Have you always wanted to work in the healthcare field, but don’t think you would like seeing patients face to face? Do you have good attention to detail? If so, a career as a medical coder may be right for you. However, if you are also interested in working from home or remote work as many people are, you may be asking, “can you work from home as a medical coder?”
The answer is that you definitely can. One of the most well-known benefits of medical coding jobs is that they can be done remotely. A survey (even before the pandemic) by the American Academy of Professional Coders revealed that just under 25% of respondents worked remotely.
Another big advantage of medical coding jobs is that they do require some education, but not necessarily a 4-year degree which can make them a good fit for someone who does not want to invest heavily in the money or time commitment that a bachelor’s degree requires.
So what is medical coding and is it right for you?
What is Medical Coding?
To put it simply, medical coding is a mechanism that medical providers use to bill for their services. When you go to the doctor or get a lab test done, your healthcare provider will document the services and procedures in your medical chart that were performed for you. Medical coders translate the documentation that your healthcare provider makes into alpha-numeric codes describing your diagnosis, reason for treatment, and services provided.
The codes that medical coders translate this information into help standardize the information exchanged between medical insurers and providers. This information can ultimately be used to create a claim that your health insurance will pay. Medical coders are a valuable part of your healthcare team. If your medical information is coded improperly, it can result in you having to pay unnecessary bills.
Some of the benefits of working as a medical coder include:
- It is an in-demand and growing field.
- You will be working in the healthcare field. Although you won’t be providing direct patient care, you will be ensuring that the payment system works as it should.
- There are a variety of educational paths that you can take.
- Healthcare is constantly changing. You will always be learning new things and can challenge yourself.
- You probably don’t need to wear business clothes. Many medical coders work in the “back” or remotely. Some even wear scrubs to work.
- Many medical coders work from home.
How To Get a Medical Coding Job
Medical coding has no set educational path. There is a bit of flexibility built-in for those that are interested.
However, you will likely need a high school diploma and some form of post-secondary education. Some employers do prefer an Associate’s degree; however, there are some programs that you can complete in as little as 9 months. This gives you the chance to become qualified as a medical coder relatively quickly if it is a path that you are interested in.
Additionally, there are a variety of programs that you can complete online if you are interested in a medical coding career. This makes it a great fit for people who are going back to school, who already have families, or are working full-time while going to school.
After you finish your education, you will likely want to pursue certification. Some certifications that you may consider include the Certified Professional Coder (CPC), the Certified Coding Associate (CCA), and the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS). After you obtain one of these certifications, you also may want to pursue a specialty certification. There are a variety of specialty certifications offered in fields like family practice, ambulatory care, or anesthesia. Obtaining additional certifications may allow you to further advance and specialize in your career if you are interested.
Can You Get a Work From Home Medical Coding Job Without Experience?
It can be beneficial when applying for any job to already have experience in the field. It is undeniable that experienced employees are at an advantage.
However, all hope is not lost if you are new to the medical coding field. Now more than ever, companies are willing to hire and train remote hires. At the time of this writing, a quick search on Indeed shows 1,091 open positions for entry-level remote medical coding jobs.
This means that if you are looking to become a remote medical coder, you do stand a good chance of finding a variety of potential jobs to apply for despite your inexperience.
What is the Salary of a Remote Medical Coder?
According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary of a work-from-home medical coder is $51,067 per year. However, ZipRecruiter also reports salaries as high as $110,000. From their data, medical coders that work remotely make around $28,000 at the 25th percentile of pay and $66,000 at the 75th percentile. In contrast, the AAPC survey previously referenced shows a slightly higher average salary at $54,784 dollars annually. Both of these sources show that you can certainly earn a good living as a remote medical coder.
However, these sources also show that payment can vary greatly based on your location, experience, and knowledge. More advanced certifications can also increase your earning potential as a medical coder.
There are also opportunities for advancement beyond medical coding such as career advancement into medical auditing, compliance, and documentation improvement that can lead to salary increases as you advance in your career. If you want it to be, medical coding could be just a stepping stone in your career.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, the answer to “can you work from home as a medical coder” is a resounding yes. You may want to weigh the pros and cons of remote work before trying to find a work-from-home job yourself, but it is possible and relatively common in the field to work from home if that is what you want. Fortunately, if you are interested in becoming a medical coder to work from home, there are some education options that can be completed relatively quickly and online which can give you flexibility as you complete your education.
Would you consider a medical coding career?