Certified Coding Associate Career Info and Education Requirements

Certified coding associates require a significant amount formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and certification requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

A certified coding associate (CCA) translates information about diseases and procedures used by healthcare providers into numeric or alphanumeric codes. Results of the coding are used for purposes of reimbursement, the assessment of clinical care and medical research. The majority of certified coding associates work in hospitals, but they can also work in doctors' offices, ambulatory care centers and long-term care facilities.

Required Education Variable; a post-secondary certificate, an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree in medical coding, health information management or health information technology, and a coding certification
Projected Job Growth (Medical Records and Health Information Technicians) 22% from 2012 - 2022*
Median Annual Salary (May, 2013) (Medical Records and Health Information Technicians) $34,970*

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certified Coding Associate Education Requirements

Aspiring certified coding associates must have a high school diploma and at least six months of experience using ICD-10-CM and CPT coding conventions. Strong computer skills and a familiarity with electronic data management software are also a plus, as is familiarity with medical terminology. Those who wish to become certified coding associates can earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in health information management. Coding certificate programs are another educational option. These programs focus on the skills necessary for completing certification exams, such as coding guidelines, medical terminology and disease classification.

A certified coding associate must pass a national medical coding exam that measures one's understanding of medical terminology, disease processes, pharmacology, ICD-10-CM and CPT medical record coding. General coding certification is offered through the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).

Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts faster-than-average growth for certified coding associates, with a 22% increase expected between 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). Part of this growth is attributed to changing technology and an increased need for people who possess the specialized data management skills required to work as a coding associate. In 2013, the BLS also reported that the the median salary for coders was $34,970. The highest-paid coders were employed by the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industries, earning an average of $52,850 annually.

Certified coding associates seeking advancement within the field may obtain advanced specialty certification through organizations such as the Board of Medical Specialty Coding (BMSC), the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS) and the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA). Those who have or obtain a bachelor's or master's degree may seek positions as health information managers, who are in charge of the maintenance and security of electronic patient records.

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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (16)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (6)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (3)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (4)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (7)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (3)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your classroom preference?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Currently not accepting applications from Texas residents
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Which subject are you interested in?

  • School locations:
    • California (3 campuses)
    • Florida (2 campuses)
    • Indiana (1)
    • New Mexico (1)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    What year did you graduate from high school?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Minnesota (1 campus)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Associate
        • Associate - Medical Billing and Administrative Services

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    Do you prefer online or campus based learning?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • A minimum 2.0 GPA
    • Submit high school transcript(s)
    • Submit college transcript(s) (if applicable)
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Missouri (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Missouri College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Massage and Related Therapeutic Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
        • Medical Administrative Assistant or Secretary
        • Medical Insurance Billing and Coding
        • Medical Office Specialist
      • Medical Assisting
  • School locations:
    • Missouri (1 campus)
    • Oklahoma (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vatterott College include:
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
        • Medical Insurance Billing and Coding
        • Medical Office Specialist
      • Medical Assisting
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (4 campuses)
    Areas of study you may find at Harrison College include:
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
        • Health Information Technology
        • Medical Insurance Billing and Coding
        • Medical Office Specialist
      • Medical Assisting

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Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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