ACDIS CDI Apprenticeship

The Association of Clinical Documentation Integrity Specialists (ACDIS) is proud to launch a new certificate program for those seeking to enter the clinical documentation profession.

The ACDIS CDI Apprenticeship is a certificate program comprised of foundational CDI education paired with a review of core compliance and ethical principles. Candidates who pass the final exam receive a certificate of CDI foundational training and are allowed to designate themselves as an ACDIS-Approved CDI Apprentice.

Why become an ACDIS CDI Apprentice?

The ACDIS CDI Apprenticeship demonstrates that an individual has foundational CDI knowledge and has familiarity with the ACDIS Code of Ethics and other guiding principles for compliant query practice. Individuals who pass the final examination are allowed to use the designation ACDIS-Approved CDI Apprentice in their resumes, biographical information, or email signatures.

Designation as an ACDIS CDI Apprentice demonstrates to potential employers that an individual has foundational knowledge of CDI.

Pathway to the CCDS credential

The ACDIS CDI Apprenticeship has also been designed as a pathway to future Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS) designation. Candidates interested in obtaining the CCDS credential must fulfill prerequisites, including at least two years of experience in clinical documentation improvement. The ACDIS CDI Apprenticeship can be used as a pathway for progression toward the goal of CCDS certification and those who participate in the ACDIS CDI Apprenticeship will receive regular networking opportunities, special offers on further education, and support to continue on the journey.

What does the ACDIS CDI Apprentice comprise?

The training includes five modules devoted to key concepts and responsibilities of CDI specialists, four modules devoted to clinical conditions that every CDI specialist must master, and one module devoted to core ACDIS guidelines, including the ACDIS Code of Ethics and the AHIMA/ACDIS Guide to Compliant Query Practice.

Each module is followed by a quiz on that module’s topics. Only after successfully passing all 10 modules does an individual receive the certificate stating they have demonstrated knowledge of foundational CDI education.


ACDIS has identified the top topics and clinical conditions new CDI specialists need to learn in order to hit the ground running, as well as the principles they must master to ensure compliant practice. The ACDIS CDI Apprenticeship can be used to:

  • Introduce new CDI specialists to their roles and responsibilities and ensure foundational competence
  • Provide accurate training on important topics and clinical conditions, such as querying and sepsis
  • Save time and resources developing internal training for new employees who are inexperienced with CDI
  • Earn ACDIS (4.5 CEUs), AHIMA (4.5 CEUs), ANCC (4.5 CEUs), and CABRN (5.4 CEUs) continuing education credits

To sign up, please visit our marketplace page. ACDIS members save $100.

More details about the training

The library consists of nine courses total. Five of these courses introduce key concepts and responsibilities of the CDI specialist:

  • Introduction to CDI: Core Concepts and Professional Skills: Defines the roles and responsibilities of the CDI profession and explains its value to the healthcare system
  • Understanding the DRG and IPPS Systems: Describes how to assign MS- and APR-DRGs, how hospitals are paid under the IPPS, and the nuances of the Medicare reimbursement system.
  • Coding Essentials for the CDI Specialist: Provides an overview of principal diagnosis, reportable secondary diagnoses, and ICD-10. Also includes a brief concept overview of present on admission and hospital-acquired conditions.
  • Conducting the Health Record Review: Describes how CDI professionals should interrogate the medical record, identifying which sections are most important, which documentation can be used for coding vs. querying, and where to find clinically relevant data.
  • Introduction to Queries and the Query Process: Provides guidance on how to formulate an effective, compliant query, and reviews major industry developments in query standards and compliance guidance.

ACDIS has also identified four clinical conditions that every CDI specialist must master. The clinical courses in the review the pathophysiology, critical coding guidelines, and documentation requirements for these conditions, as well as providing sample queries. The courses are:

  • Documentation Requirements for Sepsis: Explains the difference between SIRS and sepsis, identifies clinical indicators for sepsis, and discusses the AHA sepsis coding guidelines.
  • Documentation Requirements for CHF: Differentiates between heart failure type and acuity, and explains the AHA coding guidelines for heart failure.
  • Documentation Requirements for Acute Respiratory Failure: Identifies the clinical indicators and explains AHA coding guidelines for respiratory failure.
  • Documentation Requirements for Malnutrition: Differentiates between the types of malnutrition, identifies the diagnostic characteristics for adult malnutrition, and explains the AHA malnutrition coding guidelines.

Finally, ACDIS has created a module featuring core ACDIS principles and guidelines that provide guidance for practicing in a compliant manner. The module features:

  • AHIMA/ACDIS Guidelines for Achieving a Compliant Query Practice
  • ACDIS Code of Ethics
  • ACDIS Position Paper: Defining the CDI Specialist’s Roles and Responsibilities
  • ACDIS White Paper: Cornerstone of CDI Success: Build a Strong Foundation

Each course in the library is highly interactive, with voice-over narration, and includes “Test Your Knowledge” questions throughout to reinforce major concepts. In addition, each course concludes with a final exam consisting of 10 multiple-choice questions to ensure that the user has mastered the content.

To sign up, please visit our marketplace page. ACDIS members save $100.