Is there a difference between a Coding Certification and an Associate Degree in Coding?

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Comments (7)

wroberts1970 in Woodbridge, Virginia

66 months ago

Greetings INDEED Forum People!!!!

I have been going thru what seems like a ton of online schools trying to figure out which course will be best for me. I see some schools offer a coding certification in 4 months and others are saying become certified in as little as 18 months. Other than cost, what is the difference and what do I need to look for to start out being a coder and work myself up to a RHIT?! Also, any online school recommendations are hugely appreciated. I work fulltime with a long commute plus I am getting ready to become an instant step-mom very soon so attending school at night is not an option.

Thanks for your help and have an awesome day!!!! :)

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valentine2 in Salt Lake City, Utah

66 months ago

wroberts1970 in Woodbridge, Virginia said: Greetings INDEED Forum People!!!!

I have been going thru what seems like a ton of online schools trying to figure out which course will be best for me. I see some schools offer a coding certification in 4 months and others are saying become certified in as little as 18 months. Other than cost, what is the difference and what do I need to look for to start out being a coder and work myself up to a RHIT?! Also, any online school recommendations are hugely appreciated. I work fulltime with a long commute plus I am getting ready to become an instant step-mom very soon so attending school at night is not an option.

Thanks for your help and have an awesome day!!!! :)

In order to sit for the RHIT certification you MUST have at least an associates degree in HIT from an AHIMA approved school.

An associates degree is going to go more in depth and cover more Health Information, such as data analysis, reimbursement methodology and statistics. Where a certificate is just coding.

It depends on where you want your career to go, if you had the time and money, I would suggest getting at least an associates degree. There will be more opportunities, and if you find you prefer coding, you could always do that as well.

I would suggest NOT attending a private for profit school, but rather your local community or technical school. It will cost WAY less, many offer online classes and most credits should be transferable.

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wroberts1970 in Woodbridge, Virginia

66 months ago

Thanks to all of you who responded! Now I have a new thought, instead of throwing my 20 years of experience away and starting new as a coder (and taking the cut in pay)...maybe I should pursue an associate or bachelors in business admin with a major in healthcare management. I really would like to be in this field but having issues trying to find my exact fit. I would assume the same would apply on the fact I don't have any medical office skills but am hoping to get that while I am getting my degree. Guess my other question here is am I totally insane for trying to get a degree at 40 years old and have to deal with student loans for the next 10 years?

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lynn in Boston, Massachusetts

66 months ago

Just go straight for a bachelors degree. If you are really into business admin, try doing MIS or accounting or finance. You can still be involved in healthcare field if that's what you really want. I went back to one of those private for profit school for billing and coding and went nowhere,I'm just in debt and stressed . Now I'm going to another college working on a bachelors . Good luck!

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pizza1970 in Orlando, Florida

12 months ago

I have a simmilar situation and would like your advise.
I have a bachelor degree. Recently I've researching on classes for medical coding. I have seen associate options (24 mo most of them) and diplomas otons (some even for 4 mo ). I think ths is the carrer I want to pursue and specialize.
Should I go for the next level, like Master in the same field since i alredy have a bachelor degree? Would I be able to take the certification for medical coding?
Or should I just go straight for any class to prepare me for the certification?
Thank you.

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Jkbow in Antioch, California

3 months ago

So I am currently a vet tech, with an associates in science, would I still need to get another AS or could I do the certificate and get paid the same as the degree, I'm confused about how this would work.

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Barb24 in Wheaton, Illinois

2 months ago

You do not need another degree, (or any degree) just certification, usually CCA, CCS or CPC. Educational requirements vary, check with AHIMA and the AAPC, depending on which certification you want to pursue. For example, you need to have taken courses in the following areas to be eligible to sit for AHIMA's CCS certification:
anatomy & physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, medical terminology, reimbursement methodology, intermediate/advanced ICD diagnostic/procedural and CPT coding.

Your local community college probably has an associates degree that will prepare you for medical coding, but you will have to spend lots of extra time and money taking all the gen ed classes that go with the degree. Learning the coding is a lot of hours by itself, you don't want to add extra classes in there, especially if you already have an associate's.

An online program like Career Step is AHIMA approved so you know you are getting everything you need to qualify for the exam and you can work at your own pace. If you already have a scientific or medical background, you will breeze through the anatomy, medical terminology, etc and will have more time to focus on the coding courses.
referral.careerstep.com/mc?ref=36530

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