Medical Insurance Billing and Coding Associate Degree
A medical billing and coding associate's degree can qualify you for entry-level jobs at hospitals, doctors' offices and other healthcare facilities. Learn about degree programs, course topics and professional certification. Schools offering Medical Billing & Coding degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Kinds of Medical Billing and Coding Associate's Degree Programs Are There?
You can find a medical billing and coding associate's degree program at a community college, technical school or for-profit institution. Online associate's degree programs in medical billing and coding are offered by many for-profit schools, but not-for-profit schools rarely offer distance learning options. Some employers and schools refer to medical insurance coders and billers as medical records technicians or specialists.
What Will I Learn?
Medical billing and coding specialists must understand medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, disease prevention, medications and surgical techniques. During a medical billing and coding associate's degree program, you'll learn how to use systems that codify a vast amount of medical information. You'll also learn about health insurance policies and how coding can be applied to receive reimbursements from insurance companies.
As a medical professional dealing with patients' medical histories, you'll need to learn about laws, ethics and current issues in the medical field. For example, you might need to review the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to learn about patients' privacy rights. Computer skills are highly emphasized during medical billing and coding associate's degree programs.
How Can I Gain Certification?
While you don't need to earn certification as a medical coding specialist, it can help advance your career. The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS) both offer certification to qualified coding and billing specialists.
The AAPC's basic certification is the Certified Professional Coder (CPC), which requires you to hold two years of work experience and pass an exam. You can also get AAPC certification in specializations like gerontology, family practice and dermatology. You usually need to renew your certification periodically, which requires you to pursue continuing education and stay updated on the latest advances in medical insurance coding and billing.
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