How to Become a Certified Medical Coder

As a medical coder, you’ll be responsible for translating information about patients’ conditions and treatments into codes used for billing and insurance purposes. This in-demand career is one of the fastest growing in healthcare, expected to expand 15% by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you want to pursue a career in medical coding, here are a few important steps you should take toward landing a job as a certified medical coder.

Earn Your Certificate

An increasing number of employers are requiring medical coders to be credentialed, so earning a coding certificate or an associate degree is ideal if you want to pursue this career path. In fact, certified medical coders earn 20% more on average than those who do not have a certification. At Peirce, our Medical Coding Certificate program will help you learn the skills you need to be prepared to sit for the certification exam and begin a rewarding career in this highly competitive field.

Additionally, Peirce’s medical coding curriculum teaches our students the current ICD-10 coding system. That means you’ll be prepared to use the system’s thousands of codes for diseases, abnormal finding, complaints, social circumstances and more. And, because employers need coders with an understanding of this new standard, you’ll be a more desirable candidate than coders who have only learned the older ICD-9 system.

Get Experience Outside the Classroom

In addition to education, on-the-job training and experience will be very important in preparing to sit for your certification exam and finding a job once you are certified. As part of your certificate program at Peirce, you’ll have access to our Career Development Services team, who will help you find the right opportunities to earn the real-world experience and training you’ll need to become a certified medical coder.

Take Your Certification Exam

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) both offer certification exams. AHIMA recommends that you have six months of coding experience before taking the exam, but you will be fully prepared to sit for their Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) Exam once you’ve earned your certificate from Peirce.

To learn more about the AHIMA certification exam and to register, you can visit the AHIMA website. Alternatively, if you choose to take the AAPC exam, you can learn more about their certification and testing process.

Ongoing Education

Once you’ve passed your exam and completed your certification, both the AHIMA and AAPC require you to complete a certain number of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to make sure you’re staying current in your profession. Each organization’s website has more information about CEU requirements, along with a list of opportunities and how many CEUs they are worth. 

Medical coding certificate holders and current students can also continue their education by pursuing an associate degree in Health Information Technologyat Peirce. Many of the credits you’ll earn while pursuing your certificate can be transferred into our Health Information Technology program, saving you time and money toward your degree.

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