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How to Become a Medical Coder: A Brief Guide

How to Become a Medical Coder: A Brief Guide

Are you interested in a career as a medical coder but aren’t sure how to get started? Judging by the name of the job, it may sound like you need an extensive background in tech to work in medical coding.

However, this is not the case. Medical coding is one of the few careers in the healthcare industry that allows you to get a decent-paying job without having to attend years of medical school.

Read this guide to learn how to become a medical coder.

What Do Medical Coders Do?

Medical coders work in the billing departments of hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other medical facilities. Many medical coders also work for insurance companies and are responsible for handling patient claims and intake information.

These highly-qualified healthcare professionals are mainly responsible for translating procedures, diagnostics, and services into codes to keep accurate treatment records. Medical coders may also be responsible for:

  • Determining which healthcare services are necessary
  • Measuring outcomes of care provided to patients
  • Improving epidemiological data and research
  • Tracking public health conditions

On a daily basis, medical coders also help secure patient reimbursement, ensure medical compliance, and ensure the continuity of patient care.

How to Become a Medical Coder

As we mentioned earlier, you don’t need to go to medical school to become a medical coder. Here’s what you need to do to embark on this career path:

Earn Your High School Diploma

You’ll need at least a high school diploma or GED to become a medical coder. Many medical coders also attend college to hone their skills, earning degrees in science or math.

Enroll in a Medical Coding Training Program

All medical coders need to earn a medical coding certification to work in the field. There are four kinds of medical coding certifications, and you’ll need to choose one to complete based on the type of medical coding you’d like to do.

The types of certification include:

  • Certified Professional Coder: This allows you to work in medical practices
  • Certified Inpatient Coder: This allows you to work in hospitals and in-patient facilities
  • Certified Outpatient Coder: This allows you to work in urgent care units, outpatient hospitals, and ambulatory centers
  • Certified Risk Adjustment Coder: This allows you to work in insurance and other healthcare settings

We recommend undergoing your training through a certified medical coder program, such as the AHIMA or AAPC. Certification generally takes about a year to complete. You can check out www.ultimatemedical.edu to learn more about medical coding programs.

Pass the Certification Exam

After completing a medical coding program, you’ll need to pass a certification exam. The medical coding exam is an in-person exam that consists of 100 questions and usually takes a few hours to complete.

The exam will test your knowledge of medical coding best practices, as well as your knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology.

Are You Ready to Become a Medical Coder?

Now that you know what it takes to become a medical coder, it’s time to embark on this exciting career path. Medical coding is a growing industry, and there are many opportunities for advancement in the field.

Check back in with our blog to learn about more careers in the medical field!

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