So, you want to become a remote medical coder? It certainly is an in-demand profession that also happens to pay well.
In fact, a CNBC survey found there were far MORE remote medical coder jobs than there are trained professionals to fill them.
In other words, if you want a remote career path that has plenty of job opportunities, this is it. Plus, as a whole, the healthcare industry is booming. Currently, healthcare is now the U.S.’s largest employer.
As a bonus, you won’t have to spend years in school to break into the well-respected medical field (more on that later). What’s not to love?
An entry-level, remote-friendly career in health care that pays well and is in demand may sound ideal. But, are you really ready to become a remote medical coder or are you better suited for something else?
Let’s find out. This guide will provide a quick overview of what you need to know to become a remote medical coder (and whether it’s the right career path for you).
What Is A Medical Coder?
A medical coder is a trained professional that transforms diagnoses, procedures, and equipment into universal alphanumeric (letters and numbers) ‘codes.’
Every time you go see a doctor or medical provider, your visit becomes part of your medical records. Included in these records are every single diagnosis (from the common cold to more complicated matters) and any procedures performed.
It’s a medical coder’s job to assign a specific code to each of these diagnoses and procedures so that they become a universally understood (and permanent) part of your medical history.
What Are The Job Responsibilities of A Medical Coder?
There are two common medical coding classifications:
- International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
- Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)
Most medical billing and coding professionals will use BOTH classifications throughout the course of their work.
To do that, a medical coder reads a patient’s chart to find any procedures performed or diagnoses given. Then they assign a code (from the classifications mentioned above) to each one.
These codes are often submitted to insurance for reimbursement as well as relate one diagnosis or procedure to another.
In addition to assigning codes to patient records, medical coders:
- Review medical records for accuracy and completion
- Analyze records for previous diagnoses
- Maintain strict confidentiality and accuracy when handling records
Needless to say, medical coders provide an important service for patients, providers, and insurance payers!
Would I Make A Good Medical Coder?
As a remote medical coder, you’ll spend a lot of time in front of a computer. There’s also a good amount of typing, research, and documentation on a daily basis. And, even though you’re part of the medical field, you’ll have no direct contact with patients.
So, if you were hoping to find a healthcare career that allowed you to interact with patients regularly or played an active role in patient care, medical coding is not for you.
However, if you thrive in a solo environment and enjoy digesting large amounts of information regularly, medical coding is right up your alley. Similarly, you would make a good medical coder if you:
- Can quickly process a lot of information
- Have basic clerical skills
- Use logic and reason to resolve problems
- Are able to organize, plan, and prioritize work independently
- Possess an attention to detail that allows you to be thorough and accurate
Check out the video below to see if medical coding is a good fit for you:
What Are The Education Requirements?
To become a remote medical coder you do not need a degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most medical coders are high school graduates with a post-secondary certification.
If you do not have your high school diploma, start there! Any certification program will require you to have it or your GED before enrolling.
If you already have your high school diploma or GED, you can enroll in a certificate program. Note, completing a certificate program and being a certified medical coder are two different things!
When you enroll in a medical coder certificate program, you will receive training in medical coding. The training you receive will prepare you to sit for (and pass!) your certification. But, you have to complete your training before you are eligible to take any medical coding certification exams.
There are several certification exams you can take once you graduate. And, you can even pursue higher education, if you so wish. This can lead to more job opportunities and higher pay. But, that’s putting the cart before the horse.
At a bare minimum, to be considered an entry-level medical coder you need a Health Information Management (HIM) Certificate and at least one of the following certifications:
- Certified Coding Associate (CCA)
- Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
That’s it. Once you have those under your belt, you are a trained medical coding professional and are eligible to apply for entry level jobs, which can earn an average of $40,000 annually according to the BLS.
Remote Medical Coder Training
A quick google search and you’ll find A LOT of websites that offer medical coding training. But, not all of these programs are created equal.
Always choose a course that issues a HIM Certificate upon graduation AND prepares you to take a certification exam.
I recommend the Career Step Medical Coder certification program.
In less than a year, you can:
- Complete the expert-designed program
- Sit for the CPC or COC exam
- Take supplemental coursework that places you ahead of other entry-level candidates
The career-focused training is completed at home and allows you to learn at a pace and schedule that works best for you.
Plus, as both a student and eventual graduate, you receive one-on-one support throughout your career transformation. That includes individual help as a learner and guidance during your job search.
How Much Can I Earn?
As a freshly certified medical coder you can earn as much as $56,000 annually. However, most graduates average about $40,000 each year. Your location and specific certifications will play a role in your individual earnings.
On a positive note, the BLS estimates career growth of 13% for medical coders through 2026. So, there will certainly be opportunities to earn more as you advance your career.
Where Do Medical Coders Work?
Medical coders work in just about any healthcare setting. This includes:
- Doctor’s Offices
- Surgical Centers
Any place that works with patients will employ a medical coder to manage records and insurance reimbursements. But, not all medical coders have to be physically present in these settings to work there.
Many hospitals and healthcare companies hire home-based medical coders. Instead of working in office, these same medical coders get to work out of their home offices and enjoy all the benefits associated with remote work.
Which Companies Hire Remote Medical Coders?
Medical coding is a remote-friendly career path. Now you’re probably wondering how to become a remote medical coder.
Once you complete your online education and gain certification, you’re officially ready to begin your job search. Instead of hunting at traditional locations, ie., hospitals and doctors offices, you can look for remote options.
10 Companies That Hire
- Franciscan Health
- Vantage Healthcare
- Precision Medical Billing
- Oxford Global Resources
- Excite Health Partners
- Health Information Associates
- Xtend Healthcare
Remember, getting a remote job is a little bit different than securing a traditional one. Not only does a remote job search take more time, you need to approach it differently. That’s where I can help.
Remote Career Coaching Help
As a Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC) I specialize in creating career campaigns for remote job seekers. Check out my remote career coaching services to find out how I can help you too!
Ashlee Anderson, CPCC
P.S. This post contains affiliate links for Career Step. When you enroll in a Career Step course through my affiliate link, I receive a small commission. It costs you nothing. I only recommend products, businesses, and services I trust and know you’ll love. Learn more about my use of affiliate link by reading my disclosure statement.