Could I Pass the CPC or CCS Exams without a Two- or Four-Year Degree?

Question: (From Tara) I see a lot of postings for careers in coding and billing. I was wondering if I bought and studied the appropriate books, could I possibly pass the CPC and CCS exams without a two- or four-year degree?

Dear Tara,

I applaud your decision to potentially pursue a career in medical coding, as it is a great profession, with excellent salary and long-term stability in the health care industry.

In answer to your question, you could potentially pass the exams this way, but the best way to pass these exams without obtaining a two- or four-year degree is to take the AAPC’s or AHIMA’s online or classroom setting preparation courses. Many certified coding professionals choose this option, as it allows them to obtain the required credential(s) to work in this rewarding industry and not to have to spend a lot of money or time for a two- or four-year college prior to obtaining a coding credential.

I often recommend this route to potential billing and coding professionals and also recommend that once they become certified and have found a position in the industry, to then pursue a two- or four-year degree and the financial impact will be less as they will already be making a great salary as a certified professional in the industry.

The following information is provided by the AAPC’s website and gives a breakdown of how one can either take the course online or via traditional classroom learning.

Online Learning

Online learning offers flexibility to learn at your own pace and from the comfort of your home or office. Each course is divided into learning modules and quizzes at the end in order to assess an individual’s progress.

Benefits of AAPC Online Medical Coding & Billing Courses:

  • Work with certified personal coaches through the courses
  • Students are better prepared for the AAPC’s rigorous CPC and/or CPC-H medical coding examinations
  • Can be completed within a four-month period or less from date of course purchase

Benefits of Classroom Learning

Students in classroom courses are taught by AAPC-approved instructors who have been trained in the AAPC’s exclusive Professional Medical Coding Curriculum (PMCC). Students experience the following benefits:

  • Group interaction: Meet and network with other medical coding students and professionals
  • Local AAPC expert classroom instructors: Get personal instruction and assistance

Overall Benefits of AAPC Medical Billing and Coding Prep Courses

  • 82% of students who have completed these courses pass the exam, with an astounding 90% that pass on the first attempt
  • Prepares students for the AAPC CPC exam
  • Teaches fundamental coding skills for an outpatient physician setting
  • Textbook, workbook, and 12 hours of audio lectures are included in the price
  • 30% higher pass rate than other CPC prep courses
  • Qualifies for college credit for students of the University of Phoenix (for those who wish to pursue a college degree post certification)

Average Costs

  • Course + exam + 3 practice exams = $1,195 (Members)
  • Course – $1,895-1,995 (Members)


For more information from the AAPC and exam preparation courses, please click here.

I say go for it, and if you wish to pursue a college degree post-certification, you still can and you will have credits towards a degree from University of Phoenix additionally, if you take the prep course from the AAPC.

Happy Coding!