Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)® certification

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  • 80% of AAPC students pass on the first attempt.

  • Students who train with AAPC are three times more likely to pass the certification exam.

Starting at $499

The Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC) credential is the only certification exclusively specialized in hospital and facility inpatient coding. This certification validates mastery in abstracting information from the medical record for ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS coding. It also represents expert knowledge of Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Groups (MS-DRGs) and the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS). Inpatient coding differs from physician-based coding in that it focuses on services provided by the facility, rather than on services provided by the physician.

Passing the CIC exam qualifies you to work in the rapidly changing medical coding and billing environment of hospital inpatient facilities. CIC-certified professionals typically work in hospitals (acute care facilities), skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), critical access hospitals (CAHs), teaching hospitals, inpatient rehab facilities (IRF), and long-term care hospitals (LTCHs).

Exam format

40 multiple-choice questions and seven inpatient cases with fill-in-the-blank questions (proctored). Open code books (manuals).

Two ways to take the exam

Choose to take the exam online at home with a live remote proctor, or on a computer at a testing center. Learn more about your exam options and how to prepare.

Time allowed

Exams are administered in one sitting, with four hours to complete the exam.

Equipment required for exam

Our live remote proctored exam requires a closed room free from distraction with window coverings, a reliable, high-speed internet connection, a computer, and an external webcam that can be positioned to show your face, hands, keyboard, and the area around the keyboard (about 10 inches).

Exams taken at a testing center do not require any special equipment from the test-taker.

Experience requirements

The CIC examination consists of questions regarding the correct application of ICD-10-PCS procedure codes and ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes used for coding and billing inpatient facility/hospital services to insurance companies.

Not ready yet? We recommend taking our CIC preparation course.

Approved code books

Current year books are highly recommended as code sets are updated annually. You may choose to utilize books from the preceding year, the current year, or a combination of both; however, only one copy of each book is allowed. 

Any officially published errata for the above code books may also be referenced during the CIC exam.

Maintaining your certification

To maintain your dual credentials, you must maintain your AAPC annual membership, and earn 40 continuing education units (CEUs) every two years.


An exam purchase includes two exam attempts for $499.

What students are saying

  • Michelle Edel testimonial


    I was a retail manager for 20 years. I took my test in September and got a job offer in October.

    Michelle Edel

  • Nilayana Sterling testimonial


    As a stay at home mom and homeschooling two kids, it was a challenge; but if I can do, so can you all.

    Nilayana Sterling

  • Stacey White testimonial


    If you plan to take an AAPC exam, take the AAPC course.

    Stacey White

  • Lamontica Alexander


    It hasn't even been a year since I passed my exam and I've had 3 remote job offers, with no experience.

    Lamontica Alexander

CIC certification competencies include

  • Expertise in medical record review to abstract information required to support accurate inpatient coding.

  • Understand reporting requirements under UHDDS.

  • Ability to identify documentation deficiencies and properly query providers for proper code capture.

  • Expertise in assigning accurate ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS medical codes for diagnoses and procedures performed in the inpatient setting. The CIC exam includes seven acute care inpatient cases in fill-in-the-blank format. Examinees must demonstrate coding ability without multiple choice options.

  • Identify condition POA and use of indicators.

  • Superior knowledge of current rules, regulations, and issues regarding medical coding, compliance and reimbursement under MS-DRG and IPPS systems.

  • Understand different types of DRGs (eg, APR-DRG).

  • Determine proper MS-DRG assignment.

  • Understand impact of readmissions within a 30 day period. Ӏ Understand the 72 hour rule and how services occurring prior to admission are reported. Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)

About the CIC exam

The CIC examination consists of questions regarding the correct application of ICD-10-PCS procedure codes and ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes used for coding and billing inpatient facility/hospital services to insurance companies.

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