Medical Coding Certificate

Overview

Medical coders review patient medical (health) records and assign numeric codes for each diagnosis and procedure. To perform this task, they must possess expertise in the International Classification of Diseases and Current Procedural Terminology Coding Systems. This certification program is designed to prepare the student for an entry-level position as a medical coder, and eligibility to take the national credentialing exam for CCA (certified coding associate).

The student must complete any reading and English learning support area requirements and be admitted to the coding program before taking any HITE courses. A GPA of 2.5 is required to enter this certificate program, and the student must achieve a grade of “C” or better in all HITE classes.

This certificate program begins once a year in the fall semester. Applications are accepted between January and May for consideration. The deadline for applications is June 1st.

Core Course Requirements: Credit Hours
BIOL 2411K Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4.00
BIOL 2412K Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4.00
BUSA 2101 Survey of Computer Applications 3.00
ALHE 1120 Medical Terminology 2.00

 

Program Courses: Credit Hours
FALL SEMESTER
HITE 2100 Health Record Content and Structure 3.00
HITE 2400 Pathophysiology & Pharmacology 3.00
SPRING SEMESTER
HITE 2150 Coding I 4.00
SUMMER SEMESTER
HITE 2160 Coding II 2.00
FALL SEMESTER
HITE 2170 Advanced Coding and Reimbursement 4.00

 

Admission Criteria

For full consideration of admission to the online Medical Coding Certificate Program, the student must:

  1. Be admitted to Albany State University.
  2. Have completed all Learning Support courses.
  3. Present a composite score of 870 on the SAT or 19 or higher on the ACT.
  4. Have a minimum GPA of 2.5*.
  5. Have completed all pre-requisite course requirements.
  6. For the Coding Certificate Program:
    1. Comply with all technology requirements as listed under System Requirements on the Albany State University Homepage.
    2. Verify a commitment to time management as required to participate in an online program
  7. Not already be enrolled in another Health Sciences Division Program

*It is the responsibility of the applying student to provide the Health Information Technology Program Director with an unofficial transcript of prior coursework and evidence of current GPA.  An attached unofficial transcript is considered part of the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Students are admitted to the online program once a year in the fall semester. Applications must be received no later than June 1st to be considered for admission to the program in the fall semester.

Additional Requirements

  1. To continue in any Health Information Technology program, a “C” is required in all HITE courses. All of the student’s HITE coursework will be evaluated by the Program Director, and the Program Director will make the decision as to which courses should be repeated.  More than two “W”, “D” or “F” in any HITE course will result in permanent dismissal from the program. (This may be two courses or failure in the same course twice).
  2. High speed internet is highly recommended for optimal use of AHIMA’s Virtual Lab applications.
  3. Because of the nature of the profession, the student is required to sign and abide by a statement that the student will honor the confidential nature of medical records. A charge of breach of confidentiality will be reason for immediate dismissal from the program.
  4. Once enrolled in the program, failure to satisfactorily complete the course work (receiving 2 “W’s”, “D’s,” or “F’s,” (see #1 above), or the exhibit of unprofessional behavior will result in the student being withdrawn from the program and deemed ineligible for re-admission to the program. Unprofessional behavior is defined as:
    • misrepresentation of self or falsifying information on the program application
    • disruptive or abusive behavior in an online class
    • breach of the confidentiality statement
    • suspicion of cheating will be dealt with in accordance with the Student Handbook Code of Conduct

Employment Outlook

There is a high demand for medical coders in today’s job market. The coding profession does not require a degree but does require professional certification via the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). In the 2013 Occupational Outlook Handbook produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession of medical record and health information technicians (which includes medical billers and coders) is expected to increase by 21% from 2010 to 2020.

According to AHIMA’s 2012 Salary Survey, entry level coders average $37,000-$40,000 annually. Many credentialed coders can and do hold more than one credential which can further increase annual salaries.

National Boards Exam Information

Graduates of the Medical Coding Certificate Program are eligible to sit for the CCA (Certified Coding Associate) examination, a nationally recognized credential sponsored by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), 233 N. Michigan Avenue, 21st Floor, Chicago, IL  60601-5809, http://www.ahima.org. Having this credential shows prospective employers that the student has specific entry-level coding skills and pride in accomplishment.

For more information on becoming Certified Coding Associate certified, please go to AHIMA's CCA webpage. 

Overview of the Profession

Medical coding is a high demand profession. Medical coders review patient medical records and assign alphanumeric codes for each diagnosis and procedure.  The codes are then used for reimbursement for healthcare services.  The Medical Coding Certificate program is designed to prepare students for entry-level coding positions.  Coders are employed in a wide variety of healthcare settings, both inpatient and outpatient.

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to qualified students through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Foundation of Research and Education, which offers both loans and scholarships. For more information, go to the AHIMA Foundation's scholarship page and see Foundation Scholarships.

Financial aid is available to qualified students through the Georgia Health Information Management Association (GHIMA), which offers scholarships to HIM degree seeking students. For more information, go to GHIMA's scholarship page.

For information on federally sponsored programs call Federal Student Financial Aid Information Center at 800-433-3243.

The Health Sciences department is responsible for the information on this page.
To inquire about the Health Information Technology program, please contact .