How to Become a Medical Coder in 3 Steps

Are you organized, meticulous, and technologically-driven? Do you have an analytical mind and an interest in the medical field? Do you want to work in a medical office, but prefer behind-the-scenes work over direct patient care? If so, a medical billing and coding career may be the path for you.

Medical coders play a vital role in the healthcare field, working as liaisons between clinicians, patients, and medical billing offices. They are responsible for reviewing, interpreting, and processing patient information (such as treatment records and insurance claims) using an established set of medical code. This is essential so that other healthcare companies, such as insurance offices, can properly translate and record patient data.

As a medical coder, your role might involve reading patient charts, evaluating their medical histories, and transcribing this information for a healthcare provider or insurance company. The code you will use is standard across the medical industry, and serves as a sort of “shorthand” to summarize medical services and reports. If you are involved in medical billing, you may also be responsible for filing and following up on insurance claims. In either role, you must be familiar with CPT®, HCPCS Level II and ICD-10-CM codes.

It sounds like a lot goes into a medical coding career – so how do you become a medical coder, exactly? Does it require a college degree, or years of medical school? Do you have to earn a license before landing a position in the field? These are all very important questions to ask as you begin your endeavor into the thriving healthcare field.

As a leading medical billing and coding school in Connecticut, having close relationships with healthcare employers across the state, Goodwin College knows just what it takes to become a successful medical coder today. And we’ll let you in on a secret – you can do so in just three steps. Here’s how to become a medical coder in the state of Connecticut and beyond:

  1. Pursue postsecondary training in the field.

To become a medical coder and enter the occupation, your first step will be to earn a postsecondary certificate in the field. While this is not a formal education requirement in Connecticut, it is typically preferred or required by employers today. This is because of the level of experience and knowledge a postsecondary medical coding program can offer. Through a program like Goodwin’s, you will take courses in medical terminology, biology, computer applications, medical insurance coding, medical office management, medical law and ethics, and more. You will become well-versed in CPT® and ICD-10-Coding, as well as other coding systems. You will also develop the skills needed to thrive in a coding position, and even prepare to sit for your certification exam, which will further advance your career.

The great news is, you don’t need to commit to years of medical school when you choose the medical billing and coding path. Through Goodwin’s Medical Billing and Coding collegiate certificate program, you can get trained, certified, and working in as few as 12-18 months — much faster than many other medical billing and coding schools.

  1. Hone the skills needed to succeed.

Landing a position as a medical coder also requires a particular skillset – some of which you may have already, and some of which you can learn during your time in medical billing and coding school. As determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, successful medical coders will exhibit:

  • Analytical skills, which are needed to understand and further translate patient medical records and diagnoses in the most accurate and efficient way
  • Attention to detail, which will ensure accuracy when recording and coding patient data
  • Integrity and a strong sense of ethics, as medical coders work with confidential patient data
  • Interpersonal skills, as coders may need to discuss patient information and any discrepancies with other members of the healthcare team (including physicians and finance personnel)
  • Technical skills and a working knowledge of electronic health record (EHR) systems and coding and classification software, both of which are necessary for the day-to-day role of the medical coder
  1. Become a Certified Professional Coder (CPC).

Although not required, most employers will seek out candidates with a Professional Coder Certification. This certification serves as the official recognition that a candidate is qualified and ready to start their career. Those who are certified generally have more comprehensive training than those who do not hold certification. In general, Certified Professional Coders also have higher earning potential.

In order to become certified as a medical coder, you must sit for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam. Fortunately, Goodwin College’s medical billing and coding certification program is designed with this exam in mind. Here, we will help you take the necessary steps to prepare for your certification exam and become a certified medical coder: teaching you the ins and outs of medical terminology, standard medical codes (CPT-4, ICD-10-CM, and HCPCS), medical insurance information, HIPAA regulations, and the analytical and technical skills needed to do the job.

Become a medical coder at Goodwin College today! Learn more about earning your medical billing and coding certificate by visiting www.goodwin.edu/landingpages/mbc.