Certified Coding Specialists maintain patients’ medical records through numerical codes in health care settings. They provide appropriate coding on the patient’s medical history, diagnosis and treatment records. They ensure accuracy and confidentiality while coding the records. In addition, they act as a communication link between patients and the service providers including health care officials and the insurance companies.
Certified Coding Specialists work at different types of settings such as hospitals, private practices or other health-related facilities, government organizations, insurance companies, research institutions, independent billing and coding services so on and so forth. They depend heavily on the use of computer software. These professionals may have to work on day or night shifts as well as in the weekends.
To qualify for the position of a Certified Coding Specialist, aspiring candidates need to earn a two-year associate’s degree program in medical coding and billing. The students can also go for a 4-year degree program in this field for better job prospects. However, some employers in USA prefer candidates with previous experience for these professionals.
Certified Coding Specialists study the course work of medical terminology, anatomy, physiology ethics etc. Besides, they need to acquire the knowledge of medical billing and coding, health record maintenance and computer science.
Certification and Licensure
Since many states of USA require a Certified Coding Specialist to be licensed, the aspiring candidates need to earn an exam-based License. The candidates can also obtain certification from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Certified Coding Specialists possess variety of traits such as a great deal of knowledge in Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and the International Classification of Diseases Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) for proper coding, high medical ethics, maintaining patients’ privacy and confidentiality, understanding of insurance reimbursement process , ability to work with accuracy in stressed condition, tolerance to spend long hours sitting on computer desk, pleasant communications and interpersonal skills, computer data entry skills etc.
Job Outlook and Salary
The job outlook for a Certified Coding Specialist remains excellent in USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 22% from 2012 to 2022. The average annual salary of a Certified Coding Specialist was around $36,000 in 2014.