Medical Coder Salary, How Much Do They Make?

The job of medical coder is one of the faster growing jobs in the country, despite the recession.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical coding jobs and other health technician jobs are growing at a rate of 21 percent.  This is much faster than the average for all other jobs in the country.  What kind of salary can you expect to make if you become a medical coder?  What about if you decide to become a medical biller?  What is the difference between the two jobs, and how much education will you need to start on your way?  How do you decide whether medical billing or coding is right for you?

What Does a Medical Coder Do?

Medical coders are administrative workers in the healthcare industry who translate the activities in the healthcare setting into alphanumeric codes.  There are several different types of codes you’ll learn, including CPT codes, ICD-9 codes and HCPCS codes.  You can code conditions, treatments, tests, and other procedures.  Medical codes make it easier for doctors and other medical staff members to interpret patient histories and apply logical treatments.  Other administrators may also use the data provided by the coding in order to figure out if additional equipment is needed or if staff need to be transferred from one department to another.

medical coder salaryThe main use of medical coding, however, is in billing.  Some medical coders are also medical billers and vice versa, but usually these jobs are separate.  If you are a medical coder, your job will precede that of the biller.  Once you’ve translated everything into alphanumeric codes, those codes will be passed on to the medical biller, who can then use them to bill patients and insurance companies.  The coding reduces the complexities of the healthcare setting into an easy, manageable system.

Despite this, confusion often occurs where billing is concerned.  If you aren’t into problem solving and working with the public, then coding is a better choice of profession than billing.  You won’t be responsible for collecting on accounts or working with patients and insurance companies to determine solutions.  Most of your dealings will be with other staff members in your workplace.

Where do medical coders perform their duties?  Common locations include hospitals, surgical centers, and outpatient facilities.  Some coders also work directly for insurance companies.  Others may work from the comfort of their own homes.  The salary you make as a medical coder may vary depending on your choice of workplace and also your geographical setting.

Medical Coder Salary and Job Expectations

According to the BLS, the median medical billing and coding salary is $32,350 a year and $15.55 per hour.  Note that this is a median statistic, meaning it is possible to make more or less than this amount based on your experience, education and certifications.  Starting out you may make a bit less, but as you advance in your profession you should have opportunities to make more money.  Medical insurance billing and coding are jobs which are needed all over the country in rural and urban settings.  Coders are needed in hospitals, clinics, surgical centers, and other locations.  Insurance companies usually have in-house coders to help them to interpret the bills they receive and perform other tasks.

Medical coders also sometimes have the chance to work at home.  If you’ve always wanted to be able to enjoy the comfort of your own home while you make money and support yourself, then a medical coder job may suit you very well.  If you’re trying to make some extra money for your family but want to stay home with the kids, a medical coding job may also suit your situation.  Medical coder stay-at-home salaries span a wide range, just as medical coder jobs in hospitals and other settings do.

Medical Coding Certification

To become a medical coder, you don’t necessarily need to pursue additional education beyond secondary school.  You can however improve your chances of getting a job which pays well by becoming certified.  You will need to take an exam in order to become a Certified Professional Coder (CPC).  As a CPC, you will have proven that your knowledge is current and that you have the necessary job skills to excel at your chosen line of work.  In order to actually pass the exam, you may want to consider investing in a course.  It isn’t always necessary; it depends totally on you, your resources, and your style of learning.  Some people just take the exam after studying on their own and they do fine.  Others need a class in order to learn the necessary coding skills and information about human anatomy.

Once you’ve passed the CPC, you have a chance to earn a salary which is 17 percent higher on average than you would likely earn without the certification.  This is according to the data which has been gathered by the AAPC professional organization for medical coders.  You don’t need to pursue an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree to get a job as a coder.  So while you won’t necessarily be making a lot of money at your new job, you will have access to a stable job in high demand without making a huge investment in your education.

Is the role of medical coder right for you?  This is a job which involves a lot of repetition, memorization, and organization.  If you enjoy organizing data and focusing on details, then you will enjoy life as a medical coder.  You won’t be interacting with the public much, so if you are customer service-minded, you might want to check out the medical billing profession.  A good medical coder will have attention to detail, concentration, and a desire to bring order to complicated situations.  If this sounds like you, then your first step is to learn more about the profession and start looking into the CPC exam.  Figure out whether you might need to take a course to pass the exam, and then look up programs.  You can study to become a CPC by taking an online course, which saves time and money.

Matching School Ads

You can complete Southeastern Institute's training programs in as few as 8 months! Receive hands-on instruction from caring instructors with practical experience in the fields in which they teach. Southeastern's small class sizes and individualized attention can be just the help that you need to succeed.


  • Certificate in Electronic Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
Locations:  Charleston
Get started on your career at American Institute. Our specialized, hands-on programs focus on the high-demand careers of health care, business, and computer technology.


  • Medical Coding and Billing
Locations:  West Hartford

Over 500 Long Island companies have hired our graduates in the past year.

Hunter Business School was founded in 1972 for the purpose of providing quality career training through intensive and innovative programs.  Hunter Business School’s mission is to provide students with the opportunity to receive a high quality education for the career best suited to their ability, interest and ambition.  We are an educational environment characterized by high expectations and staffed by professionals who are knowledgeable, compassionate, creative, supportive and effective.


  • Medical Billing Specialist
  • Medical Office Administration
Locations:  Levittown

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it. From the moment you enter ourschool, to graduation and beyond, we are right there with you.


  • Medical Billing & Insurance Coding (8-Month Diploma Program)
Locations:  El Monte

Virginia College  continues the tradition ofgiving lives new direction, fulfilling our mission statement tostudents wherever they live and offering the chance to pursue adegree while maintaining commitments to work and family.


  • Certificate in Medical Billing & Coding
  • AAS - Healthcare Reimbursement
  • AAS - Medical Office Administration
Locations:  Greenville

Back to School Scholarship Available to All New Students Until October 22nd.

Since 1996, Southern California Health Institute has been dedicated and committed to helping students achieve their dreams by providing an exceptional education that enables them to become skilled and successful manual therapists. We have graduated over 1,500 students who are now a part of a larger community of wellness and healthcare.


  • Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Program
Locations:  North Hollywood

U.S. Colleges has been helping students enhance their career skills since 1996.

Our programs are designed for individuals interested in gaining the necessary skills to get ahead in a professional career.



  • Medical Biller
  • Medical Administrative Secretary
  • Clinical Medical Assistant
Locations:  Anaheim
Ready for an exciting new career? Southern Technical College offers intensive, hands-on career training in the areas of business, health sciences and applied electronics technology.


  • Diploma - Medical Billing and Coding Technology
Locations:  Fort Myers

Get hands-on training with Remington College. We offer diploma and associate and bachelor's degree programs in business, criminal justice, culinary arts, health care, and cosmetology at our campuses in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas — plus some courses are offered online.


  • Diploma in Medical Billing and Coding
Locations:  Garland
In response to the demand of Florida's rapidly growing population, City College is focused on, and committed to, providing the best in business and career education.


  • Medical Office Admin/Billing and Coding
Locations:  Altamonte Springs

Previous post:

Next post: