How Do I Find An Accredited Medical Coding School?
"I would like to become a medical coder, but I don’t want to get started without a certification and preferably an associate’s degree. I have started looking for schools online but so far I haven’t found anything which seems genuine. There are a lot of medical coding schools online, but I don’t trust their credentials. Why is this such a scammy area? All I want is a good education that will help me land a decent job. Please help. I really don’t want to screw up and give my money to a scammer."
asked by Linda from Reno, NV
Educational scams are sadly more common than most people would like to believe, but they are particularly concentrated in fields where there is a lot of demand, and medical coding is one of those fields. You are right to feel leery towards some of the programs that are promoted online. Not all of them are valid, accredited programs that can provide you with a degree and allow you to pass your medical coding exam.
There are several places you can start your search. One thing I would definitely highly recommend you do is visit the website for the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC). The AAPC distributes the exam which you have to actually take and pass in order to earn your official certification as a medical coder, so they are basically the number one authority on medical coding training. They offer some courses themselves, and they can also help point you in the right direction.
You can also search for medical coding schools right here on our website—just scroll down past this article and you will see where you can search for schools. You will be able to look over a number of different options for accredited schools which offer medical coding training in your area and online. Once you find several schools you are interested in, it never hurts to double check their accreditation status.
You can do this by contacting the regional association which handles these matters.
For example, if you are in the New England region, you would contact the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). If you are located in the Northwest of the country, you would try the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NASC).
Another thing that is helpful to know in your search is that only the AAPC can administer the AAPC certification exam. A school cannot administer the exam, unless of course it is the AAPC’s own training school.
So if a school tells you they can provide a certification exam, you know automatically to avoid that school. You have to take the exam through the proper channels, and it must be administered by a professional organization and not a college. Hopefully all of this helps you to find the best medical coding school to fit your needs.
Remember to consider other practical issues as well, like whether the classes will fit into your schedule and whether the course will fit your budget.