Entertainment Magazine: Education: Health & Medical Careers

Medical Coder

Being a medical coder can be an interesting job: it's just about the only job in the medical system that doesn't require you to deal with patients!

As a medical coder you will be at the heart of the healthcare system. The job is to read the treatment notes and then look up each procedure to see what the correct code for it is. This can then be entered into the computer so that the insurer can be charged for the treatment received.

To some degree of course, with experience, codes won't be looked up, they will be known. The training is more to explain how the system of codes works than to teach them to you by rote.

Training to be a medical coder

Most medical coders start as medical records technicians. This implies that they have a degree (usually an Associate's degree) but this is not the only route into the job. Vocational schools and even online schools can be used to train in medical coding. Whether the training is via a degree or school the basic idea of the coding system is learned.

Every procedure and disease is applied to one of hundred of diagnosis-related groups (or DRGs) and it is being able to find your way around this system that is most important.

What's the actual job like?

Being a medical coder can be an excellent job. Reasonable pay ($25,500 on average), indoor work with no heavy lifting and as above, just about the only job in medicine where you don't have to be nice to patients.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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