Medical coder jobs are a popular choice for people who want to work in a non-medical sector of the healthcare field. Hopefuls must meet the standard age requirements and complete an accredited training program to qualify for a medical coder position.
How Old Do You Need to Be to Become a Medical Coder?
Medical coders have access to the private medical documents of each patient in their facility. Because of this, you must be 18 years of age or older to qualify for a medical coder job at most facilities.
What Do Medical Coders Do?
A medical coder helps ensure that the hospital, doctor’s office, or whichever patient care facility they work for receives the proper payment for each service they provide. Their daily duties involve:
- Analyzing patient medical records
- Taking note of each examination, diagnosis, procedure, and treatment a patient receives
- Assigning a specific code to each service a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider performs
- Delivering coded data to the medical biller, who uses the information for billing and insurance purposes
In some facilities, a single person performs both medical biller and coder jobs. However, whether you’re doing one or both of these tasks, your primary responsibility is to provide accurate information so your patients and employer can receive proper insurance coverage and reimbursement.
Medical Coder Qualifications
Aspiring medical coders who reach the minimum age requirement of 18 and have a high school diploma or GED need to meet a few additional standards before they can qualify for jobs in this field.
Medical Coder School
Completing an educational program is essential for medical coders. During these training courses, you’ll learn the industry-specific codes for each medical procedure and service you’ll see on patient records.
As coding practices, compliance rules, and government regulations change, medical coders must complete continuing education units (CEUs) through the AAPC or another approved school or agency to update their knowledge.
Students also learn general information about the healthcare field and standard practices for working in medical facilities by taking classes like:
- Medical Terminology
- Concepts in Human Biology
- Medical Insurance and Coding Protocols
- Medical Ethics and Law
Employers might also expect medical coder applicants to pass a criminal background check and drug screening. Some might even prefer to hire candidates with an official Certified Professional Coder (CPC) credential.
How Long is Medical Coding School?
Most students complete their medical coding courses in about one year. However, depending on your school, you can finish your program in four to six weeks.
Preparing for a Medical Coding Career
Although you have to be 18 to qualify for most medical coder jobs and training courses, underage hopefuls can learn basic medical terminology, laws, and regulations in high school biology and health classes.