Apparently, the time it takes to learn medical coding will vary depending on the training program used and also whether you want to obtain certification or a degree. Medical Billing and coding schools include from for profit programs to community colleges and also technical schools. Usually, most employers need certification, however it is not required by the law.
How Long Do You Have to Go to School to be a Medical Coding Specialist?
Now, we are sure that you really want to know information about how long to be a medical coding specialist. To break your curiosity, just read the following text.
Medical coding specialists need a minimum of a high school diploma, but many have post-secondary qualifications or an associate degree. The job needs some knowledge of medical terminology, physiology, anatomy, and biology.
Different medical billing and coding schools have different prerequisites. Thus, you have to talk with an advisor to be sure that you have done the preliminary work. Several college coding courses need the students to have this experience before they register for programs while others do not determine prerequisites. In several cases, the colleges allow the students to study those subjects during the course of their coding studies.
The College Coding Certificate Courses
The Colleges will offer coding programs both on campus and online. The site Colleges and Degrees will list accredited colleges which offer medical billing and coding degrees. For this case, you will be able to check the site for programs in your area.
Several colleges will run hybrid programs which combine the classes with virtual learning. Usually, a class-based medical billing course duration is one year, but several students will be able to finish several programs more quickly if they are able to improve their class schedule. Generally, the classes run in the evenings or afternoons. Also, some are available at weekends and over the summer.
Training of AHIMA and AAPC Coding
AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) and AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) are the two organizations in which the medical coders are able to obtain certification. AHIMA is specially for the inpatient services, while AAPC certifies the medical billing and coding specialists to handle physician services and outpatient claims.
AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) and AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) offer the program of medical coding training. At an introductory level, AHIMA will offer coding basics, a 12-class, online course which the students complete at their own pace. It is highly recommended that the students take three classes at a time across four clusters. It takes about 15 months. AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) will run class-based and online courses. Its online courses usually run at 80 clock hours and the students have four months for completing a course after purchase. The classroom course timings vary, depending on the individual or the company giving the training.
Medical Coding Apprenticeships
Although it is very difficult to get a medical coding apprenticeship, but it is possible to take the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam and obtain the CPC-A designation that identifies you to prospective employers as a medical coding apprentice with less than two years of work experience. A medical coding apprenticeship will give you time to work towards full certification, either via work experience or continuing education units (CEUs).
Requirements for Medical Billing and Coding Certification
Studying to become a medical coding specialist may not take that much time. It is able to take longer to become certified. You have to know that medical billing and coding certification requirements depend on the certifying organization. For instance, AHIMA’s certified coding associate exam needs six months of coding experience, or completion of an approved program of study.
Requirements for Medical Coding Certification in Texas
Medical coding specialists make sure that health care facilities accept compensation and patients and insurance providers are billed accurately. The medical coding specialist will do their job by reviewing medical records, assigning the codes to diagnoses made, and also other pertinent information. Usually, the employers in Texas need medical coders to hold professional certification. To obtain this designation, you have to pass an exam administered by national medical coding organizations.
- Education, Training and Preparation
The site of ExploreHealthCareers shows that there are no set educational requirements to enter the medical coding job. But, many colleges and universities offer short-term certificate programs which assist the students prepare for a national certification exam. For example, Western Tech offers a 14-month medical billing and coding certificate program which prepares the students to take certification exams administered by medical coding organizations.
- Professional Coding Experience
Actually, certifying organizations do not need candidates to have professional coding experience. While you do not need experience to qualify for the medical coding certification exam, you may not qualify for full certification. For instance, AAPC will offer the medical coding apprentice to the candidates with less than two years of experience. For full status, they will need two years of medical coding experience.
- Knowledge about Legal and Medical
To pass the certification exam, the candidates must have knowledge of ICD and other coding rules. Also, they have to demonstrate knowledge of physiology, anatomy, and medical terminology. More than 9,900 codes are utilized in the health care industry, besides the codes pertaining to specific diseases and those that denote medical supplies and services. Aside from that, several organizations also offer certification in specialty areas, such as surgery and obstetrics. For your information, AAPC offers medical coding certifications for specialties such as internal medicine, dermatology, cardiology, gastroenterology and surgery.
- The Process of Testing and Certification
Usually, the organizations of certification organizations are going to evaluate medical coding candidates with a sticky exam to assess their knowledge and their application of medical coding practices. This organization will hold medical billing and coding certification exams in Texas. You are able to find the dates and times of upcoming exams on the AAPC website.