Now is the Time to Add ICD10 Coding, 
Documentation Review and
Revenue Integrity to your
Nursing Career!

Association of Clinical Coders & Auditors

About AACCA Credential Process

Why Get Certified?

The simple answer is that to remain compliant with the Federal Government and competitive in the US healthcare industry, you must be certified in coding and medical chart review.  Whether you work for a hospital, a health insurer, a government agency, or a Recovery Audit Contractor – you must be certified according to the various compliance programs published by the Office of the Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services.  (see links below).


The bar has been raised in the US healthcare industry by required HIPAA standards – and with the advent of ICD-10-CM, the bar will be raised even higher.  Why?  How?  Because in order to implement such a substantially larger, more clinically sophisticated system of diagnosis coding for tracking morbidity and mortality, the industry will require the services of specially-trained, Certified RN-Coders to train, supervise and monitor non-clinical personnel in compliant and correct ICD-10 coding of inpatient services and procedures, and inpatient/outpatient diagnoses.


Medical groups, hospitals, insurers, government agencies are all gearing up to hire the most skilled and knowledgeable individuals available – and with the NEW ICD10 coding system – everyone is learning.  Thus requirements like “5 years coding experience” will be irrelevant.


Professional certifications from AACCA offer potential employers another screening tool which have the backing of the only credentialing organization specially created and managed by clinical personnel.   The American Association of Clinical Coders and Auditors is the ONLY organization in the United States testing and certifying nurses, physicians, physical therapists, paramedics, etc. in compliant coding and conducting chart reviews – and the ONLY organization which has always provided computer-based testing with immediate test results. 


AACCA was founded in 2003 by the Founding Board of Directors, Masters-prepared Registered Nurses who wrote the initial bank of multiple-choice exam questions.  This unique group came together spontaneously to provide the nation’s only program to systematically test and certify clinical personnel in coding under federal compliance programs.

AACCA Test Validity

Many instructors dislike preparing and grading exams, and most students dread taking them. Yet tests are powerful educational tools that serve at least four functions. First, tests help evaluate candidates and assess whether they are learning what they are expected to learn. Second, well-designed tests serve to motivate and help candidates structure their academic efforts. Crooks (1988), McKeachie (1986), and Wergin (1988) report that students study in ways that reflect how they think they will be tested. If they expect an exam focused on facts, they will memorize details; if they expect a test that will require problem solving or integrating knowledge, they will work toward understanding and applying information. Third, tests can help instructors understand how successfully we are presenting the material. Finally, tests can reinforce learning by providing students with indicators of what topics or skills they have not yet mastered and should concentrate on. 

An examination is the most comprehensive form of testing, typically given at the end of the term as a final.  A certification examination, while not as extensive as a licensing examination, demonstrates a candidate’s ability to comprehend, interpret and implement a particular strategy of requirements.

 A test is valid if its results are appropriate and useful for making decisions about an aspect of students' achievement (Gronlund and Linn, 1990). Technically, validity refers to the appropriateness of the interpretation of the results and not to the test itself, though colloquially we speak about a test being valid. Validity is a matter of degree and considered in relation to specific use or interpretation (Gronlund and Linn, 1990). For example, the results of a writing test may have a high degree of validity for indicating the level of a student's composition skills, a moderate degree of validity for predicting success in later composition courses, and essentially no validity for predicting success in mathematics or physics. Validity can be difficult to determine. A practical approach is to focus on content validity, the extent to which the content of the test represents an adequate sampling of the knowledge and skills taught in the course. If the test is designed to cover information in lectures and readings in proportion to their importance in the course, then the interpretations of test scores are likely to have greater validity An exam that consists of only a few difficult items, however, will not yield valid interpretations of what students know.

A test is reliable if it accurately and consistently evaluates a candidate's performance. The purest measure of reliability would entail having a group of students take the same test twice and get the same scores (assuming that we could erase their memories of test items from the first administration). This is impractical, of course, but there are technical procedures for determining reliability. In general, ambiguous questions, unclear directions, and vague scoring criteria threaten reliability. Very short tests are also unlikely to be highly reliable. It is also important for a test to be balanced: to cover most of the main ideas and important concepts in proportion to the emphasis they received in class.

Multiple-choice tests. Multiple-choice items can be used to measure both simple knowledge and complex concepts. Since multiple-choice questions can be answered quickly, a candidate’s mastery of many topics can be assessed quickly and easily.  In addition, the items can be easily and reliably scored.


All professions have specialized skills.  Isn’t that why you became a Registered Nurse or a Medical Doctor?  Those licensed mean that you have demonstrated clinical competency in a variety of areas.   Coding of medical documentation is not usually included in a clinical skill set, so you need a credential which demonstrates your basic ability to reliably read a patient’s chart, interpret what procedures or diagnoses are documented, and apply the appropriate code to demonstrate a “clinical picture” of the patient’s current clinical situation.  In short, AACCA certification is an investment in your career and your future earning capability – just like your clinical license!


You can become a Certified RN-Coder (CRN-C) and/or a Certified RN-Auditor (CRN-A).  First, you must become a member of AACCA.  Then you must complete a qualified education program or demonstrate that you have at least one year experience in coding and documentation review.  You may provide a letter from your employer or a Certificate of Completion from a program such as the RN-Coder Institute or the RN-Auditor Institute.


Remember, these are the ONLY credentials available to clinical personnel desiring to demonstrate their capability in these areas.  It is very important to understand that you are coming into a chaotic time in the history of the US healthcare system.  Many far-reaching, technically-sophisticated situations are at hand including new electronic claims formats (January 2012), new electronic healthcare record requirements (ongoing), and implementation of ICD10 (October 2013) .  Registered Nurses and physicians must step up to the challenge to assure correct coding remains the standard.  And who best to read a patient’s chart, request clarification from the physician if necessary, and apply the correct codes than a Registered Nurse or another physician?


No other coding credentialing organization has tailored its testing process specifically for clinical personnel, many of whom have advanced college degrees.  Other groups, not affiliated with a national credentialing organization such as the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), have designed their coding certification exams for high school graduates with two years’ coding experience or an associate degree in health information management.  These other organizations have not provided for the testing needs of clinical professionals seeking knowledge and certification in the highly-regulated environment of the US healthcare industry. 


If you want:

  • To demonstrate your advanced knowledge of coding and documentation review
  • To gain instant professional  credibility
  • To stand head and shoulders above the competition
  • To increase your earnings potential

Join the American Association of Clinical Coders and Auditors today!



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