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Is Medical Coding a Good Career?

By DeVry University

April 11, 2023

6 min read

Is medical coding a good career? If you’re interested in working in the healthcare field, have a knack for precision and a passion for patient care but don’t want to pursue a clinical role, a career in health information technology, like medical coding, could be a good choice. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at medical coding as a profession and some of what medical coders do on a daily basis. We’ll also explore some of the steps in become a medical coder, the projected job growth and potential benefits that can come from pursuing this kind of career.

What Do Medical Coders Do?

Is medical coding a good job? We think so! Coding medical diagnoses and processes is one of the many steps in the medical billing process. A medical coder will gather information on the diagnosis and treatment received by a patient and assign an alphanumeric code to each item. Medical billing and coding is important to the modern healthcare system because it enables care providers to accurately submit billing to health insurance providers and gather data regarding the patient experience.

Before going any further, let’s discuss two types of medical codes. Each service or procedure a patient receives is assigned a code from the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) or the International Classification of Disease, 11th Revision (ICD-11). A CPT code usually consists of 5 numbers, although some of them have 4 numbers and a letter. 

The categories of CPT codes include:

  • Category I: Frequently used in medical billing and coding, especially in healthcare revenue cycle management

  • Category II: Used primarily for performance measurement and quality of care. Unlike Category I codes, they are not linked to reimbursement.

  • Category III: Temporary codes for services and procedures related to emerging technologies.

  • PLA codes: These are used for lab testing.

Here are a few examples of CPT codes:


  • 00300-00352: Anesthesia for Procedure and Services on the Neck

  • 33016-37799: Surgical Procedure and Services on the Cardiovascular System

  • 76506-76999: Diagnostic Ultrasound Procedure and Services

  • 90460-0031A: Immunization Administration for Vaccines/Toxoids

After the medical coder itemizes the procedures with their corresponding codes, they add them to an invoice. Medical codes tell insurance companies and other payers, like Medicare for example, what services were provided and allows them to match the codes to the patient’s plan and determine the coverage for each service. The payer then reimburses the healthcare provider according to the terms of the patient’s policy. 

The medical coder’s duties can vary depending upon the type and size of their employer, whether that’s in a hospital, physicians’ office, outpatient surgery center, insurance company or government agency. Generally speaking, their day-to-day work will typically consist of:


  • Gathering info and reviewing patient records.

  • Coding appropriate diagnoses and procedures.

  • Reviewing codes for accuracy.

  • Clarifying vague or inconsistent information in medical records with staff or physicians.

  • Assisting with medical record audits.

How to Become a Medical Coder

Medical coders typically need a postsecondary certificate, and in some cases an associate degree, to enter this occupation. Many employers also require medical record specialists to hold certifications in addition to their education. 

Enrolling in a medical billing and coding program can help prepare you to pursue this career path and introduce you to medical terminology and alphanumerical codes you’ll use on a daily basis. At DeVry, our online Undergraduate Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding can help you practice assigning the correct codes quickly and accurately while you gain first-hand experience with simulated medical records in a web-based learning platform.

As mentioned, medical billing and coding certifications are also important tools for your career. That’s why it’s a good idea to look for programs that can help you prepare to take industry-recognized certification exams. Coursework in our medical billing and coding certificate programs include preparation for the AHIMA’s Certified Coding Associate (CCA) and Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) certification exams, which may help you as you prepare to take them after graduation.1

Then, you can start looking for employment opportunities. This may involve updating your resume, connecting with your network of contacts or exploring internships that may help you to gain experience and potentially transition to a full-time position. 

Careers you might consider after completing our Undergraduate Medical Billing and Coding Certificate program include:

  • Medical Records and Health Information Technician

  • Billing Specialist

  • Medical Biller

  • Insurance Claims Specialist

  • Coding Professional

At DeVry, students prepare to move from school into the workforce with help from our Career Services team, who provide support with a range of needs from resume writing and networking tips to job search strategies.

Benefits of Becoming a Medical Coder

Because medical coders play such an important role in today’s complex healthcare system, they may be able to take advantage of several benefits this career path offers, such as:

  • Skills that can be learned quickly: 

    Compared to other degree types, it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a medical coder. While programs can vary between schools and programs, you may be able to earn your online Undergraduate Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding at DeVry in as little as 1 year, or even more quickly with qualifying transfer credits.*

  • Opportunities for professional development: 

    A medical coding career offers several opportunities for learning and may help prepare you to pursue a wider range of jobs within the field, especially if you are expanding your knowledge by earning specialized certifications. Certifications are not always required by employers, but they may help you stand out as a strong candidate.

  • The ability to work in a variety of settings: 

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 29% of medical records specialists worked in hospitals in 2021. In the same year, 19% worked in doctors’ offices and 9% held roles in professional, scientific or technical services.  

  • Schedule flexibility: 

    Depending on their employer, medical billers and coders may have flexible schedules, including the ability to set their own hours, or the option to work from home without the typical workplace distractions. 

Medical Coding Job Outlook

What’s the outlook for job growth in medical coding? Citing the widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) combined with an aging population requiring more healthcare services, the BLS projects employment of medical records specialists to maintain steady growth at grow 7% from 2021 to 2031.2  This means that roughly 14,900 new job openings are projected for each year, on average, over this period. It’s important to note that this growth is projected on a national level and that local growth will vary by location. This projection is not specific to DeVry graduates and may include earners at all stages of their careers, not just entry-level.

Prepare to Pursue Medical Coding at DeVry

If you’re eager to play a role in the evolution of today’s modern healthcare system, consider a career as a medical coder. At DeVry,  our Undergraduate Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding helps you gain an understanding of core coding procedures and medical terminology and can support you as you prepare to take industry-recognized certification exams.

With 100% online learning, you can balance your commitment to education with work, family, and more by earning your certificate in a way that works for you. Let’s talk about getting you started in our next session.

1Eligible students who register for and complete the exams may be reimbursed for one exam sitting.


*Not including breaks. Assumes year-round, full-time enrollment.

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