Medical Coding Associate's Degree

Medical coding associate's degree programs teach you the skills to work in a medical office administrative setting. Learn about on-campus and online degree programs, courses in this field, and employment outlook. Schools offering Insurance Billing & Coding Specialist degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn?

Through an associate's degree program in medical administration, you become versed in medical office administrative procedures with an emphasis on medical coding. You learn medical terminology, anatomy, physiology and pharmacology. As a coder, you apply your knowledge to read, understand and analyze medical documentation. This is done with an eye toward identifying and supporting diagnoses and procedures and selecting the correct codes for billing and reimbursement purposes.

Online Availability Online programs available, however an internship or practicum must be done in person
Common Courses Medical terminology, health information management, encoding software
Certification Professional certification improves your chance of being hired
Median Salary (2016) $38,463 for medical coders*
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 15% growth projected for medical and health information technicians**

Sources: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Find a School Offering This Program?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) medical coders are medical records and information technicians who specializes in codifying patient information. To locate a school that offers training in medical coding, you can use the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

What Will My Program Involve?

Completing a program made up of 61-105 credits can take you 16-24 months. Depending on the school, a program can lead to an Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science or Associate of Occupational Science in an area such as medical billing and coding, medical office administration or health information technology, with a specialization in medical coding. Typical courses can include medical terminology, pathophysiology, health information management, pharmacology, encoding software, ICD-9-CM coding, CPT coding and health care delivery systems.

Most programs also entail an externship, internship or practicum. This includes online programs. In an online program, though you can pursue most courses by way of the Internet, you must fulfill your internship or practicum in person at a school-approved health care facility.

The BLS states that you may have a better chance of getting hired if you're certified. The BLS further notes that many medical coder certifications require you to have some experience. An externship may fill that requirement. All programs prepare you to sit for a certification examination. Certification examinations are administered by a variety of professional organizations, including the American Association of Professional Coders, the Board of Medical Specialty Coding or the Professional Association of Health Care Coding Specialists.

What Is My Employment Outlook?

The BLS states that employment of medical records and health information technicians, including medical coders, is expected to increase 15% from 2014-2024. This is much faster than the national average for all occupations. As of January 2016, Payscale.com noted the median salary for medical coders as $38,463.

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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