Students in insurance coding certificate programs begin by studying the health information laws regulating the confidentiality of patients' medical records and the ethical implications involved in their use. Courses in data management instruct students in the proper procedures for recording and storing patient information. Finally, students must learn the alphanumeric coding procedures for current procedural terminology (CPT) and international classification of diseases (ICD). Voluntary certification in this field is available through the American Academy of Professional Coders.
Students interested in these programs will need a GED or high school diploma for admission. Schools who offer a skills assessment exam may waive these requirements for applicants with passing scores. Some schools also require applicants to take a placement exam. Students who don't demonstrate math, reading, or writing proficiency may have to take remedial courses before being admitted into certificate coursework.
Certificate in Insurance Coding
Coursework prepares graduates for jobs at hospitals, doctor's offices, emergency rooms, or anywhere else patients receive medical care. Many certificate programs cater to adults and offer the following courses on evenings and weekends:
- Computer software applications
- Medical terminology
- Insurance coding
Salary Info and Employment Outlook
Medical records and health information technicians earned a median annual wage of $37,110 as of May of 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Employment for these positions was expected to rise by 15% between 2014 and 2024.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of a coding certificate program can become Certified Professional Coders (CPC) after passing a written examination given by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). The AAPC also offers 19 other certifications specific to a coder's specialty and can include gastroenterology, orthopedics or emergency room coding credentials. Other organizations offering certification include the Board of Medical Specialty Coding (BMSC) and the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS). While certification is not required, it does demonstrate a coder's professionalism to his or her employer.
Individuals interested in learning how to translate patients' medical conditions and prescribed treatment procedures into designated codes can pursue certificate programs in insurance billing. Graduates have the skills necessary to find employment immediately upon completion and can earn voluntary certification from various organizations.