One career path that is both challenging and rewarding is a medical biller and coder. How much does a medical coder make? According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical records specialists (aka medical billers and coders) make a median of $47,180 per year, or $22.69 per hour.
Keep reading to learn what medical billers and coders do, and the qualifications and requirements.
What Are Medical Coders?
A medical biller and coder’s job responsibilities revolve around translating a physician’s medical reports into uniform medical codes that can be easily understood by insurers and other health care facilities. These professionals need to be detail-oriented, as one letter or number out of place can make a big difference. This type of work is also fairly independent and as such is a solid fit for introverts with anxiety.
A medical biller and coder steps in after the physician meets with a patient. Their work helps health insurance providers process the patient’s bill. Communication is primarily conducted using codes that describe medical diagnoses and procedures.
💡 Quick Tip: Online tools make tracking your spending a breeze: You can easily set up budgets, then get instant updates on your progress, spot upcoming bills, analyze your spending habits, and more.
Check your score with SoFi Insights
Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*
Medical Coder Job Responsibility Examples
A medical biller and coder needs to know the following protocols:
• Clinical documentation
• Health information technology
• Customer billing
• Disease classification through ICD-10 codes
• Medical services and procedures classification via CPT codes
• Hospital facilities, supplies, and procedures through Inpatient coding
• Medicare and Medicaid coding via HCPCS
Medical billers and coders also need to remain HIPAA-compliant throughout their work. HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and deals with patient privacy.
How Much Do Starting Medical Coders Make?
According to the BLS’s most recent data from 2022, the bottom 10% of medical records specialists earn less than $31,710, typically at the entry-level stage. At the other end of the spectrum, 10% of workers in this role earn more than $75,460.
Medical coders may be paid by the hour or salaried.
💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.
What Is the Average Salary for a Medical Coder?
On average, professional medical coders can expect to make $47,180 per year or $22.69 per hour. However, the type of medical coding job they take on can affect how much they’ll be paid. Some types of workplaces tend to pay more competitively for this skill set.
The top workplaces for medical coders and their mean salaries include:
• Insurer carriers: $64,800
• Physician offices: $42,800
• Residential care facilities: $44,350
• Administrative and support services: $57,950
• Hospitals (state, local, and private): $54,210
The state someone lives in also impacts their earning potential as a medical biller and coder.
Average Medical Coder Income by State for 2022
|State||Annual Salary||Monthly Pay||Weekly Pay||Hourly Wage|
Recommended: The Highest-Paying Jobs by State
Medical Coder Job Considerations for Pay and Benefits
Professionals considering this career path should keep benefits top of mind. Because most medical records specialists work full-time positions, candidates may want to focus their job search on roles that come with health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans.
Pros and Cons of Medical Coder Salary
Before deciding to pursue a career as a medical biller and coder, consider these advantages and disadvantages.
• Four-year degree not required. To become a medical biller and coder, only a short accredited training program is required. It generally takes 7-24 months to complete training.
• Training can be completed online. This means that students can balance a full-time job and/or family obligations while completing their education.
• Low training costs. These programs are typically much cheaper than pursuing a four-year degree or training for high-paying trade jobs. Students can expect to pay $1,000 to $3,000 per training program.
• Work-from-home potential. Many medical biller and coder jobs are remote. This makes medical coding a good work-from-home job for retirees.
• High school diploma or GED required. While students can skip the traditional college route in pursuit of this career path, they do generally need either a GED or high school diploma to be eligible for the required training programs.
• Certification required. Once a student completes a medical biller and coding training program, they need to become certified. This requires passing both the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) exams.
• Must renew certifications. One major hurdle associated with being a medical biller and coder is needing to renew your certification every two to three years.
• Risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Because of the repetitive typing motions with this role, developing carpal tunnel syndrome is a possibility.
Recommended: How Much House You Can Afford Based on Income
Working as a medical biller and coder can be a great career path for individuals who are detail-oriented and like a job with consistent responsibilities. That said, this role does require formal training, passing certification exams, and maintaining a professional certification. So this career path requires a level of commitment.
Take control of your finances with the SoFi Insights money tracker app. Connect all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.
What type of medical coder makes the most money?
Hospital medical coders make the most money, as well as those in professional, scientific, and technical services. The median annual salary for those niches is $47,000.
What is the highest paid medical biller and coder?
The type of medical coding work someone does, their experience level, and their location can all impact earnings. The top 10% of high earners in the medical biller and coder field earn more than $74,200.
Is becoming a medical biller and coder worth it?
On the low end, 10% of medical coders earn less than $29,430. However, this career path offers much higher earning potential for committed and experiences pros.
Photo credit: iStock/Marco VDM
*Terms and conditions apply. (Must click on the link to be eligible.) This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the Rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed into SoFi accounts such as cash in SoFi Checking and Savings, SoFi credit cards or loan balances, and fractional shares subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.
Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.