Making medical records smarter and healthcare more efficient
Health information technicians and medical coders play a critical role in healthcare, even though they rarely interact with patients. Every time you hear a health statistic on the news, read a doctor's diagnosis in your medical record, or use your health insurance card, you can be certain a medical coder or health information technician played a part. Taking physicians' written words and turning them into alphanumeric codes for insurance companies, trained coders are in more demand than ever as doctors and hospitals go paperless.
With two training options, ACC makes it easy to begin your career or transition from another job. The college offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Health Information Technology and a five-semester Medical Coding Specialist certificate.
What skills can I gain?
Students develop expertise organizing and evaluating patients' health records. Using the latest industry software programs, students learn to assign patients one of hundreds of "diagnosis-related groups" based on physicians' notes, which will determine health insurance reimbursement. In addition to courses like Anatomy and Physiology, the program covers medical terminology, pharmacology, insurance coding, and the legal and ethical aspects of health information.
What's the difference between the Associate Degree and the Certificate?
The Associate Degree in Health Information Technology can be the starting point for a career in medical coding or the basis for a four-year degree if you wish transfer. Many people who are already working in healthcare enter the associate degree program to gain qualifications for managerial or supervisory positions.
The Medical Coding Specialist Certificate can also be a tool for professional development and advancement for those already working in the healthcare industry. Students seeking a quick entry into the workforce will find it useful as well. The certificate can be the basis for an associate or bachelor's degree. Graduates can apply to take exams to be certified as a Certified Coding Associate or a Certified Coding Specialist.
How long will it take to get a degree or certificate?
The associate degree takes most students between two and three years to complete, including prerequisites. The certificate is a five semester course of study.
Where can I work with this education?
Graduates of both programs typically work for hospitals, clinics, physicians' offices, mental health care facilities, nursing homes, health maintenance organizations, and insurance companies. Depending on the employer, advanced medical coders may be able to work from home.