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A Medical Coding Career

A Medical Coding career is one where you learn to assign special codes to each patient's diagnosis and procedure.

These codes are then entered into the computer and sent to insurance companies or the government for expense reimbursement.

This is one of the fastest growing occupations in the US. The number of jobs are expected to increase as the health care needs of the aging population increase.

How to Become a Medical Coder

Here's what you need to know:

1) What is it?

2) Duties and Responsibilities

3) Requirements

4) Certifications

5) Show me the money!

6) Programs and Schools


1) What is Medical Coding?

It is transferring verbal descriptions of diseases, injuries, and procedures into numeric or alphanumeric designations.

The codes are often entered into the computer and then used to bill the health insurance provider or the federal Medicare program.

Correct coding is important because it ensures that the hospital or healthcare provider gets paid!


2) Duties and Responsibilities

Duties vary from office to office but may include:

3) Requirements

Here are some basic requirements:

4) Certification

Most employers prefer to hire Certified Coders. There are various certifications offered:

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) now offers three credentials:

1) Certified Coding Assistant (CCA)

The CCA is an entry-level certification given upon successful completion of a national exam. This is probably the easiest for someone starting out in this career.

2) Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)

The CCS is a professional skilled in classifying medical data from patient records, generally in the hospital setting. The CCS certification exam assesses the candidate's mastery proficiency in coding. Some employers will request this.

3) Certified Coding Specialist-Physician-based (CCS-P)

The CCS-P is a coding practitioner with expertise in physician-based setting such as physician offices, group practices, multi-specialty clinics, or specialty centers.

The American Academy of Professional Coders offers two credentials:

1) Certified Professional Coder (CPC)

For physician office coding.

2) Certified Professional Coder-Hospital (CPC-H)

For facility or hospital coding.


5) Show me the money!

Salaries vary depending on location and size of the business and the experience level of the individual.

The average entry level salary in California now ranges from $35,000 to $42,000 per year.

Experienced Medical Coders can expect to earn from $42,000 to $48,000 per year.


6) Medical Coding Programs and Schools

Medical Coding is part of the Health Information Technology and Management field. Some schools offer a certificate in Medical Coding and some offer an Associate degree program in Health Information Technology.

Some programs are accredited by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) while some are not.

Fresno City College offers an Associate degree program in Health Information Technology that is accredited by AHIMA.

AHIMA Accredited California Schools for Certificate in Coding

Ladera Career Paths Training Center
6820 La Tijera Blvd
Suite 217
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(310) 568-0244

Loma Linda University
1905 Nichol Hall
Loma Linda, CA 92350
(909) 558-4976

Santa Barbara City College
721 Cliff Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93109
(805) 965-0581 x2851

AHIMA Accredited California Schools for Associate Health Information Technology

Chabot College
25555 Hesperian Blvd.
Hayward, CA 94545
(510) 723-7496

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
1731 East 120th Street
Building G
Los Angeles, CA 90059
(323) 563-5851

City College of San Francisco
John Adams Campus
1860 Hayes St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 561-1818

Cosumnes River College
8401 Center Parkway
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 691-7452

Cypress College
9200 Valley View
Cypress, CA 90630
(714) 484-7289

East Los Angeles College
1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez
Monterey Park , CA 91754
(323) 265-8884

Fresno City College
1101 E. University Avenue
Fresno, CA 93741
(559) 244-2604

San Diego Mesa College
7250 Mesa College Drive
San Diego, CA 92111
(619) 388-2606

Santa Barbara City College
721 Cliff Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93109
(805) 965-0581 x2851