A 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.