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Medical coding specialist.

MEDICAL CODING SPECIALISTS ARE HEALTH INFORMATION technicians who work as liaisons between physicians and other health care professionals and their billing offices. Duties may include reviewing patient information for preexisting conditions and retrieving patient records for medical personnel. Health records are increasingly based on electronic systems, so medical coders must be familiar with electronic health record software. The Medical Training & Certification Guide's website also notes that, since medical coders take diagnosis and treatment procedure information and translate it into the International Classification or Diseases (ICD) codes that can later be used for reference or billing, a competent medical coder should be proficient in these codes.


The Workplace

Medical coding specialists work in health care settings such as public and private hospitals and clinics, nursing care facilities, home health care services and physicians' offices.

Educational Requirements

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook, medical records and health information technicians like medical coding specialists need postsecondary education and certification. Associate degree programs for medical coding specialists are offered at a number of two-year community and technical colleges, and these typically prepare students for a professional certification examination like the one offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual income of medical records and health information technicians was $32,350 in May 2010, with the top 10 percent earning more than $53,430.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for medical records technicians like medical coding specialists should be very good, due to the fact that the BLS projects the field to increase by 21 percent from 2010 to 2020. As the population ages, more health care services will be required, resulting in more records for claims and reimbursements. The growing use of electronic records will mean an increased need for medical coding professionals to manage all this information.


To learn more about a career as a medical coding specialist and the education and training it requires, here are some places to turn.

American Academy of Professional Coders

American Health Information Management Association

American Medical Informatics Association

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society

Medical Coding Training & Certification Guide

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Title Annotation:Career Curve
Author:Reese, Susan
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2012
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