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Medical Coding FAQ
How Long Does the MassBay CC Medical Coding Program Take to Complete?
This is a 3-semester program. The student who progresses through the program at this sequence will begin in the fall and complete this program at the end of the summer session. Frequently, students complete BI 113 and HL 103 prior to starting the MR/MO courses. They typically complete in 4 semesters.
Is Medical Coding a Career Where I Can Work from Home?
Medical coding is one of the easiest careers to work remotely from, as long as you work with a reputable company. You can work either as an independent contractor or as an employee — this will be determined in advance by the employer. In order to work remotely, you must have access to Wi-Fi and high-speed Internet whenever you will be working. Remote medical billing and coding as a career can be done as a contract job, part-time job, full-time job, and also per diem.
What Are the Medical Coding Certification Requirements?
Employers today are looking for applicants with a solid education and relevant experience as this field becomes more demanding, complex, and competitive. Medical coding certification will give you a distinct advantage in reaching your goals.
You can choose from national organizations that offer certification:
American Health Information Management Association
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers various medical coding certifications, including the Certified Coding Associate (CCA), Certified Coding Specialist (CCS), and Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-based (CCS-P) credentials.
The only requirement for the CCA exam, in addition to AHIMA membership and an application fee, is a high school diploma or an equivalent educational background. To pass the exam, AHIMA recommends that you have at least six months of experience applying coding at a healthcare organization, have attended an AHIMA-approved coding certificate program, or have completed another formal coding training program.
If you are interested in the more specialized CCS or CCS-P exams, AHIMA strongly recommends that you obtain at least three years of experience in a hospital or other physician-based setting where you can apply coding systems to various cases. They also recommend that you complete coursework in anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology, or be able to demonstrate proficiency in those areas.
American Academy of Professional Coders
Getting certified through the AAPC requires an organizational membership and examination fee. The AAPC recommends applicants first earn an associate degree. However, unless you have at least two years of medical coding experience, you will be designated as an apprentice upon passing your exam. Once you’ve completed the required two years, AAPC will remove this designation.
How Can I Get a Coding Internship?
The Medical Coding program at MBCC currently does not provide internships.
Is There a Large Demand for Medical Coders?
Yes, there is high demand for medical coders in today’s job market. Coding does require professional certification via the AAPC or a certification and/or degree via the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released their 2013 Occupational Outlook Handbook and the field of medical records and health information technicians (which includes medical billers and coders) is expected to increase by 21% between 2010 and 2020. The BLS has pointed to this industry as having a faster growth rate on average than all other occupations, with an expected increase of approximately 37,700 employed in this exciting field by 2020.
With the increase in the nation’s aging population, along with the implementation of ICD-10 in 2014, there is and will continue to be an added demand for medical coding professionals to assist the provider community with the increase in patient encounters and medical chart reviews that will require the services of these highly trained professionals.