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Four Steps to Becoming a Home Based Medical Coder

There are four main steps to becoming a successful home based medical coder.

~ Education
~ Certification
~ Experience
~ Home Based Medical Coding Career

These steps are the difference between the individuals who dream of working from home and the individuals who do. While the steps may seem simple, each one is very important and skipping just one of them can change your outcome dramatically.

By investing the time and being dedicated to each step, an individual with no prior experience in medicine can achieve a rewarding home based coding career.

Education

Becoming a home based medical coder starts with proper education. Although the industry itself does not require any specific education prior to becoming a medical coder employers do. In order to be considered a candidate for a medical coding job one of two specific certifications must be obtained. Education should be centered around preparing individuals for these certification examinations.

While many educational establishments offer a myriad of coding and billing courses, degrees, and certificates many either partially prepare individuals or require an over abundance of unnecessary educational courses.

When considering enrolling in an educational course ensure the following:

~Education should be focused mainly on medical coding and incorporate only a small portion of medical billing.
~The course should specify that it prepares individuals for  陪診 CPC certification through the AAPC or for CCS certification through AHIMA (any other certification will not be recognized in the medical coding community)
~Courses should total around 80 contact hours
~Education should focus 80% of class time on the CPT medical coding book and the other 20% on both ICD-9-CM and HCPCS books v
~Basic anatomy and medical terminology should either be covered in the class or be a pre-requisite (these should be the only pre-requisites however)

Keep in mind that courses requiring a two year commitment for an associate’s degree can be very beneficial but are certainly not required. Obtaining coding certification and achieving a successful home based medical coding job is certainly possible by taking the right six month coding course.

Certification

The proper education course will fully prepare it’s students to sit for one of two medical coding certification exams. While more than two types of certification exist the only ones recognized and sought after by employers nationwide are the CPC and CCS certifications.

The CPC certification stands for Certified Professional Coder and it is offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). The second type of certification is the CCS, which stands for Certified Coding Specialist. This certification is offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

Each certification requires individuals to sit for and pass their lengthy exam (5 – 6 hours). These exams are not cheap and can be very overwhelming when not prepared properly. Finding an educational course that prepares individuals specifically for these exams is essential.

When considering which of the two certifications to obtain it is important to base your decision on both experience and education.

The CPC offered by the AAPC is the best starting point for individuals who have minimal or no medical coding experience. This exam is slightly easier and offers examinees two attempts for one price. It also caters more to individuals without experience (who are labeled “apprentices”) by providing them with job opportunities and externships.

The CCS certification through AHIMA was originally created for individuals who already have two years or more of medical coding experience. While some individuals without prior coding knowledge have managed to pass this particular exam on their first attempt, many do not. This exam is also slightly more expensive and offers examinees only one attempt to pass.

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