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Degree Overview: Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Medical Insurance Billing and Coding

Majors Overview June 17, 2014

Those that have a keen eye for detail and enjoy working with computers should look into careers in medical insurance coding and billing. Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs in Medical Insurance Billing and Coding are a good first step. Students will be taught the computer skills, along with the understanding of medical coding, necessary for this field.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree Programs in Medical Insurance Billing and Coding

Students enrolled in an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Medical Insurance Billing and Coding are trained to seek entry-level jobs in the healthcare industry as coding and billing specialists. Students become adept at administrative duties as they learn to prepare and submit paperwork needed for billing and insurance purposes.

They are also taught computer application skills, insurance codes, and medical terminology. Technical schools and community colleges offer these programs that span the duration of 18 to 24 months. Schools also offer the medical insurance billing and coding program in alternative associate’s degree formats.

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.

Coursework

Apart from lab studies and classroom lectures, internship opportunities are also offered to students to participate in, in order to obtain practical training. They can use the coursework to prepare for certification exams. Coursework may be a variation of topic areas such as those below:

•Document formatting and production
•Medical office administration
•Medical terminology
•CPT and IPD coding
•Insurance and billing
•Anatomy and physiology
•Communication in healthcare
•Medical machine transcription

Career Choices

A faster-than-average growth rate has been predicted for this profession during the period from 2008 to 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Graduates of the associate’s degree program may seek entry-level careers in physicians’ offices, hospitals, and clinics and may choose from various career titles including:

•Health information technicians
•Medical coders
•Medical records technicians
•Coding specialists

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Medical insurance billers and coders can boost their career prospects by volunteering for professional certification; alternatively, they may pursue continued education by enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program. Certification can help these professional showcase their knowledge and skills in the field to potential employers.

Passage of a written exam by eligible candidates can help them obtain certification. Specialty coding certifications are offered by organizations such as the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), the Board of Medical Specialty Coding & Compliance (BMSC), and the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS).

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