Do you love the idea of working in the healthcare industry? Do you want to experience all the perks the healthcare field has to offer (high salaries, high job demand, competitive benefits, etc.) without working one-on-one with patients?
If you want a more hands-off healthcare career, you might want to consider working as a medical coder.
Never heard of this job before? Not sure if it’s a good fit for you?
Read on to learn more about it.
You’ll get answers to all your pressing questions, including “what does a medical coder do?” and “how much do medical coders make?”
What Does a Medical Coder Do?
A medical coder is in charge of organizing and managing healthcare-related data. This includes things like patient information, medical histories, treatment histories, and billing information.
Medical coders are responsible for keeping this data well-organized and accessible. They also must make sure that it is accurate and that everything is filled out properly. They use both paper filing systems and electronic systems to accomplish these tasks.
As a medical coder, you will typically work in an office setting and spend a lot of time in front of the computer. In some cases, coders are able to work from home.
How Much Do Medical Coders Make?
According to the latest data, medical coders earn an average salary of $39,180 per year. This works out to $18.83 per hour. Depending on your state, you may earn more or less than the average salary.
As with other careers in the healthcare field, employment for medical coders is growing at a rapid rate. It’s projected to grow by 13 percent by the year 2026, which is faster than the average job growth for all occupations in the United States.
How to Become a Medical Coder
There are definitely perks that come with working as a medical coder.
It’s an especially good job option for those who do not have the time, money, or desire to spend several years in school. When you work as a medical coder, you can hit the ground running and start earning a good salary right away.
If you’re interested in starting a career a medical coder, you’ll need to take the following steps:
Meet the Basic Requirements
In order to work as a medical coder, you will need to have a high school diploma or GED. This is the only universal requirement to work in this field.
You may have to undergo a background check before you can be hired, too.
Keep in mind that, in some cases, certain convictions, including those that are drug- or sex-related could keep you from getting hired for certain medical coding positions.
Enroll in a Training Program
You don’t need to complete a training program to work as a medical coder, but it significantly increases your chances of getting hired.
Enrolling in a training program will also help you ensure you have the skills necessary to handle the demands of the job. It may also help you to earn a more competitive salary.
Most training programs can be wrapped up very quickly — usually in about 18 months or less.
Complete Your Program
Once you’ve enrolled in a program, take it seriously and study hard to make sure you thoroughly understand what it takes to be a successful medical coder.
During your program, you’ll learn information regarding medical coding language and procedures.
You’ll learn basic medical anatomy, physiology, and terminology, too. You’ll also be required to learn about the latest health information regulations and laws.
Complete Additional Certifications
After completing your basic program, you may want to continue your education and obtain additional certifications.
Certifications like certified professional coder (CPC) and certified risk adjustment coder (CRC) can help you stand out from your competition and make you more qualified for specific coding positions.
Traits of a Good Medical Coder
As you can see, the process of becoming a medical coder is pretty straightforward. You might still be on the fence about whether or not this is the right career for you.
If you’re a fast learner who’s fairly well-organized, you’ll likely make an excellent medical coder.
The following are some other traits that typically indicate someone is well-suited for a career in medical coding:
Attention to Detail
This is key for anyone who wants to work as a medical coder. You need to be able to spot mistakes and correct them quickly. Even small mistakes could have a serious impact on the care someone receives or the cost of their treatment.
As a medical coder, you need to be able to communicate well with others.
During a typical day, you may have to talk to doctors, nurses, office administrators, and other coders to explain issues with patient records or get clarification on particular assignments.
Some medical coders work with paper filing systems, but more and more offices are switching over to a fully digital approach these days. This makes strong typing and computer skills a must.
When you work as a medical coder, you spend the bulk of your day looking at confidential patient information.
You need to be willing to hold yourself to a high ethical standard and avoid sharing information that violates a patient’s privacy or puts them at risk.
As someone who holds a medical biller coder job, you may have the option to work from home. This requires a great deal of discipline to stay on task and avoid distractions.
Learn About Other Healthcare Jobs
Now that you know more about medical coding and have clear answers to questions like “how much do medical coders make?” do you think this is the right career path for you?
If you’re not fully sold yet on the idea of a medical coding career, would you like to learn about other careers in the healthcare industry?
If you want to know about your other healthcare-related options, we’ve got you covered.
Check out this article today to learn about all the different paths you can take that will allow you to reap the benefits of a healthcare career.