Medical coding schools all over the country will offer online or on-campus programs. A student will be able to choose from associate’s degree programs or certificate or diploma programs. These medical coding schools will prepare a student for the certification exam, which can be completed after a student has graduated.
Programs Offered at Medical Coding Schools
Before a student enrolls in online medical coding schools, they will need to be educated on the different types of programs available. A certificate program can take six to twelve months to complete, depending on a student’s level of health care experience. The associate’s degree program will typically take eighteen to twenty-four months to complete, with a student earning around eighty to one-hundred credit hours.
Both associate’s degree and certificate programs will encourage a student to take the medical billing and coding certification exam, once they have graduated. This exam is administered by the AHIMA and is an entry level certification for those individuals who are new to this field.
The certificate programs offered at medical coding schools can equip a student with the skills essential for entry level employment, in a variety of medical facilities. The amount of time this program can take to complete will depend on whether a student is enrolled in a part-time or full-time program.
This type of program will usually focus on practical knowledge and theory, in addition to the skill development that’s necessary for employment in the healthcare field. A student will learn about filing insurance claims, how to fill out different types of insurance forms and they’ll also become familiar with using different types of coding systems.
The classes in a certificate program will focus on the clerical and medial components of this career field. Some programs will also offer internships, which will take place at a local medical facility. Some of the core topics offered in a certificate program include the basics of coding, physiology and anatomy, legal issues in the healthcare field, medical terminology and reimbursement in the healthcare field.
A certificate program for medical billing and coding specialists will prepare a graduate to work in a private practice, hospital or clinic, with such titles as medical biller, billing specialist and medical coder.
The AAPC offers a number of credentials for coders who work for outpatient hospitals or doctor’s offices. This type of certifying organization will also offer credentials for billing specialists who process payments.
While certification in this field is not required by any states, most billing and coding specialists will obtain voluntary certification in order to increase their annual salary and employment opportunities.
Which Type of Medical Billing Training Program is Right for you?
Online certificate programs are ideal for students who already have a background working in the healthcare field. Certificate program classes over Medicaid, medical terminology, interpreting explanation of benefits, diagnostic coding and Medicare. A student will use teaching aids such as DVDs and CD-ROMS, as well as video conferencing software and bulletin boards. Most online programs will not feature a practical experience component, however a student will be encouraged to apply at local medical facilities and obtain an internship on their own.
Distance learning degree programs will prepare a student for supervisory or managerial positions in the field, one the coder has obtained experience working in the field. Degree programs will provide students with a more in-depth look at this field and will offer classes that will help a student to prepare for the certification exam. Accelerated programs are available to students who have a degree in a related field.