How to Become a Medical Coder

Medical coders are important in the sense that they perform the most important task in health facilities. Medical coders make sure that patient information is properly stored in hospital records.

If you want to work in non-patient facing positions in the healthcare industry then this is the career that you should follow. So many health institutions have adopted electronic health record storing which means the medical coder career is set to grow.

 Postsecondary Education

After you graduate from high school you will have three  options for your undergrad education which are a certificate program, a bachelor’s degree, or an associate’s degree.

If you want the quickest way for you to work in this field then you should go for the certificate. A certificate takes less than a year to complete. Certificate studies  focus on the basic coding, basics of disease processes, treatment procedures, terminology, and body systems. The certificate also covers studies of medical office software, billing procedures, and regulatory compliance.

On the other hand, an associate’s degree in areas like healthcare administration and  health information management is a reliable option for those who want to be medical coders. The associate degree will cover writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills in addition to the basic coding basics that are covered in the certificate. The associate degree takes longer than the certificate to complete but most employers hire those with the associate degree.

The bachelor’s degree offers broader concepts of healthcare system management. You will learn about human resources, legislative compliance, health policy, data analytics, and project management.

This degree takes four years to complete which is why those who take this route are more likely to be hired first and can take leadership roles that will ensure they earn more than those who did the certificate and the associate degree. 

You should make sure that the institution that you use to get your qualification is accredited.  Earn first credentialing, there are basic credentialing exams that you will have to take.

Get Work Experience

After you get your qualifications and credentialing, you can now work in the field. Work experience can help you determine which setting you like to work in, whether you like to work in the public or private health care sector. Experience can help determine which path you want to take going forward in terms of furthering your education.

Earn Further Credentials

When you have experience, there are other opportunities to further your education that arise.this ensures that you grow in your career. In some areas, you will be required to re certify every two years.


Being a medical coder is a great job if you want to be in the medical field. Hospitals will always receive patients everyday which means this profession will be there for a long time.

You can further your education after completing the qualifications above by attending formal educational programs, teleseminars, delivered presentations, published academic work, and independent study. This will ensure that you grow in your career.