Is a medical coding certification useful for an RN

  1. I am currently in transition in that we just moved to a new area with a whole new life attached to it. I am awaiting my state license but am trying to figure out how going back to shift work will fit into the mix here. I have been having all sorts of career uncertainties lately anyway. Between the move, my age and family life, I am trying to figure out what to do with myself. Reinventing is tough at this stage in my life. I was contemplating sitting for the certification exam to do some medical coding in the interim. My good friend has all of the materials and took the exam without taking a course and in reviewing the materials, with serious studying I think I can handle it. I figured it is something that I could probably do on the side despite where my nursing career takes me. I am wondering though too if there is any advantage to having this certification along with an RN as far as job market goes. Could it possibly help if I were to someday work in case management or something of the sort.
    Any experience or advice?
    Thank you!
  2. Visit coopman712 profile page

    About coopman712

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 152; Likes: 15
    from US
    Specialty: 2+ year(s) of experience


  3. by   adnrnstudent
    Maybe in a hospital admin role but by the time you get there, coding may have changed drastically. I don't think it will benefit you in any way as far as getting a nurse job.
  4. by   coopman712
    I guess I am just trying to justify doing this. Thanks.
    Any other perspective thoughts?
  5. by   JustBeachyNurse
    As most medical coding is starting to be outsourced, it may not be much of an asset.

    The closest positions I've seen advertised for registered nurses in medical records is chart review--ensuring all charges entered are accurate based upon clinical review of the chart and facility P&P and the nursing documentation justifies the level of care and charges entered. Not really related to traditional medical coding.
  6. by   HouTx
    The transition to ICD-10 has been a bit delayed, but is going to hit healthcare providers like a tsunami! Implementation is going to require massive amounts of training because it will require practice changes for anyone whose documentation provides the basis for reimbursement. Many organizations are scrambling to build in these changes into their EMRs....

    So, I imagine that there are going to be plenty of opportunities for anyone who is savvy enough to help organizations with this massive effort - by teaching or helping to reconfigure documentation systems. Nursing roles that will be most involved will be those working in case management, utilization review and physician practice integration.
    Last edit by HouTx on Aug 24, '12 : Reason: typo
  7. by   coopman712
    Thanks HouTx...I feel like I am amidst a career/mid life crisis. I worked in a hospital for a year and am just not sure I am cut out for it for the duration of my career. Perhaps I just didn't find the right setting.:/ Considering my background (BA-Psych/ MS-Ed), I am open to alternative uses of my nursing degree now.

    I appreciate the feedback.
  8. by   Genista
    I am interested in this, too. Actually, I see many RN jobs that request coding experience as part of the required job qualifications. Examples would be nurse auditor/coder, utilization review, and even case management. There are quite a few other posts here on allnurses about coding. I am thinking maybe to try an online course to get my feet wet and see what options open up. Good luck to you, coopher12.
  9. by   coopman712
    Thank you! I have a book I am studying from actually and am going to try without a course...We'll see!
  10. by   aflower1325
    I know this is an old topic but I thought I would drop my two cents on the subject. I am a Certified Professional Coder. I just got my certification last fall and have not found work exactly in the field yet. I am working for the school I attended though, as a Lab assistant in the classroom. As far as if having the coding certification with your RN, that could certainly be helpful. It will be easier on you interpreting charts and operative notes and things of the like. It could also help if you are in a smaller office who does all of their billing and coding internally with their own staff. If you do decide to take a course however, make sure they teach hospital coding as well. If that is something you are interested in. It is different slightly. The course I took did not do hospital coding. We learned the ICD-9 CM or clinical modification. Our books don't even have the hospital codes in them.

    A note about the ICD-10 implementation. It is scheduled to hit Oct 1, 2014 and CMS has stated there will be no more delays. Upon its implementation, there will be massive changes. The codes will switch to alphanumeric codes verses just numeric now. A lot of the older coders that have been doing it for years say they are not wanting to learn the new stuff and will simply retire. Now how many of them will do that and what the numbers on that will be like I can not tell you. But, I am sure the new stuff will certainly create job openings. So, I would say make sure you are comfortable learning something completely different than you are learning now, in a year and a half. If you do want more information on certification, you can visit for more info.
  11. by   Cathy4836

    What would you recommend taking ICD-9 & ICD10 together? Hospital Coding? I am an RN, but interested in doing Coding. Not sure which way to go at it! Do you take AACP courses or AHIMA courses? What did you do? Would you take auditing also? Is it all necessary to have the complete package for employment. Would like to work from home, my husband is ill. Thank you.

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  12. by   CUL8R
    Hi coopman712,

    I'm in the same place you are and I think there is plenty of opportunity particularly if you get your certification in ICD-10. I started researching nurse coders a while ago and found there's a new career out there related to the new requirements by The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services and the transition to ICD-10. It's called Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialist. Do a google search since putting all the details about this nontraditional nursing career path would take a few pages! Anyway, the route I'm taking is to begin by getting my certification in coding (ICD-10CM & ICD-10PCS) then a certification in Clinical Documentation Improvement. I joined the Association of Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists and they offer the certification credential. I have not yet but plan to join AHIMA and/or AACP to obtain certification in coding through them. All of these associations are recognized by employers. Be careful, there are some "schools" out there offering certification to nurses in these areas that are not recognized. HCPro offers online BootCamp classes for these which is what I'm in the middle of now. They are not cheap but after a lot of researching and comparing, it was the best choice for me.
  13. by   Saphiie
    Hi CUL8R,
    I realize this may not be viewed but figured I would give it a shot. I am curious if you did finish and become a Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialist? I am transitioning my RN career and am interested in this style of work. I did write down what you are taking and I have been reviewing the AHIMA Basic ICD-10 coding courses parts I and II. I am also going to review the AAPC's courses. I haven't yet decided which to take but would appreciate any information in regards to how your career has progressed. Thanks in advance!