Working at Home as a Medical Coder

work-at-home-medical-coderA lot of people want to get into medical coding because they’ve heard this is a job you can do from home. However, just like medical billing, this isn’t something you can just dive right into and start doing. Almost every company that would hire you to do this is going to require that you have certification before you can start work and possibly a degree as well.

What do medical coders do?

Medical coders convert medical services rendered into codes for billing. There is a code for pretty much every medical service out there, and you will see these listed when you receive a bill from a doctor and/or hospital. There are also unique codes for medical diagnoses and various supplies used in medical facilities, so this job is actually much more complex than it sounds at first. Medical coders have to take care to be extremely accurate in what they do to ensure that everything gets billed correctly.

How much does the average medical coder make?

According to Salary.com, the average medical coder earns around $45,000 per year.

What is required to get started as a medical coder?

Almost any company you work for is going to want to know you’ve been certified either through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).

Companies that hire for medical coding may also be looking for people who have an RHIA or RHIT degree (Registered Health Information Administrator or Registered Health Information Technician), CPS (Certified Coding Specialist), or CPC (Certified Professional Coder).

Most vocational schools and many universities — both online and offline — offer courses you can take to get started in this field, after which you can take a credentialing exam. If you are looking for online programs, CareerStep usually comes highly recommended.

How long does it take to get certified?

It could take anywhere from six months to one year to finish school so that you can take your certification exam. If you are after an RHIA or RHIT degree, you may be looking at two to four years.

Who hires work from home medical coders?

There are several companies that have remote positions available for medical coders. But just like medical transcription, it can be hard to get these jobs from home if you’ve never had a job doing medical coding before, even if you are certified.

Here are a few companies that occasionally have work from home openings for medical coders:

  • Amphion Medical – Three years experience required.
  • Aviacode – Three years experience required as well as certification.
  • The Coding Network – Three years experience required as well as certification.
  • Conifer Health – Click on “Search Opportunities” then type in “telecommuting” in the keyword box to find the home job listings. They require certification along with three years experience.
  • LexiCode – Hires people with certification along with at least two years experience.
  • Maxim Health Information – Will hire coders to work from home that have three years experience as well as certification.
  • Precyse – Search “All Remote Opportunities” under job listings to find the home coding positions. This one also requires the three years experience and certification.
  • Pyramid Healthcare Solutions – Requires two years of coding experience along with certification. Lots of benefits offered by this company.

You can also check doctor’s offices and hospitals locally to see if they have any remote coding positions available.

Medical Coding Scams

You have to watch out for scams. Do not pay for a fly-by-night medical coding course from a company that isn’t reputable, especially if the advertisement you found is promising you’ll be making all kinds of money in 30 days or less. That just doesn’t happen in the medical coding field. It takes time to learn everything you need to know and finish your courses — as mentioned above, it could take a year or longer.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.  

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Comments

  1. chloe says

    I’ve considered going to school for this but got somewhat discouraged at the fact that your chances of finding a job after graduation is slim. I wonder how people in this field get started? Do they start off as a receptionist? Just doesn’t make any sense to me lol. It’s something I still want to pursue but it’s just really discouraging.

    • says

      Yep, I wondered the same thing, Chloe. Everyone has to start somewhere. I guess there may be some places out there that take newbies, but apparently they are not too common. Maybe some of the colleges and vocational schools have job placement programs that help some people out.

      • chloe says

        Yeah if I do decide to go to school, I’ll definitely look at schools with job placement and try to connect with some previous students to see what their experiences were. I’ve been dancing around going to school for this for quite some time..but having so many years of experiences is putting me off. I did stumble across a list of companies that hire newbies, once I confirm, I’ll be sure to pass it on to you. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  2. Jen says

    I am considering this profession as well, and is in the process of researching, however, if job opportunities are slim, I’ll have to reconsider.

  3. chloe says

    Hey Jen, check out indeed forums. I just learned a few things myself and I need to clarify what I said in my previous comment. It’s not that job opportunities are slim in this field, to the contrary but many want you to have a couple years of experience. It makes plenty of sense because newbies make more mistakes and probably have a higher percentage of rejection rate, which costs the company or institution money.

  4. says

    Getting certification for medical coding can help freelancers earn substantially from this home-based service. There’s a high demand for it, and medical groups deal with large amounts of data that require them to keep hiring medical coders.

  5. CPC Coder II says

    Make sure you get certified through an AHIMA or AAPC accredited school. And then once you graduate and get certified, apply to any and all job openings in your area. You will NOT get hired by any remote companies without AT LEAST 2-3 years with an on-site hospital. Although many hospitals/clinics don’t advertise it, many will allow you to move to remote/from home after your are fully trained and meet the accuracy rates they have set. There will be TONS of jobs available after the ICD-10 implementation in October 2014, as many of the “old timers” will be quitting or retiring because they don’t want to learn a whole new system. It would be advisable to start a coding program NOW so that you at least have a degree by the time ICD-10 rolls around. Many hospitals will see you as a valuable asset to “train new” because you won’t have the current ICD-9 system stuck in your head. good luck!

  6. Heidi says

    Currently I’m working towards my bachelor’s degree in health information management after having taken 1 1/2 years of medical billing and insurance coding, along with another 2 years obtaining my associate’s degree in medical billing and insurance coding all at the university level. I will say that the degrees are a definite plus when it comes to getting hired in the health information field; especially because of all the health care laws and regulations. It is a very rewarding career and there are a variety of jobs within the health information field besides coding. Additionally, as CPC Coder II pointed out a great number of individuals will be retiring, along with the fact that people are living longer so when looking at these 2 things alone there are and will continue to be some great opportunities available for some time to come yet. Coding isn’t easy however; and just the college course work alone can be grueling, but definitely worth it in the end. Good luck with whatever you decide, but just wanted to give you some support and say that it is a great field as well as an excellent paying and very rewarding career. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors! : )

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