Medical Coding Specialists translate written medical documentation, provided by physicians and other health care providers, into a numeric form. The Medical Coding Specialist assigns and sequences diagnostic and procedural codes using universally recognized coding systems, e.g., an anterolateral myocardial infarction (heart attack) is translated to I21.09.
Coded Information Serves Many Purposes
- Reimbursement - codes are printed on the claims submitted to insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid.
- Research - physicians can access medical records for research purposes based on coded information. For example, a physician may request to see the medical records for all patients who were treated for gastric (stomach) ulcers in the past two years. These records would be identified in a computer list of patients with diagnosis codes of K25.0-K25.9.
- Public Health - a government or public health agency may use coded diagnostic information to track the occurrence of certain diseases. For example, they may find an increased incidence of a certain type of cancer in a certain region of the country.
- Patient Care - a medical device manufacturer may issue a recall on a specific device, such as a pacemaker, and the records of such patients could be identified and retrieved based on the procedure code for pacemaker insertion.
The Medical Coding Specialist technical diploma at Madison College will prepare you for a career in this high-demand field.
Aptitudes and Interests
Possessing these aptitudes and interests may help you succeed in the Medical Coding Specialist program:
- Ability to be precise and detail-oriented
- Ability to adhere to standards and guidelines
- Passion for medical information
- Ability to communicate well with others
- Ability to accept challenges and problem-solve
- Respect for confidential information
The Medical Coding Specialist Program is offered on a part-time basis only; it will take at least two years to complete the program. Classes are offered in the online format, including optional online-live discussions in some classes. A few classes require students to take proctored final exams on campus or by other arrangements.
Medical Coding Specialist is all online – virtual campus
The Medical Coding Specialist program will prepare you for entry-level coding specialist positions in health care facilities such as hospitals, managed care organizations, skilled nursing facilities, coding and billing services, physician practice groups, governmental agencies, home health agencies, computer software companies, clinics, consulting firms, insurance companies and veterinary hospitals.
Career Outlook and Salary
The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment in the health information management field will grow faster than average (11% or more) through 2028.
The 2020 Madison College Graduate Employment Report (six months after graduation) indicates an average annual salary of $41,288 ($19.85/hour) for new graduates of this program.
A 2020 national survey done by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) indicates the average annual wage for certified professional coders (CPC) is $56,164 ($27.00/hour) and for certified outpatient coders (COC) is $61,435 ($29.54/hour). Survey results for Wisconsin show the average annual wage for coding and billing professionals to be $54,601 ($26.25/hours).
A 2019 national survey done by the American Health Information Management Association indicates the average annual salary for a coding professional is $56,164 ($27.00/hour). It also showed those with mastery-level coding credentials (CCS and CCS-P) garnered higher average salaries than those with entry-level coding credential (CCA): CCS $79,060; CCS-P $77,790: CCA $53,790.
As of September 2021, the website salary.com indicates the annual salary range for medical coding specialists in the Madison area is $40,494 - $71,131 ($19.47 - $34.20/hour) with the median salary at $54,230 ($26.07/hour).
There are several certification exams that can be taken to earn national coding credentials. The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam demonstrates entry-level skills. The other certification exams demonstrate mastery level (experienced) skills. Many employers require certification. Certification may result in a salary increase and/or promotion.
American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), ahima.org:
- Certified Coding Associate (CCA)
- Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)
- Certified Coding Specialist - Physician-Based (CCS-P)
American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), aapc.com:
- Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
- Certified Outpatient Coder (COC)
- Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)
- Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC)
Curriculum and Experience
Prospective program students, the information below reflects the basic requirements for students admitted for the 2022-2023 academic year. To learn more about Madison College, visit us.
Current and newly admitted program students, go directly to your Degree Progress Report to view:
- Progress toward your specific requirements
- Alternative (in lieu of) courses to meet specific requirements
If you have questions after reviewing your degree progress report (advisement report), please see Advising Services.Pre-Program CoursesCore Program CoursesCluster 1Cluster 2Cluster 3
Students need to complete the petition process to get into core-program classes for this program. Before submitting an application, it’s important to review the Petition Process webpage which also includes estimated wait times for each program.
- View the admission requirements for application deadlines, materials, and requirements
- There is currently 0-1 semesters between acceptance into pre-program and the start of core classes. The estimated time to enter the core-program is subject to change based on the variable number of students ready to petition each semester.
- Learn more about the Madison College experience and get help with the admissions process
Once you have been accepted in a pre-program status, your next step is to complete the Petition Requirements. See the Petition information in the next section.
Students will be required to meet the current admission and petition requirements. Requirements must be amended any time accreditation requirements are updated or changed. Requirements may also be amended based on Madison College programmatic assessment data.
- View the admission requirements for application deadlines, materials, and requirements
After you have been admitted into a pre-program status, complete all of the Petition Requirements for your program. Login to your student account and run a Degree Progress Report to review the Petition Requirements and see which requirements you have completed and which need to be satisfied.
Requirements vary by program, and may include some or all of the following:
- Prerequisites (examples: Algebra, Geometry, Chemistry, Biology, English and Reading): This varies by program
- Course Requirements (examples: Anatomy and Physiology, Intro to Psychology, etc.): This varies by program
- Testing Requirement (examples: ACT, HESI, TEAS): This varies by program
- Petition Workshop: This is done online and can be found in Blackboard after you have been admitted in a pre-program status
You can view the Petition Requirements for this program using the links below.
After completing the petition requirements, students are then selected for entry into core program courses through the Petition Process.
After completing the Medical Coding Specialist program at Madison Area Technical College, you will be prepared to:
- Collect health data
- Apply coding and reimbursement systems
- Model professional behaviors and ethics
- Use electronic applications to support coding and data collection
Graduate Report Summary Overview
2019 2020 2021 Number of Program Graduates 23 30 26 Number of Surveys Sent 23 30 26 Number of Surveys Returned 19 22 20 Percent of Surveys Returned 82.60% 73.30% 76.90% Available for Employment 19 21 19 Percent Available for Employment 100.00% 95.50% 95.00% Not in Labor Market 0 1 1 Percent Not in Labor Market 0.00% 4.50% 5.00% Available for Employment
2019 2020 2021 Graduates Employed 15 17 14 Percent of Graduates Employed 78.90% 81.00% 73.70% Employed in Related Occupation 11 12 9 Percent Employed in Related Occupation 73.30% 70.60% 64.30% Employed in Unrelated Occupation 4 5 5 Percent Employed in Unrelated Occupation 26.70% 29.40% 35.70% Employed - No Response 0 0 0 Percent Employed - No Response 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% Seeking Employment 4 4 5 Percent Seeking Employment 21.10% 19.00% 26.30% Reaction To Training at Madison College
2019 2020 2021 Student satisfaction Mean (Out of 4) 3.4 3.5 3.6 Number of Satisfaction Responses 19 22 20 Very Satisfied (4) 8 13 14 Percent Very Satisfied 42.10% 59.10% 70.00% Satisfied (3) 10 8 5 Percent Satisfied 52.60% 36.40% 25.00% Unsatisfied (2) 1 1 0 Percent Unsatisfied 5.30% 4.50% 0.00% Very Unsatisfed (1) 0 0 1 Percent Very Unsatisfied 0.00% 0.00% 5.00% Primary Reason for Attending Madison College
2019 2020 2021 Number of Primary Reason Responses 19 22 20 Preparation for Getting a Job 6 6 5 Percent Preparation for Getting a Job 31.60% 27.30% 25.00% Career Change 11 15 13 Percent Career Change 57.90% 68.20% 65.00% Improvement of Existing Skills 1 0 1 Percent Improvement of Existing Skills 5.30% 0.00% 5.00% Preparation for Further Education 0 0 0 Percent Preparation for Further Education 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% Personal Interest 1 1 1 Percent Personal Interest 5.30% 4.50% 5.00% Other 0 0 0 Percent Other 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% When Employment was Obtained
2019 2020 2021 Number of When Employment Obtained Responses 15 17 14 Before Enrollment 2 4 3 Percent Before Enrollment 13.30% 23.50% 21.40% While Attending the College 2 4 5 Percent While Attending the College 13.30% 23.50% 35.70% After Training at the College 11 9 6 Percent After Training at the College 73.30% 52.90% 42.90% Location of Employment (related and unrelated)
2019 2020 2021 Number of Employment Location Responses 15 17 14 In College District 13 12 8 Percent In College District 86.70% 70.60% 57.10% In Wisconsin, Not in District 1 5 5 Percent of In Wisconsin 6.70% 29.40% 35.70% Outside of Wisconsin 1 0 1 Percent Outside Wisconsin 6.70% 0.00% 7.10% Employer Location Unknown 0 0 0 Percent Location Unknown 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% Salary Trend Salary Trend 2019 2020 2021 Full Time Employment (Related Job) Full Time Salary Count 9 10 8 Average Monthly Wage $3,086 $3,336 $3,502 Average Hourly Wage $17.94 $19.40 $20.36 Average Work Hours per Week 40.5 40.2 40.5 Part Time Employment (Related Job) Part Time Salary Count 1 2 1 Average Hourly Wage $22.00 $20.30 $16.75 Average Work Hours per Week 32 26 8
Graduate Employers for academic year: 2021 Employer(s) Job Title City* State** Positions Beloit Clinic Outpatient Coder Beloit Nordic Analyst Prairie Clinic SC Professional Coder Sauk City St Coletta of Wisconsin Direct Support Professional Jefferson Unity Point Health Health Unit Coordinator UW Health Hospitals & Clinics Medical Coder UW Health Hospitals & Clinics Medical Coding Specialist UW Medical Foundation Medical Coding Specialist Middleton 2
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