Featured Online Medical Coding Programs
Medical coding and billing professionals are doing a great job in the healthcare industry. First, they translate a patient’s diagnosis, strategies performed, and medicines ordered. Then, they use a globally accepted set of codes to record health information accurately and reimburse medical care providers.
If you like to work as a medical coder in the industry, within just 12 months, you can earn medical coding certification online through many authorized diploma and degree programs.
Every time a patient visits a doctor, he notes down the patient’s medical history, along with his symptoms, diagnosis, medicines ordered, and finally, any strategies performed. A medical coder’s job is to translate this communication into a set of codes. Next, a medical biller will claim the insurance agency build on these codes. Finally, after the insurance agency checks down the claim, the biller will confirm it and let know the patient of the balance amount they owe.
In few words, a medical coder and biller work sequentially to make sure that a medical care provider is making the repayment. As a result, the professional demand for medical coders is expecting to increase in this decade.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that medical care professionals are growing at 8 percent, much faster than the national average for all careers. Between 2019 and 2029, nearly 30,000 new positions will be available in hospitals, physicians’ offices, clinics, and medical care administration.
Various reference books help medical coders do their works, like the CPT- Current Procedural Terminology and the ICD-10-CM -International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification.
To start a job as a medical coder, you should complete training over a certificate program. There are many online training certificate programs. Next, you should obtain certification from the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC), like the Certified Professional Coder (CPC), Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC), and Certified Outpatient Coder (COC).
Medical coding certification can earn online in less than two years. Students become familiar with medical coding terms and software and code manuals by completing the certificate. Many courses have physician-based medical coding, medical billing, medical terminology, sectional anatomy, reimbursement systems, and the legal side of medical care.
How much can earn a coder who has a Graduate Degree in Medical Coding
Medical coding specialists use medical classification software to code medical diagnoses and strategies for many areas of healthcare like insurance claims and repayment, databases, health statistics, research, and medical histories.
Medical coding specialists are mutual workers between healthcare facilities and billing departments. They are employing in clinical offices, insurance agencies, or as independent workers. Some professionals might even run their medical coding businesses.
Bureau of Labor Statistics said there will be an 11% increase in career for medical coding between 2018 and 2028, which is more than twice that of the assumed growth for all jobs in the U.S. Medical coders make a salary of nearly $42,000, with some earning almost $65,000 a year.
How to Become a Medical Coding Specialist
Students who hope to start their medical coding education can enroll in a certificate program or an associate program. Both programs provide relatively quick pathways to a medical coding career.
Medical Coding Certificate Program
Community colleges, technical colleges, and vocational schools offer various certification programs in medical coding. Through these certification programs, students can learn to match symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments with correct standardized codes. Usually, students can complete a medical coding certificate program within 9-12 months.
Coding classes instruct students to use the CPT, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), and the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS). Other courses may cover anatomy, billing, medical office technology, medical terminology, physiology, and reimbursement methodologies.
Many online medical coding certificate programs only need students to finish coursework fixed to medical coding; this is different from associate programs, which include general education classes and take a more extended period to complete.
However, credits earned in a certification program frequently transfer to an assistant program, should a student follow that option. Generally, the higher the educational level achieved, the higher the salary for medical coding specialists.
Several schools and colleges offer online certificate programs. These provide more flexible, appropriate, and low-cost options to traditional on-campus programs. Students must confirm their prospective school holds regional authorization or that an agency like the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) or American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) authorize the program.
Associate Degree in Medical Coding
An associate degree in medical coding commonly takes nearly two years to earn. The coursework generally includes the same fundamental classes as a certificate program: anatomy and physiology; billing and repayment; and medical office coding, technology, and terminology.
In addition, however, it also features general education credits (e.g., accounting, business communication, and leadership development courses) that may prepare graduates for entry-level positions in management or administration. Some programs might also offer specializations like health information technology.
As with a certificate program, to confirm credit transferability and a smooth path to professional certification, students must select a regionally accredited technical or community college or a program accredited by AAPC or AHIMA. Students who already hold a certificate might be able to transfer credits toward an associate degree. Associate degree credits also transfer to bachelor’s programs in many cases.
An associate degree can guide students for many job opportunities, career places with more responsibility, and higher income. As a result, some companies like to hiring associate degree-holders rather than applicants with only certificates. In addition, AAPC recommends earning an associate degree before taking the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam.
What Is Certification?
Certification and certificate are two different terms in medical coding. Certification comes about after a student has finished a diploma or associate degree program. Generally, certified coders have more career opportunities and higher salaries than other coders.
The AAPC and AHIMA, two organizations that certify medical coding programs, also allow professional certification in medical coding. Additionally, AAPC offers general and specialized diplomas, including inpatient coding, outpatient coding, and risk adaptation coding.
The AAPC certification task includes taking the CPC exam and employing the medical field for 24 months with 80 credit hours of coder learning. The exam fees are around $450 and have 150 multiple-choice questions finished within six hours. Topics include coding procedures and rules, CPT codes, and standard guidelines. Medical coders should also complete 36 continuing learning units every two years to maintain their AAPC medical coding certifications.
AHIMA offers certifications for certified coding associates, certified coding specialists, and physician-certified coding specialists. Applicants should pass an examination that regarding the certificate they are following. In addition, candidates must complete MCQ or medical essay questions in 2-4 hours, depending on the exam level. In addition, AHIMA needs medical coders to earn 22 continuing learning units every two years to carry on their certification.
Career Advancement for Medical Coding Specialists
Medical coding specialists often work for a few years to have experience before achieving advanced certification or a more advanced degree. Some may select to follow a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, guiding them to higher-level management positions. The following programs are related subjects that are important in medical coding career advancement.
- MEDICAL ASSISTING PROGRAMS
- ONLINE HEALTH ADMINISTRATION PROGRAMS
- ONLINE ULTRASOUND TECH PROGRAMS
- ONLINE RESPIRATORY THERAPY PROGRAMS
- ONLINE NURSING PROGRAMS
- ONLINE CNA PROGRAMS
- ONLINE LPN/LVN PROGRAMS
- ONLINE REGISTERED NURSES PROGRAMS
Here I mention the five best schools for online medical coding programs.
WVJC offers an Online Medical Coding degree program to meet the career goals of a medical coder and the needs of employers. In addition, professional certifications are a great way to improve a coder’s marketability to employers.
This Online Medical Coding degree program prepares students to be job-ready in months. Still, it also prepares students for certification exams that can strengthen their interests in the job market. By completing WVJC’s online medical coding degree, students can sit for the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC) certification.
- Northwest Technical College
Northwest Technical College has an online certification in medical coding. The online program contains 30 credit hours, including medical office strategies, billing tasks, ICD-10-CM, medical terms, and pathophysiology.
Most of the credits earned in this certificate program are valid for the 60-credit associate of applied science (AAS) degree or the 40-credit medical coding diploma. Therefore, this program is perfect for students who wish to start their careers in the medical coding field. In addition, graduates of this online program are qualified for starting their careers in medical care organizations.
- Moraine Park Technical College
Moraine Park Technical College offers an online medical coding technical diploma. The program consists of 30 credit hours. This coursework includes medical terminology, ICD coding, fundamentals of anatomy, digital learning for medical care, advanced coding, medical care repayment, and CPT coding.
Students can sit for the national CCA (Clinical Coding Associate) certification exam through the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) and the American Health Information Management Association’s CCS (National Clinical Coding Specialist) examination by completing this online diploma successfully.
- Central Maine Community College
Central Maine Community College offers an online associate degree (AAS) and a certificate in medical coding and e-medical records. Both degrees are online programs.
The AAS degree includes 60 to 62 credit hours, and the certificate contains 28 to 32 credit hours. This degree program includes courses in anatomy and physiology, medical terms, CPT coding, and ICD coding. In addition, the certificate comprises of introduction to computer applications, medical specializations, CPT coding, ICD coding, and claim procedure.
- Indiana Hills Community College
Indian Hills Community College offers a complete online diploma in medical and insurance coding. This online diploma consists of 45 credit hours. The subjects include fundamental anatomy and physiology, medical terms, the importance of medical records, health law and ethics, ICD-10 coding, repayment methods, CPT coding, and practical coding application.
Students can take the certified coding assistant (CCA) exam by completing the online diploma.