Now That I’m Certified, How Do I Maintain My Certification?

Posted on 02.17.2016

Now that you have your CPC or CCA certification under your belt, what is required to maintain your credential? The answer is to maintain your membership with the certifying organization and complete the required continuing education units (or CEUs). Each organization has different requirements to maintain your certification so you never have to take that CPC or CCA exam again.

CCA Credential from AHIMA
Fees – $185 + $50 yearly
Number of CEUs needed – 20 CEUs every 2 years

The initial recertification cycle for newly credentialed CCAs begins the day after the credential is awarded and runs through the following 2 years as well. So for example: if you obtained your CCA on 6/8/15, you’re cycle would include all of the remainder of 2015 plus the standard 1/1/2016-12/31/2017 calendar year cycle.

CEUs must be earned within your recertification cycle and must be relevant to the health informatics and information management (HIIM) field. AHIMA offers an entire list of examples to give you an idea of what you should be looking for (including a monthly continuing education quiz in the Journal of AHIMA). Keep in mind that 80% of all CEUs must be earned within the HIIM domain and the remaining 20% can include participation in CE activities on topics not relevant to HIIM. (

CPC Credential from AAPC
Fees – $150 yearly
Number of CEUs needed – 36 every 2 years

CEUs must be earned and submitted within your 2-year renewal period. Excess CEUs do not carry over to the next renewal period, and CEUs earned within your renewal month can apply to either the current submission or the next though those earned prior to certification will not be accepted.

You’ll need to complete your CEUs from the AAPC Approved CEU Vendor List. AAPC also offers 1.0 CEU for completing the quiz in each Healthcare Business Monthly magazine.

As you’re completing your AAPC CEU requirements, keep in mind that 25% of all CEU submissions are randomly selected for verification. You should maintain your CEU certificates on file for at least 6 months beyond your renewal date so you have the necessary documentation if you’re selected for CEU verification. (

Are there low cost CEUs available?
Yes, there are a number of low cost CEUs available. Here are a few ideas for you…

  • The Medicare Learning website has several web-based programs for free. Complete the program and post-test with +70% accuracy and you’ll receive 0.5 to 2.0 CEU(s) for each.
  • Completing the quiz in your organization’s monthly magazine can earn you 1 CEU per magazine—so 12 CEUs per calendar year!
  • Attend your local chapter meetings. This will provide 1 to 2 CEUs for each meeting attended.

In addition to offering low-cost CEU options, both completing the monthly magazine and going to the local chapter meetings should just become a regular habit for you as a coder. Valuable information and networking take place at these meetings and it all allows you to stay current as a coder.

If you’re already working as a coder, do you have anything to add to the list? What are your favorite ways to earn CEUs? Share in the comments below!

– Michelle Malquist, CPC, CareerStep Instructor