Medical Coding Salary, How Much Can I Make?

Two fast-growing positions these days are medical coding and medical billing.  While the two professions are related and to some extent overlap, they are not the same job.  Medical coding is a principle step in the medical billing process, but medical coders have a very specific job.  This profession is widely advertised as a great career move, but just how much money could you expect to make if you become a medical coder?  What does the job entail, and what is the job outlook?

What is Medical Coding?

Without medical coding, doctors and other health professionals cannot be paid since medical billers cannot apply the appropriate charges.  Medical coders have the job of translating different procedures, treatments, and medical conditions into alphanumeric codes.  These codes are a shorthand way of recording the complex procedures which take place in a health care setting.  You will need to look at a patient’s medical record to learn the details of that patient’s case in order to apply the correct codes.  These codes include CPT codes, ICD-9 codes and HCPCS codes.  Once the codes are applied, the medical biller can use them to process reimbursement claims with insurance agencies.

medical coding salaryThe main application of medical coding is in medical billing, but there are other reasons that medical codes can come in handy.  Administrators can look at medical coding reports to get a clear picture of the daily happenings in a hospital or clinic.  It’s easier to streamline the events in the workplace and improve workplace efficiency through staffing changes and equipment orders when medical coding information is available.

Medical Coding Salary Expectations and Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides some indication as to current medical billing and coding salary expectations.  As of 2010, the median pay for all medical records and health information technicians (including medical billers and medical coders) was $32,350 per year and $15.55 per hour.  While this is not the highest salary in the world, you can support yourself independently on it, and there is less training required to become a medical coder or biller than there is for most other medical professions.  If you have limited financial resources for schooling or not a lot of time to invest in your education, this may provide you with a route into the medical workplace.

As of 2010, there were 179,500 medical records and health information technician jobs.  The job outlook was much faster than average at 21 percent.  Considering how tough it is to find a job in this economy, this is quite a positive outlook.  Medical coders are in high demand right now and will be in even higher demand in a few years when you’ve completed your education.  It’s hard to find a stable job, but this is one which is stable even now in this poor economy.  Your opportunities will only increase as the economy improves.

What factors influence a medical coding salary?  Much of what you make on the job depends on the environment where you work.  Medical coders are needed all over the place.  You might work in a hospital, an outpatient clinic or surgical center, an insurance company, or even online from your home.  Medical coders are needed in rural and urban settings.  How much you earn can be influenced both by your geographical area and the nature of your workplace.  As you are educated in medical coding, you’ll learn more about the different opportunities available to you and how you can earn the most money on the job.  Some medical coders focus on specific subsets of medicine.  By having a specialty, you could command a higher salary and find unique opportunities open to you which otherwise would not be available.

How to Become a Medical Coder

If the job description appeals to you and you are interested in pursuing a career in medical coding, you’ll be pleased to learn that the educational requirements are minimal, and you should be able to pursue a career as a medical coder with fairly few obstacles standing in your way.  You will need to thoroughly understand the appropriate topics in anatomy and physiology, and you’ll need to become familiar with medical terminology.  You may receive a higher salary if you have a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree, but you don’t necessarily need either in order to enter the field.  It can be enough just to pass your CPC exam and earn your certification.  You may be able to complete your studies on your own, but it is highly recommended that you consider a medical coding course.  There is a lot of information to take in, and you won’t learn it all overnight.

Fortunately this is the kind of education which you can pursue even if you work a full time job or have a family to take care of.  It won’t place heavy demands on your time and will place minimum demands on your wallet.  If you’ve always dreamed of a job in the medical community but don’t want to or cannot afford to attend medical school or nursing school, this is a way to get in on the administrative side of things.  The role of a medical coder is essential to the operations of any medical health facility.  Without you, physicians cannot get paid, which is how you know there will always be high demand for your profession.

Once you pass your CPC exam, you’ll become a Certified Professional Coder or CPC®.  Employers will know from your certified status that your knowledge is up to date and that you have what it takes to succeed at the job and streamline billing operations in the workplace.  According to the AAPC professional organization for medical coders, certified coders earn 17 percent more than non-certified coders.  It’s also easier to get a job in the first place if you have some kind of credentials.  Medical coders usually polish up on their knowledge by attending workshops and joining professional organizations.  It’s important to stay current so that you can retain your status and excel in your career as a medical coder.

Matching School Ads

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.

Programs:

  • Medical Billing & Insurance Coding (10-Month Diploma Program)
Locations:  Bakersfield

Ultimate Medical Academy is a nonprofit healthcare career school—and students are at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we offer exclusive student services through your career training and beyond, beginning from the time you enroll online or at our campus in Clearwater, FL. We’ll also guide you toward the right program for your goals, and help you understand the affordability of your career training. So let us know you’re interested, and we’ll discuss how UMA can help you succeed.

 

Gainful employment information can be found at UltimateMedical.edu/gainful-employment and includes information on tuition, loan debt, completion, placement, and occupations.

Programs:

  • A.S. - Medical Billing & Coding
  • Diploma - Medical Office Billing Specialist
  • A.S. - Health Sciences - Medical Administrative Assistant

Arizona College prepares students to work in the 'real world' of medicine. With the use of lecture and laboratory teaching, we provide our students with hands on experience.

Programs:

  • Health Information Specialist
Locations:  Glendale

Fortis Institute can give you the skills you need to train for a career in the healthcare field.

* Programs vary by location

* Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information


Programs:

  • Medical Billing and Coding
Locations:  Orange Park

All-State Career - Healthcare Division is committed to providing quality training for students just like you. Financial aid is available for students who qualify. * Programs vary by location * Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information

Programs:

  • Medical Billing and Coding
Locations:  Baltimore
Harris School of Business offers career-focused education that gives you the skills you need to make the leap into your new career.

Programs:

  • Health Claims Specialist Plus
Locations:  Voorhees

The Berkeley Advantage®

Preparing students for professional and personal success is what Berkeley College is all about. From career-focused degree and certificate programs offered in some of today’s most in-demand professions to extensive support resources, YOU are at the center of everything we do at Berkeley. Our commitment to students begins with their very first inquiries.
 

Programs:

  • Certificate in Medical Insurance, Billing, and Coding
  • AAS in Health Services Administration - Medical Insurance, Billing, and Coding
Locations:  Woodland Park
Choosing a school and a new career path can be a very overwhelming process. Here at NCC we understand the importance of education, and that the healthcare industry is in constant need of trained professionals. Our short term allied health programs will give you the skills and the knowledge to become a part of the exciting healthcare field. In addition to providing career training, we offer our graduates employment assistance. At NCC you are not just a student; you are part of a community that includes faculty with industry specific experience and administrators committed to education, and your success in your career objectives.

Programs:

  • Medical Billing and Coding
Locations:  Panorama City

Get Career-Relevant Training with Miller-Motte College! 

 
At Miller-Motte College, you can find educational programs that can help you launch a new career. Whether it’s in the healthcare field to help the well-being of others or enhancing your business skills, we have programs to match your interests and meet your needs. Our training programs are career-focused and designed to help you gain the knowledge and hands-on training to succeed.
 
Beauty and Wellness
  • Barbering
  • Massage Therapy
  • Cosmetology
  • Esthetics Technology 
Business
  • Business Administration
Healthcare
  • Allied Health Management
  • Medical Clinical Assistant
  • Veterinary Technician
  • Dental Assisting
  • Medical Billing and Coding
Legal & Protective Services
  • Criminal Justice
Technology
  • IT Support Specialist
  • Mechatronics

Programs:

  • Medical Billing and Coding
Locations:  Jacksonville

Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience. 

 

Programs:

  • Associate of Science in Medical Administrative Billing and Coding
Locations:  Fort Lauderdale

Previous post:

Next post: