Medical Coding is becoming one of the most highly sought after professions. Primarily because the salary is excellent, coders often work from home, and you can have more flexibility to improve life quality. If you want to become a medical coder, you have to take a 4 to 5 plus hour certification exam (depends on the certification), and a lot of preparation is needed before you sit for the exams. Some courses whether they intend to or not do not prepare you for the certification exams and sometimes may not even teach students how to code correctly.
Are they scams? The answer is no, but these programs appear as a scam because they charge a fee to perform a service they are unable to fulfill. While there are many coding courses out there, only a few can do the job to prepare you adequately to become a medical coder. Here is what to look for:
1. Do AAPC or AHIMA license the Course/School? - While accreditation is proper, LICENSING assures you that your school has the correct curriculum to teach coding AND prepare you for your coding exam.
2. Are the Instructors Certified with the Credential they are teaching? - Do the instructors possess the same certification they are preparing you to test for? If not, then how are they able to successfully prepare you for the certification exam? Both the CPC® and CCS® exams are rigorous and have essential techniques required to pass the certification exams.
3. Does the course prepare you to take the certification exam? - If the answer is no, these schools often wind up costing you a lot of money, because you will have to pay for an exam prep course also. That is okay if you want to do that, but you will spend more money and more time going that route when there are several schools out there, who do both for one price. One way to know if they prepare you is to ask them. If they start referring you to other schools, then you will have to pay more. i.e., A girl posted on social media that she passed both the CCS® and CPC® exams. She was thanking three instructors from 3 different schools. I thought "Wow! That girl paid a lot of money".
3. Learn Medical Coding in Three Days? - The biggest no. You can not learn how to medical code in three days, but you can learn how to past the test in three days. That means that you will not know how to code. Every medical coding job has a required pre-hire exam. If you don't know how to code, then you will not be able to pass the pre-hire exams. I only recommend (with extreme reluctance) these boot camps for coders whose jobs are in jeopardy.
4. Medical Coding and Billing Program? - Be very careful. Almost all Medical Coding and Billing programs do not have the correct coding curriculum in the course and do not have appropriately certified instructors teaching the classes, but the biggest problem is the curriculum. The curriculum inundated with Billing content and very little coding instruction.
5. What is the Certification Exam Pass Rating? - Almost all say 90 to 95%. Nearly all are not telling the truth. Read the student reviews from the students who PASSED the exams especially those who go into detail. If the student fails to elaborate, then there is a reason, and one maybe there are no details. Remember the 3-day boot camps can teach you to pass the exam but do they teach you how to code?
If you are in the market for a good coding program follow this checklist and you can rest assured you are in an excellent coding program:
Below are some schools that I recommend for medical coding instruction: