How to Become a First-Class Medical Coder?
Medical coding is a job for intelligent readers. Doctors forward the diagnosis and treatment details to the medical billing service companies. Medical coding staff interprets those healthcare jargons, for instance, the names of diseases and assign them medical codes according to a universally accepted coding system. The billers send those claims with codes to the insurance companies for reimbursements. A claim might end up in acceptance or denial depending on the accuracy of the bill.
- High School is the Basic Requirement. There are no extraordinary requirements for this field. You need to pass high school and courses in mathematics, chemistry, biology, and computer skills aid in your studies as medical coders. An understanding of medical terminologies and anatomy can make things much easier.
- College Degree is better than an Associate Degree. Although it is not essential, a degree in healthcare administration opens up newer avenues. You can land a better job. An associate degree lasts for 2 years while a bachelor degree takes 4 years. A bachelor’s degree provides better chances of growth as a medical coder.
- Choosing a School Affiliated with AHIMA or AAPC. You must choose a school that is recognized by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). It means they trust that particular college or school. The two bodies are authentic sources of medical billing & coding knowledge. Classes may require you to be physically or virtually present or both.
- You must confirm from the school about their passing percentage of certified students each year. It should be on the higher side. Ask the school if it invites companies for hiring those students on successful completion of their degrees or not?
- You must enroll in the 4-year program to have a solid foundation before heading out in search of the perfect job. Medical billing services prefer those students with an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree over candidates with just a certification.
- Double-Check the Affiliation Status of For-Profit Schools. They are expensive and offer medical coding training as well. They facilitate older students and assist them in getting full-time jobs. Even if they charge more, the crucial thing is their affiliation with authorized organized such as AHIMA and AAPC. Don’t let them rip you if they are not affiliated with at least one of the two bodies.
- Becoming Part of AAPC and AHIMA Forums. They are helpful for you to explore new possibilities. You can also learn more about medical coding and build a bond with experienced coders. Moreover, AHIMA and AAPC may have localized facilities where you live so you can go there and connect with them. Make them your first priority if you want to become a first-class medical coder.