About the CCDS Certification

The CCDS credential provides a mark of distinction for this unique profession. Applicants who pass the certifying exam receive the designation CCDS. Learn more about the CCDS certification in our Exam Candidate Handbook.

Interested in learning more about the certification process? Watch this free webinar with two of ACDIS' expert CDI education specialists on the topic!

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; CMS quality programs and reportable diagnoses that impact quality metrics, and data mining and reporting functions.

Who are Clinical Documentation Specialists?

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
  • An ability to benchmark and analyze clinical documentation program performance

Objectives of certification

The objectives of the CCDS program are to:

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

ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®

ACDIS is proud that our credential was recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program® for many years. The Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS) credential was developed through academically rigorous and ethically sound processes that meet all industry standards. Beginning January 2024, the Magnet Recognition Program made the decision to only recognize credentials that have been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC) or the National Commission Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

It is neither feasible or viable for ACDIS to undergo the application and accreditation process for such designation. We encourage all who are affected by this to voice their concerns with the ANCC directly in the hopes that they will reconsider.