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Medical Coding

Medical Coding is a fast-growing occupation that combines business and healthcare. If you are interested in a job in healthcare without direct patient contact, this is an excellent option for you. These high-demand positions may allow for remote work. 

Get a Medical Coding Certificate in 12 Months 

The Medical Coding program is online, and all hours will be completed via Moodle, where assignments and learning materials will be available for students to complete at their own pace. There are no scheduled meeting times for classes. The program may be completed in 12 months. To complete the medical coding program, students must take five or six courses depending on the chosen pathway. Students who follow the recommended course sequence will complete the training in 12 months. Any deviation from the recommended schedule will extend the time it takes to complete.

What do Medical Coders Do?

Medical coders are valuable healthcare team members and are responsible for reviewing healthcare documentation from providers’ notes about which procedures took place and what was diagnosed. Using knowledge of medical codes from CPT, HCPCS, ICD-10-CM, and ICD-10-PCS, payer policies, and government regulations, coders use medical records to assign codes for billing and insurance purposes. 

Medical Coding Certification Pathways

Pitt Community College offers a variety of medical coding pathways designed to meet your professional goals. You can use the knowledge and skills you gain to become a certified coding professional and/or earn credit toward a diploma or degree at Pitt Community College.

Successful completion of the Medical Coding Program is the first step in becoming a medical coder. Certification is not a legal requirement for employment; however, most employers will require candidates to be certified with a credential from either the AAPC or AHIMA. A coding credential demonstrates your expertise and dedication to the profession.

Students who meet either the AAPC or AHIMA eligibility requirements to test may take the exam review courses as a standalone course.

Which medical coding pathway is right for you?

Certified Professional Coder (CPC) is most appropriate for those who would like to start a career in medical coding OR would like to transition from their current administrative or clinical healthcare position into a medical coding role. This credential is most widely recognized by employers as the “gold standard” in physician-based coding. See www.aapc.com for more information about the CPC exam.

Coursework

Contact Hours: 572 Hours

  • OST 3150 Medical Billing and Coding I (128 hours)
  • OST 3150 Medical Billing and Coding II (128 hours)
  • AMC 3015 Medical Coding-Outpatient Services I (ICD-10-CM) (128 hours)
  • AMC 3015 Medical Coding-Outpatient Services II (CPT/HCPCS) (128 hours)
  • OSC 3030 Certified Professional Coder Exam Review (60 hours)

Certified Coding Specialist-Physician Based (CCS-P) is most appropriate for those who already hold a degree in health information technology/management and wish to advance their knowledge and skills in medical coding in an outpatient setting; OR for those with some coding experience who wish to advance in their current role; OR for individuals with significant clinical experience who want to transition to roles in medical coding or clinical documentation improvement. See AHIMA.org for the most up-to-date eligibility requirements.

Coursework

Contact Hours: 572 Hours

  • OST 3150 Medical Billing and Coding I (128 hours)
  • OST 3150 Medical Billing and Coding II (128 hours)
  • AMC 3015 Medical Coding-Outpatient Services I (ICD-10-CM) (128 hours)
  • AMC 3015 Medical Coding-Outpatient Services II (CPT/HCPCS) (128 hours)
  • OSC 3030 Certified Coding Specialist –Physician-Based Coder Exam Review (60 hours)

Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) is most appropriate for those with some coding experience who wish to advance in their current role, most often in the hospital setting. It may also be appropriate for individuals with significant clinical experience who want to transition to roles in medical coding or clinical documentation improvement. The CCS certification is a natural progression for professionals experienced in coding inpatient and outpatient records. See AHIMA.org for the most up-to-date eligibility requirements.

Coursework

Contact Hours: 700 Hours

  • OST 3150 Medical Billing and Coding I (128 hours)
  • OST 3150 Medical Billing and Coding II (128 hours)
  • AMC 3015 Medical Coding-Outpatient Services I (ICD-10-CM) (128 hours)
  • AMC 3015 Medical Coding-Outpatient Services II (CPT/HCPCS) (128 hours)
  • AMC 3010 Medical Coding-Inpatient Services (ICD-10-PCS) (128 hours)
  • OSC 3030 Certified Coding Specialist Coder Exam Review (60 hours)

Medical Coding students should anticipate, at minimum, 8 hours of work/study time per course each week.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of medical coders will grow 7% to 9% between 2020 and 2030 which is greater than the average for all professions. This strong job outlook can make it easier for qualified, credentialed coders to find work.

According to the AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) with a CPC (Certified Professional Coder) credential, the median yearly salary is approximately $58,895.

According to AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association), with a CCS-P credential, the average salary starts at $45,010. The average salary for a CCS credentialed coder is $66,370.

The medical coding program prepares you for entry into a healthcare position based on the combination of your previous education and/or work experience. You may seek roles such as:

  • Medical coder
  • Medical biller
  • Patient representative
  • Coding specialists

Medical coders work in hospitals, physician’s offices, ambulatory surgery centers, healthcare consulting companies, health insurance agencies, and even remote contract coding companies.

You will need a high school diploma or equivalent to become a credentialed medical coder. Students should have a basic understanding of Microsoft® Office (Word & Excel) and be proficient in keyboarding and English grammar and punctuation.

This career requires knowledge of medical terminology and healthcare billing. Knowledge and proficiency in ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, CPT, and HCPCS coding are also required.

Code books (ICD-10-CM, CPT, and HCPCS) are updated once each year. Current year code books are required for the certification exam, so students may have to purchase a second set of code books depending on when they complete the courses and sit for the exam. Students will purchase books as a bundle and a one-year subscription from Cengage. Students taking longer than one year to complete will need to purchase additional access. Instructors will be using the current year code books.

Students must pass each course with an 80% or better to move forward in this program.

The Certified Professional Coder (CPC) Exam Review course is not optional and will be taken to prepare students for the certification examination administered by the American Academy of Professional Coders.

The Certified Coding Specialist (CCS-P and/or CCS) Exam Review course is not optional and will be taken to prepare for the certification examination administered by the American Health Information Management Association.

*Interested students who have earned a healthcare-related degree may be awarded credit for Medical Billing and Coding I. Students must notify Ashleigh Walker at abwalker360@my.pittcc.edu or 252-493-7649 for permission and provide supporting documentation prior to enrolling in the remaining courses.

Medical Office Administration: Medical Billing and Coding

Medical Billing and Coding AAS Degree
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Medical Billing and Coding Diploma
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Health Information Technology (HIT)

Health Information Technology (HIT) AAS Degree*
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*Transfer option to ECU for a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management (HIM). PCC has an articulation agreement with ECU, allowing students who complete an AAS degree in HIT at PCC to enter ECU as a junior upon acceptance to the ECU HIM Program. Admission to the Health Information Management program is competitive. A completed application does not guarantee admission to the program.