Skip to main content

Certifications

Menu

Certified Coding Specialist (CCS®)

Coding specialists are skilled in classifying medical data from patient records, often in a hospital setting but also in a variety of other healthcare settings. The CCS credential demonstrates a practitioner's tested skills in data quality and accuracy as well as mastery of coding proficiency.  

The CCS certification is a natural progression for professionals experienced in coding inpatient and outpatient records. Coding specialists create coded data used by hospitals and medical providers to obtain reimbursement from insurance companies or government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Researchers and public health officials also use this data to monitor patterns and explore new interventions. 

CCSs: 

  • Review patients’ records and assign numeric codes for each diagnosis and procedure. 
  • Possess expertise in the ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, and CPT® coding systems. 
  • Are versed in medical terminology, disease processes, and pharmacology concepts. 

Eligibility Requirements

While not required, one of the following are recommended to sit for the CCS examination: 

  • Complete courses in all the following topics: anatomy & physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, medical terminology, reimbursement methodology, intermediate/advanced ICD diagnostic coding, and procedural coding and medical services (CPT/HCPCS) plus one (1) year of coding experience directly applying codes; OR
  • Minimum of two (2) years of related coding experience directly applying codes; OR
  • Hold the CCA® credential plus one (1) year of coding experience directly applying codes; OR
  • Hold a coding credential from another certifying organization plus one (1) year of coding experience directly applying codes; OR
  • Hold a CCS-P®, RHIT®, or RHIA® credential

Apply for the Exam

Apply to take the Certified Coding Specialistexam.     

Get Prepared for the Exam

AHIMA is launching an optional exam prep course in spring 2023 that will help to boost your confidence on exam day. Get notified when the prep course is available by filling out this form.

 

About the CCS Exam

Certified Professionals and Pass Rates 

As of 12/31/2022, there were 30,111 certified CCS professionals.

Year 

Exam 

# First Time Testers 

Pass Rate First Time Testers 

2022* 

CCS

2,670

55% 

2021* 

CCS 

2,250

42% 

2020* 

CCS 

2,029

73% 

*U.S. and Canada results only 

Exam Specifications 

The CCS is a timed exam. Candidates have four hours to complete the exam. The total number of questions on the exam range between 115 and 140 total items. The exam consists of two sections, a Multiple-Choice Section and a Medical Scenario Section (inpatient, outpatient, and emergency department) that contains multiple-choice, multiple-response items. The exam is given in a computer-based format.

AHIMA exams contain a variety of questions or item types that require you to use your knowledge, skills, and/or experience to select the best answer. Each exam includes scored questions and pretest questions randomly distributed throughout the exam. Pretest questions are not counted in the final results. 

The passing score for the CCS is 300. 

Competencies for CCS fall into four domains. Each domain accounts for a specific percentage of the total questions on the certification exam. See the Exam Content Outline below for greater detail. 

Mandatory Code Books

2022 Code Books Effective 05/01/2022
2023 Code Books will go into effect on 05/01/2023
All exams delivered on or AFTER 05/01/2023 will be required to have the 2023 code books from the 2023 code book list.

On test day, all candidates must bring the correct codebooks to the test center. Candidates who do not have the correct codebooks will not be allowed to test and will forfeit their exam fees.

AHIMA Members get 20% off code books from AHIMA.

 

Become an AHIMA Member

Sign up now to get discounts on codebooks and other certification exam prep products that can help you take the next step towards your new career.

Back to top