What Are the Requirements for Medical Coding Certification?

It is very difficult to enter a career in medical coding without receiving the appropriate training and education from an accredited university, community college or vocational/technical school. The best training you can receive is often through medical coding certificate programs offered at these types of schools. However, a strong interest in entering the health care field in the area of data management is not all that is required to enter a certification program. So what requirements will you need to meet in order to get this certification?

Nearly all certificate programs will require that you have a high school diploma or its equivalent (often a GED). Online medical coding certificate programs, which are becoming increasingly prevalent because of their convenience, will often require potential students to demonstrate a working knowledge of computer skills by taking a qualifying examination testing their knowledge of computers. This is true of the Medical Coding Certificate Program offered by Kaplan Continuing Education, for example. At Kaplan and many other schools, a transcript showing that you have completed a college-level computer course will meet this requirement. If you have not taken such a course, the school offers an in-house program to equip students with the necessary computer skills.

Many online medical coding certification programs will also require that you take an introductory course to online learning. These introductory courses familiarize students with the software programs necessary to participate in an online learning format.

Something else to keep in mind is that many medical coding certification programs include a practicum that may include an internship at a local hospital, doctor’s office or clinic. These internships may require participants to undergo a criminal background check.

It is also strongly recommended that you complete a quality certificate program if you wish to obtain certification from professional organizations such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). This is true of even the entry-level certification offered by AHIMA, the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential. Thankfully, AHIMA includes a list of schools offering coding certificate programs on its website; all programs listed are approved by AHIMA as relevant to today’s world of medical coding.