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Become A Medical Coding Technician

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Working As A Medical Coding Technician

  • Getting Information
  • Processing Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $37,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Medical Coding Technician Do

Medical records and health information technicians, commonly referred to as health information technicians, organize and manage health information data by ensuring that it maintains its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper files and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories.

Duties

Health information technicians typically do the following:

  • Review patients’ records for timeliness, completeness, accuracy, and appropriateness of data
  • Organize and maintain data for clinical databases and registries
  • Track patient outcomes for quality assessment
  • Use classification software to assign clinical codes for reimbursement and data analysis 
  • Electronically record data for collection, storage, analysis, retrieval, and reporting
  • Maintain confidentiality of patients’ records

Health information technicians document patients’ health information, including their medical history, symptoms, examination and test results, treatments, and other information about healthcare services that are provided to patients. Their duties vary by employer and by the size of the facility in which they work.

Although health information technicians do not provide direct patient care, they work regularly with registered nurses and other healthcare professionals. They meet with these workers to clarify diagnoses or to get additional information to make sure that records are complete and accurate.

The increasing adaptation and use of electronic health records (EHRs) will continue to change the job responsibilities of health information technicians. Technicians will need to be familiar with, or be able to learn, EHR computer software, follow EHR security and privacy practices, and analyze electronic data to improve healthcare information, as more healthcare providers and hospitals adopt EHR systems.

Health information technicians can specialize in many aspects of health information. Some work as medical coders, sometimes called coding specialists, or as cancer registrars.

Medical coders typically do the following:

  • Review patient information for preexisting conditions, such as diabetes
  • Assign appropriate diagnoses and procedure codes for patient care, population health statistics, and billing purposes
  • Work as a liaison between the health clinician and billing offices

Cancer registrars typically do the following:

  • Review patients’ records and pathology reports to verify completeness and accuracy
  • Assign classification codes to represent the diagnosis and treatment of cancers and benign tumors
  • Conduct annual followups to track treatment, survival, and recovery
  • Compile and analyze cancer patient information for research purposes
  • Maintain facility, regional, and national databases of cancer patients

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How To Become A Medical Coding Technician

Health information technicians typically need a postsecondary certificate to enter the occupation, although some may need an associate’s degree. Certification is often required.

Education

Postsecondary certificate and associate’s degree programs in health information technology typically include courses in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, health data requirements and standards, classification and coding systems, healthcare reimbursement methods, healthcare statistics, and computer systems. Applicants to health information technology programs may increase their chances of admission by taking high school courses in health, computer science, math, and biology.

A high school diploma or equivalent and previous experience in a healthcare setting are enough to qualify for some positions, but most jobs for health information technicians require postsecondary education.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Health information technicians must be able to understand and follow medical records and diagnoses, and then decide how best to code them in a patient’s medical records.

Detail oriented. Health information technicians must be accurate when recording and coding patient information.

Integrity. Health information technicians work with patient data that are required, by law, to be kept confidential. They must exercise caution and a strong sense of ethics when working with this information in order to protect patient confidentiality.

Interpersonal skills. Health information technicians need to be able to discuss patient information, discrepancies, and data requirements with other professionals such as physicians and finance personnel.

Technical skills. Health information technicians must be able to use coding and classification software and the electronic health record (EHR) system that their healthcare organization or physician practice has adopted.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most employers prefer to hire health information technicians who have certification, or they may expect applicants to earn certification shortly after being hired. A health information technician can earn certification from several organizations. Certifications include the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR), among others.

Some organizations base certification on passing an exam. Others require graduation from an accredited program. Many coding certifications also require coding experience in a work setting. Once certified, technicians typically must renew their certification regularly and take continuing education courses.

A few states and facilities require cancer registrars to be licensed. Licensure requires the completion of a formal education program and the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) certification.

Advancement

Health information technicians may advance to other health information positions by receiving additional education and certifications. Technicians may be able to advance to a position as a medical or health services manager after completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree program and taking the required certification courses. Requirements vary by facility.

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Medical Coding Technician Career Paths

Medical Coding Technician
Medical Coder Office Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Medical Coder Office Manager Owner
Co-Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Medical Coder Office Manager General Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Medical Biller Coder Billing Specialist Administrator
Business Office Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Medical Biller Coder Billing Specialist Executive Assistant
Office Manager Of Human Resources
6 Yearsyrs
Medical Biller Coder Billing Specialist Consultant
Partner
6 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Consultant General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Consultant Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Administrator Case Manager
Registered Nurse Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Registered Nurse Supervisor Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nurse Case Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Medical Billing, Receptionist Accounts Receivable Specialist Administrator
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Medical Billing, Receptionist Team Leader Unit Manager
Registered Nurse Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Medical Billing, Receptionist Benefit Specialist Client Services Manager
Client Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Accounts Receivable Specialist Business Analyst Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information Management
10 Yearsyrs
Accounts Receivable Specialist Payroll Administrator Business Office Manager
Medical Records Director
5 Yearsyrs
Medical Transcriptionist Human Resources Coordinator Generalist
Medical Technologist Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Medical Transcriptionist Medical Records Technician Managing Supervisor
Health Information Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Analyst Owner/Operator Food Service Manager
Nutrition Services Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Medical Coding Technician?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Medical Coder 3.7 years
Billing Coder 3.0 years
Medical Auditor 2.6 years
Top Careers Before Medical Coding Technician
Cashier 11.0%
Internship 3.5%
Manager 3.0%
Secretary 2.1%
Top Careers After Medical Coding Technician
Cashier 8.4%
Manager 2.7%
Volunteer 2.4%

Do you work as a Medical Coding Technician?

Medical Coding Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

71.9%

Unknown

14.1%

Male

14.0%
Ethnicity

White

60.5%

Hispanic or Latino

16.9%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

69.0%

Portuguese

3.4%

German

3.4%

French

3.4%

Carrier

3.4%

Arabic

3.4%

Italian

3.4%

Bulgarian

1.7%

Cantonese

1.7%

Japanese

1.7%

Choctaw

1.7%

Russian

1.7%

Polish

1.7%
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Medical Coding Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.0%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

11.5%

The Academy

10.4%

Everest Institute

8.3%

U.S. Career Institute

6.3%

Kaplan University

6.3%

Trident Technical College

4.7%

Rasmussen College

3.6%

Florida Technical College

3.6%

Florida Career College - Miami

3.1%

Houston Community College

3.1%

Herzing University

3.1%

Miami Dade College

3.1%

Concorde Career Institute

3.1%

Remington College

3.1%

Branford Hall Career Institute - Branford Campus

3.1%

Central Piedmont Community College

2.6%

Strayer University

2.6%

MedTech College

2.6%

Colorado Technical University

2.6%
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Majors

Health Care Administration

48.2%

Business

11.8%

Nursing

5.7%

Medical Assisting Services

5.1%

Computer Information Systems

4.5%

Insurance

4.1%

Management

2.4%

Education

2.2%

General Studies

2.1%

Accounting

2.0%

Medical Technician

1.6%

Criminal Justice

1.4%

Information Technology

1.4%

Psychology

1.3%

Computer Science

1.2%

Liberal Arts

1.2%

Nursing Assistants

1.1%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

1.0%

Pharmacy

1.0%

Elementary Education

0.9%
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Degrees

Other

34.4%

Associate

19.4%

Bachelors

15.1%

Certificate

14.4%

Diploma

10.4%

Masters

4.5%

License

1.0%

Doctorate

0.8%
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Top Skills for A Medical Coding Technician

  1. Medical Records
  2. Insurance Companies
  3. Patient Care
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Reviewed, analyzed and managed coding of diagnostic and treatment procedures contained in outpatient medical records.
  • Verify insurance eligibility, and submit claims to various insurance companies electronically.
  • Organized and assist with educational training and patient care requirements in the Medical/Surgical, Surgical/Pediatric, and Outpatient/Inpatient Physical Therapy departments.
  • Provided data entry verification with accuracy for all lines of business entered into booking system.
  • Perform updates to the criteria file to include additions/deletions/revisions of CPT, HCPCS, and ICD-9/ICD-10 codes before implementation of policy.

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