CCDS Certification

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CCDS Certification

Product Code: CCDS

As of 9/25/19, ACDIS is no longer accepting paper applications. Please use the online form available at

About the Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS) Credential

Clinical documentation specialists understand a wide range of specialized disciplines, including education in anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology; knowledge of official medical coding guidelines, CMS, and private payer regulations related to the Inpatient Prospective Payment System; an ability to analyze and interpret medical record documentation and formulate appropriate physician queries; and an ability to benchmark and analyze clinical documentation program performance. The Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS) credential is a mark of distinction for this unique profession. Applicants who pass the exam receive the designation CCDS.

Mission statement

The mission of the CCDS credential is to elevate the professional standing of clinical documentation specialists. The program draws from experienced clinical documentation specialists in the field to establish criteria for competency in the broad and multidisciplinary bodies of knowledge clinical documentation specialists must possess. These include knowledge of healthcare and coding regulations; anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathophysiology; proficiency in medical record review; communication and physician query techniques; and data mining and reporting functions.

Objectives of certification

The objectives of the Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist program are to:

  1. Provide special recognition to those clinical documentation specialists who demonstrate mastery of an acquired body of knowledge and skills in clinical documentation improvement through successful completion of the certification process
  2. Promote documentation and medical records integrity by helping clinical documentation specialists define and obtain the requisite knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill their responsibilities
  3. Support compliance efforts by promoting a Code of Ethics for clinical documentation improvement specialists
  4. Assist hospitals and healthcare entities in identifying individuals with substantive knowledge, experience, and skills in clinical documentation improvement for the benefit of their organization

Certification is valid for two years from the date of the exam and may be renewed according to the process spelled out in the Recertification page.

Employers who wish to determine whether an individual holds a valid certification can find a comprehensive list at

Get Started

Read the CCDS requirements web page here and verify that you meet education and work experience eligibility requirements. Apply using the online application form at

Requirements for recertification are on the ACDIS website here:

Want some more information about the certification process? Watch this free webinar with two of ACDIS' expert CDI education specialists on the topic!

Looking for additional resources? Get the CCDS Exam Prep Guide here!

Want a more in-depth preparation option? Take one of our CCDS Exam Prep Boot Camps, virtually or online at your own pace!

If a candidate fails the exam, they may take it again after waiting 90 days from the date of the failed exam. ACDIS will discount the exam fee to $125 for the first retake only. Subsequent attempts to pass the exam will be at full price.

Need a replacement copy of your certification certificate? Contact Customer Central at There is a $25 replacement certification fee.

Contact us

If you have questions about the CCDS certification program, CLICK HERE or contact the program at:

233 N. Michigan Ave., 21st Floor
Chicago, IL 60601-5809

Tel: 877-240-6586
Web site: