WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Tiffany Hale, a lifelong resident of West Plains, just received her Medical Coding Certificate through Missouri State University-West Plains, and she is already putting her new skills to good use in her hometown as a non-credentialed coder at Ozarks Medical Center.
“I chose to pursue the Medical Coding Certificate at Missouri State-West Plains because, throughout my life, I have always worked within the health care field in some form,” Hale said. “I decided to go back to school, not knowing exactly what I wanted to pursue, and I saw a flyer about medical coding before orientation and decided this was something I wanted to learn more about.”
Coursework for the certificate is offered through the Health Information Technology department at Missouri State-West Plains.
A “STACKABLE CERTIFICATE”
“The Medical Coding Certificate is a stackable certificate, so if Tiffany decides to come back and get her two-year degree, the Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology (HIT), her classes from this program will count toward that,” said Instructor and Director of HIT Tresa Ryan.
Ryan pointed out the certificate opens up several career options, including coding positions at hospitals, doctors’ offices, dental clinics, optometrists’ offices and veterinary clinics, to name a few. One also could be a diagnosis-related groups validator or a health record auditor, Ryan said.
“And, with coding certification beyond what is offered here, Tiffany could go even further,” Ryan said. “She’s been an excellent student, who seems to have a knack for coding. She never gave up—she stuck with it, and I am very proud of her.”
“I would say the most rewarding aspect of the certificate program was the capstone course and being able to apply the knowledge I have learned with hands-on training at OMC during my internship,” Hale said.
Hale cites the support system provided by her adviser and instructors, as well as participating in group activities and presentations, as experiences that helped her along the way to completing her certificate program.
“This is the first certificate I have earned,” Hale said. “I plan to take my Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam this summer, as well as my National Health Care Associate (NHA) exam. Within the next year, I plan to obtain my Certified Professional Coder (CPC) certificate and, down the road, after I get my feet wet in the coding world, I will definitely consider continuing my coding education and keep my available options in mind like an AAS degree or something more.”
Obtaining coding credentials through these testing programs will confirm Hale’s knowledge base and give her additional job opportunities, higher earning potential and job security, Ryan added.
Hale said she would highly recommend the program to prospective students.
“The instructors are great and always there for you,” she said. “Advice I have for students pursuing their coding certificate is to work hard and always know you are capable of more than you might think you are. With every bit of education you obtain, the further you will strive to reach your goals.”
For more information about the HIT department at Missouri State-West Plains, call Ryan at 417-255-7786 or email TresaRyan@MissouriState.edu. You can also learn more about the degrees and certificates offered through Missouri State-West Plains online.