A medical coding degree is also known as a medical records degree. Medical coding degrees allow you to have a profession as a medical coder, medical record keeper, health information technician, or a medical classifier. Medical coding is a healthcare profession that is concerned with the proper keeping and classification of records, which is incredibly important due to the large amount of data that is depended on for certain ailments and diseases. The field goes under the radar many times because careers in the medical field mostly focus on becoming doctors, nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other high-paying and high-profile positions.
What exactly does the job entail and how can a degree be attained in medical coding? Below we’ve outlined some of the most crucial information to keep in mind when entering the field.
Medical coders are like translators for the medical field. Because medicine is a technical field there are many documents that need to be coded. Some of these translations may include, but are not limited to:
- Descriptions of medical diagnoses and procedures
- Doctor’s notes
- Laboratory results
- Radiologic results
- Billing code
- Insurance companies
An essential role a coder is responsible for is to make sure the company is properly reimbursed for patient care from insurance companies. In a medical coding degree program you’ll learn how to code for health care companies, such as:
- Physician’s offices
- Other managed health care settings
There is a wide variety of different online or distance learning medical coding degree programs that you can choose from in order to attain the education necessary for these positions.
Degree Options for Medical Coding Programs
There are both two and four year degrees available for medical coding, medical records, health information, and other related medical fields. Additionally, many of the required classes for medical coding are offered online. An added benefit of the two-year degree program is that you can often complete it and start working in the field while pursuing a four-year degree. Employers offer tuition reimbursement programs that can really ease the burden of juggling school and work until you’ve completed your degree.
The following degree options are available for medical coding:
- Associate’s Degree
- Bachelor’s Degree
The CPC, or Certified Professional Coder, is the most important certification for a medical coder. It’s recommended that you have at least an associate’s degree in medical coding before taking the exam.
Another exam available is the CPC-H. This exam is for those with a medical coding degree who would like to work in a hospital and other outpatient facilities.
Classes Offered through Medical Coding Degree Programs
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, programs for medical coding generally include courses in:
- Medical terminology
- Health data requirements and standards
- Classification and coding systems
- Healthcare reimbursement methods
- Healthcare statistics
- Computer systems
Typically you need to have high school courses in health, computer science, math, and biology in order to be admitted into a medical coding degree program, but most colleges also offer remedial coursework to fulfill requirements needed to get into these programs if you haven’t already met them. Students often overlook medical coding degrees, but those skilled at statistics will excel in this field. It’s a great way to get involved in the medical community without directly dealing with patients or working a high-stress position. When you start looking into internships and apprenticeships, it’s important to remember the options available in medical coding careers.
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