Upon successfully passing the Certified Professional Coder examination you will automatically be named an apprentice. Your credential will come with an A apprenticeship designation: CPC-A. This A designates that you are an apprentice in the industry.
Similar to other industries, this apprenticeship designation gives you time to develop and refine your skills as you are working in the industry. Within the coding industry, you’ll need 2 years of experience before you can remove the apprenticeship designation—but the great news is that as a Career Step student, your education counts as 1 of the 2 required years of experience! This means that you only need to gain 1 addition year of experience in order to be a full CPC.
The requirements for apprentice removal are outlined on the AAPC.com website and as of the writing of this blog post are as follows:
To remove your apprentice designation via on-the-job experience, you must obtain and submit two letters of recommendation verifying at least two years of on-the-job experience (externships accepted) using the CPT®, ICD-9-CM, or HCPCS Level II code sets. One letter must be on letterhead from your employer*, the other may be from a co-worker. Experience includes time coding for a previous employer and prior to certification. Both letters are required to be signed and will need to outline your coding experience and amount of time in that capacity. Download our Apprentice Removal Template for easier submission. Letterhead and signatures are still required when using this template.
Submit proof showing completion of at least 80 contact hours of a coding preparation course (not CEUs) AND one letter, on letterhead, signed from your employer verifying one year of on-the-job experience (externships accepted) using the CPT®, ICD-9-CM, or HCPCS Level II code sets.
Send proof of education in the form of a letter from an instructor on school letterhead stating you have completed 80 or more contact hours, a certificate/diploma stating at least 80 contact hours, or an unofficial school transcript.
Proof of education or experience isn’t necessary to sit for the exam. It should only be submitted (via fax or as a scanned attachment to an email) once ALL apprentice removal requirements have been met.
As a Career Step graduate, the second option is the route you will likely want to go. For a transcript or proof of education please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of luck!