified Coder Academy program issue certificates of completion and verification letters?

Yes, our certificate of completion and program verification letter is issued to those who complete the entire program. All lessons, quizzes, and tests must be completed; a score of 70% or higher is required for all quizzes and/or tests to receive your certificate and letter. Monthly payment subscribers are required to have all payments complete to receive a certificate of completion and program verification letter.

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Which coding manuals should I purchase?

You do not need to purchase coding manuals for the first five weeks when joining our program. For the advanced coding courses, you will need to purchase the coding manuals specific to the exam that you are preparing to take. Course facilitators will advise on which coding manuals you need, depending upon when you plan to take the exam.

The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential is administered and granted by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

What payment options does Certified Coder Academy offer?

The Certified Coder Academy Medical Coding Essentials program offers three affordable payment options to help you get started with our program. See the registration details web page.

Are there any prerequisites for this program?

The Certified Coder Academy Medical Coding Essentials program provides the common prerequisite courses, like medical terminology and anatomy and physiology, at no additional cost. The courses also include resources and references to assist with increasing your knowledge.

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What happens after I register for the program? When can I get started?

Upon registration payment you immediately receive a download link to a file that contains course login instructions and enrollment keys. Our program provides unlimited access; there is no need to rush, go at your own pace and according to your experience level and learning style.

After I complete the program, do I need to take the CCA exam by any specific date?

Certification is not a requirement upon completion of the Certified Coder Academy program. Some people get jobs just by completing the program and are allowed to pursue certification while employed. You may register for the exam whenever you feel ready.

Is Certified Coder Academy accredited? And do you offer financial aid?


Certified Coder Academy is an exam preparation program, not a traditional school or university, Certified Coder Academy is not accredited by the Department of Education, and therefore not eligible to participate in federally funded financial aid or grant programs. We do have a strict self-accreditation process and policy in place. There is no formal accreditation process for medical coding programs.

Certified Coder Academy strives to keep our program as affordable as possible so financial aid is usually not an issue.


Does taking this program qualify for one year experience when applying to take the CPC exam?

Yes, completing the Certified Coder Academy program will waive one year work experience with AAPC when pursuing the CPC credential. Our letter and certificate of completion indicating 120 hours completed have been submitted to the AAPC and accepted to verify course completion.

NOTE: Certified Coder Academy satisfies the AHIMA eligibility recommendation of a formal coding training program which allows you to sit for the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam (can replace the 6-month coding experience requirement). Certified Coder Academy also satisfies the 80 contact hours of coding education (compensates for one year of coding experience) required by the American Academy of Professional Coders to attain the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) as an apprentice (CPC-A).

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