Purpose of the
The purpose of this certification is to promote ethical and
professional medical coding through certification of qualified individuals.
This voluntary credential formally recognizes a medical coderís competency and
proficiency, encourages continued professional personal best development, and
provides a national standard assessment based on industry knowledge.
exam was created in 2018 out of multiple needs from the billing and coding
community. Weíve worked with medical billers for over 20 years and one thing we
realize is that billers can be even better at their job if they understand how
to correctly code. It is a natural progression for medical billers to need to
know about coding. The billing industry is specialized in collecting insurance
payments but most are not coding specialists. As more and more payers apply
artificial intelligence used to single out specific claims for denial, itís become
even more important for medical billers to use every possible and professional
means to collect insurance payments. For billers, learning and applying correct
coding gives them a positive step forward, above and beyond the average biller
or coder. The ability to demonstrate proficiency in coding from an exam
designed specifically to comprehensively test a certificantís knowledge of not
just coding, but applying the guidelines correctly. Our goal was to create a
comprehensive exam that exceeds industry standards and meets the needs of the
medical billers and coders we work with.
We also realize that billers need and want the convenience
of taking a certification exam online. There are no other certifications we are
aware of that offer this convenience. The CMCS Exam is taken online with 10
days to complete it from the time of enrollment. We donít believe that a
certificant should be limited to 5 hours to take an exam. Many people are set
up for failure with other associations based simply on the fact that time is
the biggest issue. We have seen where people had to take and retake their
coding exam multiple times because the time allowed is critical to their
passing. We would much prefer that you have time to find the right guideline to
apply to the right code than to have people miss questions simply due to time
constraints. In the real world of getting claims paid, accuracy wins the race
Two of the biggest coding associations are doing everything
they can to train and certify coders in other countries as quickly as they can.
To them, it is about the money. To us, it is a matter of principle as we are
certain it takes work away from U.S. billers and coders and it makes your
hard-earned credential worth less. They go out of their way to provide free
code books and cheaper pricing to certificants in these offshore countries to
help them become certified. Offshoring work causes a multitude of risks and
issues from patient privacy to reduced standards to language barriers. The
issues are numerous and a definite point of pain to medical billing and coding
professionals we know and respect.
And finally, cost is always a concern for those wanting to
better their skills and demonstrate proficiency. We believe we can be most
cost-effective at providing certificants with a professional credential that
allows more people to become certified without all the high costs that other
We provide multiple free continuing education credits,
making it easier to meet annual recertification requirements. The CMCS requires
15 annual CEUs and all of them can be earned for free! There are 150 questions
that comprehensively cover the entire CPT Code book. Also included are
questions on ICD-10 coding as well as HCPCS coding. It is a thorough exam. Thorough
doesnít have to mean harder Ė but to us, it means comprehensive. Thatís why
weíve covered the CPT book from front to back.
How the Exam Works
The CMCS Exam is taken online through our secure
Learning Management System. You can access it multiple times and our system
will know where you left off. You can answer your question and come back to it if
you need to by clicking on that question in the window below the current exam
question to go back. You will submit all of the answers when you finish and
your score will be provided immediately. You will also be able to print out the
temporary certificate of completion upon passing. You'll have 10 days access to
complete the exam.
Passing the Exam
Upon submission, a final grade will be provided. You can print a temporary
certificate of completion upon passing. Professional CMCS Certificates are mailed
upon completion and arrive in about 3 to 4 weeks. They are valid for one year
from the date you complete the exam. We provide certificates via email after
the original one upon recertification each year.
Two free retakes are
allowed with a mandatory 30 day waiting period between retakes (but not more
than 60 days). You must also complete within a year from your original test date.
& Required Materials
In order to take the
exam, you must be a member of AMBA.
You must have access
to the current yearís HCPCS, CPT, and ICD-10 codes. You can get these codes on
of two ways:
to AMBACode.net or another online coding program. AMBACode includes all three
sets of codes plus more. Get a 28 day free trial. Using this software would
replace the need for you to purchase code books.
∑ Purchasing the
current year's HCPCS, CPT, and ICD-10 Code Books.
have tested this exam with certificants using only the code books or only coding
software and in each case, the certificant was able to pass the exam using only
coding software. The downside to this method is that you will need to view all
the chapter guidelines and it may require you to search and find them. With
AMBACode, the guidelines are included, but you have to click on them to view
For Taking the CMCS Exam
current membership to AMBA
must meet one or more of these qualifications:
or more years of verifiable coding experience
completed an approved coding training program
already earned and are in good standing for one or more of the following
credentials: CMRS, CPC, CPB, CCS or other equivalent coding or billing related
membership to AMBA
also be required to submit 15 continuing education units (CEUs) each year.
Fifty percent of your annual CEUs should be through the association or our pre-approved
Click here for CMCS application