What is Medical Coding?
Career as a Coding Specialist
The Medical Coding Specialist is a professional who is skilled in classifying medical data from patient records. The coding specialist is responsible for translating diagnostic and procedural phrases utilized by healthcare providers into alpha-numeric codes. The coded information, which is a product of the coding process, is then utilized for reimbursement purposes, in the assessment of clinical care, to support medical research activity and to support the identification of healthcare concerns. To perform this task, coders must possess expertise in the ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, and CPT coding systems. In addition, the coding specialist is knowledgeable of medical terminology, disease processes, and pharmacology.
The coding specialist works as part of a team to achieve the best quality patient care. Coders are employed in hospitals, physician offices, insurance companies, and a host of other healthcare facilities. The Coding Specialist Program is designed to prepare students for employment as acute care coders, ambulatory coders, and physician specialty coders in healthcare facilities.
The demand for coders has never been greater—and the need is expected to continue for some years to come. As the implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) and automated expert coding systems occurs, the need for qualified coders increases. This allows further employment of coding professionals into home and other work settings.
For more information on a career in medical coding, visit the AHIMA Careers website.
Credentialed coders’ salaries are influenced by the type of setting, experience, and difficulty of the work. Entry-level pay for coders averages approximately $15.00 per hour in Florida. Experienced and credentialed coders who receive incentive pay and/or do contract work earn salaries in the range of $37,000 to $48,000.
Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are encouraged sit for a coding credential exam.
Graduates passing the AHIMA certification examination(s) are designated Certified Coding Associate (CCA) or Certified Coding Specialist (CCS and/or CCSP).
Graduates passing the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) certification examination are designated Certified Professional Coders (CPC).