If you enjoy working on computers and like to read, becoming a medical coder might be a good career choice or even a good side hustle. The big part of being a medical coder is that you have to be really careful because it could affect someone’s healthcare.
In this guide, we will learn everything you need in order to become a medical coder.
What Is Medical Coding?
Whenever you visit a doctor, the doctor will give a special code to the receptionist, who is usually the “Medical Coder” to indicate any symptoms or diagnoses that the doctor made.
Many times Medical coders might also work from home translating doctor’s notes into a list of codes for insurance. Most medical work for a hospital, doctor’s office, or insurance company. They may spend their day reviewing medical records and coding them for insurance reimbursement.
Medical coders are also called “Clinical Coders”, so if you hear this word, just know that it’s the same thing.
Medical coding is the process of translating medical diagnoses and procedures into code numbers. The codes are used to record and track patient medical information and are also used in insurance claims.
Here is an example:
Steps To Becoming A Medical Coder
Once you have decided that you want to become a medical coder, you are ready to start the process, this process may take anywhere from 1 month to a few months based on how quickly you are able to go through the education and certification.
The only requirement to becoming a Medical coder is that you have a high school diploma or a GED.
Step 1: Understand The Preliminary Requirements
While the reward for becoming a Medical Coder is very good , but before you decide to become a medical coder, you need to make sure that you will enjoy this job because it does have educational requirements that you will need to fulfill. The job is not that exciting and involves doing the same thing every day.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I enjoy science?
- Do I like working in the medical field?
- Do I like to work on the computer most of the days?
- Will enjoy dealing with medical professionals?
- Do i have the means to pay for the education and training?
If you are OK with these things then you may proceed, if not, understand that you will have to deal with these things. You don’t want to end up doing something that you don’t like.
Step 2: Take Medical Coding Training Course
You will need to find a place to take your course, this could be online or at a community college. The course will cover the basics of medical coding systems, medical terminology, and anatomy. Some courses may also include training in billing and coding software.
There are various kinds of certifications that you can get based on where you want to work.
- Certified Professional Coder (CPC) – Medical Practices like Clinic or Internal Medicine
- Certified Outpatient Coder (COC) – Outpatient hospital, urgent care, ambulatory surgery centers and Emergency Cares
- Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC) – Hospitals
- Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC) – Insurance Companies
Step 3: Study & Pass The Exam
The CPC Exam is a computer-based exam that tests a person’s knowledge of medical coding. It is administered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and is taken by individuals who want to become certified medical coding professionals.
The CPC Exam is a computer-based exam consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions. The exam is divided into two sections, with the first section covering medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology, and the second section covering coding guidelines and coding principles.
Once you have passed your exam, you are ready to get a job. You can mostly find Medical Coder jobs via LinkedIn, Indeed or other job site that’s popular in your country.
How Much Does Medical Coder Make?
The average medical coder’s salary is $37,532 in the US. The salary will mostly depend on the location you are working and the types of certifications you have.
So when people ask “Can you make a lot of money as a medical coder?” Well, The answer is you can make an average US salary without going to a 4-year college and can work remotely too, so it’s not bad. It’s a pretty good salary.
Can you work remotely as a medical coder?
Yes, but it depends only our employer. If you work for a small clinic then, they might send you their entire workday notes that you might translate into coding but if you work for a big hospital then they might require you to be on side. Most of the people working remotely for medical coding usually work for an insurance company/
What does a medical coder do all day?
Medical coder spends their day reviewing medical records and assigning numeric codes to patient diagnoses and treatments. Most of your day will be reading notes from doctors or insurance and matching them to a specific code that you need to translate it into. You don’t necessarily have to know these codes by memory but once you keep doing it for a while, you will know the medical code by memory.
How do I start my own medical coding business from home?
Once you have your certification, you can start marketing your services to doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities.
As a medical coding business owner, you can make even more money as a medical coder, what you can do is start taking care of medical coding for multiple doctors. First you will need to find clinics willing to let you do their medical coding, then keep building your customer list.
Is medical coding good for introverts?
Yes, Since you do not have to deal with people too much in person, this could be a good job for introverts. You will most of the time be reading and entering data on the computer.