Step-By-Step Guide to Get into Medical Coding

Mar 14, 2021 |

Looking to get into medical coding? Start here!

  1. Watch these YouTube videos

    Getting Started In Medical Coding -

    Medical Coding – Is It Right for You? -

  2. Decide what kind of coding you would like to pursue

    Professional (Provider) – Coding for services provided by doctors and physician extenders such as surgery, office visits, and procedures.
    Inpatient – Coding for hospital stays and cost of care / diagnoses related to an inpatient admission.
    Outpatient – Coding for diagnoses, procedures and services performed in the outpatient setting (ER visits, same day surgeries, diagnostic testing and outpatient therapies.
    Risk Adjustment – Diagnosis based risk coding

If you are interested in inpatient coding, you should look to get certified through AHIMA. If you want to get into professional, outpatient, or risk adjustment coding, you should look to get certified through AAPC.

For more information on credentials, check out this video -

If you’re unsure which route to go, the most popular choice is professional coding, meaning you will want to become certified as a CPC (Certified Professional Coder) through the AAPC.

3. Pick a school

Check for courses through your local community college or technical institute.

Check if your current employer has a school agreement for reimbursement.

Check for local instructors in your area at Keep in mind that if you do not know medical terminology and anatomy, you may have to learn those concepts separately if your program does not offer them.

    If you are interested in doing Self-Study, check out this video with tips for medical coding self-study tools:

    ** I do not provide personal advice or endorsements of training programs other than the AAPC training. If you are unsure of where to get training, I would suggest signing up with the AAPC. **

    4. Understand the cost of being a coder.

      Memberships must be renewed every year to keep the credentials required for medical coding. Significant code changes occur every year, meaning new code books need to be purchased. Membership dues and books alone will cost about $400 each year. You need to maintain membership to keep your medical coding credential(s).

      5. Certification will increase your chances for getting a medical coding job.
      Most employers only hire certified coders, but having a certification is not a guarantee of finding a job. After you complete your training, you will need to take and pass a certification examination. Check the information on AAPC or AHIMA for specifics on certification.