Pursue a Career As an Outpatient Coder


There has been concern in the medical coding community that technology would replace professionals and jobs would begin to dry up. Technology is a large and growing part of the field, but thus far it has had little impact on the volume of coding work available. That’s why now is a great time to pursue a career as an outpatient coder. Learn what is involved, and decide for yourself if this is the right next step for you.

Job Description

Outpatient coders are just like other medical coders, but they work specifically in outpatient settings like walk-in clinics and surgery centers. After receiving care, a patient’s records are passed on to the outpatient code who then translates them into a coded language. This language is used to make the payment process more efficient and accurate. Strong outpatient coders will need to have ample understanding of human anatomy, medical processes, and medical terminology. They also must be coding experts – the current language in use has over 70,000 unique codes.

Educational Requirements

A formal degree is not required to become an outpatient coder, but professionals will need to earn a post secondary certification. The Certified Coding Specialist (CCS), Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA), and Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certifications are considered by most to be the industry standards. In some instances employers will also require potential employees to have earned an associate degree in medical coding. Informal skills a candidate must possess include computer skills, communication skills, and a willingness to continuously develop professionally.

Job Outlook

By all accounts this is a great time to become an outpatient coder. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of job opportunities will grow by much faster than the national average. According to the Bureau’s research, there were 188,600 professional employed as medical records and health information technicians in 2014. By 2024 an additional 29,000 positions are expected to be added, a growth of 15 percent. In 2014 the median salary was $35,900, but as demand for qualified professionals increases the level of pay should increase accordingly. Experience as an outpatient coder can also prove to be an entry point for other careers in fields of health information management.

Do you have what it takes to succeed as a medical coder? If you already possess all the necessary credentials, search for vacant positions on our job board. If you don’t, plan your path to success carefully. Rely on the expertise and guidance of the team at MedPartners to help you achieve your dreams faster.