When you pass the CPC exam, you receive your CPC-A credential, which signifies apprenticeship standing. You remain an apprentice until you fulfill the 2-year experience requirement, at which time you will submit proof of meeting the requirement, and your A will be removed.
Proof of Education or Experience
Proof of education or experience isn’t necessary to sit for AAPC exams. However, due to the level of expertise required of medical coders, AAPC expects certified coders to be able to perform not only in an exam setting but also in the real world.
Those who pass the CPC®, COC™ exams but have not yet met this requirement will be designated as an Apprentice (CPC-A®, COC-A™) on their certificate.
A combination of tactics can be used to fulfill the Apprenticeship requirement. Proof of 80 contact hours of a medical coding preparation course may be combined with completion of CPC-A Practicode. This fulfills the two years experience required to graduate to CPC.
Alternatively, a medical preparation course or a year of the CPC-A Practicode program may be combined with one year of on-the-job experience, verified by one signed letter from your employer on letterhead.
Two-Year Apprenticeship Option
CPC-A Practicode Online Program (Deducts One Year)
Practicode is AAPC’s web-based program that uses redacted medical records to provide CPC-As with real-world coding experience. Over 14,000 CPC-A and COC-A students use Practicode annually.
Submitting proof of completing the CPC-A Practicode program (included in all AAPC training packages) deducts one year from the two years of experience required to graduate from CPC-A to CPC. This program may be completed while training for your certification exam or after.
80-Hour Medical Coding Preparation Course (Deducts One Year)
Completing AAPC’s 80-hour medical coding course or an equivalent course from an instructor or school deducts one year from the two years of experience required to graduate from CPC-A to CPC.
Proof of education can take the form of a letter from an instructor on school letterhead stating you have completed 80 or more hours, a certificate/diploma stating at least 80 hours, or an unofficial school transcript.
On-the-Job Experience (Deducts One-Two Years)
You must obtain and submit two letters of recommendation verifying two years of on-the-job experience using the CPT®, ICD-10-CM, or HCPCS Level II code sets.
One of the two letters must be from your employer on company letterhead. The second letter may come from a colleague or a previous employer. Your experience, as well, can include time you have coded for a previous employer, or prior to certification.
Download our apprentice removal template for easier submission. Letterhead and signatures are still required when using this template.
Submit Proof of Education or Experience
Proof of education or experience should be submitted only once ALL apprentice removal requirements have been met. Please allow 2-4 weeks for processing.