A medical coder is an integral part of a medical facility or doctors office. This position plays a key role in assuring that procedures and diagnoses are properly coded and that patient records contain the coding required for the physician or hospital to receive reimbursement. An individual who becomes a medical coder must have a high level of competence, an eye for detail, organized and exact in their daily work – and of course, they must have effective training in medical coding.
Medical coding training is needed to cope with the complexities of medical coding and billing, and suitable medical coding courses open up job opportunities for you. This page contains further information about the training and where you can obtain it, especially by online and distance learning. If you are interested in this area, you might like to check the Medical Billing page.
What does medical coding training involve?
A person who is considering working in medical coding will need to research the schools that offer programs in this field. The school that you select should provide the broad training and educational opportunities that are required for you to succeed in this career field. The school that you select should have a close relationship to the AHIMA and AAPC and help you to develop the skills and knowledge that will give you the confidence required to succeed at your job. It is a good idea to have a plan for how you will use your certification to expand your opportunities for promotion in this career and are constantly improving your knowledge and skills in the field.
It is possible to obtain medical coding online training. Whether you want a medical coding degree or a certificate program, there are many programs available that are designed to be flexible for an individual who works full-time or for some other reason does not wish to attend campus medical coding classes. However, you may want to participate in a program that offers hand-on practical experience in addition to classroom theory so that you are more ready for the work environment that you will be entering.
An undergraduate degree is not required to participate in this training program. The scope of knowledge required to be a competent Coder requires that an individual complete a structured education program that includes both theory and hands-on praticum. The courses that an individual will be required to take include Medical Terminology, Anatomy, Physiology and disease processes, Pharmacology, technology, healthcare regulations, HIPAA compliance and insurance fraud. In addition, specific classes such as CPT, HCPCS, ICD-9 and ICD-10 are also required to complete the coursework.
A person who receives certification as a coding professional makes 17% more money than a person who enters the profession without the certificate. Certification is achieved by taking a medical coding certification exam provided by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC). There are different certified medical coding levels and a person qualifies to take the examination for the next level when they have added education and work experience.
What are the prospects after completing a medical coding program?
The move toward electronic systems throughout healthcare, makes a career choice as a coding professional a continually growing field. The need for these professionals is in great demand throughout all areas of healthcare including dentistry and some alternative medical clinics. The job outlook for this field is extremely high because of the federal mandates that health care facilities must meet the electronic patient records act within the next few years.
The pay for positions in this career field range from $30,000 – $85,000 annually. There are many opportunities for promotion that lead to director of a coding team. The pay will also vary on whether you are an inpatient coder which is found primarily in hospital and care facilities or an outpatient coder that is found in doctor’s offices and clinics.
List of schools and programs