Two health care programs at Rend Lake College are going hand-in-hand to give graduates more options after finishing college. The Medical Coding (MEDC) certificate is a good place to start to either go straight into the workforce or build skills to enter into the Health Information Technology (HIT) degree program.
The MEDC program is a two semester occupational certificate designed to prepare students to become licensed and work in the health care industry as a medical coders. As a medical coders, graduates will play important roles in the billing process by abstracting information from patient documents, assigning codes, and creating claims to be paid. RLC’s program emphasizes the hands-on experience in a laboratory setting throughout the program as well as a clinical practicum at the end of the program.
Many of the classes required by the MEDC program coincide with classes in the recently-accredited HIT program, a fact that many students use to their advantage, explained Lora Phillips, Medical Coding and Health Information Technology Instructor.
“Some students are interested in getting a job and making money as fast as they can. The Medical Coding program allows them to do that within a year,” said Phillips. “Many of those students will work for a year or two to get experience, and then continue with their education in the Health Information Technology program.”
RLC students interested in the MEDC program can enroll in two required prerequisite classes and any of several other general education courses this spring: Introduction to Computers with Business Applications, Health Care Terminology, or Anatomy and Physiology Fundamentals. MEDC-specific courses begin enrolling in the Fall 2016 semester.
“The Medical Coding program has classes required for both of the programs, which means students won’t have to repeat those classes should they decide to further their careers into health information technology. They will have already completed some classes, which will cut back on how many more they’re required to take before graduation,” said Phillips.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, both careers are growing across the country due to an aging baby boomer population. Medical coders can expect to see 6,400 new jobs by 2022 compared to 41,100 for health information technicians during the same time.
All students must pass a background check and drug screening to enroll in the MEDC program. To learn more about the Medical Coding program at RLC, contact Phillips at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1776 or [email protected].