Medical coders are vital members of the Health Information Management (HIM) occupational cluster. The Medical Coding Specialist Certificate Program provides a study of the skills necessary to assess healthcare documentation and determine the appropriate classification of code assignment and sequencing in accordance with the Coding Clinic Guidelines. The codes are used for statistics, research, and reimbursement of services rendered. The program curriculum contains a study of Fundamental Applications of HIM, Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Terminology, specific courses on assigning International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS) codes, and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes, as well as a component of medical insurance and billing.
Medical coders are employed by various healthcare organizations such as hospitals, physicians’ offices, clinics, dental offices, governmental facilities, and insurance companies. Experienced medical coders can work as independent contract coders.
Medical Coding courses are offered in a variety of traditional and non-traditional formats, including online, hybrid, Fastrack (eight-week courses), and evening options. Most traditional courses are offered Monday through Thursday in the evening. The Medical Coding Specialist Program webpage provides additional information (www.polk.edu/medical-coding-specialist/).
Starting the Program
A student interested in the Medical Coding Specialist Program should complete the Polk State College Admission process as outlined on the College’s Admission page.
A student who has general questions about the Program or is ready to register for medical coding classes must contact the department directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Additional Program Requirements
Each student should be aware that employment in the healthcare field usually involves national background screening as well as drug screening by the employing facility. Any student who has conviction histories that might appear in a national background screening should be proactive in obtaining a background check prior to enrolling in the program. This should be discussed further with the Program Director at the pre-enrollment appointment.
Site visits to various healthcare facilities may be scheduled during HIM 2810L Coding Application Practicum. These facilities may require any or all of the following:
- Completion of a comprehensive physical examination.
- Completion of all required immunizations.
- Completion of a drug screening.
- Completion of the national background screening.
Salary potential and wage information are available through the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov/ooh) or via www.salary.com. Salaries vary depending on geographical location, type of facility, and years of experience.
A graduate of the program who passes an American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) certification examination is designated as either a Certified Coding Specialist - Physician Based (CCS-P) or Certified Coding Specialist (CCS).
A graduate of the program who passes the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) certification examination is designated as a Certified Professional Coder (CPC).
Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):
Upon successful completion of the program, the graduate is able to:
PLO 1: Apply the basic principles of managing health information.
PLO 2: Apply the principles, processes, and reimbursement guidelines of Clinical Classification System (CCS) ICD-10-CM through selection of appropriate International Statistical Classification on Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) codes.
PLO 3: Apply the principles, processes, and reimbursement guidelines of the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) System, Clinical Classification System (CCS), and International Statistical Classification on Diseases: Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-PCS) through selection of appropriate CPT and ICD-10-PCS codes.