Should I Study Medical Coding Online?

"I have been doing some research into professions in the medical field and I have decided that medical coding may be a good match for me. I have a lot of attention to detail and I would like to work in a hospital, but I’m not keen on doing anything technical involving administering medicine, plus I do not have much money to spend on my education and was thinking something with a certificate might be better for me than going to nursing school or medical school. I really just don’t have that kind of time and money to invest, so my question is, should I do medical coding school online? I know it’s a really popular way to study it, and being out here in Alaska, it seems like it might allow me more selectivity in the program I choose anyway. Thanks for your recommendations in advance."

asked by Brian from Juneau, AK

Medical coding is a very popular field right now, and indeed you will find that online courses in this field are some of the most popular classes out there as well. Medical coding lends nicely to online study since most of the information is information you can learn from a lecture or a book, and you do not need much in the way of hands-on training since you are not administering medicine, as you indicated.

Online school is a great choice, and like you said, you would have more options available to you since you are in a somewhat remote location.

If you decide to study online, it is extra important to do your research and be sure that you are enrolling in a school which is accredited. Are you familiar yet with the AAPC? That’s the American Association of Professional Coders. The AAPC administers the exam that you will be taking to qualify for your certification, so they are the ones who set the standards on what you need to learn.

They can guide you to an appropriate online program, and they also offer online classes on their own website. Study materials are available for download and you can also take a practice test so that you know what you need to learn and can prepare fully for the exam. The exam does cost money to take, so you won’t want to try it until you are ready.

There are plenty of great online programs for medical coding, and you should come up with a lot of candidate programs once you start researching. You will earn more money if you aim for an actual degree and not just a certificate, so you may want to consider an associate’s degree.

Or you can just start with the basic certification and then later, after you have started to earn an income, you might come back for more training, maybe with the help of your employer.

Opportunity in this field is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the next few years, so you may well find a hospital willing to pay for your future education!

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