Medical Coding Specialist
Hospitals deal with a lot of data. From prescription doses to test results to specific diagnoses, there is always more information to be passed along to the pharmacy, to insurance companies, and to specialists. Medical coding was created to make transferring all these data easier and more uniform, but it cannot be done without the work of medical coding specialists, who know how to translate words, numbers, and doctors’ scribbles into reliable, accurate code.
Minimum Education Required: Test preparation program, specific to the CCS exam
Top 3 Skills: Comfortable with computer languages, detail-oriented, fastidiousness
Average Starting Salary: approx. $30,000 a year
A medical coding specialist can work wherever there are medical codes to be written or translated. This includes private practices, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and health insurance companies. Some organizations look for certified coders to teach basic coding skills to their doctors, nurses, and other staff. Coding can be a monotonous job, as it involves a lot of repetition, however as time goes by, coders become faster at their job, and some may even be able to work from home.
While there are many associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs for medical coding, many do not fully prepare students for the CCS (Coding Career Specialist) exam, which is what employers value most when looking to hire new coding specialists. There are certification preparation courses/study guides available through both the exam board itself, as well as independent instructors and technical colleges. When registering for any course, ask if you will leave the program capable of passing the CCS exam. If not, you may want to look elsewhere.
The CCS exam certifies medical coding specialists as capable and ready to enter the workforce. For specific types of coding (Urology, Radiology, Oncology and so on), there are additional certification exams available. If you have been working in a specific field for sometime, you may be able to receive certification based on your work history.
Job Outlook: Excellent
Medicine is still in the process of switching from paper records to digital files, and many hospitals or clinics have paper patient files that need transcribed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 21% increase in Medical Coding Specialist positions between 2010 and 2020. The median pay is just over $32.350 a year, but many experienced coders are able to earn much more.
- Medical Coding Specialist
- Ave Starting Salary:
- approx. $30,000yr
- Ave Median Salary:
- approx. $32,350yr
- Job Outlook:
- Education Required:
- Health Information/Medical Records Technology/Technician (Certificate, 2 Yr Associate)