- 150 multiple choice questions (proctored)
- 5 hours and 40 minutes to finish the exam
- 1 free retake to be used within one year of first attempt
- Open code book (manuals)
Reviewed by a General Surgery Steering Committee:
- Connie Martin, CPC, CGSC
- Rhonda Buckholtz, CPC, CPC-I, CENTC, CGSC, COBGC, CPEDC, CPMA
- Rebecca Queer, CPC, CEMC, CGIC, CGSC, COBGC, CPMA
- Shelly Cronin, CPC, CGSC, CANPC, CGIC, CPMA
- Debra Mariani, CPC, CGSC
Specialty exams aptly measure preparedness for “real-world” coding by being operative/patient-note based. In addition to questions regarding the correct application of ICD-10-CM,
CPT®, HCPCS Level II and modifier coding assignments, examinees will also be tested on specialty-specific coding and regulations.
- Must schedule examination four weeks in advance
- Must have current AAPC membership
- While there is no requirement, we strongly recommend that the candidate has at least two years of experience in the specialty. Please be aware that these are difficult, high-level
examinations not meant for individuals with little, limited or no coding experience
Examinees that pass a Specialty certification examination will receive recognition in the Healthcare Business Monthly within three months of their examination date and will receive a diploma suitable
Approved Manuals for Use During Examination
- CPT® Books (AMA standard or professional edition ONLY). No other publisher is allowed.
- Your choice of ICD-10-CM.
- Your choice of HCPCS Level II.
Highly Recommended References:
- One reference of your choice
Electronic devices with an on/off switch (cell phones, smart phones, tablets, etc.) are not allowed into the examination room. Failure to comply with this policy may result in disqualification
of your exam.
Any officially published errata for these manuals may also be used. No other manuals are allowed. Each code set is updated annually; it is essential that examinees use the current calendar
year's coding manuals when taking the certification exam.
Non-Approved Manuals for Use During Examination
Due to the advantages of additional information and/or ease of use, the following references cannot be used during the exam:
- Any Procedural Coding Expert
- Any Procedural Professional
- CPT® Plus! - PMIC
- CPT® Insider's View - AMA
- ICD-10-CM Easy Coder
- Study Guides
Each examination is separate and distinct from one another. To obtain all certifications, each examination must be taken separately and passed.
An overall score of 70% or higher is required to pass an exam. For examinees who do not pass, only the areas of study/categories with a score of 65% or less are provided for examinees’ preparation.
The areas of study reported reflect scores based on the number of questions in each category/section of the exam; each of the category/section may vary in the number of questions asked.
Continuing Education Unit (CEU) submissions are required for all certifications. For CEU requirements please see our CEU Information page.