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Where Do Medical Coders Work?

By DeVry University

August 18, 2023

6 min read

Medical coders perform a vital role in the healthcare industry. But you may have wondered, where do medical coders work? In this article, we’ll take a close look at some of the many different places where medical coders work and then explore more about what it takes to become a medical coder.

Where Can Medical Coders Work?

Medical coders work in a variety of settings where healthcare is delivered, managed, studied or billed, although in some cases they may be able to work from home. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical records specialists held about 186,400 jobs in 2021. 29% of them worked in hospitals, 19% worked in physicians’ offices and 9% worked in various professional, scientific and technical services. 

Here are how medical coders may work within different healthcare environments:


Hospitals are the biggest employers of medical billers and coders. This should come as no surprise since hospitals deliver patient care around the clock. Workload can vary, but medical coders in this setting can be very busy depending upon the volume of patient intake. 

Doctors' offices

Physicians’ offices like primary care physicians, dentists and specialists like cardiologists, oncologists and orthopedists are sometimes quite busy, but this can depend on the size of the practice and the services being delivered at the site. While the work environment might be somewhat slower paced than in a hospital setting, medical coders here typically perform the same duties.

Outpatient surgery centers

The growth of ambulatory care, also called outpatient or ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), is reflective of an industry trend that is seeing a portion of medical care shift away from hospitals. This setting is likely to be smaller and more limited in scope compared with a large hospital, but certainly larger and busier than a physician’s office.


Outpatient clinics delivering urgent care and other services rely on medical coders as well. This environment is similar to an outpatient surgery center, where the coder works in an office on site and can interact with doctors, nurses and medical assistants as they use coding software to document patients’ medical histories, care and procedures.


Sometimes the question where do medical coders work can be answered by observing seasoned medical coders who work at a technical college or other educational institution that teaches medical billing and coding. In this setting, their responsibilities would involve helping the next generation of coders learn the trade and prepare to pursue industry-relevant certifications.

Healthcare consulting services

Consulting firms call upon coders to help them deliver their services to hospitals, clinics and health systems to enable them to streamline operations. Coders who excel in the areas of problem solving and collaboration may enjoy working in this setting, where they may be involved in the development of information technology solutions for the firm’s clients

Insurance agencies

Insurance companies rely on medical coders when they review patients’ claims. In these settings, the coder will ensure that all of the relevant information related to the claim has been collected, verify the accuracy of the claim and compare it with the coverage in the patient’s plan. They may also perform extensive research on individual claims.

Law firms

When you think about where can medical coders work, this setting seem less obvious, but medical coding degree holders are sometimes hired by law firms and the courts to research, investigate and testify in medical billing fraud cases. Their efforts in this setting would be concentrated on examining medical records to determine whether coding inaccuracies were intentional or just innocent mistakes.

Government agencies

Medical coders sometimes work for public-sector employers like government agencies at the state and federal level, performing administrative duties like summarizing claims information and auditing claims, calculating national healthcare statistics and investigating insurance discrepancies.

At Home/Remote

Many people enjoy working from home for the enhanced work-life balance benefits, and medical coders are no exception. According to the results of the AAPC’s 2022 Medical Coding Salary Survey, 51% of respondents work from home thanks, in part, to technology that enables HIPAA-compliant remote access to electronic health records (EHRs). Early career coders, however, may still have to commute to an office. Many employers require certification and 2-5 years of experience before offering remote positions, but ultimately it will depend on the company you work for.

Becoming a Medical Coder

The first step in preparing to pursue a career as a medical coder is understanding what kinds of skills are needed. 

There are several skills that medical billers and coders should possess, including:

  • A strong understanding of medical codes: A solid grasp of the commonly used medical codes, like ICD and current procedural terminology (CPT), is required to ensure that codes for diagnoses and procedures are accurately assigned.

  • Computer software competency: The job requires competency in spreadsheet/workbook software, accounting software and the use of ICD code databases.

  • Basic bookkeeping skills: Math is often required to keep track of the cost of a healthcare service and balance it against the amount allotted for that service.

  • Attention to detail: The importance of accuracy in medical coding cannot be overstated. Mistakes in coding can result in claims denied or delayed payments. That’s why attention to detail is such an important soft skills for medical billers and coders.

  • Customer service skills: Medical billers and coders are often required to interface directly with patients or payers, such as insurance companies, in the processing and management of claims. Having strong customer service skills and putting them to work here can make a big difference.

As in many other professions, in-person or online networking can help you to enhance your career development by making new connections and renewing old ones, whether they be across the industry or in your hometown. In-person events like conferences and seminars or professional networking sites like LinkedIn can help you make those connections. 


The next step is pursuing education. At DeVry, our Undergraduate Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding can familiarize you with medical terminology, reimbursement and payment methodologies of the modern healthcare system, the principles and guidelines for CPT, ICD-11 and more. You’ll also have the opportunity to work in a web-based learning platform where you can access simulated medical records and perform real-world health information and coding activities. You can target your education with even further by adding on a Health Information Coding (HIC) specialization, which can give you a more in-depth look at the compliance and regulatory side of the healthcare industry and help you practice closely examining data and applying medical coding to complex case studies. 

Graduates of this certificate program may consider pursuing roles like medical records and health information technician, billing specialist, insurance claim specialist and coding professional.


Pursuing professional certification, as mentioned earlier, is often an important next step toward employment or career advancement. Our medical billing and coding program can help you prepare to pursue the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential. Additional certifications in medical billing and coding include Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Coding Specialist (CCS).

Take Your First Step Toward a Medical Coding Career with DeVry

If you want to prepare to pursue career opportunities in medical billing coding, DeVry can help. Our Undergraduate Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding with or without the Health Information Coding specialization can be earned in as little as 1 year, on an accelerated schedule, or 1 year and 4 months on a normal schedule.1 100% online Medical Billing and Coding classes start every 8 weeks, allowing you to begin learning when you’re ready. After graduation, our Career Services team will be there to help you with resume preparation and your job search.

Take the first step today. 

1Accelerated schedule is per 12 month period, does not include breaks and assumes year-round, full-time enrollment. Normal schedule is per 12 month period, does not include breaks and assumes 2 semesters of full-time enrollment.

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