Certified Coding Associate Career Info and Education Requirements

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.

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Certified Coding Associate Education Requirements

Aspiring certified coding associates must have a high school diploma and at least six months of experience using ICD-9-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-9-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 20% increase expected between 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). Part of this growth is attributed to changing technology and an increased need for people who posses the specialized data management skills required to work as a coding associate. In 2008, the BLS also reported that the highest-paid coders were employed by the federal government, earning an average of $42,760 annually, while coders working in other sectors earned an average of $30,610 per year.

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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  • 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?

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
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Informatics and Illustration
      • Medical Residency Programs
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
        • Health Care Administration
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences

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