What Education Is Required to Be a Medical Coder?

It is highly recommended that anyone interested in becoming a medical coder completes a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree program. Keep reading for more information. Schools offering Insurance Billing & Coding Specialist degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Educational Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical coders are considered health information technicians. Overall, most technicians hold at least a certificate in health information technology or medical coding; some of these professionals may have an associate's degree.

Important Facts About Medical Coders

Median Salary (2014)$35,900 (for medical records and health information technicians)
Job Outlook (2012-2022)22% (for medical records and health information technicians)
Work EnvironmentMostly hospitals and physicians' offices, although a small percentage work in nursing care facilities or for a government entity
Similar OccupationsMedical transcriptionists or medical and health services managers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Postsecondary Education

Common courses in a certificate or associate's degree program in health information technology include medical record coding, medical coding systems, medical terminology and anatomy. Courses familiarize potential medical coders with codes and their creation, making them more effective on the job. In addition, you may need to complete hands-on clinical practicums in order to graduate. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA, www.ahima.org) has a list of schools with approved coding programs on its website.

Certification

The BLS reports that employers often prefer medical coders who are certified. In general, certification can make you more marketable and lead to a higher salary. The American Medical Association adds that certification helps medical coders stay on top of changes in the industry, because every two years, certified coders need to complete a certain number of credits to retain their certification. Possible certifications through the American Academy of Professional Coders include:

  • Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
  • CPC-Outpatient Hospital
  • CPC-Payer

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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