Medical coders are bound to fulfill many of the unique roles in the healthcare industry. Without medical Coding done correctly, medical billing will not be done consistently throughout the hospital system. Have you decided to become a medical coder? If so, you should know what to follow. Which Medical Coding Certification is Right for You? Read on to learn about certification options and what you need.
Medical coders are professionals who review and process medical claims and procedures for healthcare organizations. If you are also a medical coder, it is essential to have certification as a qualification. Getting medical coding certification can be challenging if you have no coding experience.
You can build your chances of getting a job by completing the certification. One of the main tasks of the diploma is to become familiar with the terminology and expected healthcare procedural coding levels currently used among medical professionals.
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What is Medical Coding Certification?
We can present the certification as a high standard in the medical coding industry. There are several certifications to choose from before entering the medical coding profession. But three of the most common certifications are still in use. Namely, Certified Professional Coding (CPC), Certified Coding Specialist (CCS), and Certified Medical Coding.
However, whichever certification you complete, your duties may vary depending on your chosen healthcare setting. Therefore, if you are a certification aspirant, remember that it is essential to choose one that suits your future goals.
Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)
Among the medical code sets, these are the medical codes we use to record procedures and services. Accrediting organizations and doctors report diagnoses and surgical procedures to insurance companies.
- ICD – 10 CM
Specialists use this Coding to classify symptoms, procedures, and procedures in the United States hospital system.
It is based on the American Medical Association’s CPT code set. Also, it is a set of healthcare procedure codes.
In addition, there are three coding systems belonging to CPT and HCPCS. We consider them as three levels. That is, Level 1 codes are CPT fields that are transitive. Also, Level 2 codes are HCPCS alphanumeric codes used for non-medical procedures. And Level 3 codes are Medicaid and Medicare-developed codes. They use them in specific jurisdictions and programs.
Several associate and certificate programs operate at local levels. You can also find many programs that offer medical coding skills. Among them, you can get Medical Coding Certification from a program recognized by the US Department of Labor.
Additionally, a recognized certification from a program accredited by the Centers for Medicare or Medicaid Services or the National Commission for Certification Agencies is also ideal.
What is the difference between a Certificate and a Certification?
You receive a Certificate when you meet predetermined criteria established by a professional credentialing organization. Also, you have to pay an exam fee, face various tests and exams and renew the certificate after a certain period in a Certification.
We call a certificate an academic document that shows that you have completed a course in a particular field. You can earn the certificate by enrolling in a certificate program at any recognized educational institution of your choice.
Is a coding certificate an essential qualification?
You don’t have to obtain a medical coding certification to obtain a position as a coder. But, in any profession, you have the opportunity to move up the job based on accreditation. And employers are always looking for certified coders. Assurance is essential for higher career opportunities, promotions, salary increases, etc.
Why should you get a Medical Coding Certification?
We mentioned to you earlier that certification is not essential. But, if you want to be sure, be aware of its benefits.
- Get more salary.
- Improve professional relationships
- Improve work flexibility.
- Increase in employment opportunities
- Career Advancement
- The abundance of educational opportunities
- Also, choose the option to work remotely from home if you want.
Types of Medical Coding Certificates
Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
Earning your Certified Professional Coding Certificate (CPC) is an excellent way to go if you are interested in working in a doctor’s office or outpatient clinic. This certification is offered to you by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). CPC certification also gives you the potential to earn $25,000 more than other annual salaries.
Prerequisites for CPC: Associate degree from a recognized institution and experience in medical Coding.
Students must be current members of AAPC to be eligible for this exam. And they also have to pay an exam fee. A fee of $399 per student is required to appear for the CPC exam. Also, completing the CPC exam does not make you a certified professional coder. If you have not gained professional experience in that field, you will get a CPC – Certificate when you take the exam. It is a certification that a Vritiya Apprentice receives.
To become fully CPC certified, you must have at least two years of professional experience. In addition, you must submit another letter of recommendation to AAPC.
To complete the certification, you must have an overall score of 70 on the exam. And there’s one more thing you should keep in mind. More than 80% of the candidates appearing for this exam have passed the bridge round.
More about CPC:
Certified Professional Coder CPC Certification Exam
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Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)
The Certified Coding Specialist certification is essential if you are also considering starting a medical coding career in residential treatment centers. This certification is accredited by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). These codes allow medical providers to receive reimbursement from insurance companies and government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Prerequisites for CCS: To appear in the CCS exam: it is essential to have at least one of the many qualifications.
- Control of a degree or diploma from a medical coding training program
- CCA credential and one-year medical coding experience
- Having two years of medical coding experience
If you also want to appear for the CCS exam, you must be a member of AHIMA. You will have to pay $299 as an exam fee if you are a member. Otherwise, you may have to pay $399. In this exam, you have to cover four main sections: coding documentation, regulatory compliance, supplier inquiries, and coding knowledge and skills.
Here, the coding knowledge and skills section is in the range of 51.9% of questions. The passing mark for this exam is 300. The CCS exam consists of a multiple-choice section and a medical case section.
Certified Medical Coder (CMC)
It is a more recognized certification than CPC and CSC. The CMC certification is offered to you by the Performance Management Institute (PMI). As the research model here is quite different from others, it is widely accepted that it is difficult. This certification is ideal if you also decide to do medical Coding in the outpatient setting.
Prerequisites for CMC certification
To apply for the exam: it’s essential to have at least one year of professional experience in medical Coding. PMI has introduced a beginner’s palette for less experienced coders. PMI also offers preparation courses for CMC. But it is not a prerequisite for the exam.
There is no multiple-choice format for the CMC exam. Instead, candidates should assess the chances. And you will get that CMC exam in a live, projection background. It consists of 21 hours of training exercises. To complete the certification, you must score at least 70% on the exam. There are several benefits that you may be entitled to if you earn CMC. that is,
Maintains good communication with physicians, payers, patients, and business associates at CMC, monitoring and charting audit opportunities.
CMC reduces claim denials. It also protects practical financial health by keeping bills accurate and up-to-date.
Certified Inpatient Clinic (CIC)
This certification is the only credential for inpatient facility coding. The American Academy of Professional Coders accredits it. Also, you can do inpatient coding through this certificate.
For that, career candidates need to know about medical and residency procedures. Also, they should know the ICD-10-PCS methods and the correct application of ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes.
Candidates have 60 multiple-choice questions and more for this exam. It may take 5 hours and 40 minutes to complete the exam. Also, you can get the exam for $399 with one free retake. And if you are an AAPC student, it will cost you $325.
Certified Outpatient Coding (COC)
This certificate was earlier known as CPC – H. The American Academy of Professional Coders accredits it. It is essential for hospital groups, billing, ambulatory surgery centers, and coding departments.
The exam consists of 150 varieties of choice questions and will take 5 and 40 minutes to complete. The exam can cost you $399. Also, for AAPC students, that value can be $325.
How to choose the best certificate for you?
You can choose any required certification depending on the field you want to pursue. Several medical coding certifications are available, and selecting the best one can be confusing.
It is essential to ensure that you are only in the setup you wish to work. The certification demonstrates a crucial foundational knowledge of medical Coding. Medical coders also can obtain multiple certificates under different criteria.
Consider total cost, career goals, and learning environment when choosing the proper certification for you. The best medical coding certification offers candidates different certification options based on their experience level and budget. You can choose the best medical coding certification by studying the below steps.
Study the training schedule
Most certifications only require you to register for an exam. However, some programs may require candidates to undergo in-person training. Here you should choose the program according to your schedule and career requirements.
Choose one that suits your budget.
If you are already a more experienced professional, you may need a certificate to advance further in the profession. But many can be expensive. Therefore, you should first focus on getting a cheap low-end certificate. After that, you can use free budgeting apps to get a costly guarantee while managing your money.
Focus on career goals
Specific coding certifications allow you to become a healthcare business professional without prior experience. Specific certification programs focus on risk adjustment, practice management, and medical claims denial. You can become a highly experienced professional coder or pass the certification exam after training with AAPC.
Check out the best medical coding certifications for beginners.
If you’re new to the profession, the best medical coding certifications for you are the Certified Professional Coder (CPC), Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-Based, and Certified Medical Coder certifications. These certifications primarily test medical coding principles. That’s why those certifications are great for entry-level medical coders.
Medical coding certification programs
When you start medical Coding professionally, it may not require a specific academic degree. However, earning a certificate from an accredited college program is essential to realizing your worth as you move forward.
Currently, most universities and colleges offer medical coding certification. Also, those guarantees are separate from your promises in our letter. You cannot get a medical coding degree or master’s degree through these colleges.
But from such colleges, you can get degrees related to subjects like health information technology or health information management. They include entry-level courses on Medical Coding. We have listed some such institutions below.
Medical Coding Schools: Accredited Medical Billing and Coding Schools 2022
Accreditation – Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education, Higher Learning Commission
Duration of Study: 5 semesters for AAS and eight semesters for BS.
Tuition Cost: Michigan residents pay $836 per credit, and non-Michigan residents pay $565 per credit.
Through Davenport University, students have the option of a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Technology or a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management.
Also, if a student chooses to complete the BS, they can prepare for the Registered Health Information Administrator exam offered through AHIMA. The campus of this university is located in Grand Rapids, MI. However, the school’s health information programs are available online.
Students can choose three specializations in the undergraduate program. They are,
- Revenue Management
- Cancer registration
- Global Project Management
Graduates acquire the basic skills to become medical professionals through courses such as ICD coding and CPT coding. The number of credits for the AAS degree is 69, and the number of credits for the BS is 120.
The entire curriculum here has anatomy and physiology, along with human diseases. In addition, medical terminology, health information technology, etc., may be included.
California State University
Accreditation – Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Total study time – 390 clock hours
Tuition fee – $3,699
This program is also another place that offers certification for medical farmers. It provides this certificate to students in association with CareerStep. It may take you 390 hours to complete the training here. As part of the certificate program, students study topics related to health information management.
Also, medical terminology, ICD-10 Coding, health care delivery systems, and advanced ICD-10 Coding are covered.
Apart from this, additional PCS training is also included in the studies. It is precious. Most entry-level coding certifications do not have this training.
Accreditation – Higher Learning Commission
Entire study period – 12 months for the certificate and 24 months for AAS
Tuition Fee: Cowley residents pay $114 per loan. Residents of other states pay $173 per loan.
The college offers students this medical coding certificate program as part of its Health and Human Services affiliate health programs. Also, depending on eligibility, anyone can earn a medical coding certificate or AAS degree through Cowley College.
The AAS program consists of 65 credits. Also, the Vocational Certificate consists of 36 credits. Its curriculum may include pharmacology, bioethics, health informatics, and pathology. After completing these courses, you can prepare for a career as a medical coder.
Western Governors University
Accreditation – Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education, Northwest Colleges and Universities
The total duration of the study – is 24 to 36 months.
Tuition fee – $15,180
You can take a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management from this university. It is a four-year online program, and students who complete it can qualify as Registered Health Information Administrators. You must have a diploma to apply for this program.
In addition, you should have experience in healthcare and information technology. One year of administrative healthcare-related work experience or revenue cycle industry certification is also essential.
There are 36 courses in the entire curriculum of these studies. Among them may be the introduction of medical Coding, healthcare environmental practices, financial resource management, and pathology.
Minnesota Western Community College
Accreditation – Higher Learning Commission
The total duration of study – 1 year
Tuition Fee – $200.85 per leader
This college offers you an online medical coding specialist course. The full diploma will cost you one year. After completing it, students can earn their associateship as medical scribes within the same institution. The curriculum comprises 34 units and may include medical terminology in health care, diagnosis, pharmacology, health records, and many other subjects.
Students are given knowledge about document integration and word processing and the concepts of telecommunications and graphics.
Other resources needed for the medical coding certification exam
In addition to the best programs we’ve listed above, you’ll also need resources like books and webinars to prepare for the coding exam. I have listed the top of them below.
Advanced Coding and Auditing Bootcamp – $299
This course covers areas such as Coding of services, coding errors in physician reimbursement and analysis of patient data, and self-audit protocols. You can use the relevant code set and manuals to understand these lessons better.
After you have covered the entire program, relevant syllabus information is available online for up to 6 months.
It is ideal for professional engineers and coders looking to increase efficiency and reduce operational risk.
E /M Chart Audit Workshop – $299
This comprehensive workshop verifies claims submission through medical audit procedures and charts documentation. It is best suited for medical consultants and office managers who need to know the criteria for making medical claims decisions.
ICD -10 – CM 2022 Complete Official Code Book – $115
It mainly covers sections on American Hospital Association (AHA) Coding clinic referrals. Also, this book contains updated coding guidelines and the latest code related to significant complexities. Here, colors are represented by symbolic segment structures for colorists to find information quickly.
Clinical Coding Exercise – $89.95
It is a practice book for skill development with an analysis of odd-numbered solutions. It is designed according to the guidelines of the American Health Association. It has over 1,000 practice coding exercises. They cover topics such as disease management, classification of body systems, etc.
2022 HCPCS Level 2, Professional Edition – $94.95
It is an excellent guide to modern Healthcare Common Practices and Coding System (HCPCS) codes. It includes coding regulations, reimbursement claims, patient data reporting methods, and significant ICD-10 codes. It is best suited for health reimbursement specialists and those seeking to understand Coding.
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