Online Medical Coding Training – Programs and Considerations

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Online or distance training is an educational medium for people who either live too far from a given training site, or whose schedules are such that they cannot be part of a traditional classroom setting. The internet allows such students the opportunity to get the education they are seeking, including training related to employment. Medical coding is an occupational subject area which has a number of web-based training possibilities. Below are several online training programs worth considering, followed by some useful tips for finding the one that best suits your needs.

3 Online Programs Worth Considering

  1. Allied Schools: Allied schools is an online training institution accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). Its medical coding program centers on medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and coding itself. Allied’s goal is to prepare a student to successfully take the Certified Professional Coder’s (CPC®) examination. AAPC was established over twenty years ago to provide education and certification for medical coders. It offers online medical coding training, both in training packages and individual courses.
  2. Universal Class, Inc: Medical coding training online is not just about preparing for the certification test. Working coders need to keep their skills sharp and continuing education resources can help them do exactly that. UniversalClass.com has an online course selection of over two hundred and eighty nine hours of continuing education to help a professional update his or her skill set.
  3. Kaplan University: One of the pioneers of online education, Kaplan University has a continuing education department which allows a medical coder to study for advanced certifications offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA); including the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) and Certified Coding Specialist-Physician (CCS-P) certification exams.

Length of the Program

Medical coding has a considerable amount of technical information and it is easy to be overwhelmed by the unfamiliar language. Time is needed to efficiently absorb all the terminology and fully understand it. Shorter online training programs are often little more than cram sessions and students routinely have to take certification exams more than once. Although the price of shorter programs might be appealing, there is a catch: students often find themselves paying for refresher courses and buying additional study materials because topics are not adequately covered in the online sessions. These hidden costs shoot the overall price of the program sky high.

Buyer Beware

The above is not intended to discourage, but to instill a sense of caution. The internet is a great place to find training, but it’s also a breeding ground for quack programs that do little more than take a fool’s money. Good Internet-based medical coding programs are not cheap, and a student can expect to pay in the vicinity of two thousand dollars for the instruction received (ex: Kaplan’s advanced certificate costs over three thousand dollars).

Anyone interested in online medical coding training has to be careful. It is essential to take a close look at the course descriptions and whether or not the program offers opportunities to practice. Can questions be asked online? Are there chat rooms or discussion sites available? Do not hesitate to check the validity of any site that offers instruction. The DETC is recognized by the U. S. Department of Education and the web site has a search engine to locate accredited schools. There are many good and reputable sites out there, but a number of dishonest ones lurk in the shadows, so be sure to do your research before choosing one.

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