how to become a medical coder

Learn how to become a medical coder with information on their responsibilities, job requirements, and salary.

A medical coder translates patient medical documents such as medical notes, lab reports, procedures, and diagnoses into a universal medical code to maintain accurate medical records. Healthcare providers and insurance companies use these standard codes for billing and records.

This administrative role is important in the demanding healthcare industry. Learn more about what medical coders do and if this career path is right for you.

What is Medical Coding?

Medical coding is the process of extracting medical service information from patient health information, such as: B. Medical procedures, diagnoses, required medical equipment, and medical notes. A medical coder converts this information into a universal medical alphanumeric code.

Three types of known medical alphanumeric codes

International Classification of Diseases (ICD): The World Health Organization (WHO) developed this code for international use. Classification systems are widely used for, among others, health record keeping and data collection. These codes can categorize symptoms, diseases, illnesses, and causes of death.

Current Procedural Terminology (CPT): The CPT code identifies medical, surgical, and diagnostic procedures and services in the United States. The American Medical Association (AMA) developed this system, which includes three categories: modern medical procedures and practices, clinical laboratories, and new technologies.

General Health Procedures Coding (HCPCS): The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) developed this coding system to help process insurance claims for Medicare or other providers. Programmers use it to document medical procedures, products, supplies, and services.

Duties of a Medical Coder

One of the primary responsibilities of a medical coder is to ensure the accuracy of the medical records you write and the codes you use. Other requirements for working as a medical coder include mastery of various types of medical coding and adhering to a medical coding code of ethics.

  • Translates patient information into appropriate medical code.
  • Check medical documents and records for missing information.
  • Perform a chart audit.
  • Gathers, researches, and stores patient medical information.
  • Make sure all documents are grammatically correct.
  • To adhere to medical coding policies and guidelines.

Medical code salary

A medical programmer working in the US earns an average of $46,660 per year or $22.43 per hour [1]. This average salary includes all medical records and health information specialists, so it can vary depending on your job, your certification, your work experience, and the number of hours and/or shifts you work. You can get more than this average.

Employment prospects

Medical programmers are relatively in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, businesses are expected to grow by 7 percent, which is considered average growth. The BLS projects that another 12,300 jobs will be added between 2021 and 2031.

Skills required

Insurance carriers, healthcare providers, and patients all depend on the accuracy of medical records. Therefore, attention to detail is as important as the functionality of the coding system you use in your healthcare facility.

Educational Requirements

You do not need prior medical coding knowledge to become a medical coder; However, many certification programs require at least one year of work experience. If you need work experience prior to certification, consider applying for a position such as a billing assistant, where you will have first-hand experience with the medical coding process.


A medical coding certificate is proof of health coding and billing. This indicates that you have studied a particular medical coding system or systems, including the basics of translating patient medical data into coding.

When you decide to pursue a medical coding certification, you have several options. You can get a certificate.


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Written by Patna Motihari

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