Live Chat Now
Give us a call

Send us a text



Is Medical Coding a Good Career?

By Steve Smith

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.
April 11, 2023

6 min read

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 involved in becoming a medical coder, the projected job growth and potential benefits that may come from pursuing this kind of career.

What Do Medical Coders Do?

Is medical coding a good career? We think so! Coding medical diagnoses and procedures is one of the many steps in the medical billing process. A medical coder will gather information on the diagnoses and treatments received by patients 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 journey.

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, 10th Revision (ICD-10). 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 a reimbursement claim. 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, doctor's office, outpatient surgery center, insurance company or government agency. Generally speaking, their day-to-day work will typically consist of:


  • Gathering health information 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 records 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 may help prepare you to pursue this career path and introduce you to the 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 hands-on 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 Specialist (CCS) or AAPC’s Certified Professional Coder (CPC) certification exams, which may help you as you prepare to take them after graduation.1

Then, you can start looking for job 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, we help students prepare to transition from school to the workforce with assistance from our Career Services team, which provides 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 degree or certificate programs aligned with other occupations, it can take a relatively short amount of time to complete medical coding training. This is an advantage for busy working adults who may be changing careers and need to spend more time earning and less time doing coursework. Here at DeVry, you may be able to earn your online Undergraduate Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding in as few as 10 months when you enroll full-time, completing 3 semesters at 6-13 credit hours each with no breaks. Or, follow a normal schedule and complete your program in 1 year and 2 months when you enroll full-time, completing 2 semesters at 6-13 credit hours each per 12-month period.

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.

Rewarding career:

How do you define a rewarding career? With medical coding, you may find a pathway to a medical career that, while not a direct patient care role, plays an important part in the healthcare revenue cycle. If you enjoy helping people, the reward can be found in helping patients receive the quality, affordable care they deserve. Another reward is that you also may be helping healthcare systems to run efficiently and collect patient data that can lead to the improved quality of healthcare delivery and improved public health initiatives.

The ability to work in a variety of settings:

Medical coders work in a wide variety of healthcare settings. These include the typical places where healthcare is delivered, such as hospitals, physician practices, outpatient surgery centers and nursing facilities, but also several others that you may not have considered. These include insurance companies, government agencies or government-sponsored health plans like Medicare and Medicaid, universities that have teaching programs and even law firms. This broad employment landscape offers many work environment options.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 27% of medical records specialists worked in hospitals in 2022. In the same year, 19% worked in doctors’ offices and 9% held roles in professional, scientific or technical services.2


We all want to have a certain amount of flexibility to help us balance work with family commitments like parenting or elder care, and other things that contribute to the quality of our lives. When you consider the broad range of settings in which medical coders work, this career may offer more flexibility than others.

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 grow 8% from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations, with about 15,000 new job openings each year, on average, over this period.3 This growth is projected on a national level and local growth will vary by location. This projection is not specific to DeVry students or 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 industry, 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 everything else in your busy life by earning your certificate in a way that works for you. Let’s talk about getting you started in our next session.

8-Week Class Sessions

Classes Start Every 8 Weeks

Filter Blog Post Category

Related Posts