2008 Medical Coding Salary Survey

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  • September 25, 2008
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Sunlight on Coders’ Compensation

By Brad Ericson, CPC, CPC-ORTHO

Ask coders what they do and how much they make, and their answers are as varied as how sensitive to the sun they are. Some are easy burners, with salaries and careers that show the results of outside forces quickly. Some are seemingly immune to the forces that buffet our careers. All-in-all, we’re doing pretty well; and, it appears that average salaries have increased more than 11 percent since our survey in 2007.

Sunning the Fruit Trees
This year’s survey was completed by more coders than ever and conducted via the internet during July and August. Over 12,000 coders participated. Like trees in the sun, the information continues to bear fruit, but here are some highlights.

More than 45 percent of respondents bear titles indicating they are coding professionals. Those who coordinate, manage, or supervise billing make up 13 percent. Practice managers represent 10 percent of the survey while those who assure accuracy and compliance make up five percent of those responding to the survey. The remainders were consultants and a wide variety of other titles.

How qualified are we? A striking 89 percent of respondents have a CPC®, CPC-H®, CPC-P®, or CPC-A®. We are educated, too, as shown below:

  • 18 percent having a bachelor’s degree or above
  • 69 percent having attended some college

While CPCs® made up 82 percent of the survey’s respondents, members also exhibited other certifications. Those with specialty certification include three percent of those surveyed. Other certifications respondents hold include CCS, RHIT, CTR, and others.

Some of the results were surprising:
Certification is still optional for many. Certification is required for only half of us in our current jobs; however, up from the 42 percent reported in the 2007 survey.

We stay at our desks. Two-thirds of us aren’t allowed to work from home but nearly a third may work from home some of the time.

Most of us still code from paper. Those who code all procedures from medical records make up 64 percent and those who code from a paper billing forms make up 25 percent of the respondents. In fact, only 10 percent of our respondents code from electronic health records. This fits with CMS’s report that only 13% of physicians had an electronic health records system.

We are working average weeks. Although some days it may not seem like it, 60 percent of coders work less than 40 hours a week. But that means 40 percent work more than 40 hours a week.

Coders still do most of the coding. Fifty four percent of our respondents do not use computer assisted coding (CAC). A growing number—27 percent—do.

We’re working regular schedules. The number of members who have opportunities for flex-time is down to 50 percent this year compared to 52 percent last year.

$43,100 in a Sunny Market
The average annual wage for a credentialed coder is $43,100, compared to. $36,500 for a noncredentialed coder. But when we consider other factors, the complicated forces yield a surprisingly narrow range of results. Overall, the average range for most coders is $39,400 to $46,500.

The survey indicated that compensation differences result from several influences: employer, training, work sites, schedules, complexity of the coding being done, and geographical location. For example, business size impacts your average salary, certified or not. Those who work for larger employers tend to get paid more.

Average salaries by hour to use as a comparison are as follows:

  • $14.73 per hour when your start
  • $19.33 per hour after five years in the field.
  • $21.75 per hour after 10 years in the field.
  • $23.37 per hour after 15 years in the field.

Which Side Gets the Most Sun?
It’s no surprise that the specialty for which you code influences average salary levels. There are a lot of factors that impact your salary. But based on our data, the top five earners may surprise you.

  1. Neuropsychiatry………………. $62,500
  2. Rheumatology…………………. $57,800
  3. Nephrology…………………….. $50,900
  4. Plastic surgery…………………. $47,200
  5. Interventional radiology……… $47,100

Wait! That can’t be right! We’ve always believed physicians paid coders based proportionally on what the physicians earned. Yet, according to our survey, the range of compensation for most specialties is within a few thousand dollars of their peers. Here are some examples in Table 1.

What’s the Sunniest Region?
Our salaries prove to be as affected by our location as our exposure to the sun. Some states provide more sun to coders. Not only is this a function of cost of living and population, it results from the mix of workplaces and specialties that make up the coding workforces in a particular state. Regions rank by average salary Shown in Table 2.

Productivity Standards
Our respondents say productivity isn’t typically measured. Eighty-three percent of respondents aren’t required to meet productivity standards for coding from operative reports, and 85 percent don’t have to code a minimum number of evaluation and management visits.

We can present average benchmarks by specialty in those specialties where we received sufficient responses to be statistically accurate. While the data was not as voluminous as desired, below are a few specialties where we received enough responses on the benchmark standards for coding and billing operative reports per hour.

Your own work may vary from these, however, we believe we received enough responses to help assist your personal productivity goals.

As we learn more from this data, we will make it available. Whether you’re a starting or experienced coder, moving from one venue to another, or just curious about where you compare with the averages, this information is important.

“This information is very helpful to employers and coders,” Reed Pew, CEO and President of AAPC said. “I was surprised by some of it – for example, that the Atlantic region is the highest compensated region, and that for most specialties, the pay amounts were quite comparable. However, most important was the 18 percent difference between non-certified coders and certified coders and the increase in wages for coders since last year. It is our belief that employers that employ certified coders improve their accuracy of billings and cash flow and reduce their risk of audit by engaging certified coders; and by more than 18 percent. There is a solid return on investment for those that certify their coders.”

2008 Medical Coding Salary Survey PDF Version

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AAPC's annual salary survey gives a good understanding of the earning potential within the medical coding profession.
See what actually is going on in the healthcare business job market.

No Responses to “2008 Medical Coding Salary Survey”

  1. Jen says:

    I just wanted to let you know that this information was very useful in aiding my decisions in what direction I wanted to take my schooling. I am in the medical assisting program which has some coding classes in it. After spending the quarter in the coding and billing class I realized that I enjoyed it and got fairly good grades. I have been looking up information on the career outlook for coders and this report gave the most current and relevant information that I have been able to find. Thank you for researching and posting this information for the general public to see. It has helped my to make my decision to switch my path to coding and billing. I am a sucker for reading and researching!

  2. Amy Wise says:

    My name is Amy Wise and I currently live in Oklahoma City, Ok. I’m wondering if you can send me some more information.
    Amy Wise

  3. Ken Tucker says:

    I came to the website to find exactly what you mentioned in this article. Good foresight on your part (:. I am returning to the coding profession after an absence and am happy to find out that good coders believe there should be standards for accuracy, completeness, etc. Once I have achieved my certification I will be interested in joining your organization. Keep up the good work.
    Ken Tucker

  4. nicole says:

    i’m 28 years old i was in an accident which i lose my voice i have 2 children 4 and 8 .i wanted to know if medical coding and billing is a good career for me

  5. Sari says:

    I would like to know which certification is the one that is most commonly looked for? I also want to know what are some tips that I can get in order to pass my certification the first time? I am a recent graduate and planning on taking my certification by November. I will take any helpful comments so I can be successful for my family.

  6. Deon Haynes says:

    I am very much interested in medical coding, but have a hard time chosing a school, especially with the intention of becoming certified.I read in your article, in order to become certified you must have an associate degree. I was looking at a certificate program on line at US Career Institute which runs for four months. I am a mother of three and it is very hard for me to deal with the traditional class room, because of my children. In my persuit of a credited school, I find those Universities and Colleges are exploiting people who are tring to make it, with high tuition they can not afford, and I am one of them.I would like you to guide me in finding a reputable school that will fit my needs, which are : Low tuition: On line program: Credited school: Certified ready school: Associate or Certificate with the option to become certified with one of the certified agencies which offer you certification. Thank you. Deon

  7. Doris Tabb says:

    I am a 52 year old, who was laid off in Feb 2009. I also am looking for an school where tuition is low and go for an year and upon completing the course will be able to attend one of the certifed agenceies which offer you certification. Any help towards the right direction would be greatly appriciated.
    Thank you,

  8. Annie says:

    I am a 27 year old female who is currently looking for a medical coder jobs in UAE – Dubai. Any help for me to search for a right job at a right place would be appriciated. Awaiting for your positive response.
    Thanks in advance,
    Thank you,

  9. Lore Dowell says:

    Hi, I am a 53 year young female and am an independent insurance agent. I sell medical, dental, vision, disability, life and Aflac insurance to individuals and small groups 2-50. I have always been interested in the medical field and have taken pre-nursing classes in the past. I also have a BA in Psychology with a minors in addictive disorders. I love reading and researching and believe that becoming a certified coder might be the career of my dreams. Has anyone taken the UCSD Extension program – Medical Coder Certificate Program? I am interested in taking this program. The cost is $1395 not including books. It is a 3 1/2 month program and you sit for the certification test at the end of the program. However, without 2 years of medical experience, the certificate is listed as an “A” for apprentice. Do you think this program would be a good way to get certified and improve my changes of getting a job? One of my clients is a medical group with several doctor’s offices, which might get me a “foot in the door.” Any thoughts, comments?

  10. donna says:

    Hi, My name is Donna. I have worked in the Medical Field since 1989 as a Health Unit Coordinator. I then pursued my associates degree in the science of medical billing and coding 2009. I am now studying for my Certification, Utilizing the Certification Step 2009 by Carol J. Buck. I am also trying to get some kind of experience in the field at the same time. No one will even hire a fresh student without at least 2 years of experience.. This to me, is very discouraging and even just downright depressing. I have no more money for school, the economy is so bad, I cannot find employment, and I do not have my certification. I would like to become an AAPC member and take ceu’s any advice from anyone … would be great. Do you have financial aide?

  11. Cindy Poehl says:

    Hi i was reading a comment from Deon Haynes looking for a good School for Medical coding. I started Medical coding through Allied Medical school, i think they are great. It is all online, no class room, all your test are online and it is on your own pase. You have 18 months to complete it and the tuittion is realy not that bad and they have payment plans also. As a mother i realy enjoy this program because i dont have to go in to a school witch means no daycare, i simply do this on my own time, usualy at night when everyone is asleep it is great you should look in to it. They r also registerd with BBB. Good luck

  12. Cynthia Brown says:

    I graduated from a medical coding program in 2005 and they are your basic expensive business school with out the college placement test. I did not get my certification during this time due to the lack of organization from with in the school and as Donna said with out the 2 years of experience no one will touch me. I worked with medical claims all day long for 1 1/2 yrs for a health plan in my area and before that I worked in workers comp. I understand the frustration being unemployed since May 2008, trying to stay a float without a descent income is just unbelievable. I am currently enrolled in an accelerated class for billing and coding through a program called WIA, part of our employment office here. They paid for the class and they are also paying for the certification testing……..I hope this might be helpful to any one looking for help.

  13. rosalinda says:

    I am a medical biller and coder for 20 years, now we have to be a certified coder, i need to no where i can find a good codeing program, where i can finish inat least 3 months, and a school that will not
    ripp you off. thank you

  14. Bonnie says:

    I am 48 and wanting to go back to school to be certified coder and medical biller but not in family budget. I checked into grants or and payments but you either have a large payment or hundreds of dollars to apply for a grant and not sure if you would get it.
    And I have lost money on other programs saying they could assist me in getting scholarships or grants. Does anyone have good information on any financial assistance programs for older workers.

  15. Sherri Jackson says:

    I am doing some research about medical coders. I am very interested in the type of environment that coders/billers work in. I have had the luxury of working in a cubicle and/or office which works very well for me since I am easily distracted. Could you tell me if coders usually work in the receptionist area where the patients are discharged? Or are they sometimes placed in offices and/or cubicles. This is a concern for me as I tend to work best when not distracted. Please help if you can.
    Sassy and ready to make a change.

  16. Cecilia says:

    I passed CPC certification in 2004 but have been unable to get a medical coder job as they all want experience regardless of certification. Nobody wants to train a new coder even when there are no experienced coders in the local market. I’ve seen companies locally have openings for coders for multiple YEARS and still refuse to hire the less experienced coder and train them. Spend a some time training a less experienced coder would benefit the company in the long run. Personally, I’ve just about given up on getting a job in this ‘exclusive’ field. Very frustrating and a wate of time and money.

  17. Dolores Morris says:

    I have completed the HIT program at a local career college in St. Petersburg/Largo, FL and have since passed the CPC exam. I have yet to find a job in the field, probably due to the econonmy because if they knew me they would want me. I highly recommend this field to anyone seriously considering it. Everyone I have met at the AAPC meetings (which you will want to join) has been so friendly, helpful and supportive in my efforts to achieve. DO NOT GIVE UP – GET UP AND GO!!!!

  18. The Bundle Queen says:

    I just completed a training school in South Jersey. The people of my county paid for it, including my self through taxes. I live in one of the poorest counties in Southern New Jersey. One reason is that many medical providers in this county would rather pay $12.00 an hour (no salary). Their ignorance is their loss.
    I could really smack myself as a previous sales consultant for years that its all about one thing. Money. Get the people in, and roll them out like cattle. I was promised the world when I completed the course. I was told I could work in a hospital setting, physicians office, but not advised to do orthopedic surgery since its so hard.
    I got, the following: empty promises, now paying for college credits for medical terminology, human biology 101, and in spring anatomy. I realized I needed the previous stated courses to achieve my goal to be a CPC, and petition for my Associates degree in Legal Technology.
    I am sitting for my test in October. I have to wait due to fact I have no money. I am unemployed. I did invest in my books which I do not regret. I had to pay for a certified medical and coding specialist (which means nothing). Point is. If you can pay for your CPT/HCPCs, and even the ICD-9 do it. I went to Amazon, and e-bay to get my books.
    I did research. I am experienced with DX coding, HCPCS, and CPT codes from several years ago.
    To the point. You MUST BE SERIOUS to take the courses, keep up your credentials, and continue your education. Now the subject that no one wants to address….What credentials should I get? Should I have a CPC or venture to the world of CSS. No experience in Eastern USA go with the AAPC.
    If you have no experience start off smart. Take a course whether on line or at a trade school, back it up with medical terminology. Please put on your resume what your future education will be and keeping up your CEUs. I believe that one should show on their resume that they will take college courses in human biology 101, medical terminology, anatomy, physiology (last but most are combined), legal ethics. Then just keep on plugging on that education.
    Its not beyond the realm of possibilities that you might ask a prospective employer to assist you with tuition to complete courses which will not only help you, but your employer. In the area where I live many providers complain that they are not getting paid. I wonder why? They would rather hire someone with no credentials, pay them a $24k salary with no benefits.
    We all assume (no way) that physicians/specialists are very intelligent. They must be in their field, but sometimes I think they have absolutely no common sense.
    Pass your CPC, and fly like a bird. Do not get all caught up in the fact that you are an apprentice. Many providers of services like to take your CPC-A, and have you work in the way that they want. Beware. You better know what you are doing as far as HIPAA, special reports, and someone who might take the liberty of using your initials to change something you had no idea of.
    Never let anyone take advantage of you. If it seems to good to be true, it most likely is not.
    Watch for those people who are staffing agencies. They are commissioned to hire people under their umbrella, and will be taking a great percentage of your salary. Do not fall for the language of most of our temps are hired full time. Get the percentage of those who did get hired full time, salary, benefits, and time off.
    The above is all happy items. It will help one do the right thing.
    I am not negative, but just want to pass my knowledge on.

  19. The Bundle Queen says:

    If you are under employed, or unemployed there are grants depending upon your state. There is no fee in most states for this grant.
    I would suggest you locate your local employment center for assistance. Also, you might want to see if you apply for a Pell Grant at this time. If you decide to look into the Pell Grant there is a web-site that will allow you to see if you qualify. I must tell you that my understanding is that the Pell Grants are for college credit courses, but you may be luck enough to have a community college which has an associates course so you will be covered.
    Best of Luck.
    This comment to Sassy. Seems as though you are satisfied with your cubicle. I am very much like you. Perhaps a large insurance company which does (believe Me) a cubicle for privacy. Previously I worked for United Health Care/Cubicle…..worked for a Medical Equipment Company/Cubicle.
    Good LUck

  20. tosha says:

    i just recently started at the university here in utah for medical coding the certification and then of course off to aapc i go…but im only in a week and so far i love it but whati dont love is that everyone wants experience it seems like it might be a waste of my time and money i dont want to graduate and have to go work an 8.00 an hour job because employers want to be retarded and not allow the ones that went to school to become knowledgeable in the area and then turn around and not even give you the experience im a little iffy now…..and i thought coders were able to work from home that was the big hype….?

  21. Lore Dowell says:

    I am interested in taking the Hospital Coding Specialist Program at U.C.S.D. Extension in La Jolla, California. Has anyone graduated from this program without prior medical coding experience, and received a job as an entry-level coder? Please advise ASAP. I am going to take a basic coding course at the same facility as a prereq. before applying to the certificate program in January, 2010. The program starts summer of 2010. Thank you.

  22. Agnes says:

    I am reconsidering my work path. I’ve graduated basic course of medical billing 4 years ago. I’d worked for a short time as a biller in small office. Since that I’ve been working in construction field.
    I have a master degree in math. Question: Do employees accept on-line degree programs?
    Is it worthy to go on? What is the shortest, cheapest way to get CPC certification and job in field?Thanks

  23. mbelmontt says:

    Go to a good medical coding school and you can end up making a good salary. According to Salary.com, human resource data in March 2009 indicated that the middle 50 percent of medical assistants earn between $26,129 and $30,980. The top 10 percent of earners in the medical assistant field earn $33,335 or more.

  24. Louise A. says:

    Many states have programs to assist displaced homemakers, low-income families, and others and they subsidize the cost of your education if you attend their courses. California and Tennessee are two states that do this. Tennesee’s program is through the Tennessee Technology Centers, I have forgotten where the CA ones are but check your local community service classes and be prepared to make lots of phone calls since the programs aren’t always easy to find. But be persistent! You should be able to find a prep class for about $200 and some of the programs have payment plans. Evening community college courses are usually less expensive than big institutions and you get the same information with usually a bit more one-one-one time with the instructor. To find finanvcial help or a sponsored program, call your local social services office (county, town, city, state), anyone in local government who has a connection with job placement and ask about programs to help get your education. They should refer you on to others so you just follow the chain and keep making those calls until you hit a program that can help you. It’s worth it! Then if you have to take a medical reception job to get your foot in the door, DO IT! And let them know you are trained in billing and coding. Soon you will have an opportunity to use it and gain that necessary experience. Good luck!

  25. DLP says:

    I do not recommend Certification if you do not have experience. AAPC seems interested in marketing membership and certification right now in the down economy. Good for the business, but not for the customer. This worries me.

  26. Jeanette Stentz says:

    I am interested in becoming a Certified Coder. I have been doing coding since 1999 in various areas
    of healthcare to include Durable Medical Equipment Coding and really enjoyed it. I have worked for
    various facilites and doctor offices doing this without certification and believe that if I get certified I
    can make more money, is this true? How should I go about taking the reviews and study courses or
    should I start from scratch?

  27. mbelmontt says:

    If you attend a good medical coding school, the opportunites available to you will be plentiful. Medical coders can make a pretty good living.

  28. Dotty says:

    Can you please advise me on a good school in my area for Medical Billing and Coding? I live in Oxford MS. The largest major city to me is Memphis TN. A lot of schools teach this course but are they the right school to be able to get a good job when you get out. Please give me some sound advise. Thanks….

  29. Deedee says:

    My suggestion for anyone who is looking for an online course that is not overly priced and is very supportive is AAPC. I took the online classes and was able to take my exam and pass it on the first try. There were other people in the exam who had taken classes elsewhere and were taking the exam for the 2nd and 3rd time. I found the exam to be just like the module exams that I took at the end of each subject. I found the classes to take less time than scheduled and are suited to stay at home moms. It’s worth the money if you have it to take the class, prepay the exam and purchase the books all at the same time. It’s a package deal. The instructors were very supportive when I had to take some time for my son to be admitted to the hospital for 3 weeks. They were also supportive when I had a question or questioned an answer on test or workbook assignment. If you have any questions you can contact me at fronisucpc@yahoo.com and good luck!

  30. Dotty says:

    Thank you for your reply. I will be contacting you with questions. Thanks again.

  31. Dotty says:

    When you get my list of questions please email me at dmmccall@bellsouth.net………..
    Thanks Dotty

  32. Dotty says:

    I tried to send you a list of questions and it says that you don’t have a Yahoo account. Do you have another email that I might ask you some questions?

  33. Dian says:

    This is the most informative and helpful information I have read. I am looking for an online school that offers assistance (instructor) and not extremely expensive.

  34. Debbie L says:

    I live in Boca Raton, FL and have been considering taking a course in Medical coding.
    After going on line and searching jobs in this field, it appears that most want experienced coders with atleast 2-3 years. This worries me and now I am rethinking my career path.

  35. Mel B says:

    Most of the time you do not start out as a coder even if you went to school. But don’t get discouraged! Your school degree wont go unnoticed! Just do what you can to get your foot in the door. Coding is such an important job that you will have to prove yourself to your employer. Anyway a coder that’s well rounded and multi-experianced is a person I would want on my team! Hey, I originally came from the front desk but now a seasoned CPC with the job of my dreams!

  36. Debbie H says:

    I am a recent graduate from Harrison college. I am wanting to take the certification test soon. It may not be possible until 2010. What code books would I use for the test? 2009 or 2010. I am also continuing my education for Medical Assistant, I want to be certified for both degrees. I am 59 year olds and My husband is disabled. I am interested in working at home with in the next 5 or 6 years. But I am having trouble finding information about working at home. I also understand how everyone else feels about the jobs. They want experience before they hire, especially a new graduate, how do you get experience if you don’t get a chance. That played a role in me continuing my education. If I am a certified Medical Assistant, as well as a certified coder I feel like I will be marketable for jobs, but I also worry about the age too. I know you can not be discriminated against because of your age, but they can find a way to do it with out you knowing it. I too, have been in the medical field for30 plus years.

  37. Pam says:

    I am a 58 year old female looking for a career that doesn’t take too long to acquire the training and certification. I am self supporting so have to make a decent salary. Can that happen with the profession? Also I live in the San Bernardino, CA area. Anyone out there who has graduated from a local school that they would recommend?

  38. keke says:

    im in the process of returning back to school next month. i wanted to go for medical office administration but i was told the pay wasn’t good. Then i though about medical billing and codeing now im changing my mind about that too im confused please help me ….

  39. gracie says:

    i’m a 26 year old student who’s attending college. my major is medical coding and this quarter which is the fall i’ll just now start coding. the only thing about it is that it’s an online class, all of the coding is online. i like online classes, but this i would like to sit in class and get more information and a better understanding. my classes start next week and i’ve been going through my books and just looking at how things are. and to be truly honest it looks confusing. i’m having second thoughts on if this is the right thing to do. could you please give me tips on how to succeed as a coder and how to relax and how should i focus and study.

  40. Shari says:

    I am currently a student and take all my classes online. I enjoy the freedom of the online classes.
    I am studying Medical Insurance Billing & Coding and will have my Associate’s Degree in October 2010. I fully intend to join AAPC within the next two months so I will be able to take advantage of some of the workshops, conferences, etc. I think it is a good thing to do because it can help you get to know your craft much better and allow you to network.
    I would like to know if the Xtern program is for AAPC members and students only or would I be eligible upon my graduating to take that externship program as well as my completing the externship that my school offers? Would it be a waste of time or do you think it would be a good idea so the amount of experience would be greater and it would be coming from AAPC?

  41. Chris says:

    My best advice to you is to read everything in the front of the ICD-9 and CPT books. Also read the headings of each section. This is very important. Everything you need to know about coding is in the books. Highlight the main points of each section. The AAPC has practice exams that are very helpful when preparing to take the exam. They are well worth your time. I started out (at the young age of 40) by going to college for 2 yrs to become a medical assistant. Then I enrolled in a six week coding class through IU. I got a job without any hands on coding experience but I had my medical assistant experience and associates degree. My company paid for me to take the exam and now I am CPC. I really enjoy my job and don’t regret making that extra effort like you are doing right now. Don’t give up. You’ll be glad you did it. Good Luck!

  42. aisha says:

    My name aisha and im a cerified medical billing coding specialist and i would like to know what is the salary for CMBS for 2009

  43. Michelle says:

    I’m currently taken a course on medical coding and will be taking my exam in December and wanted to know if you can give me any tips on the exam. What in my study that i need to pay close attention to.

  44. Marie says:

    I need to find out the cost of becoming a medical coder. How long it takes, and if you need to have a degree. I attended three years of college for court reporting, but that’s all the college I have. I do need to state that I had to quit that career choice 20 years ago to raise my niece. Now, I need to try my career again. Thank you.

  45. tricia says:

    I am considering a course in medical coding and billing.I am confused about the online courses verse the college campus I am 40 and have 2 children 12 and 8 .I just don’t know which path to try .Is this course to hard to do online verses at school.Please help me?I have found out at a on campus course will cost me about $19,000 verses an online course that would cost $2,000 What is your suggestion.I have been told that this training is saturated in my area by some people and some other people told me different. I live in the St. Louis Missouri .

  46. Shari says:

    I would like to know what steps to take in order to get what I need.
    I was just informed about a week or 2 ago that my school is not offering me an externship because I am an online student. I would assume they do not offer it because online classes are taken around the nation but I still pay the same as anyone else does. At any rate, I was told there was some sort of customer service course that is supposed to be taking the place of the externship, which I feel is unfair but have to deal with.
    Any suggestions on this would be appreciated.

  47. Keesha says:

    I finished taking medical coding courses several months ago and have received my certification. It is so hard to find a job because most companies want experience. How can I get the experience if no one hires me? Please give any suggestions

  48. Juanita says:

    I graduated 09/18/2009 from a medical billing and coding program – Indianapolis. I was finally able register for the certification exam 11/14/2009. My concern is that I had no coding classes the last 3 months of school. Please advise of any free alternatives for preparing for the certification exam. I want to concentrate on speed/accuracy and guidelines. Thank you.


    I’m interested in code training and I was wondering if the training you provide is advised for someone who has never had training and if not can you advise me to a school near me that does beginners training for coding? I live in Sauk Village IL.
    By the way is the AAPC the only agency that I need to obtain certification from in order to work as a coder or are there other certification that I need to obtain?
    Also do you need different certification to work in different states?

  50. Brigitte says:

    I live in the Dallas, Texas area and finished Medical Billing and Coding in October 2009. My schooling included a 120 hour externship for which I found the site (hospital) myself. I found that I made the right career change, I really like coding and want to get certified as soon as financially possible.
    My problem is the same as some of the people asking question on this site. How do you find a position when you don’t have experience, aside from the 120 hours? Do I need to start looking for billing and collection position, or are there companies out there that will take a chance on new coders like myself?
    Thanks for your help.

  51. kathy says:

    I’m interested in getting help in passing Biology 146 class. It’s the only class I need to complete to get my certification. I’ve completed all the other classes I needed with good grades, but I struggled in the Biology courses. I passed Biology 145 with a “C”, but I need at least a “B” in 146 to pass. I worked full-time and finding the time to study for this class is very difficult. Are there any courses online that is available for me? Also, I have a friend that is having a terrible time finding a job as a coder, because of no experience. I would like to finish my course that I need to get my certification because of the time and money that I have spent to reach my goal.

  52. sue says:

    I took an online course for one year and took my certification test last November. It was a big gamble for me being I have never worked in the medical field. But I took a job as a biller, was in that position for 4 months and then they moved me into coding. I just wanted to encourage all of you to keep trying, it might not initially come as a coder but they will appreciate your certification if you can just get your foot in the door. I also encourage any one interested to get involved in there local aapc chapters. I have found a great deal of support from the local members. Besides I now believe that learning the aspect of billing will make you a better coder.
    Your 2009 books will work fine for the exam. The certifications are nationwide.

  53. Kathy Eversole says:

    I need to find out the cost of becoming a medical coder. How long it takes, and if you need to have a degree. Basically, from start to finish, how long would it take to pursue this?

  54. Kathy Eversole says:

    Basically, from start to finish, how long would it take to pursue becoming a medical coder? Is there one school where I can go to from start to finish? How much does it cost and can I get financial help?

  55. Jennifer says:

    I found this form so far very helpful. I am currently thinking about taking up Medical coding. I am looking for a career that will always be around… I am thinking about going to this community college near my home for either their associates program or certificate program but i don’t know which one to choose?? I do not know anyone who is a medical coder and looking to hear from someone with that field experience to let me know what/how they feel about it. thank you.

  56. Debbie says:

    I finished online school last Dec. I am just now able to take my certification exam. I just found out that my books are outdated. You will need to use 2009 books.
    All the Dr.’s want at least 2 years experience for billing and coding. To be a coder from home you will need min 2-5 years experience. I was not told this before I went $10,000 in debt. I am already repaying student loans before finding a job.
    Good luck to all who seek employment.

  57. Jennifer says:

    Its so hard then, sounds like no one would hire someone with just the schooling and no experience?

  58. haryani Kwanarta says:

    I am taking a medical coding,billing and Administrative – will be done 5/17/2010. After that I will be able to take test to be certified for my CMA and CBCS. I was told that I wont be able to take exam for my CPC after I have some works hours. But reading all of the comments – it seems some of you are able to take that exam-CPC after taking the class.
    Please advise. thanks Yani

  59. Jen says:

    I am interested in becoming a Medical Coder but I have no prior healthcare experience. Can anyone give me some advice as to what schools North of Boston offer a good education that will prepare me to eneter the field of Medical Coding as well as prepare me for the CPC exam? Has anyone gone to American International College (Woburn) or Northshore Community College, if so do you think it has prepared you well? Any suggestions for good programs in the area would be appreciated. Thanks for your help!

  60. bev says:

    I too am looking at going to school for becoming a certified professional coder and after reading most of the comments on here, I’m a little nervous. It looks as if noone will hire you unless you have 2 yrs experience in the field. I need to know exactly what I need to do to get hired on somewhere. I have been in the IT /telecommunications field for 25 plus years and medical coding and billing would be a completely different field for me. I would think that I could get on somewhere with that experience and then move into the coding job that way? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  61. shelly says:

    Hi i’m already working in a medical office as a biller, but i would like to take CPC exam, but you says that certification requirement to have an associate’s degree which is i don’t have, i don’t even have a high school dipolma. Am i still be able take the exam?

  62. caroline says:

    How can I become a certified biller? I have been a medical biller for over 10 years now they are saying this is required? Are there any online classes I might could take?

  63. Portia says:

    Caroline, please visit the AAPC.com site and they offer online or you can locate a PMCC near your city. I hope this helps. Thanks…

  64. Portia says:

    Shelly, I am not sure where you heard this. You do not need an assoc. degree to take the CPC. They require 2 years of coding experience and if you do not have the 2 years then you can take the exam and pass with a CPC-A( which indicate that you have no experience in the field). Please visit http://www.aapc.com and locate a PMCC site near you. They offer online or classroom. Here in Michigan the price range is $1750-$1900 which the instructors let you make up payment arrangements….also some employers will pay for the course. Good Blessings…….and I hope this helps.

  65. Portia says:

    haryani, You do not need experience although some experience would be helpful but not necessary. You can take the exam right after class if schedule 4-6 weeks in advance with the AAPC. If you do not have experience then you would be awarded CPC-A until you get 2 years under your belt. Thanks…

  66. Portia says:

    Shari …if your are referring to externship with your CPC coding course…I believe that the AAPC offers an externship…they will put you in place with organizations that interested in your state. Please go to http://www.aapc.com for more information

  67. Theresa says:

    Hi guys this information was very helpful in helping me make the decision to get certified I have been here at my job 3.5 years now and still only make 12 an hour have not gotten a raise since i been here . I am a medical biller.

  68. Sang says:

    I am interested in taking medical coding class, but I am not sure that this field is as promising as people said. I am not sure about the job market. As few people mentioned in this blog, it looks like it will be hard to get a job without few years of medical coding experiences with or without certification. No one wants to spend lots of money in that course without promising job availability. I do not wish to unempolyed months to years after I spend lots of money and time. So anyone can tell me why this field is such a promising career????

  69. Carol Favreau says:

    Do you have home study courses to offer for coding? WHere I would study at home and then take the test?
    Please advise.
    Thank you.

  70. magda says:

    I need some advice.I plan to get certified with AAPC because of one free retake.The “A “thing makes me nervous.How the employers take the “A” part. To me , it seems that the AAPC test is not serious and AAPC does not have confidence in its test.Ahima does not care if you have no experience in coding if you can pass its test you good ,no one will know that you have no experience.

  71. Kelly says:

    Hello i live in Ohio I would like you to guide me in finding a great school that will fit my needs, which are– Low tuition– On line program– Credited school– Certified ready school with Associate or Certificate with the option to become certified with one of the certified agencies which offer your certification. Thank you Kelly

  72. Harry Dooling says:

    I am an electrician and looking for a new career.Possibly medical billing and coding . I am 50 year old male. What do you guys think?

  73. Ashok krishna reddy says:

    I am a medical coder for 2 years, now i certified coder cpc -A,i am interested to work abroad.But i have any experience certificates. please guide me

  74. Ashok krishna reddy says:

    I am a medical coder for 2 years, now i certified coder cpc -A,i am interested to work abroad.But i have not any experience certificates. please guide me

  75. Matt McCumber says:

    I am interested in what happened to Deon Haynes and what school did she choose? I am also having a hard time deciding on what school to choose and I was also looking at US Career Institute. I have inquired with several schools and the tuitions range from $1500 (Certificate) to as high as $30,000(AS Coding). HELP me, Please!!!!

  76. Richard Drey says:

    Thank you for your informative site. I am currently an Associates Degree RN with over 15 years experience. I am currently enrolled in WGU’s HIM program with over 33% of the Bachelors program out of the way. I am wanting to sit for the CPC R exam in the near future. I am currently unemployed due to bilateral knee problems. I can nolonger run the floors in nursing but wish to use my experience and knowlege. Have some experience with DRG’s in nursing. I am seeking advice on procuring a coding job that the income will help with school and living expences. Am I on the right track so far? I thank you for any recommendations or direction at this point. I realize that the job market is soft right now. Any help you may give will be very much appreciated.

  77. Richard Drey says:

    Matt, WGU has an IT and Health Information Management Bachelor’s program. Tuition is based on six month semester period and not number of credit hours. Under $3000.00 per semester! Much cheaper than other online schools. Program is fully accredited and working in over thirteen states. After being deceived by another big name correspondence school I found WGU much better choice and wish I had discovered it initially. Councellors are knowlegable and the program is non-profit so they are not working on comission! Good luck. One other thing. They only offer Bachelors and Masters programs no Associates or Tech license programs. But considering the above threads and employment this is probably the way to go. Get the degree and spend as much as you will with those tech programs out there that only get you prepared for the exam!

  78. Courtney Underwood says:

    I am searching for a new career opportunity and have been considering Medical Coding. I have looked into US Career Institute and Penn Foster College. They seem similar. I was just curious if these were good schools or if I should be looking some place else?

  79. Sherrie Keller says:

    Hello from Kansas City, MO…I agree with Sang, what is the big deal about this new career option?? I just finished a 10 month certificate program from Wright’s Career College (mid-America locations only, I think). I got the medical terminology, body systems classes and 45 weeks of medical coding, but now I need the certification in order to be even considered for a job. Most jobs I have seen require a high school diploma (or GED) AND the CPC Certification. There is alot of learning between those two diplomas!. I hope to take the CPC test in Sept 2010. School offers a competency testing (?), but who cares about that? When I talked to the local AAPC Chapter President about employment, she said it was very, very unusual for a person to be hired as a coder straight out of school. The usual path is front-line medical office, billing, insurance and then coding. Well, why didn’t someone tell me that 10 months ago? I enjoy coding very much and do well, but discouraged about the job market. Who sets these requirements for experience? I definitely think I need experience, but not by making medical appointments for patients. Is there an ICD9 code from depressed job market?


    I am a Medical Record personnel working in India. I have passed Coding Basics from AHIMA, USA and CPC from MEDESUN, USA (Through India Branch office, Hyderabad).
    I have experience in Medical Coding ICD-9CM, CPT and HCPCS coding.
    If any body recommends for a Medical Coder job, I will be grateful to them
    Yours sincerely,

  81. David George says:

    I have been in the medical billing business for nearly eight years and have decided to earn a coding certification. I looked at many avenues and for me the route will be taking courses through AAPC.
    David George

  82. reddy says:

    hi every body. For coding and Billing career for fresh and experienced
    pls send your resumes to hrudayam1 at yahoo dot com