Many people are now aspiring to start their careers in medical coding. It is a blooming field and several people gravitate towards it. Medical coders have crucial jobs where they ensure that a patient’s medical data is carefully recorded and translated into globally accepted codes. The job description may seem simple to most but it’s certainly not. There are several intricacies that you must know before you start your career in medical coding.
Here is the complete career guide you must follow to excel in your medical coding job:
Once you graduate from high school you have three options:
- Go for a certificate program
This is the shortest path to start your career in medical coding. It only takes up to a year to complete your certification. The certification program focuses on basic anatomy, medical jargon, and other procedures. It also teaches the basic coding needed to translate patient information. You might also learn things like the use of medical coding software. This course also trains students to kick start their careers in the right way.
- Opt for an associate degree
If you opt for an associate degree, you can enroll in a program like healthcare administration. It will give you all the basic information you need to start your career. Not only will they cover information taught in a certificate program but they will also receive training for other soft skills required for coding careers. It takes around two years to complete your associate degree, which means that you will only be able to start your career after completing your associate degree.
- Enroll in a bachelor’s degree
If you want a bachelor’s degree to your name, you can enroll in a bachelor’s program relating to any of the hospital administration fields. A bachelor’s degree will give you the right kind of exposure you need to start off your career. Medical coding companies are always on the search for coders who have a bachelor’s degree, as they have the most information and advanced skills needed to excel in their coding careers.
No matter what route you choose, you will still have to be accredited, and for that, you need to prepare for two basic credentialing exams. The American Health Informatics Management Association offers these exams.
You can get a CCA credential that is recognized within the country. To take this exam, you must have six months of work experience. However, if you have completed a noteworthy medical coding educational program, the work experience will not be necessary.
The exam features multiple-choice questions that test candidates on their capabilities. If you have the credential, you might be able to score a better job with more benefits.
You can also go for the RHIT credential. The Registered Health Information Technician credential does not require any work experience. However, you will need associate-level education to get the credits. It is also based on multiple-choice questions and can help you improve your job opportunities.
After you complete your certification, you must start looking for a job. Networking while completing your certification course is vital as it will help you get the job you are looking for. If you join different professional associations, you might improve your chances of getting a medical coding job.
Experience is vital if you want to pursue your career in this field because it will help you decide where you prefer to work and what to do to get your dream job.
If you have completed your initial certifications and have more than 1-2 years of work experience, you can opt for additional credentials. AHIMA offers professional programs like the CCS and the CCS-P. The two courses are specialized and can enhance your skills greatly.
Both courses teach students the advanced use of different coding manuals and test the candidate’s knowledge of medical jargon. You must complete the courses and get the exam. You will have to answer multiple-choice questions. If you have an RHIT credential, you do not need the work experience to appear for these tests.
Stay On Top Of Education
Much like most fields, there is no end to the education you can acquire. Medical coders have to recertify their credentials every two years to continue working in the same field. Other than that, you must also keep up with the educational programs different organizations offer, including the academic work they deliver. This will help you keep up with the latest advancements in the field.
It may take great efforts to complete your medical coding career, but the results are indeed worth it. If you stay motivated and work hard enough, you will enjoy the journey and the results. The medical code field is thriving, and many individuals are flocking towards it. If you want to take it up as a career, you must start working towards it. In due time, you will achieve all the career goals you set for yourself. Stay in touch with other experts and get their help whenever you feel stuck.