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Are You Cut Out For A Career As A Medical Coder?

Are You Cut Out For A Career As A Medical Coder?

If you’ve wanted a career in the medical field but didn’t want to go through the schooling to be a nurse or doctor then a medical coding position could be perfect for you.

Medical coders are just one part of a group of medical field professionals who don’t work directly with patients. Medical billers, secretaries, claims processors and coders have this in common. For medical patients, detailed records and files are kept that trace their visits, any surgeries or procedures, problems, diseases, shots, diagnoses, etc. There is a uniform code that creates a standard for the reporting of medical records – medical coders are responsible for coding patients’ information for insurance purposes. There are coding books available and now there are a lot of things that can be done online. In many cases medical billing software or medical office software has capabilities to code and help with coding.

There are no formal education requirements for medical coders. However, most medical coders enter with associate degrees. Some college classes in biology, anatomy and life sciences are helpful. Good computer skills are a must because the work might involve using medical billing software, medical office software or medical management software. There is no standardized version of medical billing software; there are many different variations of medical management software and medical office software so specific skills in any one program aren’t required, but competence with computers is necessary. Although there are no required education requirements, there are certain certifications that are desirable. Some employers prefer to higher candidates who are Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT). To be come registered with RHIT they must earn a 2 year associates degree from a school that’s accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. Candidates then also must pass a test given by the American Health Information Management Association. Doing all of this isn’t required, but being registered with RHIT is huge plus for employers and with the way the employment is growing is almost certain to guarantee employment.

Here are some key points from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook:

  • Employment is expected to grow much faster than average.

  • Job prospects should be very good; technicians with a strong background in medical coding will be in particularly high demand.

  • Entrants usually have an associate degree; courses include anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, statistics, and computer science.

  • This is one of the few health occupations in which there is little or no direct contact with patients.

(Citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, on the Internet at (visited December 08, 2006))

Medical coders can expect to work regularly scheduled 40 hour weeks. There are opportunities at hospitals and certain clinics that remain open during all hours may have round the clock shifts available. Hospitals and clinics are some of larger places offering employment, but large and small private medical practices are also places that need medical coders. There are also some home-based and small business opportunities for medical billing and medical coding. In these smaller settings, utilizing medical billing software, medical management software and medical office software helps a small workforce take on a big load. Median earnings for this type of position are about ,000 a year. It’s respectable for an entry level medical field position.

The job outlook is excellent and there are a lot of opportunities to grow and move up in a medical coding.

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