Exam Certification FAQ

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What do CPC®, COC (formerly CPC-H®), CPC-P®, CPB™, CPMA®, CPCO™, and CPPM® stand for?

Certified Professional Coder®
Certified Outpatient Coder
Certified Professional Coder-Payer®
Certified Professional Biller™
Certified Professional Medical Auditor®
Certified Professional Compliance Officer™
Certified Physician Practice Manager®

Can I bring my cell phone to the exam?

Electronic devices with an on off switch (cell phones, smart phones, tablets, etc) are not permitted in the examination room. Do not bring them as there is no place to stow them.

What items will I need to bring to the exam?

For CPC®, COC (formerly CPC-H®), CPC-P®, and CPB™
Picture ID, Member ID, Several #2 pencils, AMA CPT® (professional or standard), ICD-9-CM, HCPCS II manual (Expert editions of ICD-9 and HCPCS are allowed).

For CPMA®
Picture ID, Member ID, Several #2 pencils, AMA CPT® (professional or standard), ICD-9-CM, HCPCS II manual (Expert editions of ICD-9 and HCPCS are allowed.) The CMS 1995 and 1997 Evaluation and Management Documentation Guidelines. Any audit tools you use.

For CPCO™
Picture ID, Member ID, Several #2 pencils, Any references allowed, except study guide and MCCA's Compliance Reference Guide.

For CPPM®
Stand alone calculator (no smart phones).

For all specialty exams
Picture ID, Member ID, Several #2 pencils, AMA CPT® (professional or standard), ICD-9-CM, HCPCS II manual (Expert editions of ICD-9 and HCPCS are allowed.) And one published reference book of the examinees choice (excluding any AAPC study guides.) The CMS 1995 and 1997 Evaluation and Management Documentation Guidelines. Any E/M audit tools of your choice. Candidates taking the CASCC™ do not need the CMS Documentation Guidelines or E/M audit tool.

Additional resources allowed may vary depending on the specialty exam, for a complete list of approved and recommended resources, please refer to the "Approved Resources" tab for the specialty certification exam you are registered for.

What year’s books should I use?

Since the code sets for each coding book are updated every year, it’s essential for coders to have the current year’s books to ensure accurate performance. Reporting wrong codes can lead to denied claim submissions and substantial penalization. It’s clearly very important to get an education on the annual code set updates and to obtain new code books every year.

All AAPC exams are based on the current calendar year’s code sets, so we strongly suggest you use the current year’s books. The previous calendar year’s books may be used on an exam, but you would be at obvious disadvantage doing so. The upcoming year’s books are not allowed for exam use. The exams are updated every January for the new code sets. Examinees using their second attempt in the next calendar year will not be permitted to take the previous year's exam.

What is allowed in our books?

Handwritten notes are acceptable in the coding books only if they pertain to daily coding activities. Questions from the Study Guides, Practice Exams or the Exam itself are prohibited. Tabs may be inserted, taped, pasted, glued, or stapled in the manuals so long as the obvious intent of the tab is to earmark a page with words or numbers, not supplement information in the book.

No materials (other than tab dividers) may be inserted, taped, pasted, glued, or stapled in the manuals.

What are the exam registration requirements for all exams?

  • Exam application (and exam agreement) submitted 4 weeks prior to the exam date
  • Exam payment submitted 4 weeks prior to the exam date
  • Current membership with the AAPC

CPMA®, CPCO™, CPPM® and Specialty credentials are stand-alone certifications with NO requirement to hold a CPC®, COC (formerly CPC-H®) or CPC-P® credential. Letters of recommendation are NOT required but these are difficult, high level examinations and are not meant for individuals with little, limited or no coding or relevant professional experience.

  • There is no requirement for the amount of experience in the specialty, although two years of experience in the specific fields are highly recommended.

How much does it cost to take the specialty exam?

$275/specialty credential exam (1 free retake is included)

What happens if I register for an exam and the registration limit is reached prior to my application being processed?

The exam payment will be held on file and AAPC will contact you to schedule you in an upcoming exam date in your area that is convenient for you.

What are the requirements for my letters of recommendation for education and work experience verification (apprentice designation)?

Two letters of recommendation verifying 2 years of on the job experience using the CPT®, ICD-9-CM, or HCPCS code sets. One letter must be on letterhead from your employer. Both letters are required to be typed and signed and will need to outline your coding experience and amount of time in that capacity.

OR

A minimum 80 hours of coding education AND one letter on letterhead from your employer verifying one year of on the job coding experience. Proof of education may be sent in the form of a letter from an instructor on school letterhead stating the amount of contact hours earned, a certificate/diploma stating at least 80 contact hours or a school transcript.

How many times can I take the exam with each payment?

Each exam payment includes one free attempt for the same type of exam as long as it is taken within one year of your original exam date. You can register for your free retake by logging into the Members area, click on "My Events" and select the examinations tab. Locate your last exam, click details and schedule your retake.

How will I know if my application was received and processed?

Log into the Member Area of the website and look under ‘My Orders,’ you can click on the event to view the proctor's name and phone number to verify any of this information.

How do I cancel an exam?

This service is now available on our website for your convenience, located under your scheduled event.

An AAPC Exam Service Charge may be assessed. The Exam Service Charge must be paid in full prior to rescheduling your exam.

What happens if I schedule an exam and then do not attend?

An AAPC Exam Service Charge may be assessed. The Exam Service Charge must be paid in full prior to rescheduling your exam.

Is my exam payment refundable?

No, all exam fees are non refundable / non transferable. However, you have one full year to take the exam from the date of purchase.

When should I expect to view my results?

Exam results are normally released within  7 to 10 business days after the exam has taken place.

How are results released?

Exam results are released online in the My AAPC account , as well as mailed. Results are never given over the phone.

How long will I have access to the Online Practice Exams?

Online practice exams are for individual use only and access is available for one year from purchase date.