Most medical coding classes that are offered by technical schools, vocational schools or the two-year colleges don’t cover the entire course. You find that most of these classes are “introduction to coding classes”; they just give you an overview of what medical coding is all about. You should know that these classes offered by the above-mentioned schools are only meant for those who are pursuing degrees in other fields such as nursing. It is important to enroll for a class that will give you enough information and details for certification purposes.
Some of the online medical classes may be legitimate but most of them are not. But due to the nature of the coding, most people find learning online quite challenging and difficult. The bottom line is that you should ensure that you do a thorough research about these courses before you enroll.
The following are a few questions that you can ask potential educators before you enroll for the classes as well as in-depth insights about medical coding.
Do the class offer certifications? Make sure you ask them if they offer medical coding certification first. If they do then is it through the AHIMA or AAPC.
Are the classes facilitated by an instructor that is a CPC, CCS or CPC-I holder?
Does the curriculum they have stipulated for their classes cover all the three coding books?
Does their customized coding course offer at least eighty contact hours?
Is there a pre-requisite like medical terminology and/or gross anatomy? If it is not there then is it included in the class curriculum?
You should be aware that medical coding is a course that should be taught by a coder who is also certified through the AHIMA or AAPC. This is not a usual requirement per say but it is highly recommended. Those who have gone through the same certification process themselves and entered every class and activities included tends to have a higher degree of success educating and preparing others.
Whether you choose online or onsite classes from your location it is important to verify that classes are structured around preparing individuals who are attending them for certification through an AHIMA or AAPC. It is important to note this because there are so many coding certification bodies that are available today. For instance, a medical coding might be geared towards certification through other organizations like Certified Medical Biller and Coder (CMBC) certification through the National Health Career Association, but unfortunately, it happens that most of such bodies are not recognized by employers. Those who are serious and want to obtain a lifetime career in medical coding should ensure that they obtain a coding certification through the AAPC or AHIMA.
The Standard medical coding class length held by the AAPC certification body spans for a minimum of about 80 contact hours (this is typically four hours in a duration of six months), this period is long because of the information that needs to be covered during the classes and get absorbed properly. Courses that are shorter than the specified period are usually not good to opt for, this is because learners tend to “cram” and those individuals who do not have prior knowledge of medical coding might find it very difficult to cope with and get prepared properly.
The class curriculum offered by any medical coding school you choose either online or onsite from your location must cover the three medical coding books; HCPCS, CPT and ICD-9-CM. If you are preparing yourself for the CPC exam, make sure the classes that you attend during your period of study focuses and puts more emphasis on the CPT book. If you are preparing for the CCS, on the other hand, make sure you focus on all three medical coding books including an emphasis on the volume III of the ICD-9 book.
Exams which are timed are quite important and helpful when it comes to examination preparation. However, this should not be the only criteria to judge a course on.
To wrap up the loose ends, it is worth to mention that although medical terminology and gross anatomy are not requirements for examination acceptance they are a crucial part of medical coding. Not only that there are a few questions that test these disciplines in the exam, but general knowledge of both is strongly recommended before enrolling for a coding course. Classes that don’t have a coverage for this material or don’t require it as a prerequisite should be closely examined for quality.
To get more information about medical coding training, click here.
- Medical Coding and Billing Certification Training Guide: How To Prepare For the CPC Exam
- Quick Guide To Medical Coding For Beginners
- Complete Guide To CPC Practice Exam Online Review
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