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Thread: Elimination of “A” Designation: The Apprentice designation is not needed anymore

  1. #151
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Morrilton, Arkansas

    Cool What word of encouragement could AAPC forum offer to CPC-A's in the meantime....

    AAPC: Back to School
    until I/we get a job? Keep taking the online CEU requirement courses, taking classes like Medical Terminology, Anatomy, Billing and list them on my resume when I/we pass the exams/tests as I/we go along? Would that help potential employers to see my/our effort in continually training myself as well as showing them that I/we will continue to do what it takes to get a job in the healthcare field? I've browsed through alot of earlier responses and can understand the frustrations as I've been looking for and applied for some jobs, even entry level positions and have yet to get one phone call from anyone. Seems like a lost cause when I've emailed externship program contacts listed on AAPC, actually one email came back as ''invalid email address'' and sent an email to another and got no response since Jan, to get some advice on where I should start. I tried to do some online research for billing service agencies in Ark and not much found on Google. Just a constant search with no results. Not sure if local hospitals or clinics offer ''unpaid'' training for someone like myself who have no experience in a healthcare setting. Almost feel like giving up but my only support is from my family who continue to encourage me. I work/drive 30 min from home M-F and by the time I get home most hosp/clinic offices are closed for the day. What to do, what to do? Huh, just need some encouraging word and an ''it's gonna be okay!''
    Last edited by tracy.ellington@yahoo.com; 03-15-2012 at 10:36 AM.

  2. #152

    Question Status?

    Is the July 1st date, and set requirements for apprentice status removal, still set to take place? What is the status of this issue? Thank you in advance for any information. -Nick

    Quote Originally Posted by semaxwell1 View Post
    The following is a shortened version of an article from the AAPC Coding Edge magazine January 2012 issue written by Reed E. Pew, AAPC Chairman and CEO.

    Effective July 1, 2012, the CPC-A credential will no longer be granted. All current CPC-As would have their “A” removed by doing one of the following:
    1. Getting at least one year of on-the-job experience no later than 12/31/2013, (helpful to those with a job and currently working towards that end)
    2. Successfully passing a clinical exam consisting of coding 20 operative/office notes.
    3. No current CPC-A would be grandfathered into the CPC credential.

    Those taking the CPC exam after July 1, 2012 will have two ways to get their CPC credential:
    1. Have one year of coding experience prior to taking the CPC exam with proof given at the time of the exam, and then pass the CPC exam or
    2. Pass both the CPC exam and a clinical exam by coding 20 operative/office notes.
    On the job experience after taking the CPC exam will not be required. It does not matter in which order the two exams are taken.

    The clinical exam will include a sampling of office visits, surgical notes, E/M coding, ancillary services, modifier usage, and diagnosis coding. A 90% pass rate on the clinical exam will be required and will be determined by correctly coding 18 of the 20 notes. The clinical exam will not be multiple choice, it will be free form and hand graded. The same 5 hours and 40 minutes time restriction and code books will be allowed, and the clinical exam can be taken at any AAPC proctored exam site.

    Both exams will be paid for at the same time and the cost for both exams will increase by $35. Applicants may still take each exam twice to pass it. If the examinee already has one year experience, then he or she would pay only the CPC exam price. If one exam is passed after two attempts, but not the other, then the fee for the exam not passed would be paid to retake it.

    Of course, current CPCs are not affected by this change. We would appreciate comments to this important change to our credentialing program through 1/31/2012. You may go to www.aapc.com/cpc-acomment to submit your comment. From those comments, we will either proceed ahead, make modifications that strengthen the change, or slow down the change due to legitimate concerns that AAPC has not properly considered.

    To me this sounds promising. Though I'm not looking forward to spending a total of over 11 hours of testing time and paying for two exams, but whatever it takes and hopefully it'll better help me reach my goals. I’m not fond of the $35 increase of the CPC exam price, and they don’t mention how much the clinical exam will be, either.

    I’m presuming AAPC has terminated the "Virtual Experience: Apprentice Removal" program. I was seriously thinking of signing up for that, but now am glad I didn’t. I feel badly for those that started that program and were unable to complete it because AAPC brought the program’s website down sometime last year. I would hope AAPC would recognize those that started it and give them some sort of credit towards this new clinical exam, at least financially.

  3. #153
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Tacoma, WA


    The AAPC has decided to not make a change at this time.
    L. Mark Kozu, COC, CPC, CCC

  4. #154


    Just keep with it everyone. I just got my "A" removed this past week. I took my CPC right out of school then took me 5 months to find a job. 1 of them that I landed required 5 years expierence. once you get the interview you really have to nail it. There are jobs out there even if you have the "A" most seasoned coders want more than the employer is willing to pay.

  5. #155
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Northeast Kansas (NEKAAPC)


    Reed's message in the most recent Coding Edge will answer your questions.
    Brenda Edwards, CPC, CPB, CPMA, CPC-I, CEMC, CRC
    AAPC ICD-10-CM/PCS Training Expert

    Kindness is contagious-PASS IT ON!

  6. #156
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Nashville, TN


    Quote Originally Posted by nicholasjwolf View Post
    Is the July 1st date, and set requirements for apprentice status removal, still set to take place? What is the status of this issue? Thank you in advance for any information. -Nick
    The answer was from the March 2012 Coding Edge. Here's the thread.

    "CPC-A Elimination?" from March 2012 Coding Edge

  7. #157


    I got an email on 3/15/12 from AAPC's News & Updates, explaining that no changes would be made to the current CPC-A policy...this is the article:

    CPC-A® Designation to Continue... For Now
    At the recommendation of the National Advisory Board (NAB), AAPC leadership released a proposal in January to eliminate the "A" designation. As a result, we received hundreds of comments from members and spent a good deal of time carefully reviewing each of them.
    67% did not agree with the proposal, surprisingly including many CPC-As. Of the 33% that did agree, a large percentage wanted to see modifications to the proposal made first, yet many of those recommendations conflicted strongly with other comments. Notably, there appeared to be little appetite for an additional exam of operative note coding.

    While we still believe a resume indicating the experience level of an individual should speak for itself, AAPC expects CPC® coders to be able to perform not only in an exam setting but also demonstrate coding experience (or an ability to code real-world cases) before receiving the full CPC® credential.

    Consequently, until an alternative solution can be developed to eliminate the "A" designation, yet still preserve the standards the CPC® represents, the CPC-A® designation will continue... for now.

  8. #158

    Default Thank you.

    Thank you for the replies on the current status of the issue. Personally, I had hoped for some kind of exam that simulated real-life coding challenges to remove my "A", but I now realize that you really can't substitute for real life experience. ICD-10 is coming, the demand for our skills isn't going anywhere.

  9. #159
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Norwich, CT


    I am right there with everybody else -- options for experience are hard to come by. I still have 6 months to prove to AAPC headquarters despite possible already having put in the time.

    Stuck working for free as a Hospital Volunteer as everybody seems to want the full CPC or higher. If not CPC, AHIMA certification seems to be requested along with previous experience doing the same exact job function.

    Front Desk positions -- no such luck there.

    RE: Virtual Experience

    I was working on that until I ran into some snags with regard to not enough information to even figure out the correct code(s) to use. Would have been nice to have been able to submit each case separately.

    Anyway -- I suppose now I will just forge ahead until something opens up.
    Jennifer E. McGann, CPC

    New Email (for those that had my former Gmail address):


  10. #160
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Norwich, CT


    You did not miss anything by not attempting the Virtual Experience.

    I had started it but was struggling with some of the categories prior to the option being removed.

    I also decided to go back to school -- DeVry / Keller online, Health Services Management: Certificate and maybe a full Master's Degree. My "A" was removed right before I started classes in July of 2012.

    Keep Volunteering and Networking! It will pay off in the long-run.
    Now I have to prove to the Department of Labor that I am still eligible for Unemployment.
    Jennifer E. McGann, CPC

    New Email (for those that had my former Gmail address):


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