About Accreditation: Currently, there is no industry wide accepted accreditation for medical coding programs. Although AHIMA offers a small list of AHIMA approved coding programs (40 in the nation), many schools and institutions offer quality medical coding education and training, so their graduate are well prepared to sit for coding certifications through AAPC or AHIMA and to pursue careers as coding professionals.
Medical Coding, Medical Billing Accredited online and campus based schools that offer medical billing and medical coding training and education.
Medical Coding, Medical Billing
Alert: ICD-10 Transition
On October 1, 2014, the ICD-9 code sets used to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures will be replaced by ICD-10 code sets.
The transition to ICD-10 is required for everyone covered by the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA). The change to ICD-10 does not affect CPT coding for outpatient procedures and physician services.
Pathways to HIM Careers
(provided by AHIMA)
What is Medical Coding?
Medical coding involves recording designated codes in patients' medical records. Each type of procedure or treatment has its own designated code that health insurance companies use to determine the reasons the patient was seen and what procedures and treatments were performed. The role of the medical coder is to ensure that each procedure is properly coded in accordance with industry standards.
What is Medical Billing?
Medical billing is vital to the smooth functioning of the medical office. Medical billers calculate the total amount due from a patient, prepare invoices to be sent out, and follow up to ensure that payment has been received. One of the most important responsibilities of medical billers is contacting insurance companies to negotiate payment or reimbursement on behalf of patients and doctors. Medical billers may have some interaction with patients to answer questions about health care finances.
Medical Coding Careers
Health Care Technician
Insurance Verification Representative
Clinical Information Specialist
Health Information Specialist
Patient Services Coordinator
Medical Records Specialist
Insurance Follow-up Specialist
Relationship Client Manager
No matter how quickly you want to enter the job market, remember to pursue a quality coding program. Although many schools promise a diploma or certificate in just months, the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the two largest medical coding associations in the country, highly recommend pursuing quality programs of at least a year. This is an industry where a 2-year associate level degree will give you an excellent foundation and start to your career.
Medical Coding Certification
Getting certified is vital to a professional medical coder's career. Certified medical coders are preferred by employers seeking ethical, accurate, experienced, and professional medical coders. Certified coders will be more competitive in the job market and have better career advancement and salary earning potential. AAPC, founded in 1988, focuses on credentialing outpatient or physician-based medical coders. AHIMA, founded in 1928, is the leading professional association for health information management (HIM). AHIMA certifies HIM and coding professionals. Both associations offer entry level and advanced coding certifications. AHIMA offers additional credentials for professionals who wish to broaden their careers into health information technology and health information management by earning the RHIT or RHIA credential. >> Read Guide on AHIMA Certifications (pdf)
Medical Coding Career Advancement and Salary Potential
Medical Coding provides opportunities for career advancement and increased salary potential. Coders can advance and broaden their careers by meeting additional education, experience, and certification requirements. The US BLS states that the median annual wage of medical records and health information technicians was $37,110 in 2015.
Medical Coders Career Outlook
The future for skilled medical coders is excellent. There are two major economic forces that cannot be ignored that will push the need for medical care -- the ARRA stimulus plan passed by Congress in 2009 is pushing the healthcare industry to become more data driven and the growing senior population in the US will require more healthcare services. Both will fuel the increase in demand for qualified professional medical coders. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment in medical records and health information to increase by 15% from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.
About Accreditation and Certifications: AHIMA and AAPC are the leading credentialing bodies for the medical coding industry. AHIMA also awards credentials for health information management professionals. AAPC offers their own coding courses and does not accredit coding programs outside of their organization. AHIMA offers a small list of AHIMA approved coding programs (approximately 40 in the nation). CAHIIM is the accrediting body of AHIMA for undergraduate and graduate level health information programs. While relatively few medical coding programs are officially AHIMA accredited, many schools and institutions offer quality medical coding education and training that prepare students to sit for certification exams and start their medical coding careers.
Salary and employment figures are based on a national median and may vary by location.
Online Schools offering Medical Coding, Medical Billing
Ultimate Medical Academy Online
Medical Billing and Coding
Associate of Science
As a UMA student in this online program, you’ll learn how to interpret medical terms into codes used for billing, understand the insurance billing process, operate software applications and more. Some classes you would take include “Medical Basics and the Healthcare Claim Cycle” and “Billing and Coding Applications with Simulations.” UMA provides an engaging online learning experience with personal feedback from instructors, educational videos and live study group sessions. After you graduate, you’ll be prepared to take the Certified Professional Coder exam. Typically, students complete this associate degree program in 17 months.*
Kaplan University Online
Business Administration / Information Processing
Associate of Applied Science
The objective of the Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration program is to prepare you with the knowledge, technical skills, and work habits to pursue positions in a variety of business fields. The curriculum is designed to provide a solid foundation in management and helps you develop teamwork and leadership skills as well as the ability to motivate people and communicate effectively. Decision-making and problem-solving skills are also emphasized. Choose the information processing concentration if you are interested in using software, spreadsheet, and database applications to organize and analyze information.
Health Information Management
Bachelor of Science (Degree Completion)
The objective of the Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management program is to prepare you with the knowledge, technical skills, and work habits to be an innovative and adaptable critical thinker and problem solver. Individuals that possess these qualities are capable of using available services and technologies to support operations, management, and decision-making initiatives within the health information field. In addition, the curriculum encourages lifelong learning and addresses the evolving professional skills of baccalaureate degree students.
Upon graduation, you may pursue positions that require you to perform either technical or management duties within the health information field. Typical duties may include overall department management; generation and analysis of health care data; implementation of quality improvement processes, risk management techniques, compliance strategies, and reimbursement procedures; research; and evaluation of legal issues. Employment opportunities may exist within hospitals, long-term care facilities, physicians' offices, health maintenance organizations, insurance companies, home health care, consulting companies, computer software companies, and government agencies.