Hospitals and physicians could not function without medical coders, who assign a billing code to every medical test, drug or service that health care professionals provide to their patients. Medical coders bill insurance companies electronically and track submitted claims. Insurance companies use the submitted codes to make payments to doctors and health care facilities. Medical codes are standardized throughout the health care industry in the United States, giving medical coders the ability to move from one state to another without additional training. Similar healthcare jobs include positions such as Medical Coder Billers.
Medical Coder Education Requirements
Medical coders must have a high school diploma or equivalent. They need good math skills, bookkeeping knowledge and familiarity with customer relationship management programs, or CRM software, in the health care industry. Coders must have a high level of competency in computer database software and the ability to research missing or unpaid claims. Additionally, medical coders must have knowledge of billing codes and possess excellent communication skills to compose correspondence. While taking college courses in medical coding is not a requirement by some employers, a certificate from an accredited school is an asset when applying for a job. Career colleges and vocational schools offer courses that vary in length from one semester to under one year.
Medical Coder Job Market
The medical coder job market is growing rapidly as the health care industry changes and expands. Statistics show an estimated 18 percent projected growth from 2012 to 2022. National health care is expected to create an additional 187,800 medical coder jobs during this decade for a total workforce of 607,000.
Medical Coder Salary
The mean hourly wage for medical coder jobs in the United States is $16.60, or $34,540 per year. The income range varies from a low of $23,380 up to $47,460 annually. Higher pay generally reflects more experience and more expensive metropolitan areas where larger hospitals are common. Hospitals and physicians' offices pay similar amounts within a specific geographic region.