Medical Coding Associate Degree Programs

If you are highly organized and enjoy administrative tasks, you may want to consider earning an associate's degree in medical coding. This degree program can qualify you to become a registered health information technician. Learn more about associate degree programs, potential salary, classes you may take and additional training. Schools offering Insurance Billing & Coding Specialist degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Exactly Can I Do With an Associate's Degree in Medical Coding?

With a degree in this field, you could work as a medical coder, which is also sometimes called a medical coding specialist. As a medical coder, you would be responsible for assigning codes often used for insurance purposes to patient medical records. These codes might pertain to the patient's medical conditions, as well as medical treatments. You would input this information into medical record databases, where you can also organize and verify it. For this reason, you would need to be familiar with common coding and classification systems that help determine how medical practices are reimbursed by insurance or governmental health programs.

How Much Money Can I Make?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that medical coders had a median annual salary of $32,350 in May 2010 (www.bls.gov). Those working for private medical practices earned $29,030 a year, while coders who worked in hospitals earned $37,020. Professional organizations, the federal government, grant making services and insurance carriers were some of the top paying industries for medical coders.

What Can I Expect From a Degree Program?

This degree program is available in both online and on-campus formats. It can usually be completed in 1-2 years and combines general education courses with business and medical courses. You'll need at least a high school diploma or GED to be eligible for enrollment, while high school classes in biology, business or computer science could help you prepare for study. The following are examples of classes you might find in the curriculum:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • ICD-9 coding
  • CPT-H hospital coding
  • CPT medical coding
  • Medical terminology
  • Healthcare ethics and legal issues
  • Health information technology
  • Medical office administration

Do I Need Any Other Training?

While it is not required, you may improve your employment chances if you are a registered health information technician (RHIT). You can become a RHIT by passing an exam administered by the American Health Information Management Association (www.ahima.org). However, you must have graduated from a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) in order to qualify for this credential (www.cahiim.org).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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