Q&A: Becoming a coder

Know proper procedures for becoming a certified coder.

Q: I have been a registered medical assistant for 16 years working in a solo primary care physician office. My responsibilities include not only examining room procedures but also billing and collection. I would like to become a certified coder. What is the fastest way to do so?

A: The fastest way to become certified is to go to the American Academy of Professional Coders' Web site ( http://www.aapc.com) and click on "Certification" in the bar at the top of the page. Local chapters all over the country routinely offer the certification exam. The site will include a list of the exams by location. Many chapters offer review courses as well.