As in many fields, there are a number of training options for medical coding careers. Choosing which option is best depends on your personal and career goals.
The first decision when you’re searching for medical coding training is whether you’ll choose a certificate program or one that results in a degree. Certificate programs are significantly shorter and are generally more focused just on coding skills. Degree programs are generally broader—for example, an associates or bachelors in Health Information Management are the degrees that cover medical coding offered at many colleges and universities.
Deciding whether you should invest in a certificate or a degree program should be based on your career goals. There are several certifications that require a degree through an approved institution (e.g. AHIMA’s RHIA or RHIT credentials), and professionals with these credentials typically have an edge when applying for more advanced positions like department manager. However, if you’re interested in getting into the field quickly, a certificate program like Career Step’s is the best choice.
Another important consideration is whether you want to train online or on-campus. Online training offers the flexibility to study on your own schedule and often at your own pace, whereas on-campus learning offers the traditional classroom support structure.
Many adult students find that online training is the best option because they're training around work and other responsibilities. However, many students are hesitant to choose an online program because they think they won’t have access to instructors or the support they need throughout the learning process. Quality online medical coding programs are available though. For example, Career Step’s Medical Coding training program includes access to certified and experienced medical coders by phone, email, and live chat throughout the course and even after graduation.