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Schools for Aspiring Certified Coders: How to Choose

Certified coders work in the healthcare industry assigning codes to patient files in order to guarantee correct billing to insurance organizations. A certified medical coder has been credentialed by an accredited medical coding association. A number of schools offer an associate's degree or certificate program in medical coding.

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How to Choose a Certified Coder School

Students who want to become certified medical coders can enroll in certificate and associate's degree programs at 2-year community colleges, technical institutes and career colleges.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Job duties
  • Program options
  • Certification preparation

Job Duties

Certified medical coders must be able to identify and code diseases, anesthesias, surgeries, therapies and outpatient procedures. Coders must also have a comprehension of insurance claims and medical terminology. Their primary duty is to serve as a liaison between the insurance company and healthcare facility.

Program Options

An associate's degree program in medical coding can prepare an individual for an entry-level position in certified medical coding. A certificate program in professional coding can help individuals advance in their career and enhance their resume.

Certification Preparation

Individuals can also look for schools that provide programs that will prepare them to sit for the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC) Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam; this inductry certification is required by many employers. Additionally, all programs in medical coding should abide by federal and state regulations. Students seeking programs that offer a mock exam prior to sitting for the true exam can give students an idea of what to expect and study. Individuals may also benefit from programs taught by an AAPC-approved instructor.

Program Overviews for Certified Coders

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Advanced Medical Coding and Billing

This degree program is suitable for students looking to get into the medical coding industry. This degree program introduces students to medical and anatomical terminology and teaches them the basic skills needed for the profession. Coursework may include:

  • Physiology
  • Health information systems
  • Computerized billing
  • Hospital coding
  • Patient access services

Professional Medical Coding Certificate

This certificate program is for individuals who have experience in the coding industry and are familiar with coding terminology and practices. Students may take both health and coding classes. The coursework can include:

  • Human anatomy and biology
  • Coding procedures
  • Diagnosis codes
  • Insurance billing
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