What does a Medical Coder do?

Medical Coders take a physician's case notes or a patient's medical history and translate the long-form, paragraphs of text into a code of letters and numbers which accurately communicate the diagnoses, procedures, symptoms, allergies, and diseases of a patient in a more condensed form. They also report services performed by a physician or other healthcare professional for reimbursement. However, Medical Coders do not simply read off the coded designations from a book and translate the text of a patient's file into code, they must also be knowledgeable in areas of anatomy and medical terminology to accurately interpret and code a patient's file. This includes being able to accurately recognize and code the symptoms and effects of various diseases.

Types of Work Environments

  • Hospitals
  • Private practices
  • Smaller clinics

Education and Training Requirements

Although the only requirements to become a medical coder are the completion of a medical coding course of study and the CPC exam to earn professional certification, some coders also have a bachelor's or master's degree.


According to salary.com, the median salary for a medical coding technician is between $46,170 and $62,423 per year and the median salary for a medical coding manager is between $60,699 and $82,003 per year.

Professional Organization

The American Academy of Professional Coders

Learn More

Meet a Coding Education and Quality Coordinator: Meghan