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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Medical Coding

Majors Overview February 22, 2014

Receive information about an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in medical coding and its coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

A.A. Programs in Medical Coding

Students enrolled in an associate’s degree program in medical coding are taught the rules and regulations of various administrative practices including billing practices and medical coding. Students become adept at using classification software aimed at assigning codes to specific diagnoses and treatments that would ensure that health insurance companies made proper reimbursement to the facility that would be able to bill patients properly. Those who graduate from these programs may seek to enter the workforce as medical coding specialists or medical coders. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. This program is offered in some schools through distance learning formats.

Coursework

Coursework is devised to hone the written and oral communication skills of students to enable them to work with insurance companies and medical personnel. Major coursework may include topic areas related to medical coding, such as:

•Basic and advanced medical terminology
•Pharmacology
•Health care delivery systems
•Billing and reimbursement
•Insurance coding

Career Choices

A faster-than-average job growth of 22% has been predicted for medical records and health information technicians including medical coders during the decade from 2012 to 2022 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). This optimistic prediction is based on the assumption that an aging population will result in an increase in medical treatments and procedures (BLS). Medical coding graduates may choose from various positions such as:

•Medical coding specialist
•Health information technician
•Medical coders
•Medical records technician

Continuing Education Choices

Professional certification and a bachelor’s degree will boost career opportunities for medical records and health information technicians. Certification will allow coders to showcase their knowledge and skills in the profession. Certifications in coding specialties are offered by the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS), the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the Board of Medical Specialty Coding & Compliance (BMSC). Passage of written exams will allow candidates to obtain certifications.

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