how to be a medical coder

How To Be A Medical Coder

As the healthcare industry continues to grow, job opportunities abound. If you’re interested in a fulfilling career as a medical professional, it’s time to think about your options. Studying for years to become a doctor or a nurse may not interest you, however those positions require a wide range of support people to help the healthcare wheel turn. Jobs like medical office administrators, pharmacy technicians and medical coders are also in high demand. Check out the basic steps on how to be a medical coder.


Medical Billing & Coding Specialist

A billing & coding specialist acts as a middleman between insurance companies and healthcare agencies. You could work in a hospital, clinic, physician’s office, nursing home or other healthcare facility. Basic job duties include:

  • Use industry-specific software to assign codes to medical procedures
  • Review claims data to ensure compliance with industry rules and regulations
  • Medical records research
  • Communicate with insurance companies and healthcare agencies to resolve claims issues


Steps to Becoming a Medical Coder

1. Get Educated

A proper education will teach you the job-specific skills necessary to become a billing and coding specialist. Generally, healthcare agencies are looking for people who have completed a 2-year associate degree or certificate program in medical billing and coding or a closely related field. Typical coursework includes:

  • Keyboarding
  • Medical terminology
  • ICD 9 & 10 coding
  • Basic anatomy and physiology
  • Computer applications
  • Business communications
  • Office procedures
  • Medical law, privacy and ethics


2. Obtain Proper Certification

You’ll shine with potential employers when you show them you have earned the proper medical billing and coding certification. It can also put you on track for career advancement. The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) is an organization designed to provide professional development, resources and accountability in the healthcare industry. They offer a variety of certifications that you could be eligible for:

  • Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS)
  • Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
  • Certified Outpatient Coder (COC)
  • Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)
  • Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC)
  • Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA)


3. Take Advantage of Career Services

A good vocational school not only shows you how to be a medical coder, but also provides career counseling services. You’ll be able to meet with a counselor who can help you set goals, narrow down job prospects, create a resume, fine tune interview skills and anything else pertaining to getting your dream job. Don’t skip this important step on the path toward a promising future.


4. Accept Your Dream Job

Once you begin applying for jobs, you’ll likely go through interviews at a few agencies. Stay positive and keep your mind focused on your goals. Don’t let it get you down if you don’t get the first job you apply or interview for. Be persistent and you’ll eventually land the job of your dreams.


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